Tuesday 31 July 2018


On Savareen, Dryden Vos's private army of Hylobon get the shock of their lives when they come under attack from the 'real' forces led by mortal enemy Enfys Nest, in this great behind the scenes image for Solo: A Star Wars Story, filmed in the Canary Islands.

Monday 30 July 2018


The summer holidays may be here, but, instead of sunshine, STAR WARS fans will instead be soaking up frays from all things 'dark side' related, with the history-making first novel pairing of legendary evil-doers Darth Vader and Grand Admiral Thrawn, both in their own ways vying for further power within the Galactic Empire in order to fuel their unique destinies, but soon joining forces on order from the fearsome and calculating Emperor himself, as the next chapter in Timothy Zahn's acclaimed Thrawn saga, Alliances, hits UK stores and online with the power of a turbo laser cannon, courtesy of a clearly proud CENTURY.

Earlier AFICIONADO book taster:


More on the book and its sophisticated mixing of Prequel and Classic Trilogy era storytelling:

Book excerpts:



Author Timothy Zahn speaks:



Get Alliances here:

Friday 27 July 2018


The official confirmation of the cast and primary crew for EPISODE IX has been announced and filming will soon be underway. All of the surviving Sequel Trilogy cast from VIII will return alongside new cast members Keri Russell, Richard E. Grant and Naomi Ackie. Of our vital legacy heroes, Mark Hamill returns from the mysterious realms of the Force as Luke Skywalker, as does Anthony Daniels (hopefully in a bigger role as Threepio). And, in a big hoorah, finally, Billy Dee Williams goes back into smooth hero mode as Lando Calrissian- what has the beloved character been officially up to since Return of the Jedi? And how will he react to the news of Han Solo's demise?

Billy Dee Williams is back! Capes everywhere will be joyous!

Official release statement:

A final farewell to Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa.

Congratulations and great thanks to J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm for finding a way to use previous unused footage of the late Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa for story inclusion in IX. It is indeed the right thing to do in closing this saga trilogy, something that STAR WARS AFICIONADO has been championing for this past year, and the worldwide STAR WARS community can't wait to see her again. Perhaps the included footage might be used from this VII sequence:



At ILM, design guru Doug Chiang and effects director of photography Marty Rosenberg stand tall on the beautiful about-to-film Mos Espa race track model exterior, for EPISODE I's intensive year-long model filming.

Thursday 26 July 2018


Posing for an of-its-time magazine shoot wearing the mark of a horned devil of the US filmed Cantina insert sequences (later known as a Devaronian, and played in January 1977 by one of the female ILM secretaries), Rick Baker's job on the original Star Wars, despite pretty low pay and little time to do his work in comparison to another project he was then working on, was ultimately a dream come true for the makeup/mask pioneer, on the kind of space adventure he'd always wanted to see come to cinematic life. Recommended to Lucas by ILM staffer Denis Muren, Baker had already started to become an enthused legend in his field, and had recently played King Kong in a 1976 remake.

Classic Rick Baker 1977 interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4CFR6sv3Ak&feature=youtu.be

Modern Baker interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDyq6p7_dQo

With thanks to Chris Baker.

Wednesday 25 July 2018


Under attack from all sides, though their mission of theft is almost completed, Qi'ra brings some explosive back-up to the Falcon's soon escape from Kessel, in this great image from Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Tuesday 24 July 2018


The true devastation aftermath of the First Order flagship Supremacy, initiated via Admiral Holdo's bold suicide hyperspace jump for the Resistance, is viewed in this spectacular production art for The Last Jedi, by Kevin Jenkins.

Check out more superb work linked to The Last Jedi's finale spoilers that couldn't be showcased at the time the film's Art of book was originally published:


Don't forget, the gorgeous The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi by Phil Szostak/ABRAMS is still available, and worth every penny for its outstanding art and first-rate behind the scenes timeline information.

Get it here:


Monday 23 July 2018


He was a hit with Star Wars fans when first previewed at the 2016 STAR WARS CELEBRATION event in London, but his simian astronaut visual reality execution had already been given a prior welcome sign of approval by the cast and crew filming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story during 2015, especially by enthused director Gareth Edwards, here going through the various creature/ costume inhabitors with Neal Scanlon at Pinewood Studios.

Find out more about Rebel Alliance hero Bistan (played by Nick Kellington), and his quirky creation for the film, in the excellent The Moviemaking Magic of STAR WARS: Creatures & Aliens, written by Mark Salisbury and published by ABRAMS, out now in bookshops and online.

