Tuesday 31 October 2017
Celebrated talent Randy Martinez strikes the right seasonal note yet again with this fun Yoda and Pumpkin art, perfect for tonight's building fright night!
HAPPY HALLOWEEN! to all STAR WARS AFICIONADO readers worldwide!
|Lovely fan art composition for EPISODE VIII.|
A few little bits of new footage and dialogue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtI7N7WKg0M
New TV spots: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oo9y0ZX-dHo
|The Throne Room set details and 200 costume extras get organised for the finale filming at Shepperton Studios.|
Still early on in the shooting of The Star Wars, and the crowd/extras-heavy end medal ceremony is filmed at Shepperton Sudios, making the most of one of the country's then biggest soundstages to create the Massassi Temple Throne Room on Yavin IV, as our brave heroes are honoured by Princess Leia Organa and her generals on a raised dais at the end of the chamber.
|The massive set under construction.|
|Terrific angle of the walk to the dais. Note Gary Kurtz taking stills.|
In the original late 1975 script, an injured but still alive Ben Kenobi would accompany the heroes, as would Threepio, but this was altered by the production's filming point in 1976 (though a painting by Ralph McQuarrie would prior show this scene). By then, Lucas had raised the drama stakes to kill the old Jedi off, whilst it was much more practical to have Anthony Daniels in the Threepio costume with the Princess than have him the actor inside him do lots of walking in the restrictive and painful to wear costume, and climb steps to a dais built nearly thirty feet off the studio floor. This practical reasoning would also apply to Kenny Baker inside the heavy Artoo shell.
More detailed behind the scenes info on the end sequence filming:
Monday 30 October 2017
Newly arrived at the hangar bay on Yavin IV, a joyous Luke Skywalker receives an equally joyous welcome from his Rebel comrades, including Princess Leia, a worried Threepio looking for the damaged Artoo, and the also returned Han Solo and Chewbacca. The sequence was filmed at Shepperton Studios, June 1976. A nice angle shot, presumably by John Jay, taken from the studio rafters above.
Welcoming the Princess and joyously hugging her, Mark Hamill's Luke does not, DOES NOT, ever shout our Carrie Fisher's name in this filmed scene. He says, fully in character, "There she... Hey!, Hey!", to both her and Harrison Ford as Han. This is the stuff of urban internet myth and understandably Mister Hamill has gotten annoyed and frustrated that people, years on, would think he would make such a serious error on set as a professional actor.
An interesting little scene in the revised Fourth Draft Shooting Script (April 1976), linked to Ben Kenobi's presence in the Force, was likely never shot, though it made it to both the comics adaptation and the Alan Dean Foster novel:
Scene 251: Luke makes a short glance up to the ceiling, almost expecting to see Ben there. A warm smile crosses his face.
Meanwhile, Artoo has been damaged: https://starwarsaficionado.blogspot.co.uk/2016/09/classic-image-willing-donor.html
Note the Rebel pilot extras in this scene. In the film there were only three ships surviving with the Falcon- Luke's X-wing, another X-wing and a Y-wing, seen in space and returning home. Yet you can see three other pilots in this bit of filming- a continuity error for sure, or the fact that the surviving pilot numbers hadn't yet been confirmed at this point during production. Denis Lawson had not yet been cast as Wedge for this scene-filmed before the later cockpit shooting at Elstree in July, though a similar looking dark-haired person in appearance can be seen in the background smiling, near Chewbacca in the above shot.
In the skies of Naboo, STAP flying Battle Droids try and fail to shoot down some Gungan riding air beasts, in this gorgeous production painting art for EPISODE I by the ever-talented Doug Chiang circa 1997.
Sunday 29 October 2017
Within a mysterious, ancient tree/cavern structure on the remote Ahch-To, generational revelations linked to the Force, its masters, and the destiny of its "chosen ones", will be unearthed and explored. Prepare for shocks and surprises alongside Luke Skywalker and Rey, when The Last Jedi arrives this Christmas, 2017.
The power and technological might wielded by the Empire ultimately proves no match for the powers of the Force and the heroic, instinct-using talents of a young farmboy from Tatooine, delivering the torpedoes that ultimately lead to the chain reaction destruction of the Death Star battle station, just as it was about to extinguish his friends lives on Yavin IV.
