Thursday, 25 April 2019
The epic lightsaber conflict on Bespin between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader gets that little bit bigger thanks to those matte artist geniuses working at ILM in 1980, as demonstrated with this great piece which atmospherically opened up the last part of the duel between heroes and villains into one of the main deep core shaft settings of the mining colony.
Tuesday, 23 April 2019
'What if dreams came true. And you could be who you wanted to be. You could do what you wanted to do. And you could help who you wanted to help.
What if dreams came true, and the world opened up. And you were never, ever afraid.
What if dreams came true. But dreams do come true. Don't they?'
From the tone poem 'One Dream':
Sunday, 21 April 2019
Once more blessed with the radiant smile of a blazing sun and the pop culture charisma of an exploding supernova, Lando Calrissian, as played by his real-life alter-ego in Billy Dee Williams, is back aboard his beloved Millennium Falcon, on hand to help a new generation of Star Wars heroes as they engage on a perilous galaxy-spanning mission, during EPISODE IX. Including ties to Donald Glover's performance as Lando in Solo: A Star Wars Story (including the wearing of his distinctive yellow /black costume), watch out for several other references/links to that film, including a special mention of his former droid confidante, L3-37.
|Welcome back, Lando!|
Friday, 19 April 2019
|The Tonnika Twins (centre) were a memorable part of the original Star Wars Cantina scenes.|
If there was ever a sequence in the original Star Wars that fans assuredly signify as a space-age western homage, it has to be what took place in the smoky den of inequity that was Mos Eisley's Cantina, where a veritable host of unusual creatures gathered together to share laughs, share anecdotes, make business deals, and get drunk in between watching blaster (or lightsaber) brawls. Adding to the diverse mix were the two 'Space Girls' (as referred to in the call sheets for the mid-April 1976 filming on this busy Elstree Studios soundstage), to be played by classy, and tall, top British models/ supporting artists Angela Staines (green outfitted) and the late Christine Hewett (blue outfitted). They were definitely considered at that time the typical Western 'saloon girls'-type for the film, but handled in a subtle family audience way, with their striking beauty on display for several atmospheric background scene moments only (not all of which made the final cut). Off set, the near all-male UK film crew adult-humorously and cheekily referred to the characters, not the actresses (though they were certainly aware of the attention they were getting), as 'Star Whores'! By the time the Classic Trilogy's events and characters were being exhaustively archived and referenced by Lucasfilm and fans during the 1990's with the era of home media, the girls officially became known as 'The Tonnika Twins', with a reputation firstly as clever con artists then as lethal warriors from The Mistryl Shadow Guard, whilst their original 'occupation' in the Cantina was quietly brushed under the carpet. By 1997 onwards, the saga was now creating more aspiring and influential female characters to attract its momentous and inspired fanbase...
|Angela Staines and Christine Hewett as the "Space Girls'. Note the subtle referencing to the Saloon girls of the American West with the almost holster belts and the futuristic garter ornamentation worn by Miss Staines.|
|Contact sheets for the 'Space Girls' costume reference photography.|
|Reference image linked to the BTS documentation 'naming' of the Mos Eisley duo by the late seventies, as presented on STARWARS.COM.|
|Angela Staines and Christine Hewett go through a scene with an unknown crewman.|
|A deleted scene from an early rough cut assembly, as they confer with a Mosep (Eileen Bellson).|
|Angela Staines having fun on the backlot. Image: Angela Staines.|
|Staines and Hewett at Elstree with an unknown crew member-likely Peter Diamond's informant character (middle), Marcus Powell ('Little Flash Gordon', from a deleted Mos Eisley street scene) and Gilda Cohen during April 1976.|
|2000's visual production information compiled for STARWARS.COM from original reference materials.|
Both Staines and Hewett were no strangers to playing intriguing alien beauties in sci-fi, having prior been psychedelic-costumed people alongside the iconic Christopher Lee in an excellent episode of the then first-time-aired Gerry and Sylvia Anderson series Space: 1999, a show which, only the previous year (1975), had already altered the visual destiny of George Lucas's famed smuggling ship, the Millennium Falcon, due to early visuals of the vessel being too close to that TV show's memorable Eagle Transporters.
|Hewett (left) and Staines (middle) as they appeared in SPACE: 1999, alongside Barry Morse. Image: ITV Studios.|
|Christine Hewett signing at Celebration Europe, London, during 2007. Image: FACEBOOK.|
|Angela Staines at a recent US convention signing event. Image: FACEBOOK.|
Though Christine Hewett would go on to attend SW events and signings up to her sad passing, it would seem that long-term Lucasfilm behind the scenes legal/merchandising disputes may have prevented Angela Staines, now a successful businesswoman in her own right, from becoming as immersed in her convention participations/meeting the fans as she would have liked. Thankfully, things have changed for the better, and Miss Staines has already attended several signing events this past year.
