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Monday, 24 December 2018

'HAPPY CHRISTMAS!' - 2018


They've decided to take a break from scouring the universe for their assigned prey, and now those iconic and deadly bounty hunters comprising Boba Fett and his 'rivals' are instead giving us some yuletide sing-a-long cheer for the holiday season!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR! to all STAR WARS AFICIONADO readers worldwide.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

CLASSIC ART: 'THE HERO'S JOURNEY' CONTINUES...


There's still a lot of A New Hope's aura to this mid 1979 poster concept art for The Empire Strikes Back by Tom Jung, with reference to Bob Seidemann's photography of Mark Hamill as Luke from two years previously particularly noticeable. There's great poses for Han and Leia, and even TIE fighters that look like a mixture of the first original design for Vader's craft mixed with a TIE Bomber (a vehicle also originally conceived for the 1977 film by Joe Johnston).

Saturday, 22 December 2018

CLASSIC IMAGE: THE SAGA-BINDING ICONS!


Iconic symbolism from the Classic Star Wars films - the lightsaber of the light side of the Force, and the ships of the Rebellion and Empire - form the basis of this intriguing cover for a Japanese booklet/brochure from the nineties/noughties. The info on what it was linked to has long since been lost in my files, but I'm assuming it was for some kind of celebration concert to George Lucas and his epic creation.

Friday, 21 December 2018

'THE MANDALORIAN': AND HELL FOLLOWED WITH HIM...!

Have blaster, will travel for The Mandalorian. Art by Phil Noto.

The post Return of the Jedi history of the Star Wars saga is about to become embellished with further storytelling riches via the upcoming Disney+ series The Mandalorian, with the excellent confirmed casting news of Pedro Pascal as the no doubt complex, dangerous and formidable lead character of the title. With all the talent involved in front of and behind the camera, the omens are very good for this first live-action TV series from writer/creator Jon Favreau.

https://www.starwars.com/news/pedro-pascal-revealed-as-the-mandalorian
https://geektyrant.com/news/the-mandalorian-star-pedro-pascal-shares-an-original-sketch-of-his-character-by-dave-filoni
https://www.starwars.com/news/ludwig-goransson-to-compose-score-for-the-mandalorian


George Lucas visits director Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau, as filming began on the series. Image: TWITTER.

SPOILER ALERT: https://makingstarwars.net/2018/12/classic-star-wars-bounty-hunters-will-appear-in-star-wars-the-mandalorian/

Lovely weapon referencing to Boba Fett's The Holiday Special appearance. Image: Jon Favrea/TWITTER.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

EPISODE VIII: OLD FRIENDS, NEW COURAGE!


For the sake of story and character development, our beloved young and relatable heroes in Rey and Finn had to be separated for the important events of The Last Jedi. Though their ultimate reunion in the Battle of Crait aftermath proved brief but emotionally satisfying, this further scene of them happily together in the Falcon, presumably explaining their solo adventures, was a deleted moment that I wish had made the final cut.

Here's hoping that this great partnership and clear on-screen chemistry gets some more screen time for the upcoming IX, whose timeline has now been established as being set one year on from the Battle of Crait, recently confirmed by John Boyega himself.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

THE CLONE WARS: AQUA-JEDI!


That warrior son of the Earth's ocean's in DC's Aquaman may be getting all the plaudits for his premiere film outing's stunning undersea CGI work of beauty and action, but The Clone Wars animated series did it all first, as seen in the bold three-part Mon Calamari epic that launched the series 2011 Fourth Season, of which the ever-smiling icon Jedi hero Kit Fisto could be considered the franchise's very own Aquaman in many respects, seen here finish off swimming successfully away for a pesky battle droid skirmish.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

'SOLO': WITH WEAPON OF CHOICE!


Lando Calrissian normally uses charm and perseverance as his primary weapons in negotiating success from the business table to the bedroom. But if you're in the wrong crowd, and if you especially damage his precious Millennium Falcon, then you'll truly see the wrong side of his skill-sets, namely via blaster, in this great image from Solo: A Star Wars Story.


Monday, 17 December 2018

CLASSIC ART: THE CALL TO ADVENTURE!


The adventure begins for a new generation of Star Wars heroes and a new generation of fans to witness, as the Force truly awakened to seismic dramatic results and equally seismic box office globally.

HAPPY 3RD ANNIVERSARY (UK) TO 'THE FORCE AWAKENS'!

