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Saturday, 16 February 2019

EPISODE VII: A PAUSE BEFORE ACTION!


Han Solo takes a last look at his surroundings as his mission to Starkiller Base fatefully awaits. A great image shot at the UK's redressed former Greenham Common air base exterior turned into the Resistance home of D'Qar, for The Force Awakens. This scene was shot around September 2014, with Harrison Ford returned to filming after his unfortunate on-set injury earlier that year.

Having known and admired J.J. Abrams since their work together in the nineties with the popular feel good movie Regarding Henry, Harrison Ford's return to the Star Wars saga after a long absence felt more assured for the film star actor- his overall feelings and instincts strong for VII's overall story and Han Solo's character arc.



Star Wars director JJ Abrams reveals he was 'terrified' of working with Harrison Ford on The Force Awakens - Mirror Online

Thursday, 14 February 2019

CLASSIC ART: CRISIS POINT!


Players both for good and for evil converge at Coruscant, the centre of the Republic, as the returned Sith, led by the malicious Darth Sidious, launch the final ambitious and apocalyptic phase of revenge against the galaxy. This is James Luceno's splendid events-packed lead-in to EPISODE III, Labyrinth of Evil, seen here via its gorgeous Japanese book cover edition from 2005. If you've never read this page-turner, its well worth picking up.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

BEHIND THE SCENES: BEYOND LUKE AND ARTOO...


One of the greatest qualities about Mark Hamill is surely his 'people skills'- enjoying the interactions and companionship of his teammates the world over, be they large, or, in the case of the late Kenny Baker, small. From the get-go, the pair had fun together filming the original Star Wars in Tunisia. Later, in London during the Summer of 1976, Kenny and best friend/work partner Jack Purvis even took Mark for a fun night out enjoying their double-act, plus the city's cabaret/variety club circuit scene.

Here, the pair enjoy a brief respite between filming the busy Alliance gathering scene, shot on a very un-soundproofed Elstree soundstage, for Return of the Jedi, circa February 1982.

Mark Hamill reminisces on Kenny Baker:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DL6F3jReyc

Sunday, 10 February 2019

CLASSIC ART: THE BUSINESS OF WAR!


The battle between newly arrived Republic forces against the mechanical armies created by the repulsive Geonosians is in full chaotic, destructive swing, as seen in this excellent Ryan Church conceptual work for EPISODE II, an intense image captured on screen exactly as painted.

Friday, 8 February 2019

BEHIND THE SCENES: A MAN AND HIS ARTOO'S!


Often regarded on set in 1976 as the stuff of behind the scenes nightmares -  the operation of the many remote controlled versions of the icon droid R2-D2 during the making of the Classic Trilogy. Though it seemed like Brian Johnson had the droid, blessed with a mind of its own beyond Kenny Baker's performance, under his control for the most part of The Empire Strikes Back, largely thanks to a complete overhaul of the three-legged version's electronics.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

THE 'PHANTOM' AT TWENTY: LUCAS RETURNS!

George Lucas goes through the Pod Racing models with his ILM team.

He'd said previously that he would never direct another film after the horrors and battle fatigue of shooting the original Star Wars in 1976. But the lure of telling the story of how a good person goes bad in former Jedi Anakin Skywalker's life, and to be able to use incredible new pioneering CGI effects previously used to such great distinction with Jurassic Park, ultimately proved too irresistible to George Lucas, soon rightly and fan expectantly taking back full cinematic creative control of the upcoming saga (despite teasing other fine directorial friends in Ron Howard, Saul Zaentz, and Francis Ford Coppola that he wouldn't) to launch a new artistic direction for his Prequel Trilogy, that would primarily capture the enthusiasm of new generations of dedicated young audiences from 1999 onwards.



Monday, 4 February 2019

'SOLO': TOGETHER FOR FREEDOM!


Though their early relationship started on a rocky note, the love between Qi'ra and Han Solo soon grew, intensified with their need to escape from the industrial slums of Corellia once the opportunity finally arises, in this moment from Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

EPISODE IX - LATEST NEWS (FEB 2019)

Seeing-in the new age of Rebellion. Image: Entertainment Weekly magazine.

The magic is back as the team from The Force Awakens are reunited for one last ambitious adventure within the Skywalker family mythos, as the main bulk of London studio filming for EPISODE IX nears completion by March 2019, of which key cast have already finished playing their roles.

