Saturday 30 April 2016


We're halfway through the top secret (as always!) filming of EPISODE VIII, and now its time for the production team to commence using the vast controlled environment spaces of the London Pinewood Studios backlot, as what seems to be a small portion of Luke Skywalker's island seen in EPISODE VII is erected alongside a seemingly revised Millennium Falcon prop, now created in its entirety for the latest film (shades of EMPIRE's behind the scenes making, what with its full-size built Falcon back in 1979). Built above them is another planet- a street of some kind, as well as a massive conference/senate type structure-perhaps linked to Benecio del Toro's mystery character, and presumably linked to earlier location shooting captured in Dubrovnik.


In a galaxy not so far away: Exclusive photographs reveal that the Millennium Falcon has touched down in England as Star Wars VIII is filmed at Pinewood Studios | Daily Mail Online


‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ Photos: First Look From Rian Johnson | Variety
Star Wars' Mark Hamill is joined by wife and daughter at Captain America premiere | Daily Mail Online
Watch Daisy Ridley Practice Her Jedi Skills for Star Wars: Episode VIII
Rey's Insane Star Wars: Episode VIII Backstory Revealed?


As civil war erupts across the Mandalorian city homeworld, an even worse battle is taking place deep below it, as Savage Opress locks horns (forgive the pun) and lightsabers against the fearsome power of that old Sith devil himself, Darth Sidious, in a classic moment from the genuinely epic duel closing the powerful and acclaimed THE CLONE WARS Season Five episode, The Lawless.


At the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, Obi-Wan Kenobi searches for the truth behind the missing planet Kamino, getting help from friends old and young, in this memorable scene from EPISODE II.

Friday 29 April 2016


A crude facility it may indeed be, but Darth Vader knows that the Carbon Freeze chamber trap being prepared by Lando Calrissian and his Bespin technicians for the incoming Luke Skywalker will be more than adequate, in this rare image from The Empire Strikes Back that sees very little media reprinting nowadays, and first made an impression on this classic TOPPS CARD celebrating the film from 1980/81.

Out now is Gary Gerani and ABRAMS BOOKS next exploration of the STAR WARS TOPPS TRADING CARD pop culture experience, showcasing the evolution and creation of legendary series cards linked to that all-important first sequel of the saga, and looks set to be as equally popular with fans as their previous entries dedicated to the original STAR WARS and the nineties STAR WARS GALAXY art.

Get the book here: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: 2 (Topps): Amazon.co.uk: Gary Gerani: 9781419719141: Books

Go Back In Time With This Gallery of Amazing Classic Star Wars Trading Cards


Starting the day with a "brisky early morning munchin'", Gungan outcast Jar Jar Binks's simple life within the forest lands of Naboo is soon interrupted by the sounds of Trade Federation technological might, and the warning cries of a noble Jedi, in his introductory scene from EPISODE I.

With thanks to Ian Trussler for the image.

Developing Jar Jar for EPISODE I:

Thursday 28 April 2016


The true charm of Peter Cushing comes out. Image: Ann Skinner/BFI.

They're fiendishly plotting the destruction of a planet and control of the galaxy forever with their ultimate weapon in the Death Star, but that doesn't mean that Peter Cushing and his acting colleagues in Don Henderson, Richard Le Parmentier and Dave Prowse as Darth Vader can't have the odd laugh between takes, as seen in this great behind the scenes Polaroid image shot as continuity reference by the original STAR WARS first Script Supervisor Ann Skinner back in May 1976, of which the much-loved Cushing filmed all in his scenes as the despicable Tarkin in a short space of time due to other acting commitments. Held in the BFI Special Collection is a so far unpublished second B/W Polaroid image, similar to the classic one used in the film's publicity below, as Tarkin gesticulates a point with his hands- whether its a deleted moment or just a casual off-camera take is unknown, though I'm plumping for the former.

Ann Skinner's advance script characters/costume notes, from 1976:

GOV. MOFF TARKIN: Thin evil man in his late 50's.

COMMANDER TAGGE: Fat disgusting general.

MOTTI: Part of their group.

Tarkin makes a point.