A preview on the book:

Get it here:

Sunday 22 July 2018


Determined to help Lor San Tekka and his band of followers on Jakku against the newly arrived and attacking First Order forces, Resistance pilot Poe Dameron retrieves a blaster from his X-wing fighter, so as to join the struggle. A brave move, as seen in the opening to The Force Awakens.

A clever fan reconstruction of the original Jakku scrapyard planned opening to The Force Awakens:

Oscar Isaac will soon be voicing Poe Dameron for the all-new DISNEY animated series: STAR WARS Resistance:


Friday 20 July 2018


What better way to celebrate ten amazing years of the epic animated series of The Clone Wars created by George Lucas - its epic scope, great characters, solid drama and exciting action set pieces -  than the news from San Diego Comic Con that the enduring hit show will be returning online to finish the unique series main story and lead-in to the events of Revenge of the Sith, in ways previously hinted at these past few years by the series then animation director Dave Filoni!

Twelve new episodes are incoming!

Teaser trailer for the new mini-season:


SDCC Anniversary panel:

Thank you, Mister Filoni and Lucasfilm! And especially a hearty well done to the loyal worldwide fans for their genuinely unwavering support and enthusiasm of this fine series!

Thursday 19 July 2018


Mind and muscle in service to the Emperor, for the ominous events of STAR WARS: Thrawn - Alliances. Images: CENTURY.

It's the eagerly awaited coming together of two of the greatest and most formidable villains living in service to the Galactic Empire: Lord Darth Vader, formerly trusted hero Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, and the ruthless alien tactician and former warrior of the Chiss Empire's Outer Regions, Thrawn, assembled in mighty and spectacular fashion for the thrilling all-new book continuing the acclaimed Thrawn Saga cycle. A sure-fire splendid, page-turning adventure of action and suspense crafted by the man who so memorably re-ignited the Star Wars Expanded Universe fire of popular novel fiction twenty-seven years ago, and whose resultant success was so key to putting the franchise back to the very top of numerous worldwide bestseller lists in the process- Timothy Zahn. His aptly titled Thrawn - Alliances comes to UK hardback this July 26th, 2018, via its proud publishers at CENTURY.

More book details:

“I have sensed a disturbance in the Force.”

Ominous words under any circumstances, but all the more so when uttered by Emperor Palpatine. On Batuu, at the edges of the Unknown Regions, a threat to the Empire is taking root―its existence little more than a glimmer, its consequences as yet unknowable. But it is troubling enough to the Imperial leader to warrant investigation by his most powerful agents: ruthless enforcer Lord Darth Vader and brilliant strategist Grand Admiral Thrawn. Fierce rivals for the emperor’s favor, and outspoken adversaries on Imperial affairs―including the Death Star project―the formidable pair seem unlikely partners for such a crucial mission. But the Emperor knows it’s not the first time Vader and Thrawn have joined forces. And there’s more behind his royal command than either man suspects.

In what seems like a lifetime ago, General Anakin Skywalker of the Galactic Republic, and Commander Mitth’raw’nuruodo, officer of the Chiss Ascendancy, crossed paths for the first time. One on a desperate personal quest, the other with motives unknown . . . and undisclosed. But facing a gauntlet of dangers on a far-flung world, they forged an uneasy alliance―neither remotely aware of what their futures held in store.

Now, thrust together once more, they find themselves bound again for the planet where they once fought side by side. There they will be doubly challenged―by a test of their allegiance to the Empire . . . and an enemy that threatens even their combined might.

You can preorder Thrawn - Alliances directly from CENTURY here:

By doing so - showing your honour and loyal service to both Emperor Palpatine and CENTURY - you'll also receive a lovely and exclusive free pin of Thrawn's colourful rank insignia plaque, as seen below.

Look out for AFICIONADO's book review of Thrawn - Alliances soon...

Wednesday 18 July 2018


UK Blu-ray sleeve cover.

US release announcement, special features (hopefully better and longer than the ones compiled for previous DISNEY/Lucasfilm SW releases), and new trailer:


The UK street date is September 25th for optical media purchase, and 17th for digital download.

UK back sleeve cover.

Get the UK Blu-ray here:

Tuesday 17 July 2018


No, it's not some secret rendezvous between human and alien- it's the very recognisable outline of George Lucas going through a scene with Plo Koon actor Matt Sloan on set during filming of EPISODE III's galaxy-shattering Order 66 sequence.

Monday 16 July 2018


Luke's emergency action has been initiated, Jabba the Hutt's private army and slimy cohorts are distracted and in disarray. Now is the perfect time for the slave-chained Leia to strike back against the cruel gangster leader, as seen in these impressive pre-production storyboards crafted for Return of the Jedi in 1981/82, by the recently passed illustrator George Jenson. These storyboards were presented in the excellent J.W. Rinzler tome: STAR WARS: Storyboards- The Original Trilogy, published by ABRAMS a few years back.

