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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.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

EPISODE VIII: A MASTER NO MORE...?


Inside the mountain top cave of the primary Jedi Island on Ahch-To, Luke Skywalker shares with Rey the tragic memories of his former Padawan Ben Solo's descent into evil, and his thoughts on the hypocrisy of the Jedi Order, in an intriguing scene from The Last Jedi.



Discover more about the film's backstory - the aforementioned tragedy, and the significant 'return' of Luke Skywalker from his self-exile - via the newly released to paperback Arrow UK adaptation of The Last Jedi, which won acclaim for its bestselling author Jason Fry earlier in the year, what with this special 'Expanded Edition', featuring new scenes authorised by Lucasfilm and director Rian Johnson.

Original hardback review:
https://starwarsaficionado.blogspot.com/2018/03/aficionado-review-last-jedi-expanded.html

Get it here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Jedi-Expanded-Star-Wars/dp/1524797138/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1543367544&sr=8-1

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

AFICIONADO REVIEW: 'STAR WARS ICONS - HAN SOLO'

That smuggler's life! Star Wars Icons - Han Solo, out now!

2018 has been both a great time for Star Wars book publishing and for the most popular star of its franchise in rogue pilot extraordinaire Han Solo, what with the arrival of his terrifically enjoyable origin film last Summer. Now, bringing this packed year to a distinctive close, both factors are fused into an impressive whole with the arrival of the all-new Ilex Press celebration that is Star Wars Icons - Han Solo - we hope the launching pad for a continuing series of books totally dedicated to the popular and enduring heroes and villains of George Lucas's beloved universe.

Harrison Ford is Han Solo- both showcased at their best in The Empire Strikes Back.

Though a fine entertainment correspondent/editor in her own right, Icons chosen author - US talent Gina McIntrye - importantly proves herself as much of a Star Wars obsessive as we are, finding the rarest of quotes and information (from the most diverse sources) to successfully put the entire behind the scenes facts and onscreen fantasy worlds of Han Solo together for a highly satisfying, ultimate compilation tapestry/celebration, and a tome that also features all-new interviews/insights conducted with many recognisable key talents (including top film writer/director Lawrence Kasdan and the original Han himself- Harrison Ford) who'd work so hard and creatively in bringing the character of maverick Solo to life over forty years and in five memorable feature films, as well as for all kinds of notable spin-offs and merchandising treasures appearances. Additionally, McIntyre also delves into the legacy that would change Hollywood adventure characters with Solo's wake (thanks largely to Ford's impressive performance) for years to come in a most satisfying and contextual way. Star Wars Icons must surely be the most definitive work yet on that formidable but never entirely successful outer space western-type smuggler, who, deep down, and even against his better judgment, has always been one of the good guys!

A true homecoming for Han and Chewbacca with The Force Awakens.

Bringing to life a whole new storytelling direction with Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Complimenting the worthy text is some of the finest art and photography from Star Wars Pop Culture-dom, selected and digitally restored from the Lucasfilm Archives (as well as other key sources) to bring further rich visual evocation to those spirited and epic adventures of Solo- from rare behind the scenes shots (including some great representations from A New Hope and The Force Awakens) to key still images (including deleted moments, especially from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi), plus very rare conceptual art (including those from pioneering talent Ralph McQuarrie (a key life blood of the series- then and now) and Classic Trilogy costume designer John Mollo), and classic/modern examples of Solo's enduring media/merchandise existence (alongside The Odd Couple-esque travelling compatriot in life-debted hairy hero Chewbacca, and their stalwart 'piece of junk' ship, the Millennium Falcon). Nothing has seemingly slipped through the radar it seems, bar the notorious exception of The Star Wars Holiday Special- still the mad uncle in the corner that no one wants to talk to at Christmas!

Caught in the Rebel cause and the crossfire with Princess Leia, within lots of pop culture classic art.

AFICIONADO RATING: A gorgeous treat for Christmas, Star Wars Icons - Han Solo is one valuable legacy purchase you'll want to go from 'one side of the galaxy to the other' to get hold of. 4 out of 5

Excerpt:
https://ew.com/books/2018/11/27/harrison-ford-star-wars-icons-han-solo-book/

The author's favourite rare images from the book:
https://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-icons-han-solo-rare-photos

Get the book here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Wars-Icons-Han-Solo/dp/1781576971/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543316806&sr=8-1&keywords=star+wars+icons+han+solo

Monday, 26 November 2018

BEHIND THE SCENES: A SPELLBINDING UNIVERSE TAKES SHAPE...

George Lucas makes notes during a scene break in Tunisia. 

AFICIONADO's Fortieth Anniversary celebrations of the full UK theatrical release of the original Star Wars during 1978 comes to a close with this collection of rare and magical behind the scenes images. Enjoy!


Alternate image of the classic 'Binary Sunset' sequence.

A different posed photo take of Luke with his father's lightsaber. 

Early costume shape mould option for Threepio.

Anthony Daniels Threepio costume starts to take shape at Elstree.

On location for Luke's scenes at the Hotel Sidi Driss - Spring 1976.

Friends on a new adventure: Kenny Baker and Jack Purvis.

Filming the iconic opening scene of the film.

A lovely shot of the Artoo shell in Star Wars Canyon in Tunisia- March 1976.

The never used original title crawl.

Ann Skinner and Anthony Daniels watch Sir Alec Guinness confer with Lucas. 

Turning on the light saber for the first time!

Escaping the Imperials in art by Alex Tavoulais.

To capture a Princess!

A bright light in the sky!

Friends together in the Jawa Sandcrawler.

Alternate BTS shot from the moment where Leia encounters Vader.

The Tusken Raiders enjoy their work!
Stormtroopers and Rebels clash with lazer swords!

Bringing Artoo to life the hard way!

The Blockade Runner takes a critical hit, filmed at ILM.

A different outtake of the classic filming image.

The droid seeks escape in this Alex Tavoularis storyboard.
Catching up with a wayward droid.
Slightly different outtake shot of our four friends having fun on set- Summer 1976.