Amongst the extras seen in Tarkin's sequences within the Overbridge were Keith Ashley as a background operator, whilst John Ketteringham played one of the controllers in his mushroom-esque cubical, wearing earphones, as was Robert Clarke, for the later scene of Chief Bast (Leslie Schofield) warning Tarkin of the Rebels attack.

One of only a few rare images showing a maskless Dave Prowse on the set of the original STAR WARS. Image: Ann Skinner/BFI.

Another version of the above image from Skinner also resides at the BFI- a more fuzzy B/W Polaroid also showing Prowse maskless with Cushing. Two further so far unpublished B/W Polaroids on this set are interesting but lack any info, showing Miss Skinner with Assistant Director Tony Waye and two other unknown crewmen having a laugh as she's holding some strange toy animal.

With thanks to Ann Skinner and the BFI.

Tuesday 26 April 2016


The saga continues! Updated, expanded and out now: the STAR WARS CHARACTER ENCYCLOPEDIA. Images: DK BOOKS.

In the widening history of STAR WARS, one thing is clear: no character has too large or too small a role to play in adding to the overall believability and detail of its incredible fantasy universe. From iconic heroes, or indeed iconic villains, to droids, aliens, and other bizarre non humanoid creatures, all that are presented prove fascinating to see and experience within the seven (so far) filmic adventures- a literal roll call of the thousands that make it pretty much transcend all other sci-fi and fantasy franchises in movie history.

Back in 2011, veteran STAR WARS scribe Simon Beecroft and DK BOOKS gamely began work charting the best, the brightest, the most popular and the rising stars of the saga with their handy-sized, full colour, attractively designed CHARACTER ENCYCLOPEDIA. Since then, however, a lot - really, a lot! - has happened! Now, with the release on Blu-ray and DVD this month of THE FORCE AWAKENS, that special book gets the bright and shiny revision it deserves- still in the same welcome-all-ages, accessible format as before (full page profiles with data files, character and costume notes, plus classic scene imagery), but now blessed with an extended page count charting great new heroes for an exciting new age: orphan scavenger now Force awakened Jedi heroine, Rey, kind hearted and heroic First Order escapee FN-2187 (or "Finn"), daring and cocky Resistance pilot/leader Poe Dameron, the lovable one-of-a-kind ball that is droid BB-8, the vicious and patricide bringing Kylo Ren, and his First Order partners in the sneery General Hux and the shinily brutal Captain Phasma, as well as supporting characters of upcoming importance, like the enigmatic and mysterious alien bartender Maz Kanata. Intriguingly, and surely deliberately, only the shadowy and twisted Supreme Leader Snoke (pretty much kept a secret from all the other DK books so far linked to TFA), remains noticeably absent.

Our Classic Trilogy "legacy" heroes importantly crossing paths with these super newcomers (notably Han, Leia and Chewbacca) also receive fully warranted and updated profiles (though with the exception of the mythical Jedi "New Hope" Luke Skywalker- as with Snoke, his role and final visual appearance also having kept secret by the filmmakers, especially with his acting as the primary "Macguffin" for TFA). Other saga-crossing support stars getting a similar treatment include former Rebels now resisting Admiral ("It's a trap!") Ackbar and fighter pilot Nien Nunb. And let's not forget the wealth of supporting EPISODE VII characters bringing further freshness and interest, whose selections in this new compilation are even better than expected, especially character roles whose importance were sadly reduced during the film's final cut, like General Leia Organa's youthful aide killed on Hosnian Prime, Korr Sella, and other welcome shout outs: Wookiee liking Doctor Kalonia, crimson pirate Captain Ithano, and the Jakku desert world's only real law and order in Constable Zuvio, plus several others who can also be seen in exclusive deleted scenes on the Blu-ray.

Giving the book additional authorized weight as a worthy purchase, Beecroft is assisted by long-time STAR WARS continuity veteran Pablo Hidalgo, now such a vital part of the series storytelling team for both Lucasfilm and Disney, and whose fact-packed, treasure trove mind brings further depth and interest to the new sequels well-grounded storytelling foundations.