George Jenson obituary:

Sunday 15 July 2018


"I hate it when he does that!"

Obi-Wan Kenobi looks on both non surprised and with an air of slight disappointment about him as he watches his determined Padawan and friend Anakin Skywalker make a fast descent through the air lanes of Coruscant traffic in search of an assassin, during the early chase scene of EPISODE II. This was a humorous moment added on to the film during its additional shooting phase.

Saturday 14 July 2018


He's escaped the Russian agents at Area 51, and now Indy has entered an even deadlier scenario: a nuclear testing range in the Nevada Desert, in this eerie scene depicting a frightening time during the Cold War, part of early events of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Thursday 12 July 2018



The new custodian of the Jedi flame, Rey, lights the sky with her lightsaber as the final battle against the First Order, and its supreme leader in Kylo Ren, soon launches the upcoming EPISODE IX.

Rumors persist that IX's story, apparently set several years after the ending of VIII, will see Rey find and coherently bring together a new diverse group of varying age Jedi who will follow her in the continuing struggle - a comprised group unlike any other types of Jedi seen before and mould-breaking beyond anything established with past films, following on from Yoda's predictions to Luke in VIII of how the Jedi will and must ultimately evolve, emotional flaws and all.

Not ultimately seen in VIII, J.J. Abrams co-creations in the Knights of Ren are likely to make a final appearance too-perhaps in challenging Rey's spirited and devoted band of misfits, some of whom may also carry on into the next sequels trilogy being shepherded by Rian Johnson.

As for EPISODE IX's title, AFICIONADO bets that it will be called Fire of the Rebellion. We're likely to find out what title will ultimately be selected by the film's creative types next year, unless things change in the way that LUCASFILM/DISNEY publicity will be handled since the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story....

Wednesday 11 July 2018


In the main corridor to the bridge of the Trade Federation command ship orbiting Naboo, two unique and deadly Droidekas pursue the fast moving Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi during their retreat action, in a revised ILM effects shot from the EPISODE I Blu-ray release of 2011.

Tuesday 10 July 2018


Fighting for their lives and their world, now under attack and planned takeover by Emperor Palpatine and his overwhelming Imperial war machine, the alien swamp warriors of Mimban prove an effective fighting force, once more echoing the might of the primitive against the high-tech concept that has been seen through the saga over the years. 

It was great to see the creatures of Alan Dean Foster's 1978 gem novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye make it to cinematic reality during the opening to Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Monday 9 July 2018


Most of the main cast may have been nearing the end of their filming time for The Empire Strikes Back by August 1979, but Elstree Studios was nonetheless as busy as ever, especially for second unit director Harley Cokeliss, who'd always have a huge amount of scene shots to complete, like this one set in the Falcon cockpit.

Cokeliss talks about his involvement in Empire:


Sunday 8 July 2018


Art by Martin Ansin that previously appeared in Entertainment Weekly.

A set of films specifically conceived, plotted and delivered from start to finish as a trilogy by their creator George Lucas, a revisitation and beginning for a diverse host of icon characters old and new, a fascinating origins examination (and re-examination) of the central villains from the Classic Trilogy fused within a subtle and intelligent look at the dangers of politics and corruption, exhilarating action scenes, bold and innovative CGI work ahead of its time (including a brave attempt at creating a uniquely comic figure), the return of John Williams (Nuff Said!), lavish and colourful costumes and production design for a new (yet old) era, and a resonant finale that effectively builds its satisfying bridge into a saga prior launched twenty-eight years earlier.

It's a package that has captured the imaginations and loyalties of two decades of Star Wars fans to have grown up and genuinely respond to the rewarding cinematic storytelling vision of the Prequel Trilogy. Admirably dedicated fans who adore these classy and enduring films on their own merits as much as the Classic Trilogy fans love their saga from 1977-1983. That The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith are now, finally getting more legacy awareness, acceptable recognition and actual respect from the wider worldwide fan community, certain critics and, most noticeably, from Disney itself (notably in areas of merchandising and more recently Solo), has been long overdue.

So be gone with you (again) Simon Pegg, and those other hating cronies!

Saturday 7 July 2018


He's beyond knowing where the escape pods are now!

