ARRIVING IN TOKYO FROM 8TH AUGUST, 2019. BOOK NOW FOR THE ULTIMATE 'STAR WARS' EXHIBITION

Friday, 31 August 2018

ROGUE ONE: WEAPON OF CHOICE!


At Cardington hangar studios just outside London, British extras playing Rebel soldiers are excited enough to be in a Star Wars film, but to be assigned their blaster weapons must be equally thrilling for them, in this fun behind the scenes shot from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story from 2015.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

EPISODE VII: TO RETRIEVE THE FALLEN!


On the superbly rendered Starkiller Base snow forest set at Pinewood Studios, J.J. Abrams consults with Domhnall Gleeson and an unhelmeted extras for the shooting of an ultimately deleted scene from The Force Awakens, where Hux and his First Order Trooper escort recover the injured Kylo Ren, upon prior instruction from Supreme Leader Snoke.

Though not in the completed film, the scene can be found in Alan Dean Foster's novel adaptation of VII.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

BEHIND THE SCENES: TO REIGN AS EMPEROR!


At the FOX Studios in Australia during 2003, Ian McDiarmid prepares to film scenes for both EPISODE III and the then latest version of The Empire Strikes Back Special Edition for DVD, replacing Clive Revill's original performance in the role.

It was great to see McDiarmid vocally premiering his role as the one and only Emperor for the final run of STAR WARS REBELS episodes, that originally aired in the US from February 19th, 2018 (and now available on Blu-ray/DVD), giving the series even more credibility with the old and new fan base.

The Emperor- fully revealed for the final season of STAR WARS REBELS. Image: Disney XD.

As seen in the original trailer: http://www.starwars.com/video/star-wars-rebels-mid-season-4-trailer-official

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

CLASSIC IMAGE: BEYOND THE LEGACY...


it's unlikely that they'll be any more major future contributions from George Lucas to the saga he created, but he can at least look back and reflect on the incredible joys he has bought (and still brings) to peoples lives with his franchise, and the acclaim and success that his talent, and his talent for hiring the right creative people over the years, has ultimately led him.

More on Lucas's ambitious new phase life's dream: his upcoming cultural museum based in Los Angeles.

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2018/07/george-lucas-museum-los-angeles?mbid=nl_CH_5b43ab25795fc2638a4806bc&CNDID=36338303&spMailingID=13840347&spUserID=MTMzMTgyNzc3MDM4S0&spJobID=1440736248&spReportId=MTQ0MDczNjI0OAS2

Sunday, 26 August 2018

EPISODE IX: SADDLE UP, REBELS!



POSSIBLE SPOILERS!

The filming schedule juggernaut that is EPISODE IX is underway and not expected to wrap until at least next February. Here's one of the first intriguing non-official mages that have made their way online, showing lovable Chewie with Finn and Poe Dameron (holding macrobincoulars) amongst a new group of characters in some kind of field-esque location where alien horses are the existing mode of transport. It all looks very cool, and a great early visuals primer for the modern sequel series finale.

Related feature link:
https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/7086398/star-wars-9-pictures-filming-john-boyega-oscar-isaac-chewbacca/amp/

Other EPISODE IX news:

https://variety.com/2018/film/news/star-wars-episode-ix-matt-smith-1202886507/

http://wegotthiscovered.com/movies/leia-lando-reunion-rumored-star-wars-episode-ix/

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/star-wars-episode-ix-casts-dominic-monaghan-1137403

https://lrmonline.com/news/star-wars-episode-ix-bts-images-show-off-a-familiar-ship/

https://lrmonline.com/news/star-wars-episode-ix-casting-call-goes-out-for-a-young-charlize-theron-for-unknown-role/

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/star-wars-billy-dee-williams-returning-as-lando-calrissian-xi-1125818

https://variety.com/2018/film/news/star-wars-episode-ix-keri-russell-1202861343/


Saturday, 25 August 2018

CLASSIC IMAGE: LOVE KILLS!


Thanks to the plucky ingenuity of Princess Leia Organa, two Imperial Stormtroopers are quickly felled by her ever-impressive blasters skills, in this intriguing shot taken from a platform where additional angle filming of Return of the Jedi was taking place in the California Redwoods - April 1982.

This image would be given by Lucasfilm for reference purposes (note the scratching to prevent copying theft) to Kenner Toys in planning their new line of characters, toys and environments for Return of the Jedi during late 1982.

Friday, 24 August 2018

BEHIND THE SCENES: BEYOND THE BLUE!


George Lucas goes through the finer details of the Geonosian Arena escape and surface battle for Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen at FOX Studios, Australia, during 2000 filming for Attack of the Clones.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

BEHIND THE SCENES: IN AT THE DEEP END!