No disrespect intended whatsoever to Richard Edlund and ILM from back in the day, but this artistic visual explosion rendering is surely more striking to behold than the one seen in the finished film. The art, originally from Howard Chaykin and Steve Leialoha for the MARVEL STAR WARS US comic Issue 6 (1977), may even have subconsciously influenced the decision by Lucas to add on explosive detonation rings to both Death Star explosions and the destruction of Alderaan for the later Special Edition visual effects upgrades of 1997.
Saturday 28 October 2017
"You're all clear, kid. Now let's blow this thing and go home!"
Credit to the filmmakers and editors of 1977 for cleverly and skillfully making us actually forget about Han Solo and Chewbacca for fifteen minutes or so during the electric-to-watch battle of the Death Star, and in doing so generating such a welcome crowd-pleasing reaction when the duo ultimately speeds in from above to help their young friend Luke Skywalker in his most desperate need. A scene that will always generate hearty cheers and applause!
Original 1977 audience reaction to finale: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzRveOGMflo
|Harrison Ford has some dialogue trouble again in this blooper!|
As Luke and the remaining survivors fast depart the about-to-blow Death Star, a line was filmed but cut in which he says to Han in reply: "Glad you were here to see it. Now let's get some distance before this thing goes supernova!"
Going from the hot climes of the jungle world of Yavin IV to the colder, more practical realities of life on the far-off world of the ice planet Hoth, Princess Leia Organa is ready to get stuck in with her Rebel comrades in wearing her new fatigues, designed by legendary returning costume designer from the original Star Wars into The Empire Strikes Back, John Mollo.
|John Mollo makes an adjustment to Julian Glover's costume, during filming of Empire.|
A vital contributor to the success of the Classic Trilogy, and winning a well deserved Academy Award for his work on Star Wars in 1978, the sad news is in of Mollo's recent passing, at the age of 86. His contributions and influence live on in the franchise, especially as seen in the most recent Rogue One.
1977 Academy Award win: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLfrw7MvCcs
More on John Mollo's Classic Trilogy work: https://starwarsaficionado.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/JOHN%20MOLLO
Friday 27 October 2017
Vader's targeting aim is well and truly shot off course, as is his prototype TIE fighter, when the timely intervention of laser fire from the downwards speeding and totally unexpected Millennium Falcon comes to Luke Skywalker's aid, taking out one TIE wingman and sending the other into Vader before that too is destroyed, in this thrilling effects moment. Thankfully, Vader lives to fight another day for the eventual must-have sequel.
|"Look out!" The TIE fighters clip their wings with deadly results.|
The despicable bounty hunter Cad Bane dons a Jedi disguise to capture a future Jedi youngling of Rodia for his paymaster, Darth Sidious, in this memorable and chilling scene from THE CLONE WARS Season Two episode, Children of the Force.
Thursday 26 October 2017
Their time is up, the Rebels' base on Yavin IV, and the entire planet itself, now in the galactic laser blast cross hairs of the about-to-attack Death Star, as the massive circular display screen gives its possibly final indication.Graphics/animation produced in 1977 by John Wash.
It was great to see the display so faithfully recreated for ROGUE ONE's filming at Pinewood Studios decades later, as seen with the above two images.
They destroyed his home, his way of life and his dedication to a once noble cause in the galaxy. Now a battle hardened gun for hire and loyal friend to blind spiritual comrade Chirrut Imwe, the seemingly intimidating Baze Malbus cuts a menacing and determined figure in his continued battle against the Galactic Empire and its mass of easy to kill Stormtroopers, soon joining a new and worthy rallying cry alongside rising heroine Jyn Erso for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Wednesday 25 October 2017
|Artoo is hit by enemy fire. Note the animation within the explosion.|
Suddenly gaining speed in the Death Star trench, Darth Vader sends out some blasts at Luke's slippery-from-the-target X-wing. Though not destroying the agile Rebel fighter, his vital Astro Droid R2-D2 has been badly compromised in its functions.
|A cockpit shot likely filmed at ILM in the post production phase.|
Recently arrived at the dusty and grimy Niima Outpost on Jakku, Rey confers with her new friend in droid BB-8, having rescued him from kidnappers, during a sequence filmed on location in Abu Dhabi for The Force Awakens.
