CELEBRATING FORTY GLORIOUS YEARS OF 'THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK' AT STARWARS.COM

Thursday, 30 November 2017

EPISODE VIII: A DECISIVE MOMENT...


With fighter escorts led by Poe Dameron and Black Squadron, the intriguingly designed Resistance bomber fleet fast approaches the First Order's intimidating warships, in this surely spectacular scene to come from The Last Jedi.


EPISODE VIII: OUT SOON - THE NEW 'ROLLING STONE' MAGAZINE...


Continuing the cover tradition of STAR WARS on the music/media/politics magazine of Americana, of which the saga has been so much a vital pop culture icon inclusion, the new-to-stands issue focuses on the core complex Jedi characters of The Last Jedi, and the darker cinematic tome they bring to the film with their soon interactions...


Feature: https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/features/the-last-jedi-cover-story-on-the-dark-new-star-wars-movie-w512703

EPISODE VIII: THE RESISTANCE STRIKES BACK!


On the bridge of one of the First Order's mighty warships, an explosion detonates around its crew members, in this great behind the scenes shot taken during Pinewood Studios' filming of The Last Jedi.

'STAR WARS' AT 40: CAPTURING THE TONE!


One of numerous artists working on ideas for the then upcoming 1976 movie poster campaign art for Star Wars, John Berkey's standout heroes and villains piece, a variation of which is seen above in striking rough form, would eventually make the cover of one of the early movie adaptation book releases, especially via the UK's Sphere publisher.

https://starwarsaficionado.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/archive-blog-john-berkey-remembering.html

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

EPISODE VIII: GOING UNDERGROUND...


As the major surface battle is underway between the Resistance and First Order forces on Crait, the Millennium Falcon is chased through the planet's labyrinth and claustrophobic core by TIE fighters. An impressive moment recently shown in one of The Last Jedi's TV spots.

'STAR WARS' AT 40: KENNY BAKER - THE SMALL WONDER!


Presumably at a UK location, circa 1978, true showman Kenny Baker and his family enjoy the attention of another STAR WARS screening, and the welcome visibility it's success will add to his profile/career in other film and TV projects. Despite early reservations about working on STAR WARS in January 1976, inside the in-development Artoo suit, the fact that Sir Alec Guinness was attached to the project ultimately convinced Baker that this strange new sci-fi film had merit. That R2-D2 became such a success goes beyond its visual design-the droid clearly comes alive onscreen and shows great personality when the instinctive Baker was operating it- something never replicated by either the three-legged remote controlled version, or any later CGI incarnation.

Interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGO48NbyuNk

ILM CLASSIC IMAGE: SKY RIDER!


The incredible attention to detail of ILM's model department is clear to see with The Empire Strikes Back in 1979/80, bigger and more ambitious than the original film, as seen here with the Twin Pod Cloud Car pilot, whose head movements were remote controlled during blue screen filming.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

CLASSIC IMAGE: SITH/JEDI RE-MATCH!


Noble Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn was previously able to fight the savage dark lord warrior Darth Maul in the less restrictive deserts of Tatooine. Sadly, space is at a premium for their next encounter, within the power flowing reactor chamber of Theed City on Naboo, as the epic finale lightsaber clash of EPISODE I continues...

'STAR WARS' AT 40: A FILM BEYOND BORDERS!


STAR WARS had proved an incredible hit in US cinemas during 1977, with cinemas playing it for months beyond its original planned theatrical release duration, and enchanted fans going back again and again, and again, to enjoy the type of blockbuster film that hadn't been made with such style, thought and warmth in years. No surprise that the film travelled so well in the international markets too, generating similar success and ticket sales momentum, as seen here with this classic front of house publicity image for the Italian audiences, and the classic moment beloved by audiences where Luke and Leia look down the Death Star chasm shaft.

Monday, 27 November 2017

EPISODE VIII: THE NEW RESISTANCE...

A testing time for Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern).

POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT! Just as The Empire Strikes Back did in 1980, The Last Jedi continues the tradition of bringing in some all-new characters to the STAR WARS cinematic universe, particularly on the side of the heroic Resistance. Here's the key new faces to watch out for.

Kelly Marie Tran interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEBgOF8AjFI

Kelly Marie Tran as Resistance engineer and soon agent Rose Tico. 
Rose with Finn (John Boyega) and BB-8 on Canto Bight.