Sunday, 16 December 2018

ROGUE ONE: IN A TIME TOWARDS 'HOPE'!

Art by Julian Totino Todesco.

The Rebel Alliance needs the best and most dedicated front line operatives and soldiers they can get to fight back under the radar against the Imperial war machine. Good job then that they have the talented and die-hard veteran Captain Cassian Andor on their side, along with the re-programmed droid compatriot K-2SO at his (sometimes unwilling) side.

The recent news that Diego Luna will be reprising the fascinating and emotionally complex character of Andor for a new live-action series for Disney couldn't be a better tie-in with the film's UK release second anniversary today. Let's also hope that Alan Tudyk will also return for vocal duties as the equally successful K-2!

https://www.starwars.com/news/cassian-andor-live-action-series-announced

https://www.cinemablend.com/news/1628899/how-jyn-erso-can-return-to-star-wars-according-to-felicity-jones

https://dorksideoftheforce.com/2018/11/26/rogue-one-second-anniversary/

Friday, 14 December 2018

EPISODE VIII: SHIFTING FORCES!


The precarious shifting of the Force via the emergent powers of Rey and Kylo Ren are the focal point for this gorgeous art for The Last Jedi, by Chris Christodoulou, which also makes for a fine celebration of the film's First Anniversary release in the UK.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

EPISODE VII: A DAY IN THE LIFE...


Jakku may be a sand covered ball but there's plenty to uniquely plunder from across the wrecked battlefield of Rebel and Imperial ships littering its wastelands, as young Rey begins another day of salvage for food searching, in this scene from The Force Awakens.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

DELETED SCENE: ESCAPE DESCENT!


Having been cornered by General Grievous and unable to stop his brutal slaying of Jedi Master Shaak Ti, our heroes Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi now escape to another level of the Invisible Hand- an unexpected move during a deleted scene from EPISODE III that eventually made it to 2005 DVD release.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

CLASSIC IMAGE: THE UNSTOPPABLE FORCE!


With his Master's recent arrival on the second Death Star, no one, not even a fellow senior Imperial officer, will stand in the way of Lord Darth Vader in seeing the Emperor, during a classic deleted scene moment from Return of the Jedi, and one of the rare scenes shot for it by David Prowse as Vader.


This previously unseen image is part of an incredible compilation of rare materials (photos/documents/conceptual art) to be savoured within Taschen Book's eagerly awaited and supremely lavish all-new 600+ page hardcover The Star Wars Archives: 1977- 1983, available next month, that gloriously focuses on the making of the beloved Classic Trilogy of A New HopeThe Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, collated and written by Paul Duncan.

Check out our original preview of the book:
https://starwarsaficionado.blogspot.com/2018/05/coming-soon-star-wars-archives.html

Get the book here:
https://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/film/all/01170/facts.the_star_wars_archives_19771983.htm?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1bbpk8jW3gIVSrDtCh0z6wi3EAAYASAAEgLewvD_BwE

Monday, 10 December 2018

CLASSIC IMAGE: DOOKU'S CHALLENGER!


Proving he's anything but a 'slow learner', Anakin prepares to go on a double lightsaber offensive against the skilled renegade Jedi-turned-Sith Count Dooku, within a secret hangar on Geonosis, for a moment ultimately not seen in the finished duel of EPISODE II.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

CLASSIC INDY: JUST MARRIED!


Our anniversary coverage of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull concludes with the wedding of Indy and Marion, at long last! I love the reaction on Ford/Indy's face here- obviously the onscreen kiss came quicker than expected!

Saturday, 8 December 2018

THE CLONE WARS: SURROUNDED!


Down but not out from his conflicts with former master Count Dooku and the agile warrior Asajj Ventress, Savage Opress must escape to lick his wounds and fight another day. But first there's the additional firepower of varying Trade Federation battle droids to tackle, in a scene from The Clone Wars Season Three classic episode Witches of the Mist.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

'DESIGNING AN EMPIRE - THE JOHN MOLLO ARCHIVE' - THE UK BONHAMS AUCTION

A blending of Arthurian wizard and Samurai warrior takes shape with John Mollo's memorable costume design for Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi - Star Wars 1977.