Tuesday 24 October 2017
New behind the scenes footage to make the most of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiVUcrmKyek
International Trailer compilation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhfDQWs75mw
TV spot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZBenJCZ3Y4
USA TODAY article: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2017/10/24/star-wars-last-jedi-see-exclusive-new-behind-the-scenes-video-carrie-fisher/793390001/
Time is running out, the Death Star is in firing range and his best friend Biggs in his accompanying X-wing fighter has been murdered by a TIE fighter trio intent on wiping out any intruders, yet Luke Skywalker, guided by the mysterious presence of Obi-Wan Kenobi, is approaching the exhaust port target zone. Will Luke succeed in his mission?
Spectacular poster art by Ralph McQuarrie for the worldwide STAR WARS FAN CLUB in 1977, that more than sums up the original STAR WARS brilliant and suspenseful finale.
Trapped in the control room of their secret Mustafar base, the Trade Federation and Separatist enemies of the newly established First Galactic Empire are swiftly wiped out by the proclaimed Emperor's lethal man servant, the shrouded identity hidden Darth Vader, in this great moment from EPISODE III.
Monday 23 October 2017
Previously, the Rebel X and Y-wing fighters speeding down the trench ahead of him had been easy kills, but Darth Vader is finding this last singular X-wing fighter a tricky one to get into the sights of his targeting computer, sensing an intriguing and potentially worryingly amount of Force ability in the pilot's moves. Great art of Vader in his prototype TIE fighter by Ryan Barger.
|Dave Prowse in the TIE fighter cockpit at Elstree in Summer 1976.|
Vader's TIE fighter cockpit scenes were shot alongside other TIE pilot footage around July 7th, 1976 at Elstree Studios (either Studios 2 or 4). At this point in the film, Dave Prowse was almost at the end of his time filming, looking forward to getting out of his costume after four very hot months. He'd recall to the FILM REVIEW magazine in 1997: "We thought we were just doing yet another science fiction movie. Nothing was ever ready, and the production personnel were always arguing and fighting. It was a funny situation. The only giveaway that we were doing something big were the sets, which were absolutely fantastic."
With the rush to get the cockpit footage in the can, watch the finished film and you can clearly see there are some scenes where the Vader helmet has not been attached properly, whilst some footage is flipped and reused in post production, presumably because very little had been prior shot.
A short time after the Elstree shoot, due to film negative footage of Vader and one of the wingmen going missing between the UK and US, ILM assistant cameraman Doug Smith would don the Vader costume for a replacement cockpit scene shot in the US, whilst model making veteran Paul Huston would don the TIE pilot gear.
The striking bat-like fan favourite, the Imperial Shuttle, gets some proper physical examination in this great piece of BW ILM reference photography from 1982, sent to KENNER to aid in construction of their eventual and equally magnificent toy for the Return of the Jedi range.
Sunday 22 October 2017
Back in the Death Star exhaust port trench and accelerating faster than before, Darth Vader and his wingmen are gaining ground on Luke Skywalker's solitary X-wing fighter, eager to obliterate him.
|Dennis Muren once more ready to capture some model filming at ILM.|
|Making an adjustment to the blue screen support.|
|Grant McCune and Lorne Peterson ready Vader's craft for a fake filming sequence for The Making of STAR WARS TV special, aired in 1977.|
When the evil Count Dooku smiles during the Prequel trilogy, it's usually with vicious relish, so its nice to his other persona off set, acting legend Chrisopher Lee, giving us a warm and pleasing one to savour instead, behind the scenes in 2000, during shooting of EPISODE II.
Saturday 21 October 2017
One of the Rebel Alliance's youngest hothead pilots, it's no surprise that Wedge Antilles and the recently arrived on Yavin IV Luke Skywalker would become friends so quickly, especially in this dangerous time speeding through the Death Star trench, though a malfunction ultimately proves lucky for Antilles, saving him from certain death at the trigger-happy hands of Darth Vader and his wingmen.