Veronica Ngo as Paige, pilot and gunner- sister to Rose. 

Paige is the cover star to the latest The Last Jedi book release.

Paige mans a turret on her Resistance vessel.

In a Resistance Bomber, Paige soon finds herself in a tricky situation with a thermal bomb payload!

Captain Tallie leads the A-wing fighter squadron escorts.

Captain Tallie Lintra (Hermione Corfield)

'STAR WARS' AT 40: WIRED FOR SOUND!

Ben Burtt at work on STAR WARS. Note all the early storyboards around him.

Knowing that sound and sound design were going to be such an important and 'organic' part of their cinematic space fantasy, George Lucas and Gary Kurtz certainly hit pay dirt with their discovery and cultivation of enthused young sound design genius Ben Burtt, hungry to work on the film and seeing its potential straight away, emergent with acclaim from USC and with a passion for all kinds of sounds around the world. Operating from the basement of George Lucas's Parkway home for the most part, Burtt's epic contributions to the film, especially linked to Artoo Detoo, Chewbacca, the lightsaber hum and many, many more iconic sounds, has not diminished.

http://www.starwars.com/video/ben-burtt-interview-the-sound-of-lightsabers

1993 interview:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWiuKNPqkko

2018: A nostalgic trip with Ben Burtt back to the original location of Sprocket Systems:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7K6YUPXLI2o&feature=youtu.be


Burtt's behind the sounds book of the six-film saga. An essential purchase.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sounds-Star-Wars-J-Rinzler/dp/0857200763/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1511793850&sr=8-8&keywords=sounds+of+star+wars+book

Sunday, 26 November 2017

'STAR WARS' AT 40: CANTINA DELIGHTS...


In the diverse human and alien filled Cantina of Mos Eisley spaceport, barkeep Wuher (Ted Burnett) enjoys the view and company of the statuesque and striking 'space girls' later named the Tonnika Sisters by the Expanded Universe (played by lovely model/actresses Angela Staines (in green) and Christine Hewett (blue), whose scenes were filmed in mid to late April 1976 on a smokey and atmospheric set at Elstree Studios.


Check out this great all-new interview via Victoria's Cantina with the rarely seen, lively and informative Angela Staines:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8Yu1fKCDko

With thanks to Chris Baker for the heads-up.

ROGUE ONE: REVOLUTION'S END?


Outside his hidden base in the Jedha wilderness, Jyn Erso confers with a seemingly stand-off-ish Saw Gerrera in a scene later abandoned, and when Forest Whitaker's character originally had a bald head throughout. Presumably, this scene, captured here in rehearsal, was linked to Saw's original demise (perhaps Jyn was trying to convince him to join her team) and filmed at Pinewood Studios.


Saturday, 25 November 2017

EPISODE VIII: NEWS AND TRAILERS... (LATE NOVEMBER 2017)

DOLBY CINEMA exclusive poster for The Last Jedi.

Darkness meets light, and a hero returns, for The Last Jedi.

TV spots:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=5&v=ADgLhiv_kFA

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dptIA3P3v-M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0PIlLHFG4A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44szOPIixaU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znKxu09P_H8

Other footage:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpZ_95U-C1k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oo6i_TlPikQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-uuTXucWsY

Coming to newsstands: the TIME Magazine 40 Years of the Force special. Cover art: Brian Rood.

The world press tour has started...

Mexico press and interview footage:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tBW-uEq03I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOPaZF3n3J4

France press interviews:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boqqbMUTkr8

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-5102945/Daisy-Ridley-black-ensemble-Star-Wars-Mexico.html


EP VIII: Vulptex Crystal Fox creature realisation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5yniFqICmrE

Daisy Ridley interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=hGoQ44SfV-c

Mark Hamill interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=036r0VczgvQ

Rian Johnson on VIII and the future:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2g4Niq8pnuY

Is the third standalone movie gone? http://www.digitalspy.com/movies/star-wars/feature/a843608/star-wars-story-cancelled-solo-boba-fett-spin-off/?utm_content=buffer88d07&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=maintwitterpost

'STAR WARS' AT 40: THE DEADLY PURSUIT!


"The opening shot was one of the most important shots of the movie for visual effects, because if the audience bought that shot you had them."

