Friday, 17 November 2017
We know its nearly Christmas at AFICIONADO when the pre-seasonal Holiday Special celebration image is needed, and this is a terrific one- great art by David Rabbittee for the Celebration VI event that makes the then singular (thankfully) TV special look more exciting and serious than it actually turned to be.
HAPPY LIFE DAY! to all STAR WARS AFICIONADO readers worldwide!
On board the Rebel Starfighter (later cruiser), the evil Darth Vader and one of his Stormtrooper henchman are on the hunt for a Princess, in a memorable storyboard composed by Alex Tavoularis, one of the earliest visualists to work on the film alongside Ralph McQuarrie in 1975.
Around July 1979, Billy Dee Williams and Mark Hamill have fun getting ready to film within the Millennium Falcon's outer shell lift, for the final part of Lando's rescue of the battered Luke Skywalker, during lensing of The Empire Strikes Back at Elstree.
Thursday, 16 November 2017
|New IMAX poster release for EPISODE VIII.|
From the depths of space to the heady realm of Canto Bight, to an epic showdown on the far-off world of Crait, the story of The Last Jedi will surely be a terrific Christmas present/experience for STAR WARS fans of all ages.
Supreme Chancellor Valorum's discreetly sent 'negotiators' arrive at the Trade Federation Blockade of Naboo, but difficult events will only spiral for the worse. More terrific concept art setting up the opening to EPISODE I, by Doug Chiang.
Behind every great man there's a great woman, and back in late 1976/early 1977, that great woman to George Lucas was Marcia. And whilst George was a respected director and film editor in his own right, Marcia, very much the gregarious, artistic and spirited other side to her husband's quieter and shier persona, was as equally in-demand for her talents as film editor, most notably for Martin Scorcese. When STAR WARS needed urgent post production work, Marcia was available to help George with key sequences like the finale Death Star battle, shaping it and tightening it up, as well as adding/improving little character and humorous moments that ultimately helped to give the film a likeable and enduring resonance. It was also Marcia who convinced George to kill off Obi-Wan Kenobi, so as to give the film even more emotional impact towards its last act, and supporting her husband when its early minus effects rough cut was torn to shred by many of his closest friends. Alas, STAR WARS eventual and well deserved success (of which Marcia won an Oscar), and its leading to future time/personal life consuming sequels, was, sadly and ultimately, one of the key components to the breakdown of their marriage by 1983.
Wednesday, 15 November 2017
At Elstree Studios, June 16th 1976, a near 20 year old Carrie Fisher, a known name helpful in selling STAR WARS as the daughter of superstar Debbie Reynolds, sits down for an in-house filmed interview. As with Mark Hamill's talk on this set, we assume the interview was handled off camera by Gary Kurtz, and likely shot by documentarian Peter Shillingford.
Only a few brief moments of this interview have appeared publicly. With the upcoming first anniversary of Miss Fisher's sad passing, the 40th Anniversary of STAR WARS coming to an end, and her final appearance as Leia with The Last Jedi, it would be a lovely gift to fans if this interview could be released online to the fanbase, If you're reading this LUCASFILM/DISNEY, we hope you will oblige us with this continued tribute to a much-missed woman and talent. Thank you.
Tuesday, 14 November 2017
You know you've made it in this world when you've become the cover star of either of the landmark American magazine's like Time or People, and Anthony Daniels as C-3PO certainly made his mark within STAR WARS in this startling instance, as the franchise's beginning swiftly became one of the greatest things ever to happen to Americana pop culture in 1977, and beyond...
Imperial Director Krennic takes aim at Jyn Erso, determined not to let any further security breaches or Rebel incursions stand in the way of his Death Star's destiny as the ultimate power of the Empire, in this scene from Rogue One, set during the finale action on Scarif.
Monday, 13 November 2017
She never showed it, but Daisy Ridley was apparently nervous and unsure of herself playing Rey during the filming duration of The Force Awakens, so it's nice to see the actresses more confident and her fun side brighter than before during filming of The Last Jedi.