Angela Staines video interview: https://vimeo.com/26840820
Wednesday, 17 April 2019
Back because you demanded it, The Clone Wars Season Seven, arriving later this year in the US, finally wraps up the exciting animated prequel adventures set between EPISODEs II and III, revealing the legacy of the fateful galactic conflict for our key heroes and villains.
CELEBRATION 2019 panel and trailer:
Monday, 15 April 2019
POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT!
Last seen on live action screens defeating Yoda, seeing in the demise of the Jedi order and corrupting/manipulating Darth Vader into being, Ian McDiarmid's performance in EPISODE III, indeed the entire Prequel trilogy, was nothing short of excellent. And now Sidious returns, seemingly from death in his own unique way, for the upcoming The Rise of Skywalker? But how, after his pit thrown demise with EPISODE VI?
We can only imagine these possibilities. Firstly, a clone (a bit too much of an audience cheat). That the Sith somehow discovered a way to come back to our physical realms as some kind of ghost-being, not unlike Yoda or Obi-Wan. That the Palpatine of VI was a physical projection in the same way Luke appeared on Crait in EPISODE VIII. That he entered or fell through the doorway between times and universes seen in REBELS. Or, finally, that Palpatine/Sidious will be seen in flashbacks only - possibly with McDiarmid having replaced the rumoured presence of Matt Smith on the IX set, the former DOCTOR WHO star who was apparently to have played a young Palpatine/Sidious in sequences that were likely re-thought during principal photography.
One thing is certain, Darth Sidious has a key role in the new film- his return planned in advance some time back in the Kennedy/Abrams storyline masterplan for the sequel trilogy. And don't forget, before things changed in 1983's Return of the Jedi, he wasn't apparently to have been in the original nine film saga until the ninth, final episode as The Emperor (according to a magazine interview back in 1997 with Gary Kurtz), so this creative decision actually, and rather eerily, matches what had once been planned around 1979/80.
We can't wait to welcome the supreme super baddy back to the Star Wars saga one last (?) time...
Ian McDiarmid on The Emperor at the CELEBRATION 2019 event:
Saturday, 13 April 2019
On an unknown world of diverse geographical regions, our friends old and new in the Rebellion get their first sight of a deadly location, in this surely momentous scene from EPISODE IX, linked to the past (or future) of the saga's greatest machiavellian enemy.
|A powerful legacy that must not fall into enemy hands.|
CELEBRATION 2019 stage and interviews:
Latest EPISODE IX news:
Cast interviews: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaZpMI1-lHY
More on the trailer: SPOILERS! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08QR9DNYk50
Friday, 12 April 2019
The Skywalker saga comes to an end, as heralded in this slick and successful teaser. Enjoy!
First teaser: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adzYW5DZoWs
Wednesday, 10 April 2019
|Rob Bredow at the controls of a familiar ship. Image: Lucasfilm/STARWARS.COM|
Official book preview/interview:
Available from April 16th, 2019, here's the full blurb on the book release:
Industrial Light & Magic Presents: Making Solo: A Star Wars Story is an eyewitness account of the film’s production from visual effects supervisor and coproducer Rob Bredow. The book gives readers an intimate glimpse into the journey that Solo took from pre-production, production, and post-production, fully documenting how this film came to the big screen.
Making Solo gives a chronological overview of how this multiple-Academy-Award-winning visual effects company created new worlds, aliens, droids, and vehicles for a galaxy far, far away, including insights into how the train heist on Vandor, L3-37, the Kessel Run, and the reimagined Millennium Falcon were brought to life. A must-have for Star Wars fans, this authorized, all-access book will be an indispensable work for all movie fans and devotees of popular culture.