Title announcement imminent...

Latest news:

https://movieweb.com/star-wars-9-john-williams-score-soundtrack-start-date/

http://www.jedinews.co.uk/film-music-tv/articles/anthony-daniels-wraps-episode-ix-filming-as-c-3po/

http://www.jedinews.co.uk/film-music-tv/articles/john-boyega-shares-star-wars-epsiode-ix-photo-on-instagram/

https://www.digitalspy.com/movies/a25980923/star-wars-richard-e-grant-episode-9-spoiler-prevention/

Five things we know about IX:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/44990935

Speculation and rumours:

https://www.mirror.co.uk/film/star-wars-9-spoilers-lando-13760959

https://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/films/1055316/Star-Wars-9-character-written-out-exit-DJ-Benicio-Del-Toro

https://www.inverse.com/article/52037-star-wars-episode-9-rumors-rey-lightsaber-spoilers-twist

https://www.inverse.com/article/52146-star-wars-episode-9-rumors-darth-vader-ghost-theory-gets-new-evidence

https://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/films/1014195/Star-Wars-9-runtime-how-long-is-Episode-9-IX-release-date-plot-JJ-Abrams-fan-backlash


Monday, 28 January 2019

AFICIONADO SPOTLIGHT: BLOCKADE RUNNER ATTACK!

Second Unit filming of the Rebel Blockade Runner scenes for the original Star Wars.

The opening to the film that started it all comes under more in-depth examination than ever at STAR WARS AFICIONADO, part of an occasional series of all-new articles showcasing classic scenes from the saga in ways you may not have experienced or noted of them previously, captured via deleted moments, rare and possibly unseen on-set photography covering alternate angles and scenes you'll see in a new light, plus alternate footage where possible. Shot at the end of Elstree Studios filming in July 1976, the Blockade Runner action was rapidly completed by at least three film units - the main one by Lucas, the second by Producer Gary Kurtz (additional soldier/Stormtrooper shots and escape pod interior droid scene), and the third handled by Production Manager Robert Watts (primarily capturing a lot of shots involving the droids).


In an unused angle, the droids started from the opposite end of a corridor as opposed to what was seen in the film. The silver droid was possibly played by Anthony Daniels stand-in Harriet Colville.
Propped up, the person inside the silver droid costume tries to relax between takes.

https://starwarsaficionado.blogspot.com/2017/01/star-wars-at-40-ready-for-intruders.html

Artoo and Threepio (Anthony Daniels) pose for a special publicity image on set different to the famous colour image. Note that the weighty Artoo shell has drooped over slightly and one of his operational mandibles has come loose.

The classic images of Threepio and Artoo in the ship's corridor were probably shot on the very last day of first unit filming - 16th July, 1976, as indicated on that day's call sheet.

The Rebel soldiers gather, expecting the worse.

Great angle of the ready soldiers.
Getting ready to shoot the gathered soldiers. Reference image by Ann Skinner/BFI.

George Lucas prepares to shoot awaiting troopers and reaction shots. The trooper seen here is played by British extra Les Conrad.

Les and Shirley Conrad ESB, ROTJ, TPM - YouTube

Stuntman/actor Edward Eddon (or Eden) as a Rebel guard- the first close-up human face to be seen in Star Wars.

An early studio floor practical fire take of the hatch door. Note all the rising smoke rising up the set.

Break-in!

Alternate break-in take with the Stormtroopers. Notice the heavy debris floor and the different positions of the dead Rebel guards.

Alternate footage, as seen in the Empire of Dreams documentary.

More from that alternate take sequence. Four stuntmen were primarily used in that sequence, the others were supporting background artists.

Stormtroopers slip and slide in the alternate unused take.

A terrific posed shot of the Stormtroopers from a take where the corridor was less debris strewn. This image is presented here in the the correct way- often having been printed in reverse in magazines over the last forty-plus years.

Stormtroopers spread out across the ships interior. Image: via Star Wars Archives website
The Stormtroopers pursue the fleeing Rebels fleeing down the corridor in unused footage.

More: https://starwarsaficionado.blogspot.com/2015/05/behind-scenes-blockade-runner-battlers.html

Caught in the commotion in this rare outtake image on 1978 TOPPS card.