New TLJ TV trailer spot 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=TaFAyioYvk4
Miss Ridley gave some intriguing clues as to what we can expect from VIII in a recent magazine interview...
On a recce with Producer Gary Kurtz in Tunisia (with assistant director Tony Waye), the late British Production Designer John Barry goes through locations he previously visited and used for the dream-like fantasy The Little Prince, now being even more effectively utilized for the original STAR WARS filming set on the desert world of Tatooine, during March/April 1976.
No one working on the film at that time will ever forget its spectacular and never seen anything like it set design and creation at London's Elstree and Shepperton Studios, with Barry getting deserved credit and an Academy Award, working well with Lucas and conceptual designer Ralph McQuarrie. Most of the film's allocated budget was going on effects and production design, and Barry made sure every penny available to him was put up on screen, working miracles in a short time and often against the filming clock demanded by FOX, and defining a visual design style for our heroes and villains that continues to this day.
Sunday, 12 November 2017
Another one of the all-time classic STAR WARS poster greats. Who didn't have this on their bedroom wall during 1977/78, either next to Farrah Fawcett-Majors or the stars of Grease- our four incredible galactic heroes assembled in an image by David Steen, used by the Scandicor poster company.
Our hatted hero is escorted by two suited heavies (Graham Cole and Eugene Lipinsky) to a mysterious luxury penthouse apartment, and a sure mystery ahead, in an angle not seen in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Saturday, 11 November 2017
Another one of the finest STAR WARS posters ever produced, as the Hildebrandt Brothers take us back into the atmospheric delights of the creature-packed Mos Eisley Cantina- nostalgically, I first remember seeing this image used in the UK/US STAR WARS souvenir magazine of 1977/78, whose faded pages and ripped corners are a fine testament as to how much I enjoyed reading it from cover to cover, both then and now.
Despite dark and dangerous years ahead with the birth of the Empire, Bail Organa and his wife make the most of their time with the latest addition to their family in adopted baby Leia, during a beautiful moment from the closing scenes montage of EPISODE III, amidst the picturesque surroundings of peaceful Alderaan.
Alderaan and the Organa's last emotional and defiant days as the Death Star looms, during the later events of A New Hope, are effectively and hauntingly revealed in Madeleine Roux's Eclipse, one of forty short stories memorably created to celebrate EPISODE IV's glorious fortieth anniversary: From a Certain Point of View, out now in hardback from CENTURY.
Get it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Wars-Certain-Point-View/dp/1846056837/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1510402306&sr=1-1&keywords=from+a+certain+point+of+view
Friday, 10 November 2017
As previously indicated, Kathleen Kennedy and LUCASFILM are planning the next wave of STAR WARS adventures beyond 2020, with new input from Rian Johnson. But just what is going on with that seemingly-in-limbo third Anthology movie?
|Grant McCune and ILM colleagues prepare Artoo near a hastily built Rebel base control console for a needed insert scene for STAR WARS.|
With STAR WARS' 1976 principal photography at Elstree having been cut several weeks short by nervous money conscious execs at FOX, later scenes needing to be completed for the movie as it was in its final editing shaping were handled either in a small downtown Los Angeles studio (as in extra Cantina creature scenes) or at ILM, as seen here, with insert scenes shot requiring several of the R2-D2 shell's, out of UK storage and soon dispatched States-side.
|Artoo is plugged in by a Rebel technician, in this ILM filmed insert scene.|
|Joe Johnston makes an adjustment to the three-legged Artoo.|
|An extra shot of R2's restraining bolt being added by a Jawa was filmed.|
Thursday, 9 November 2017
Having won acclaim for her excellent characterisation of a middle-aged General Leia Organa caught-up in political intrigue and danger during the build-up to The Force Awakens, in Bloodline, Claudia Gray returns to pen another eagerly awaited tale for the 'Legacy' heroine, this time taking her back to her Classic Trilogy days, when she was the younger, though no less spirited and capable Princess Leia Organa, for the new EGMONT UK title: Leia - Princess of Alderaan, out now in bookshops and online. And, as a book that's part of the new Journey to The Last Jedi series, expect several important links to the upcoming VIII in its storytelling.