States-side online sneak peek:
Get Industrial Light & Magic Presents: Making Solo: A Star Wars Story by Rob Bredow, foreword by Ron Howard. Abrams (£35):
Tuesday, 9 April 2019
Another exciting and dangerous The Clone Wars comic adventure awaits our troubled and persevering Jedi heroes, as The Starcrusher Trap is unleashed by the Separatists, and the respected and formidable Mace Windu gets an action showcase with that purple lightsaber of his!
Cover art for Dark Horse Comics by The Fillbach Brothers.
Sunday, 7 April 2019
As the main focal point of the first season and beyond, life for the people of the planet Lothal is not so good under the thumb of the Empire. So thank the Force that the heroes of Star Wars Rebels are around to help out, breaking the Imperial-controlled space lanes to help where possible via their nimble vessel, The Ghost, as seen in this lovely production painting art for the series by Andre Kirk.
|A similar design to The Ghost from 1978's Battlestar Galactica. Image: Universal.|
I always thought that The Ghost looked familiar, however, before its Rebels debut. And then I remembered the works of Joe Johnston and Ralph McQuarrie in designing vehicles not just for Star Wars but also the original 1978/79 version of Battlestar Galactica. Sure enough, a similar ship design appears on a technical schematic during the opening episode, Saga of a Star World. It may also have been a prior design idea, perhaps, for the Millennium Falcon back in late 1975, before it became the familiar 'flying hamburger' we know and love.
If anyone has any more info on this, please get in touch...
Saturday, 6 April 2019
Originally conceived by George Lucas as more of a book-ish Yoda-like figure, the idea of casting the one and only James Bond 007 himself, Sean Connery, as Indy's father Henry Jones, Jr., was definitely an inspiring move by director Steven Spielberg, bringing extra character dimensions to Indy's character for emotional drama and humour most welcomed by Harrison Ford. Loving the part, Connery was himself an enthusiastic contributor to the storytelling, even bringing in some uncredited and successful comedy dialogue courtesy of UK talents Dick Clement and Ian Le Frenais.
|Together at the Elstree Backlot with Steven Spielberg.|
Wednesday, 3 April 2019
|Image: © Lucasfilm/Disney.|
Dare cross the formidable, weapons-trained Princess Leia Organa at your peril, as one Stormtrooper finds out the hard way whilst his patrol searches the Rebel Blockade Runner for any aboard members of the Alderaanian Royal family, during the memorable start to the original Star Wars.
Celebrate the personal genesis of rebellion and the spunky dedication of the fiery yet compassionate Princess who captured the attention and devotion of the pop culture universe via the all-new, high-quality Leia Organa - Rebel Leader box set book and attractive painted figurine from Chronicle Books, available in the UK from 9th April, 2019.
Here's the info:
Leia Organa is one of the galaxy’s fiercest rebels and greatest heroes—a powerful leader and a force against galactic evil, never to be underestimated. This one-of-a-kind, hand-painted statue comes with a display stand and a 48-page illustrated booklet featuring an illuminating look at Leia’s role in the Star Wars saga and insights on Carrie Fisher’s portrayal by Lucasfilm Executive Editor Jennifer Heddle, a celebration of the inspiration and symbol of strength the character has become for legions of fans.
Box: 3 x 4¼ x 6½ in; paperback booklet: 4 x 57/8 in, 48 pp, full-color interior; painted figurine: approximately 4¾ in, full-color; display stand: 3 x 4 x 6 in.
© and TM Lucasfilm Ltd. Used Under Authorization
|Merchandise images: Chronicle Books.|
Get hold of it here:
Monday, 1 April 2019
'For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic...'
Epic and evocative words from the Jedi Master in self-exile Obi-Wan Kenobi to the young and impressionable Luke Skywalker, then for the first time wielding the magical lightsaber of his father, from the original Star Wars. Words that made an impressionable impact on the minds of millions of worldwide cinema-going fans too, whose wish to see these extraordinary Samurai/monk-like heroes of old in their prime finally came to life twenty-two years later with the arrival of George Lucas's prequel saga, and in particular via the realisation of a younger more hot-headed version of Kenobi, brought to life with enthused zeal by Ewan McGregor, paired with an all-new character of noble yet maverick charisma, truly at one with the so far known nature of the Living Force- Master Qui-Gon Jinn, as played with distinction by Liam Neeson. On screen, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gonn made for a worthy pairing, especially in the dramatic scenes linked to the potential discovery of The Chosen One, and in their breathtaking final apocalyptic lightsaber duel against the emergent emissary of the Dark Side in Sith Assassin, Darth Maul.