There was no victory for the Resistance at the end of the The Last Jedi, but at least former First Order trooper Finn has chosen the right side to fight for, and his conviction- near prepared to sacrifice his life for Leia Organa and the others - is stronger than ever with the once return of Luke Skywalker, the man he was once trained to hate. Adding strength to his resolve is the seeming demise of Captain Phasma, whilst also finally been reunited with his too long separated close friend now adept Jedi  Rey. And if the new 'Rebellion' thrives, a potential romance with loyal technician Rose Tico, hopefully recovering from her injuries at the Battle of Crait, could be on the distant horizon.

So what else lies in store for Finn? Well, actor John Boyega recently hinted that EPISODE IX, filming this month in the UK, will be set quite a while after the events of VIII, and that he'll be sporting a new look for his character- the actor having recently been seen in London with longer hair and almost mini dredlocks, which might be a visual clue to a tougher, fighting on the run Finn.

Thursday 5 July 2018


Fast times, fast trouble for Han Solo and Qi'ra in Most Wanted. Image: EGMONT.

Back in 1977, when Han Solo first appeared in Star Wars, confidently settling in to meet the naive ex-farmboy Luke Skywalker in a shady booth of the Mos Eisley cantina, a very young Lawrence Kasdan knew that the shady, seasoned smuggler with the glint in his eye was quickly going to be the most popular character of the saga, of which the future screenwriter would have daydream ambitions to one day bring this fascinating and relatable character's backstory to life. By 2017, those once misty dreams would become a proud reality, as the respected filmmaker joined forces with his equally enthused and imaginative son Jon to create the fun and thrilling story and script that would become Solo: A Star Wars Story. And now The New York Times best-selling author Rae Carson gets the chance to join the duo in that small elite circle bringing further facets of Solo's early origins to believable life, via the all-new movie tie-in: Most Wanted, out now in UK paperback from Egmont.

Living on the edge from his early days: Corellian orphan Han Solo.

In a book that sets the fuse to the eventual movie baptism of fire for the galaxy's most talented pilot, the Han of Most Wanted is a mould in the raw, and still has lots of to learn about life. But most of the elements we'll know and love about him in his later years - notably his recklessness and his ability to improvise - are clearly prescient. It's also in this earlier life where new snippets are revealed about the orphan (some of it also referenced in Solo), of which, amongst the surprises, is the fact that he hasn't yet become so jaded as he will be by the time of A New Hope- in fact, we get to see a point in Han's life where he actually did trust some people and would even have good relations with droids and Rodians (at a time before he encountered Greedo!) - in a noble friendship with a young green-gilled member of that race, the tech-wizard Tsuulo (who also intriguingly just happens to believe in that 'hokey religion' called the Force of Others). In further character foundations, the boy Corellian knows the beauty and potential of 'junk' and likes to soup things up to make them faster. Desperate to escape the troubles of his current criminal-edged life, he's also been building up his own connections for a one day escape- his dream to become the ultimate star pilot of a lightspeed hot spacecraft firmly lodged in his psyche!

No mere street urchin, Qi-ra is always on the look out to escape her meagre existence.

And as Han's story beginning are revealed, so too is that of his co-star in this journey of discovery and danger: Qi'ra- another unique young survivor of life's brutalities, struggling and adapting at the lower end of the food chain on Corellia within the cruelty and harshness of this relatively new First Galactic Empire. Knowing that status and power are the only way to win freedom, Qi'ra is shrewd and intelligent, always planning ahead when she can and looking for the best exit points out of any hostile situation. Having known Han for a fair while as the book starts, she's not a particular fan of the cocky youngster-in fact, she could quite easily punch his face in at times. Numerous times, actually. Their relationship is tested by the fact that there's also a rivalry between them and several others to win the new open position within the organisation of which they have so far not been able to escape from- the White Worms Gang, led by the malignant, shadow dormant Lady Proxima.

More facets of the young Han Solo are revealed.

As part of this test of suitability, Qi'ra and Han, amongst the oldest of the 'scrum rats', are sent out on seemingly separate important assignments for Proxima, both determined to do well for her. Soon enough, events for them fuse as one to go dangerously out of control, as a unique data cube from a deal that's gone murderously sour ends up in their possession, with everybody bearing any inclinations for power and ambition from what the cube contains soon out to get them for it. As the threats to their lives intensify, and being weaponless, the duo's bond grows strong when they have to rely on their well-honed instincts- neither of our young characters knowing they can truly trust anyone: a fact of life that they've always lived with. Sure enough, their enemies include a dangerous rival syndicate, their own organisation, and even the Empire, in the lead-up to a meeting with their mysterious and highly talented 'The Engineer'.

Harsh times with the White Worms crime gang.