Here's the story blurb:
Most likely breaking records for the amount of press interviews done for a film release during 1977 and into '78, Mark Hamill is as fun and lively an interviewee as ever, here holding the then recently released, evergreen wonderful STAR WARS 2-disc soundtrack by John Williams, featuring the irreplaceable London Symphony Orchestra. An album that was a soon best seller for 20th Century Fox's record label, and as marvellous to listen to now as it was forty years ago!
Landing amidst the highly charged thunderstorms and epic wave crashes surrounding Tipocca City on the far-off world of Kamino, a lone Jedi arrives seeking urgent answers on the death of a bounty hunter, the assassin who ultimately killed it, and the mystery of who wants Padme Amidala dead? The investigation begins, during the middle act of EPISODE II.
Wednesday, 8 November 2017
The previously cropped heroes and villains artistic teaser posters for The Last Jedi, swathed in the red of the planet Crait's disturbed sands, recently got de-cropped and re-released Online. Here they are.
Meeting with the ruling elders of Otoh Gunga, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn listens carefully as his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi outlines the dangers ahead from the invading Trade Federation to all the peoples of Naboo, in a scene from EPISODE I; a film whose storytelling roots are deeply concentrated on the nature of symbiosis in all things.
In the depths of space, the firepower of the devastating Death Star super weapon is unleashed in this intriguing movie poster concept art for 20th Century Fox marketing by artist unknown, rendered we assume during late 1976, as the space station looks akin to an image conceived by Ralph McQuarrie in one of his 1975 conceptual paintings. And note the original 'W' in the STAR WARS logo that would be changed by the time of the film's release (though still appearing on select early merchandising worldwide).
Tuesday, 7 November 2017
As heavy seas and storm clouds roll in across the mysterious Ahch-To island containing one of the ancient Jedi Temples, the battered but trusty Millennium Falcon stands like a sentinel near the coastal shoreline, its occupiers in Wookiee legend Chewbacca and droid R2-D2 keeping equal vigil, waiting for news on Rey and the return of Luke Skywalker, in The Last Jedi.
As STAR WARS begins some additional insert shooting of Cantina scenes in Los Angeles during January 1977, one of the female members of ILM just can't help herself-enjoying hanging out and wearing one of the many masks created by Rick Baker and his team!
Imperial troops have entered the base, their Shield Generator will surely be destroyed and the command centre has been near totalled. They'd put on a brave defence and bought escape time for their comrades, now its time for the Rebels to put the last phase of their evacuation into operation- an order now given by Princess Leia, watched by an urgent Han Solo, in a memorable scene from The Empire Strikes Back.
Monday, 6 November 2017
|A selection of FOX trade ads promoting STAR WARS for Oscar consideration in 1978.|
It's a more than well know fact that the Academy Awards organisation and its many diverse member voters in Hollywood aren't all that fond of the realms of science fiction and fantasy, but in 1977 even they couldn't ignore the immediate stratospheric box office success and overall impact with the general worldwide public that STAR WARS had made. When the time came for the Variety film news trade paper and other titles of similar ilk to begin putting out their showbiz advertising campaigns paid for by film companies for the 1978 Oscar ceremony, a proud 20th Century Fox was eager to push for STAR WARS to get award consideration in all the departments it could. At the end of the day, though, and as expected, STAR WARS ultimate wins saw the vital human element of the film ignored, though it pretty much won all the technical awards everyone expected, as well as a Special Achievement Award in sound effects editing.
There's trouble brewing on the already mired world of Mandalore, as Duchess Satine, Ahsoka Tano and a group of spirited home world academy students discover a building state of corruption and murder, in The Clone Wars popular Season Three episode, The Academy.
Sunday, 5 November 2017
A closer look at the original STAR WARS opening title crawl conceived in late 1975/76 by George Lucas, whose words were later replaced and/or altered by early 1977 to a shorter and more manageable 'story so far' idea for audiences to grab a hold of, based on that concept so effectively used in the old B/W Flash Gordon serials starring Buster Crabbe.