Early Autumn 1979: inside the now very dirty Dagobah swamp pool housing Luke's X-wing fighter at Elstree Studios, divers prepare the prop Artoo with periscope attachment, during filming for The Empire Strikes Back.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

THE CLONE WARS: TO NURSEMAID A HUTT!


Their mission to raid the once enemy-held monastery on Teth a success, little Rotta the Hutt, despite illness and an odour problem, has been recovered from its former captors by Anakin Skywalker and his new Padawan learner in gutsy Ahsoka Tano (aka 'Snips'). But we all know that it won't be long before the Separatists spring the next phase of their trap, using our heroes to anger the mighty Jabba the Hutt himself. A soon-important scene from The Clone Wars animated movie.

Behind the scenes: https://www.starwars.com/news/designing-star-wars-ahsoka-tano

Monday, 20 August 2018

THE CLONE WARS: WHEN DOOKU STRIKES!


Determined to stop Anakin Skywalker from reaching Jabba the Hutt's stronghold on Tatooine, Count Dooku launches another ferocious attack of Dark Side force lightning on the young Jedi, in a highlight confrontation near-climaxing The Clone Wars animated movie. It was great to have the vocal return of Christopher Lee to the villainous role, once more bringing great menace and classy malevolence.

Sunday, 19 August 2018

THE CLONE WARS: HELP ON THE WAY!


The odds are not in Anakin Skywaker's favour as the Battle of Teth nears its conclusion. Thankfully, Obi-Wan Kenobi and some Republic reinforcements have handily arrived just in time to firepower assist and ultimately clean up the mess and consequences of Anakin's headstrong plans, in this scene from The Clone Wars animated movie of 2008.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

THE CLONE WARS: POLITICAL INFLUENCES...


Striving hard to bring peace to the galaxy, and to especially sooth the escalating troubles with the Hutt clan and its vitally needed space routes, Senator Padme Amidala confers with Supreme Chancellor Palpatine on Coruscant, in a scene from The Clone Wars animated movie.

The late Ian Abercrombie did a fine job continuing the work of Ian McDiarmid in the role of Palpatine and Darth Sidious, and the same too for Catherine Taber, bringing her own interpretation to Natalie Portman's morally courageous Padme. Attending the film's London multimedia screening back in 2008, AFICIONADO noted that the cinema audience was clearly pleased to see these two politically important characters make their way into the film's later stages.

Friday, 17 August 2018

THE CLONE WARS: SITUATION - DESPERATE!


Though they have the strong leadership and incredible powers of Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker keeping their backs, the Clone Troopers valiantly fighting within the crystalline streets of Christophsis are starting to become overwhelmed by the en masse Battle Droids attempting to cut them off. A memorable scene from the beginning of The Clone Wars animated movie showcasing the Clone Troopers bravery and agility in combat but also showing them getting some savage slaughtering from their inhuman opponents, during some quite adult and gritty moments. The level of violence would be subsequently toned down or handled more discreetly for family audiences once Cartoon Network aired the oncoming series.

Introducing us to the unusual and striking realms of Christophsis, there would be subsequent visits to the intriguing planet on and off the series to follow, and within all parts of the Galactic Timeline.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

THE CLONE WARS: A PACT FOR DESTRUCTION!


It is their strength yet also their curse: the Sith 'Rule of Two', with each apprentice eager to usurp the power of their master. Darth Tyranus (Count Dooku) may ultimately have been the sacrificial pawn to his experienced overlord in Darth Sidious, but he would still under the radar pursue his own ambitions, of which his new partner-in-crime in the revenge-fuelled Asajj Ventress proved an eager and capable student!

A great image of the evil duo used in European marketing for the (so far) one and only The Clone Wars animated movie of 2008

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

HAPPY TENTH BIRTHDAY TO 'THE CLONE WARS' ANIMATED MOVIE!


The fate of the universe and an Old Republic may rest in the hands of a Jedi Order now truly overwhelmed by an enveloping fog of darkness and evil, but Jedi Knight turned General Anakin Skywalker thrives on challenge, that raging inner conflict of his between loyalty and love to his new wife now distracted by the beginning of the history-making Clone Wars, as he leads an equally valiant troop of dedicated and loyal band of clones soldiers across the inner and outer rims against the forces of Sith Lord malevolence Count Dooku. Star Wars: The Clone Wars the original animated movie debuted today in the UK, ten years ago.

We knew the film and the subsequent series was going to be a winner the moment Dave Filoni and first series producer Catherine Winder aired sneak peek footage to eager audiences at the US Celebration event of 2007, and AFICIONADO can't wait for the remaining new closure episodes (finally leading in to EPISODE III) that will air in the not too distant future...