Notable words from the former ILM genius, and continuing effects genius, Richard Edlund about the opening scene to the original Star Wars - the Blockade Runner pursuit by an Imperial Star Destroyer above the desert world of Tatooine - which stunned the world, took us to that Galaxy created by George Lucas with pure film-making skill, and defined cinema and cinema-going forever more...

At ILM, Grant McCune and Doug Smith ready the upside down Star Destroyer for filming.

Friday, 24 November 2017

EPISODE VIII: STORMTROOPERS - THE EVOLUTION CONTINUES...

The First Order Executioner stormtrooper with laser axe debuts in EPISODE VIII.

Visually and slickly upgraded in a way that their enthusiastic costume designer Michael Kaplan felt was appropriate for today's 'APPLE generation', the ground-pounder Stormtroopers of the chaos-causing First Order look set to bring further danger and menace to our Resistance heroes during the all-new struggles of The Last Jedi, out next month in cinemas.


The iconic Stormtoopers in all their superb variations across screen and media, both Imperial and First Order, as well as the Clone Troopers that Prequel-originated them, are the showcase of a lavish and informative new book, out now in the UK from HARPER DESIGN: Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor. Written by Ryder Windham and Adam Bray (with a fun foreword from new era STAR WARS star John Boyega), it makes for a superb Christmas present and another worthy entry into the Lucasfilm Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi overall book release banner during the saga's Fortieth Anniversary.

Here's the book blurb:

Just in time for the next blockbuster, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, this unique and beautifully designed compendium with removable features traces one of the franchise’s most iconic characters—the stormtrooper—from initial development through all nine Star Wars movies to their many iterations in TV, comics, videogames, novels, and pop-culture.
Star Wars: A New Hope, the very first instalment in the beloved science-fiction series, introduced the Imperial stormtroopers—the army of the fearsome and tyrannical Galactic Empire. Charged with establishing Imperial authority and suppressing resistance, these terrifying, faceless, well-disciplined soldiers in white have become a universal symbol of oppression.

Star Wars Stormtroopers explores these striking warriors and their evolution in depth for the first time. Ryder Windham and Adam Bray trace the roots of their creation and design, and explore how these elite troops from a galaxy far, far away have been depicted in movies, cartoons, comics, novels, and merchandizing.
Get it here: https://forbiddenplanet.com/230633-star-wars-stormtroopers-beyond-the-armor-hardcover/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=Shopping&utm_term=4581596233579128&utm_content=Ad%20group%20%231

'STAR WARS' AT 40: 'STAR WARS' - THE MARVEL WAY!


The heroes and villains of a fresh new sci-fi universe, particularly Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, are given a more comics adjusted artistic interpretation by acclaimed artist Tone DeZungia, keeping them in a similar pose created earlier by the Hildebrandts, in this fun 1977 poster-one of a type that appeared, penned via a variety of popular artists, for MARVEL COMICS unique stable over the next few years.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

EPISODE VII: THE DROID SPYMASTER!


At the Resistance base on D'Qar, C-3PO gets busy contacting his unique droid spy network across the galaxy, as the search for the missing BB-8 continues. A deleted scene filmed at Pinewood, from The Force Awakens. It's a shame this never made the final cut, as Threepio would end up having so little onscreen time, and this would have been a nice sideline scene relevant to events on Takodana.

'STAR WARS' AT 40: WITNESS THE 'PIRATE SHIP'!


Inside Docking Bay 94 at Mos Eisley spaceport, our heroes get their first glimpse of Han Solo's much-boasted-about smuggling vessel, the Millennium Falcon, as seen in this conceptual painting by Ralph McQuarrie that was soon altered- the craft having been given a rapid, massive redesign in late 1975 by Lucas and ILM, due to its similarities visually to the Eagle craft of the then airing TV series SPACE:1999.

https://starwarsaficionado.blogspot.co.uk/2010/08/ilm-classic-image-first-falcon.html

Check out this great online feature about the creation of the Falcon:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dbFu0UNuf9Q

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

THE CLONE WARS: TRUSTED COMMUNICATIONS!


As the Banking Clan financial crisis escalates into a potential conflict affecting the Republic, Padme confers with her friend and leader Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, in a scene on Scipio from the three part story of The Clone Wars: The Lost Missions - An Old Friend.

EPISODE VIII: ARMY OF DEATH!