Though unused on film, this crawl would appear in the 1976 film-still-in-production phase of the MARVEL comics and book adaptations that started appearing in shops by the end of that year.
|Image: LUCASFILM via AMERICAN CINEMATOGRAPHER magazine.|
On the under construction Star Destroyer bridge set at Pinewood, acclaimed Australian cinematographer Greig Fraser gets to grip on how best to film one of his favourite STAR WARS characters: the ominous and deadly Darth Vader, for ROGUE ONE.
Saturday, 4 November 2017
Fiery Resistance work horse Rose undertakes a mystery mission with her comrade and now war myth Finn, in a scene from The Last Jedi that will surely bond their at first uneasy friendship within intriguing new storytelling avenues for the future.
More on Rose's backstory:
"Luke, Threepio, Han and Chewbacca enter the huge ruins of the main temple. Hundreds of troops are lined up in neat rows. Banners are flying and at the far end stands a vision in white, the beautiful young Senator Leia. Luke and the others solemnly march up the long aisle and kneel before Senator Leia. From one side of the temple marches a shined up and fully repaired Artoo-Detoo. He waddles up by the group and stands next to Threepio who is rather awestruck by the whole event. Chewbacca is confused. Dodonna and several other dignitaries sit on the left of Princess Leia. Leia is dressed in a long, white dress and is staggeringly beautiful. She rises and places a gold medallion around Han's neck, then repeats the ceremony with Luke. They turn and face the assembled troops, who all bow before them."
From STAR WARS Fourth Revised Fourth Draft shooting script - 19th April 1976
The haunting and brutal imagery that shocked STAR WARS fans worldwide to the core- as Han Solo's body falls into an energy pit after having been slain with a lightsaber wrought by his own son, Ben, from The Force Awakens.
We all knew Harrison Ford had wanted to see his Han Solo movie persona killed off since ROTJ, and we knew it was likely to happen with EPISODE VII, but that didn't make the smuggler's storytelling weighty demise any more easier to watch. To say that this writer was a blubbering wreck with the loss of one of cinema's greatest screen heroes, through to the following ten minutes of VII's finale, would be a colossal understatement indeed!
And speaking of VIII, the earlier in the year Vanity Fair article on the film hinted that Ren's slaying of his father may not necessarily have taken him fully to the true power of the Dark Side, as previously thought ans hoped for by both him and Snoke.
Friday, 3 November 2017
|Camera rehearsing Luke's medal reaction shots at Shepperton Studios,|
Despite all the time-consuming work needed to arrange and rearrange extras, there is a good atmosphere to the filming of finale scenes for STAR WARS at Shepperton Studios in May 1976. The move to a countryside based studio environment outside of busy Elstree is welcomed by the cast, as a lighter and more fun air pervades the several days that the Throne Room sequence takes to film, of which new of-their-time friendships are born between selected cast and background extras offset. The main cast, however, jokingly hopes that the sequel, if one ever happens, doesn't start up right from where the finale left off!
|Hamill shares a laugh with UK focus puller technician Peter Taylor.|
|Hamill gets enthused with Ford, watched by Gary Kurtz.|
Though also enjoying himself, Anthony Daniels is still finding life awkward inhabiting the Threepio costume. By this point he has been discreetly distributing specially made cigarette match packets to cast and crew on set, reminding them that '3PO is Human', though many fail to get the gist of Daniels on-set personal sufferings and occasional humiliations playing the role.
|Harrison Ford clowns about in this outtake moment.|
|Han gets his medal, whilst Luke tries to hide his impatience.|
|Luke receives his award from the Princess.|
|A key image from a set used across numerous magazine and merchandise pieces from 1977 to now.|
According to filming legend, the adapted ski-suit jacket worn by Mark Hamill as Luke, bought in from a London costume house Bermans and Nathans, was apparently dyed yellow and was originally worn by Pondo Baba/Walrus Man from earlier Cantina filming at Elstree. The jacket, lost after filming, now resides in a French private collection, apparently much to the chagrin of aspects of the Lucasfilm Archives.