KOOL TV Anniversary feature:
https://kooltvblog.blogspot.com/2018/08/soldiers-of-force-clone-wars-tenth.html

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

CLASSIC ART: DANGER WITHIN THE 'LIVING FORCE'!


The young Obi-Wan Kenobi looks towards the planet Naboo, sensing an upcoming disturbance in the Force, whilst a servant droid awaits his bidding, in this cool concept/production painting for EPISODE I by Doug Chiang.

The image may have been done when the visual realisation of the Prequel era Jedi were still being worked out, or Chiang may have just decided to paint Obi-Wan in the character costume design he conceived and liked the most at that time.

Monday, 13 August 2018

EPISODE IX: THE NEW SUPREME LEADER...?


He's let the past and his legacy fascination of Darth Vader 'die', and he's surely become the Supreme Ruler of the galaxy by the time EPISODE IX's begins- in a timeline set quite a while after the events of VIII. But just what kind of leadership and tactical cunning will the former leader of the Knights of Ren bring to the First Order's destiny, and its role against the building Resistance...?

An always fascinating character to watch, so well played by Adam Driver, it'll be further interesting to see what new physical and mental skills and emotional facets Kylo Ren inherits at the same time the now more confident and challenging Rey does (their building powers, one for light and one for darkness, having run near parallel in The Force Awakens). What will happen when the two eventually meet again after their last lightsaber exploding encounter, and presumably in their final decisive combat...?


Sunday, 12 August 2018

'SOLO': WELCOME TO FORT YPSO!


Vandor may have a distinctly cold climate, but it still attracts lots of warm-blooded humanoids and aliens to it from throughout the galaxy, especially at its mountain based Fort Ypso, of which Han and Qi'ra, with Chewbacca in tow, are soon on their way there to acquire the skills of a special individual, in this great picturesque scene from Solo: A Star Wars Story. I love the huge animal tusk assembly above the main outdoor stairwell.


Here's one of the early concept paintings for the Western-esque setting- another visual reference/homage by James Clyne to the classic movie McCabe and Mrs. Miller, from the 1970's, and its snowbound frontier town setting. Clyne would be Solo's longest serving concept artist/designer on the standalone SW film, stretching across two and a half years.


Discover more great conceptual work and behind the scenes information on the film inside the lavish The Art of Solo: A Star Wars Story, written and compiled by Phil Szostak, out now from ABRAMS.

Get it here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Solo-Star-Wars-Story/dp/1419727451/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1534073891&sr=8-1&keywords=the+art+of+solo

Saturday, 11 August 2018

ILM CLASSIC IMAGE: HALCYON DAYS!


With funding from George Lucas and Twentieth Century Fox, the future of special effects film-making would be changed forever more by those talented hippy-esque youngsters of the newly formed Industrial Light and Magic, headed up by let-loose experienced talent John Dykstra. All quickly bonding, they'd work from premises originally located at Van Nuys, California. Grotty and restrictive that early environment must surely have been, yet such movie magic that would come out from it, near unparalleled by the original Star Wars release in 1977!

The original ILM team reunited:
http://www.starwars.com/news/ilm-reunion-40-years-of-star-wars


Friday, 10 August 2018

EPISODE VIII: STRAINED RELATIONS!


Leia's calming and decisive leadership is much missed, and the Resistance vessels are running out of time and fuel against the pursuers. Now is not the time for a clash of leadership, but Poe Dameron and Vice Admiral Holdo just can't help it, during some noteworthy scenes from The Last Jedi.

http://ew.com/movies/2018/03/27/laura-dern-admiral-holdo-last-jedi-force-sensitive/

Thursday, 9 August 2018

ROGUE ONE: A STONE REMINDER...


Purged by the Empire they may have been, but the legacy of the Jedi and their use of the Force remains potent on the far-off world of Jedha, via the immense wrecked statues (this one suspiciously looking like Sir Alec Guinness - perhaps a deliberate visual tribute to the actor) dedicated to their work protecting the galaxy, as seen in this great imagery from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. This shot would replace an aerial image of the statue seen in an earlier trailer for the film, linked to the arrival of Jyn and Cassian on the planet.

https://starwarsaficionado.blogspot.co.uk/2016/10/rogue-one-fire-gone-from-universe.html

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

EPISODE VII: HANGAR WAR!


Never expecting to stage a mini war in one of their own docking bays, First Order Stormtroopers do their best to stop a rogue TIE fighter escaping their grasp. A very cool, non-CGI added shot from footage filmed at Pinewood Studios for The Force Awakens in Summer 2014.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

ILM CLASSIC IMAGE: A TIME FOR RETREAT!


The Sith's revenge on the Jedi and the galaxy is almost complete- as even the powerful Master Yoda is forced to retreat from the omnipotent wrath of Darth Sidious, in this great animatic shot created by ILM for EPISODE III circa 2004.