Though the data cube story is the main thrust of the adventure, the background layering of Solo and Qi'ra's lives is well developed by Rae Carson, giving us the hardships of their day-to-day survival within the aforementioned, almost cult-like White Worms gang (with its need to be larger in scope and ambition via Lady Proxima). And more detail on the young and old orphans also forced to exist and steal for both her and second-in-command Moloch, the latter as equally unconcerned with the well being of their human work force as Proxima, and ready to cull the weak and disloyal at a whim.

Whilst Han and Qi'ra work fast to find a solution that doesn't mean their extermination, readers minds are opened to lots of seedy new locales on the planet of Corellia now made real for the big screen. Amongst them Cornet City's factories, sewers, scrap yards and underground realms. Plus visits to the weird and wonderful climes of The Silo, once home to Qi'ra in her darkest days - literally a freighter graveyard, plus a pod racing championship, underground realms, and a chase through the life-shortening industrial realms of The Foundry. There's also the kind of prisoner break-in and breakout that Han will eventually be used to by the time of his arrival on the first Death Star (links to that 'long-term construction project', as well as all kinds of references to the classic trilogy, there for fans to further enjoy, and some subtle future links to the recent Solo/Lando novel Long Shot's droid plotline involving the spirited L3-37, seen in Solo. The book culminates with a journey into space for a secret rendezvous whose pleasing outcome will shape Han and Qi'ra's destinies one step further, bringing the pair closer together in their will to ultimately escape Corellia.

AFICIONADO RATING: As author Carson keeps things bright and breezy, the early genesis of Han and Qi'ra's early history, and their individual destinies leading up to Solo, proves satisfyingly revealed. And though the book isn't quite as memorable as other recent Egmont SW film tie-ins like Rogue One's Rebel Rising, Most Wanted nonetheless capably acquits itself admirably as an efficient and entertaining adventure in its own right. 3.5 OUT OF 5

Wednesday 4 July 2018


Out on one of the the mountainscapes of Utapau (later Tatooine) a female version of Luke Starkiller uses her binoculars to look at an early version of Mos Eisley, whilst her droids wait nearby with the canopy Landspeeder. Classic Spring 1975 art conceived for The Star Wars by Ralph McQuarrie, presented in an acclaimed and very special 'evolution' limited edition poster, one of several examples previously sold at one of the Star Wars Celebration events of a few years back.

It's been on the internet a while now, but AFICIONADO loves the brilliant live-action creation of the many early Ralph McQuarrie paintings that would be prove so evocative and help sell the idea of George Lucas's film to 20th Century Fox's mostly puzzled and money frustrated executives back in the day.

The Star Wars - Concept Trailer: 

Tuesday 3 July 2018


The new Rebellion gathers.

Barely escaped from Crait, what's left of the Resistance regroups inside the main deck of the Millennium Falcon. Though Rey, more powerful in the Force than ever, is unsure of their next steps against the controlling First Order, a wise Leia Organa knows that, thanks to Luke Skywalker, her brother, the fire of Rebellion has been restarted.

Hope now exists beyond Luke's broken lightsaber. Art by Brian Rood.

Writer/director Rian Johnson ends The Last Jedi on a strong and confident note, passing the storytelling finale torch back to J.J. Abrams, of which EPISODE IX starts shooting this month (July 2018). Though she passed on the mantle of leadership to others onscreen with VIII, here's hoping that the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa is worked into the film somehow, somewhere, via some alternate unused footage and outtake dialogue by J.J. Abrams and despite prior made comments from Lucasfilm two years ago.




Monday 2 July 2018


Back in 1997, the return of the Classic Trilogy to cinemas was a big thing, but so too was its reinvigorated merchandising areas, especially in the realms of the booming computer games market, as LucasArts/Playstation launched their now cult favourite Star Wars - Masters of Teras Kasi, in which Luke Skywalker and friends were pitted against the fighting skills of the Teras Kasi martial artist Arden Lyn, under command from a behind the scenes Emperor Palpatine.

It was nice to see this form of physical combat, prior introduced in Shadows of the Empire novel, onscreen used by the formidable Qi'ra in Solo: A Star Wars Story, having been taught its lethal ways by her Crimson Dawn overlord Dryden Vos. I bet fans of the game got a real big kick out of this classic reference, presumably slipped in by the Lucasfilm Story Group.


Sunday 1 July 2018


His smooth-talking, tale-spinning work for the 'Calrissian Chronicles' disrupted, and his beloved ship taking blaster hits from the Pyke Clan's weaponry, Lando joins Han and Beckett for a piece of the action on Kessel, in this great moment from Solo: A Star Wars Story.