But before the Invasion of Naboo, and before the entire events of the Prequel era launched with EPISODE I, popular author Claudia Gray returns to the franchise's book realms, charting an all-new 'past' adventure for the two Jedi, during the early testing days of what will become their unique friendship as servants of the Old Republic. Out this month in the UK (April 18th, 2019), the eagerly awaited Century hardback edition: Master & Apprentice:
Here's the book details:
A Jedi must be a fearless warrior, a guardian of justice, and a scholar in the ways of the Force. But perhaps a Jedi’s most essential duty is to pass on what they have learned. Master Yoda trained Dooku; Dooku trained Qui-Gon Jinn; and now Qui-Gon has a Padawan of his own. But while Qui-Gon has faced all manner of threats and danger as a Jedi, nothing has ever scared him like the thought of failing his apprentice.
Obi-Wan Kenobi has deep respect for his Master, but struggles to understand him. Why must Qui-Gon so often disregard the laws that bind the Jedi? Why is Qui-Gon drawn to ancient Jedi prophecies instead of more practical concerns? And why wasn’t Obi-Wan told that Qui-Gon is considering an invitation to join the Jedi Council―knowing it would mean the end of their partnership? The simple answer scares him: Obi-Wan has failed his Master.
When Jedi Rael Aveross, another former student of Dooku, requests their assistance with a political dispute, Jinn and Kenobi travel to the Royal Court of Pijal for what may be their final mission together. What should be a simple assignment quickly becomes clouded by deceit, and by visions of violent disaster that take hold in Qui-Gon’s mind. As Qui-Gon’s faith in prophecy grows, Obi-Wan’s faith in him is tested―just as a threat surfaces which will demand that Master and Apprentice come together as never before, or be divided forever.
Get the book here:
Saturday, 30 March 2019
They're off from the seedy environs of Vandor with the promise of new challenges, new adventures and new rewards - that great team of smooth-talking, smooth-piloting Lando Calrissian and the droid that (mostly) keeps him honest - L3 - in this great cockpit image of the duo piloting the Millennium Falcon, from Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Wednesday, 27 March 2019
POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT!
This super composition has recently appeared online (possibly leaked via Russia, which we've heard had the earliest merchandise/poster work for Solo: A Star Wars Story) and seems to be the real deal - the first real exciting look - for the teaser or main poster for the upcoming EP IX. It has our heroes in their new costumes- linked to photos that were recently leaked online, alongside all new heroes, aliens and villains (including J.J. Abrams favourite Keri Russell, supposedly as a shady character wearing what the actress calls a 'very cool costume' (right of Oscar Isaac). Plus someone replacing the late Captain Phasma as Stormtrooper leader, Kylo Ren back wearing an all-new helmet and revised lightsaber, plus the welcome return of the Knights of Ren. In the skies, there are some formidable new First Order TIE ships ready for combat against the Y-wing fighters of the Resistance. Finally, how can we not mention Threepio, distinctively, and totally against protocol, hilariously wearing a bandolier and holding what looks like a bowcaster (another rumour that had been doing the online rounds now true, it seems).
Monday, 25 March 2019
With Disney finally acknowledging its truly devoted world fan base, and the all-important profit potential Force-fully with them, now has never been a better time to be a devotee of George Lucas's epic Prequel saga of 1999-2005. Not only does the visually exciting and innovative The Phantom Menace, the launcher for so much more for fans to enjoy with the Star Wars universe, celebrate its milestone 20th Anniversary, there's also the return of the much beloved The Clone Wars animated series for its final loose ends wrap-up, and a plethora of new books and comic series celebrating that intense and fascinating time of the Old Republic, with its great heroes and even greater villainy. All that unleashed in 2019, with an early focus on the Prequel saga's key heroes.
Female heroes inspire female writers, so who better than E.K. Johnston - fresh from her success with the saga in prior charting the early destiny of Jedi Ahsoka Tano after the shocks of Order 66 - to bring the dedicated and determined Queen of Naboo turned Senator, Amidala, to satisfying life for a whole new adventure cleverly spanning the timeline of the three prequels. Queen's Shadow is available in paperback May 2nd, published by EGMONT UK.
Here's the book details:
The #1 New York Times best-selling author of Ahsoka takes on another iconic Star Wars hero!