Their mighty footsteps felt all across the dusty realms of Crait, the First Order forces of darkness assemble, led by Kylo Ren's distinctive bat-like shuttle, heading towards our Resistance heroes, in this memorable effects shot seen numerous times in recent The Last Jedi trailers...

'STAR WARS' AT 40: DESIGNING A FUTURE FRANCHISE...


As well as his conceptual and matte painting work for the original STAR WARS, Ralph McQuarrie also brought his striking and exquisite artistry to development ideas for the film's logos (as seen above, featuring 'Luke Starkiller') and posters, which went through many iterations before things were locked down via outside advertising sources by late 1976.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

EPISODE VIII: BEWARE THE 'DJ'!


SPOILERS! Ever since first seeing him onscreen as the distinctive, bloodthirsty villain Dario in the gritty 1989 James Bond actioner Licence to Kill, I have continued watched Benecio Del Toro's career with, as Palpatine would say, "great interest". So it's been fun to see this often Indie film star delve into the realms of big-league science fiction and fantasy in recent years, what with his turn as the bizarre The Collector for the MARVEL franchise, and now as the quirky, mysterious and surely highly dangerous 'DJ', apparently a top information thief and broker working for whomever will pay him the most money, and the man needed by the Resistance for whatever secrets he currently possesses.

It will be great to see what delicious edgy spirit and bleak humour this fine and highly regarded actor will bring to the STAR WARS universe.

Friend...or foe?


Coming to the comic universe: https://screenrant.com/benicio-del-toros-star-wars-8-dj-comic/

Brief clip of 'DJ': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2jKQ-nwz5o

'STAR WARS' AT 40: "A LONG TIME AGO..."


The ten important words that set the tone for a unique galaxy of heroes and villains, settled an awaiting, unexpecting worldwide audience, and launched us into an unforgettable film series, from May 25th, 1977...

Monday, 20 November 2017

CLASSIC IMAGE: IN LOYALTY TO THE REPUBLIC...


An important member of the soon initiated Delegation of 2000 representatives of the Republic, Senator Bana Breemu would be played by popular Chinese character actress and model Bai Ling. Though her scene with Natalie Portman for EPISODE III was deleted, it did eventually make it to the 2005 DVD release. Enjoying the publicity, Miss Ling went on to do a memorable STAR WARS inspired portfolio for Playboy magazine.

'STAR WARS' AT 40: THE PLASTIC ODYSSEY BEGINS...


Though not technically a major part of the release year, there's no way we can't not include the first wave of STAR WAS figures from Kenner that were soon to become an intrinsic part of being a STAR WARS fan and seventies childhood. They didn't become fully available until 1978, okay, but you could advance order them in 1977 with the special 'Early Bird Certificate' promotion.

https://vintageactionfigures.com/star-wars-early-bird-certificate-package-1977.html

Sunday, 19 November 2017

EPISODE VIII: THE NEW 'ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY' COVERS (NOV 2017) AND PHOTOS


The updates from America's top entertainment magazine continue...

US only exclusive cover.




http://ew.com/movies/star-wars-the-last-jedi-new-photos/the-last-jedi-a-new-look?utm_campaign=entertainmentweekly&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=social&xid=entertainment-weekly_socialflow_twitter

http://ew.com/movies/2017/11/19/star-wars-the-last-jedi-ew-cover/

http://ew.com/movies/2017/11/19/star-wars-last-jedi-luke-millennium-falcon/

'STAR WARS' AT 40: BACK TO THE (USA) DESERT!

Mark Hamill returns to play Luke Skywalker in 1977.

Recovering from his car crash ordeal that occurred earlier in the year (January 11th, 1977), Mark Hamill's previously cancelled and rescheduled participation in US shooting of extra footage needed for STAR WARS is finally completed now that he is in recovery. At a dune in La Mirage, California, he joins Peter Kuran wearing the Threepio costume, and another unknown ILMer as the hooded Kenobi, for some required Landspeeder travelling shots that are supervised by Gary Kurtz, with a mirror attached to the vehicle's side to reflect the opposite desert and give the illusion of it travelling above ground.

Gary Kurtz with Peter Kuran as Threepio, and Joe Johnston.



Sadly, this footage is later discarded as, even from a distance, Hamill's facial scarring from the crash (soon involving the need for plastic surgery repair, confirmed by the actor by May 1980) is allegedly highly noticeable.