AFICIONADO RATING: Capturing the tone and spirit of this audience/fan pleasing new phase for the saga and its characters, yet carefully keeping all of the prior greatness of the George Lucas created universe intact in deserved symbiosis, DK BOOKS sterling work in entertaining and delighting STAR WARS fans continues with enthusiasm and distinction. Its going to be very interesting to see how the encyclopedia adapts and encapsulates the upcoming ROGUE ONE and EPISODE VIII during the next two years. 4 out of 5.

Get hold of it here: Star Wars Character Encyclopedia Updated Edition: Amazon.co.uk: DK: 9780241232217: Books

Pablo Hidalgo Star Wars Character Encyclopedia Interview | StarWars.com

With thanks to DK BOOKS for their continued help.

Sunday 24 April 2016


Celebrating the spectacular release of THE FORCE AWAKENS on stunning HD, Blu-ray and DVD, STAR WARS AFICIONADO presents a selection, mostly in no particular order, of some of our favourite behind the scenes images from the making of this all-important first new entry in the STAR WARS Sequels cycle, and the first of the new films from LUCASFILM under the DISNEY inheritance. These pics are a super time capsule of an innocent and exciting period, especially for its two new superstars-to-be in Daisy Ridley and John Boyega- clearly having the same kind of fun and exuberance that Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher shared back in the day on the original 1976 shooting for STAR WARS. This photo selection is a celebration of the hard work and dedication of the worldwide team in making this now beloved film- a worthy continuation of the saga created by the much-missed George Lucas.


The original cast read through of EPISODE VII at Pinewood Studios.
John Boyega and Daisy Ridley have fun at the costume tests, prior to location filming.
A new adventure in Abu Dhabi.
John Boyega braves the heat.
Picturesque but not comfortable filming.
Filming Daisy's first scene as Rey in Abu Dhabi.
The "peanut" duo. An on and off set chemistry is cemented.
"The garbage'll do!"
A wonderful image captured on location.
"Chewie, we're home!"
Bridging the sagas. The new cast enjoy the return of Mister Ford.
Getting ready to pose for Annie Leibovitz and VANITY FAIR magazine.
Filming the Rathtar sequence.
Stormtroopers attack the Jakku village exterior sets at Pinewood.
Inside the Star Destroyer Bay, which did have green screen!
BB-8 pauses between filming.
The recreated Falcon interior in all its visual glory.
J.J. has fun in the armoury at Pinewood.
STAR WARS veterans Norman Reynolds and Robert Watts visit the set.
J.J. and Peter Mayhew celebrate the latter's filming completion.
Early filming of Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa. Note the unseen on screen long hair.
Anthony Daniels is back as Threepio.
"Who are you?" Rey has an important moment with Lupita Nyong'o as Maz Kanata.
The Resistance has arrived at Greenham Common airbase.
Filming the superb Falcon exterior at Greenham Common.
Boyega and Oscar Isaac share the nostalgia.
Time to dance!
The striking Gwendoline Christie enjoys her Captain Phasma photo shoot with Stormtroopers for VANITY FAIR. This image was never used.
A dramatic scene for John Boyega as Finn at the Pinewood backlot.
Shooting a top secret moment with Luke and the remote operated Artoo.
Duel in the snow. The lightsaber filming continues with new lit sabers.
Harrison Ford- clearly having a great time.
That horrific, game-changing moment.
A bemused Harrison signs John Boyega's Han Stormtrooper doll, in a priceless image.
Welcome back, Mark Hamill!
Stunning location filming at Skellig Island.
Weighty decisions await the recluse Luke Skywalker.
In Los Angeles, the music scoring begins.
The only man who can create STAR WARS music: John Williams.
A clearly in-awe Daisy enjoys the recording of Rey's theme.
Signing off with the Scanlan monster team at the bar set on Pinewood.

Check out the large array of behind the scenes footage on THE FORCE AWAKENS Blu-ray Special Features disc. Get it here: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Limited Edition Dark Side Artwork Sleeve Blu-ray 2015: Amazon.co.uk: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Andy Serkis, Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, Domhnall Gleeson, Lupita Nyong'o, Kenny Baker, Gwendoline Christie, J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Kathleen Kennedy: DVD & Blu-ray