Despite hard work and best intentions, one of the key traps that a lot of science fiction/fantasy movies and TV series filmmakers would fall into, especially during the sixties and seventies, would be the way that the futuristic clothing worn by their storytelling artists rapidly looked dated and more indicative of the time they were made than they did in reflecting their advanced period status. Not so with the ever enduring Star Wars saga, however, as writer/creator George Lucas immediately saw this inherent problem and was determined it wouldn't happen inside his own cinematic fantasy adventure, cleverly making the costumes of his galaxy far, far away look simple yet subtly sophisticated and inspiring, whilst also devising a clear-cut and relatable visual path for audiences of all ages to identify its near-archetypal heroes and villains transplanted to a new realm.

John Mollo (kneeling) works on an early fitting for Luke Skywalker's costume (with Patrick Ginter) - early 1976. Image: Kurtz/Joiner Archive.

Whilst Ralph McQuarrie was one of the key conceptual artists involved with the look of the characters (from Luke Skywalker to Darth Vader) and their costumes, the ultimate journey in bringing those designs to practical, adapted life on screen fell to the expert hands of the original Star Wars (and its first sequel) Costume Designer: John Mollo. Already an established advisory figure on epic historical productions within the British movie industry by the mid-seventies, coming from a prestigious family which had a long interest and passion for military uniform history, Mollo soon proved the perfect man for the epic vision of Lucas, especially when dealing with the bulk costumes needed for the saga's Rebellion and Empire. Rising above the film's relatively low budget, the resourceful talent was also blessed with a keen eye for what worked on screen and what didn't, quickly establishing a trusting relationship (and easy creative shorthand) with the understated American director and the brash young cast whom he'd costume during the long hot Summer of 1976.

Darth Vader and his assembled military forces, as seen in Mollo's work for The Empire Strikes Back in 1979/80.

One of the many meticulous and colourful Mollo costume design page pieces for Star Wars, under the hammer at Bonhams this month. Image: via BONHAMS.

Mollo sadly passed away during the saga's Fortieth Anniversary in 2017, but the treasure trove legacy of his work- the many stunning and meticulously detailed costume design books, sketches and production notes of his incredible career (not just his Oscar-winning Star Wars work, but other hit films like FOX's subsequent sci-fi horror Alien, the prestigious Richard Attenborough production of Gandhi, and Stanley Kubrick's lush Barry Lyndon), as well as as many military history related gems - are to be auctioned off at the prestigious Bonhams of London on December 11th, 2018, for what will surely be a very exciting event.

Good luck to all the bidders!


More on the Bonhams event - Designing an Empire - The John Mollo Archive:

Official event details and special preview times:
https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/25245/

Official video for the auction:
https://www.bonhams.com/video/27092/

One of Mollo's stunning pre-production sketches for Princess Leia, also on auction at Bonhams.

Online articles:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6451789/Sketchbooks-belonging-Star-Wars-costume-designer-hammer-300-000.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/25/arts/design/star-wars-john-mollo-sketches-auction.html

AFICIONADO was in attendance at the London press launch. Image: Bonhams via Instagram.

6/12/18 UPDATE: BONHAMS Press Launch:
https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/other/star-wars-costumes-sketchbooks-seen-fetching-large-sums-at-auction/ar-BBQAA2G

Sunday, 2 December 2018

'SOLO': BAPTISM OF FIRE!


The race is on! Young Han Solo's piloting skills of the trusty Millennium Falcon are put to the ultimate test escaping Imperial forces and evading the many dangers natural or not that lay within the Kessel Run and its maelstrom protection, in this great image from Solo: A Star Wars Story.


Rising Hollywood star Alden Ehrenreich capably took over the reins from the legendary Harrison Ford in portraying a young, often impetuous, yet highly likeable Solo. Discover more about how he approached the role of a lifetime within the daring shaping of this hugely popular origin story, charted via the all-new and lavish book Star Wars Icons - Han Solo, written and compiled by Gina McIntyre, out now from Ilex Press. You'll also discover more about the creative aspects/decisions of the latest film that would be crafted by director Ron Howard, and how the screenplay and character origins for Solo were shaped via the return of acclaimed screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan- the man who knows the rogue smuggler-to-be's personality and quirky charisma more than anybody else, bar creator George Lucas and Ford.

Get the book here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Wars-Icons-Han-Solo/dp/1781576971/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543660948&sr=8-1&keywords=star+wars+icons+han+solo

Saturday, 1 December 2018

CLASSIC IMAGE: COSTUMED POLITICS!