Now known as the second Wedge after prior filming with Colin Higgins, Denis Lawson's voice would ultimately be dubbed in this film by David Ankrum, during later post production completed in the States. Several extra lines of dialogue in and out of the trench between his character and Luke were lost in the final cut, and it was originally in the script that Wedge departed the trench run after Biggs death and not before, informing Luke that his friend has been killed.
Despite what will be a long and gruelling shooting schedule, disrupted from the start by a previous fire at Elstree Studios linked to Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, the main cast of The Empire Strikes Back, shooting their Bespin scenes with welcome newcomer Billy Dee Williams, always found a way to share a laugh or two.
The scene being filmed in this image ended up being deleted. More info here:
Friday 20 October 2017
POSSIBLE SPOILERS! A vital new supporting player for the Resistance struggle comes into play for The Last Jedi and likely Episode IX in Laura Dern's striking Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo. Very much in the Mon Mothma mode, though not afraid to take arms in battle, she will surely be the torch bearer, alongside Poe Dameron, to the cause against the First Order passed on from the departing General Leia Organa at the end of VIII. It's great to see a new picture of this sure-to-be-popular character, clearly in a key meeting with other operatives and droids (of which this film will showcase a wide variety).
Laura Dern talks VIII: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcdTXpC9Xzo
We're used to seeing low life scum in the STAR WARS universe - bounty hunters, informants, killers and thieves of the Outer Rim, now The Last Jedi shows us a different but no less memorable side of villainy at the lush and decadent Canto Bight casino on Canto, bringing in a diverse and powerful variety of all-new corrupt evildom, whose distinguished clothes and wealth-on-tap peoples and patrons can't hide their true, petty, greedy veneers, and status as collaborators to anyone who'll widen their bank accounts, be it Resistance or First Order.
|A Panaflex camera with an illustrious filming history prepares to film Garrick Hagon at Elstree during July 1976.|
In his cramped cockpit and under bright studio lights, Garrick Hagon gets ready to film his scenes as Biggs Darklighter (aka Red Three), Luke Skywalker's best friend from simpler times on Tatooine, though you wouldn't really have known that proper if you were a generic audience member watching the film for the first time back in 1977, or hadn't seen the late 1976 MARVEL comic or the later published STAR WARS STORYBOOK,which gave the worldwide STAR WARS fan base its first and now legendary tantalizing glimpse of the film's deleted scenes visually, all of whose images were pretty much devoted to the Tatooine-based scenes of Biggs with Luke before the former's departure to secretly join the Rebellion.
|Colourized image of classic Garrick Hagon/Biggs B/W shot.|
In the lead-up to and at the Battle of Yavin, Biggs further suffered quite a few great little lost moments before his sad demise at the hands of Darth Vader. The April 1976 Revised Fourth Draft script used for filming refers to Biggs showing sadness at the loss of his wingman Porkins (Red Six), and, before Red Leader's trench run, he'd shoot down an attacking TIE fighter going after Luke (an earlier TIE attack on Red Five previously foiled by Wedge), followed by his doing a celebratory victory roll with his fighter. After the deleted first unsuccessful trench run made by Luke and his wingmen, we also would have seen him evading one of Vader's TIE support -reuniting with Wedge and Luke, telling them "Don't ever give up on old Biggs", whilst showing some speedy piloting alongside them. Though some of the script corresponding effects shots were likely never completed linked to his deleted scenes, you can bet that most of the actor's cockpit dialogue lines were filmed and survived, having been already pre-filmed before the official editing Post Production phase.
Prior to the space battle on Yavin, it's sad that his reunion scene with Luke, later restored partially to the 1997 Special Edition, in which he refers to himself and his friend as "a couple of shooting stars" was never filmed- a great regret according to Hagon, the line instead changed to the less impressive "They'll never stop us" by the time of lensing at Shepperton Studios, taking place several months before the cockpit scenes were filmed at Elstree.
Actor's official site: http://www.garrickhagon.com/
Filmumentraies interview: https://vimeo.com/126754777
Find out what happened next in that short period between Princess Leia Organa and her ship's fast escape from Scarif to its arrival, under Imperial pursuit, above the equally far-off world of Tatooine, through screenwriter Gary Whitta's excellent short story, Raymus, a showcase within the fascinating collection/ homage to Episode IV: A New Hope, celebrating its many diverse supporting characters in 40 special adventures: A Certain Point of View, out now in UK hardback from CENTURY, and earning rave reviews from fans and critics.