Monday, 6 August 2018

'SOLO': SPACE NIGHTMARE!


The Kessel Run is famous for its spacial travel/navigation problems and instabilities. but the rumours of creatures actually living inside the gaseous realms of the Maw? Well, 'that's something else', as our heroes in the Millennium Falcon soon discover, encountering this nasty space beastie. Great concept art by Aaron McBride for Solo: A Star Wars Story.


Discover more superb and evocative conceptual art, and the overall production timeline for the film, via Phil Szostak's marvellous companion piece: The Art of Solo: A Star Wars Story, out now online and in book stores, from ABRAMS.

Get it here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Solo-Star-Wars-Story/dp/1419727451/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533485104&sr=8-1&keywords=the+art+of+solo


Sunday, 5 August 2018

'THE CLONE WARS': MAGAZINE ICONS!


Prior showcased by an entertaining feature-length movie in cinemas, George Lucas's The Clone Wars animated series made its debut during October 2008 amidst a wealth of strong publicity, including these four great character covers of the Prequel favourites on the long-time friend to the saga in American TV GUIDE, which also came with a collectible CD.





Saturday, 4 August 2018

CLASSIC IMAGE: RANCOR DINNERTIME!


What Jabba wants, Jabba gets. And if you fall foul of his displeasure...? Well, that's what the Rancor pit's there for, as the rebellious dancer Oola discovers to her grisly fate, in this classic scene from Return of the Jedi.

Find out the whole story of Jabba's incredible practical creation for the film during 1981/82 by Stuart Freeborn and his team - surely the ultimate creature build of the Original Trilogy - in the excellent The Moviemaking Magic of STAR WARS: Creatures + Aliens, written by Mark Salisbury and published by ABRAMS, out now in bookstores and online.


More info on the book:

https://starwarsaficionado.blogspot.com/2018/05/out-now-moviemaking-magic-of-star-wars.html

Get it here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Moviemaking-Magic-Star-Wars-Creatures/dp/1419728199/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1531826671&sr=8-1&keywords=star+wars+creatures+and+aliens


Friday, 3 August 2018

CLASSIC IMAGE: DEFENDERS OF THE PEACE!


Enduring heroes of The Old Republic - dedicated Senator Padme Amidala and her Jedi protector/lover, the formidable but reckless Anakin Skywalker, aka actors Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen - strike a memorable pose for a States-side pre-release EPISODE II publicity campaign in 2002.


The legacy and popularity of Anakin and Padme continues within the realms of the Expanded Universe, the pair both starring in the newly published Thrawn - Alliances novel from Timothy Zahn:

https://www.starwars.com/news/thrawn-alliances-exclusive-excerpt-2

And Padme soon the showcase of an eagerly-awaited solo novel by E.K. Johnston to be published in 2019- Queen's Shadow.

https://www.starwars.com/news/queens-shadow-interview

Thursday, 2 August 2018

BEHIND THE SCENES: EXPLORING BESPIN!


The disruptive problems linked to the fire on the sets of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining horror masterpiece may have had a less than positive knock-on effect to the filming schedule and available soundstage space at Elstree Studios for The Empire Strikes Back, but Norman Reynolds and his set building team nonetheless pulled off some stunning creations to represent the interiors of the Bespin mining colony during April to Summer 1979 filming, like these shots of one of the main elevator/landing platform areas.

Images: via the STAR WARS ARCHIVES website.


Filming the rush to the Bespin East Platfrom.

Taking over from Roger Christian in UK set decorating duties for Empire, and to great success, AFICIONADO was sorry to hear of the recent passing of Oscar-winning set director Michael Ford:

https://deadline.com/2018/05/michael-ford-oscar-winner-set-decorator-titanic-raiders-of-the-lost-ark-dead-death-obituary-1202400788/

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

HAPPY 45TH ANNIVERSARY, 'AMERICAN GRAFFITI'!

On set for an American movie classic. Image: UNIVERSAL.

His good friend Francis Ford Coppola dared him to write and direct a light and quirky comedy after the sad failure of his high concept sci-fi drama THX-1138. And that's exactly the kinda challenge that the young George Lucas would soon thrive on, delivering to cinemas in 1973 one of the lowest budget made yet commercial box office hits ever with American Graffiti, and truly kicking off the Hollywood careers of Ron (Ronny) Howard, Paul Le Mat, Candy Clark, Richard Dreyfuss and the unforgettable Charles Martin Smith.

But even then, however, in those fast paced night time shoots in Modesto, California,  Lucas had dreams of a space adventure, and a war in the stars...

Happy 45th Anniversary this month to AMERICAN GRAFFITI!