In a look very much inspired by Japanese history, Natalie Portman's Queen Amidala prepares for an important senate meeting on Coruscant, in this lovely image showcasing the gorgeous work of the ILM art department and talented costume designer Trisha Biggar for EPISODE I.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

FROM THE AFICIONADO ARCHIVE: BIRTH OF THE 'STAR WARS' POSTER HEROES!

Luke Skywalker fights back in this classic poster. Note the laser blasts added/airbrushed on by Ralph McQuarrie.

With huge demand for merchandise with the release of Star Wars in the US, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher returned to play their characters in mid to late Summer 1977 for a special set of photos for poster use via the Factors Etc. company. Presumably taken at a studio in Los Angeles, the shots were photographed and designed for poster use by the legendary American stills photographer Bob Seidemann (known for his photo work of famous people, rock album covers and concert posters). As well as Luke and Leia, Seidemann would also handle the now classic and evocative image of Darth Vader (whose costume was inhabited States-side by Kermit Eller, a Don Post Studios staffer who'd wear the costume for Lucasfilm publicity) and droids Threepio (who inhabited the golden suit is unknown) and Artoo (using the existing three-legged remote control prop).

Above top and below are those primary posters, which Seidemann signed for sale before his passing last November 2017.

The defiant Leia.

The iconic Dark Lord.

Threepio and Artoo: The Laurel and Hardy of Star Wars.

Here's a selection of outtake images linked to the shooting sessions.

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill):




Note some wiring on the (likely rented and modified) blaster that's come loose.



Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher):





Note that Carrie Foster holds a differently modified blaster gun (another likely rented prop) to the one in Mark Hamill's shoot.




Threepio and Artoo:







Darth Vader (Kermit Eller):

Vader with hand open for lightsaber and blade to be animated in if required.

Vader with a different lightsaber handle. The blade would ultimately be added on by Ralph McQuarrie.



Adapting the poster to B/W print use.

Other curios:

The early Luke poster from Factors Etc. that was likely unproduced.

Luke would be cut out from the classic David Steen shoot of 1976.

The stunning early concept painting from Ralph McQuarrie of the female Luke and droids, on a mountain top towards what would become Mos Eisley.

Factors Etc. had prior put together a rather lacklustre poster idea for Luke Skywalker - a shoddy composite of one of Ralph McQuarrie's early conceptual paintings for the film (which featured a female Luke) along with a poorly cut out shot of Mark Hamill as Luke from the classic David Steen group shot of the hero cast, taken in the UK - Summer 1976 (a shot which would famously become its own poster from Scandicor and appear on a classic Rolling Stone magazine cover). The early Luke poster also incorrectly labels him a 'Jedi Knight', which doesn't happen until Return of the Jedi. Perhaps the poor reception to this poster concept was the catalyst for the Seidemann shoot quickly happening? The name brand of Seidemann on the poster (like Annie Leibovitz) being a guarantee of quality recognition to Lucasfilm/The Star Wars Corporation and American purchasers.

The space cowboy himself: Han Solo!

Seidemann would also go on to take pics of Harrison Ford as Han Solo for merchandise/publicity purposes that appeared in 1978 (perhaps for a planned Factors Etc. poster that ultimately never happened). The time period in which these Ford images were lens-captured hasn't been locked down- Ford has short hair in the shots so they were surely taken at some point by either late Autumn 1977 or early 1978 (either just before or after completing the World War II adventure (hence the shorter hair look) Force Ten from Navarone, which Ford filmed from around October 1977 into early 1978. Some of the shorter haired Han poses from the Seidemann shoot would appear via TOPPS Cards sets 4 and 5 during early to mid-1978 (exact card set release dates unknown) and then used for potential publicity for The Star Wars Holiday Special that November. The location of the shoot is not known either, but it may well have been whilst Ford was in the UK long-term between 1977 and 1978.

Additionally, all of the Seidemann shoots had rear angle shots taken of the actors in their character's costumes- presumably for future costume archive reference by Lucasfilm for the upcoming sequel.

Han Solo (Harrison Ford) with blaster:


Note the modified blaster is the same one used for the Carrie Fisher shoot.



It's likely that this shot of Ford was taken from around the same time, or as part of the publicity shoot session.

Han Solo with pistol:



Note that this is not the modified pistol Ford used in the UK 1976 shooting. It is likely another rented gun prop modified for this photo shoot.




If anyone else out there can help with more info and exact timeline dates, please get in touch.