When Padmé Naberrie, “Queen Amidala” of Naboo, steps down from her royal position, she is asked by the newly-elected queen to become Naboo’s next representative in the Galactic Senate. Padmé is unsure about taking on the new role, but ultimately cannot refuse the opportunity to serve her people.
Together with her loyal handmaidens, Padmé leaves her idyllic home for the glistening capital world of Coruscant, where she must learn to navigate the treacherous waters of politics and forge a new identity beyond the queen’s shadow…
Get the book here:
Saturday, 23 March 2019
But all things change, and, with EPISODE IX, Hux's position and power base will seemingly be more fragile than ever around the First Order's new leader in Kylo Ren, possibly with consequences that audiences might never expect. Just what will happen from this uneasy and volatile partnership will prove intriguing come December 2019.
Thursday, 21 March 2019
The sense of ominous darkness is building on Yavin IV, as one of the Rebel Alliance flights of X and Y-wing fighters launches into the windy night skies from the Massassi Temple. Their destination: the Imperial facility on Eadu, and a mission of destruction, in this lovely and atmospheric shot from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Tuesday, 19 March 2019
Deep inside the bowels of Starkiller Base, the former son of Han Solo now brutal murderer for the cause of the First Order, Kylo Ren, begins his search for Resistance infiltrators, in this great on-set filming image for The Force Awakens.
Sunday, 17 March 2019
His powerful battle with Darth Sidious may have come to failure, and the loss of his lightsaber, but at least Master Yoda survives to fight another day, planning his escape attempt from the Senate complex during the tense finale to EPISODE III.
Friday, 15 March 2019
The shield bunker backdoor now firmly closed, Han Solo and Princess Leia, with a trio of battle-hardened Rebel Commandos, hold fire against the enemy, in this great photo composition from Return of the Jedi filmed on location in Southern California.
Tuesday, 12 March 2019
|Russ Manning's lovely Mediascene magazine cover promoting the debut of the 1979 Star Wars newspaper strip.|
Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi may not be allowed to crave these things, but Star Wars fans couldn't get enough of those elements in the galaxy-spanning adventures of our bold rebels led by Luke Skywalker and company. And in 1979, the storytelling realms of the saga got a lot bigger thanks to the debut today, forty years ago, of the superb Star Wars newspaper strips from the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, brought to life in its first sumptuous and innovative year by the specially selected Russ Manning, no stranger to iconic heroes having been the long-time master of the visually impressive Tarzan newspaper strip, and having enjoyed the realms of science fiction action with his own creation in Magnus Robot Hunter, 4000 A.D.. Manning really was the perfect choice to helm the strip, his enthusiasm for the George Lucas saga and the characters prevalent on every panel of work he did before illness sadly saw him retire from strip creating duties.
|Manning with his first gorgeous colour strip page. Image: John May.|
In his memorable near two-year run, Manning (and assisting writing colleagues/artists) took us back in greater exploratory detail to the Wookiee planet of The Star Wars Holiday Special, helped cement Boba Fett's popularity further before the bounty hunter's debut proper in The Empire Strikes Back, brought in dark clad Deathtrooper-types long before the cinematic arrival of Rogue One, introduced the 'sinister agents' of Darth Vader (including the elusive Blackhole), and even showcased the equally vindictive wife of the late Grand Moff Tarkin!
|The very first art panel for the series.|
Four decades on, the visually captivating work, and Manning's overall legacy, lives on to inspire all-new generations of fans, whilst further inspiring the creative talents now shepherding the saga into all-new storytelling avenues.
|Advertising preview showcasing saga icons.|
Sunday, 10 March 2019
Finally adapted to exciting comic form, Alan Dean Foster's Splinter of the Mind's Eye, part of The Adventures of Luke Skywalker, was well worth the wait in 1997, from Dark Horse. An event celebrated in the US sci-fi/cult media magazine Spectrum via this great exclusive art by the mini-series co-artist Chris Sprouse. Note that Leia adorns a different hairstyle here to the one shown in the comic adaptation.
Friday, 8 March 2019
With a specially inscribed 'BMF' ('Bad Motherf++ker') on his unique one-of-a-kind lightsaber hilt, and a blade emitted to the colour purple (his favourite colour, and designed so that the actor could single himself out in an action sequence), Samuel L. Jackson IS Mace Windu- his turn in the Star Wars action spotlight finally 'good to G-O' for EPISODE II.
|Pride and joy. Image: Samuel L. Jackson/ Twitter.|