More details here: https://starwarsaficionado.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/out-now-in-uk-hardback-star-wars-from.html
Get the book here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Wars-Certain-Point-View/dp/1846056837/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1508504961&sr=8-2&keywords=star+wars+certain+point+of+view
Thursday 19 October 2017
The classic 1977 image soon used for marketing/promotion for STAR WARS which we all wish had been in the film- (we assume Luke's) X-wing fighter bearing down on Darth Vader's unique ship, with the Death Star lurking in the background. With very few optical shot frames available for publicity by the film's release, this was a special composite image by Richard Edlund and ILM, with laser fire airbrushed on by Ralph McQuarrie.
Truly a magical and exciting shot, I remember it being used effectively by Letraset UK stationery for 1978 ring binders, whilst Stateside as the very special cover for American Cinematographer magazine, for whom it was first conceived.
The subtle power and strong nobility of Liam Neeson's Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn, from EPISODE I, shines through in this lovely art from regular artistic genius Tsuneo Sanda.
Wednesday 18 October 2017
Congratulations to Ron Howard and the cast and crew of SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY in wrapping up the film's principal photography stage at Pinewood. We look forward to seeing more teaser images, and, hopefully, a Christmas or New Year trailer showcasing our favourite Corellian scoundrel.
Compiled news: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/han-solo-movie-news-trailers-151520530.html
The Rebels hopes for survival against the destructive power of the Death Star now rest on a young and inexperienced boy with two X-wing fighter wingmen as support. A concerned Princess Leia keeps her faith in her new friend. But will it be enough?
Interestingly, the Revised Fourth Draft shooting script (19th April, 1976) has a small but interesting sequence between Leia and Dodonna, taking place before Luke's run, that was most likely filmed and cut.
This scene could have been part of this moment in the film seen below.
V223 (268) INT. MASASSI OUTPOST - WAR ROOM
Dodonna and Princess Leia listen intently to the talk between pilots. The room is grim after Blue Leader's death (*). Princess Leia nervously paces the room.
LEIA (to Dodonna): Can they go on?
DODONNA: They must.
LEIA: We've lost so many. Without Blue Leader, how will they re-group?
LUKE (Voice over): Close it up, Wedge. Biggs, where are you?
BIGGS (v/o): Coming in, right behind you.
WEDGE (v/o): OK Boss, we're in position.
Note * Blue Leader became Red Leader in the finished film.
|Image: Kurtz/Joiner Archive.|
Additionally the above posed shot taken at London's Shepperton Studios in the Rebel War Room shows both supporting artists Vass Anderson and Alan Harris with the main stars. Bar one brief shot facing away from camera, in front of one of the perspex display screens, we barely see Andersson's Rebel technician in the completed movie, whilst Harris also played a senior Rebel officer in scenes shot a few months later at Shepperton, alongside Carrie Fisher, on the Rebel Hangar set (he filled in for an unavailable for the day Alex McCrindle). It's possible that because of the background character change with Harris that his and Andersson's potential scene in the War Room was altered in post production- a staged publicity shot like this with scene characters would not have been taken without a reason. It could be a moment set just before Leia and Threepio walk into the main monitoring area after the fighters have taken off, or possibly linked to this scene in the 19th April 1976 Revised Fourth Draft:
137: INT. MASASSI OUTPOST - WAR ROOM
The princess sits quietly before the giant displays showing the planet of Yavin and her four moons. The red dot that represents the Death Star moves ever closer to the system. A series of green dots appear around the fourth moon. Dodonna stands behind the princess with several other field commanders.
CONTROLLER: The red signal is on the station, it's moving into the system.
COMMANDER: The ships are away.
On one of the secluded mountain peak islands of Ahch-To, Rey continues to develop her lightsaber mastery, hoping that, if Luke Skywalker chooses not to train her, that the nature and power of the Force on this unique planet might at least help shine a light on her future abilities and destiny, in this moment from The Last Jedi.