And caught in the crossfire too! The subsequent explosion near them was shot as a separate take and combined in later editing.
The main airlock aftermath scene is filmed. Continuity image: Ann Skinner/BFI.

A dark force enters the captured Blockade Runner.

The newly arrived Darth Vader (Dave Prowse) inspects the battle dead then gives orders in an unused take.

Then proceeds onwards followed by his soldiers.
The rest of Vader's Stormtroopers follow behind.

More:
STAR WARS AFICIONADO WEBSITE: BEHIND THE SCENES: BLOCKADE RUNNER BATTLERS!

The aftermath of the corridor laser battle wall explosion sees Threepio caught up in fused wiring- a scene instead used in the aftermath of the TIE fighter attack on the Millennium Falcon.

Shot on a different day's filming, Threepio (as seen in the movie) enters the inner depths of the Blockade Runner (originally known as a 'Rebel Starfighter/Starship' in the script/call sheets).
Princess Leia emerges from hiding in this rarely seen outtake image.

Artoo on his own prior to filming the scene. Originally, before Lucas realized he needed lime green wall extensions for a bigger and better start to the film, all of the Blockade Runner scenes were to have been shot on this one limited set-apparently a redress of the Millennium Falcon's main hold area.

Specially shot smoke free image of the vital scene of Leia with Artoo.

Filming the scene, captured at an angle shot on Polaroid by Ann Skinner/BFI.
The remote controlled version of Artoo has an accident in this blooper moment captured as part of filming by Robert Watts and his unit crew.

STAR WARS AFICIONADO WEBSITE: BEHIND THE SCENES: "MY ONLY HOPE"!

On the same set (now smokeless, with a slightly redressed background), and in a scene situated after Leia is captured, Artoo prepares to activate an escape pod as Threepio moves forward.

The scene filmed on 12/7/76.

The card caption says it all!
Alternate angle, where we see a little inside the open escape pod.




On his way to the command area, Vader watches a prisoner escort go past.
Then walks towards the inner core command area.

Likely an image shot before a rehearsal/take of actors Peter Geddis and David Prowse talking.

The beginning of a take, as Vader strangles Antilles for information.
The take as captured for continuity by Ann Skinner/BFI.

The sequence was filmed on a very busy 9/7/76.

Vader tightens his grip on Antilles.

Note Antilles (Peter Geddis) standing on a support of some kind.
Peter Geddis prepares to die in Vader's grasp.

Antilles goes into a dead limp.

Peter Diamond plays Antilles for the bulkhead throw scene.

The search for the 'passengers' begins. A terrific shot showing great storytelling detail. Note the slumped dead Rebel trooper on the far right, killed in battle, and the corralled Rebel soldiers in the outside corridor.

STAR WARS AFICIONADO WEBSITE: BEHIND THE SCENES: DEAD MAN TALKING!

Unable to hide any more, Princess Leia Organa prepares to fight.

A killer aim!

A Stormtrooper is felled as another rushes ahead.

Princess Leia is incapacitated.

The trooper looks towards the fallen Leia in an unused angle from the film, which instead uses a shot of troopers near the stunned body of the Princess.
Unused take of the unconscious Leia. Continuity image by Ann Skinner/BFI.

Filming Leia's capture scene on 9/7/76. All of the main scenes with Vader and the Imperial officers were filmed that day.

Carrie Fisher as Leia and her escorts stand on their marks ready to start filming.

Continuity/Script Supervisor Ann Skinner and Lucas watch a rehearsal on the set, Ronnie Taylor handles the camera whilst an unknown Clapperboard handler readies. This may even have been a specially posed image for behind the scenes publicity.

Moving out from the ship's inner core.

An interrogation from Darth Vader and his commander Daine Jir (Al Lampert, replacing scheduled Ken Hutchison for the scene, a well-known UK actor who'd also been listed on that day's filming call sheet).
Princess Leia holds her nerve towards Vader, as seen in the film.

One of the great specially posed images for the scene, as released for theatrical lobby card promotion.

More:
https://starwarsaficionado.blogspot.com/2011/09/al-lampert-remembers-star-wars.html

Terrific close-in shot of Vader's helmet. Note the red eye lenses and the scratches and small dents on the helmet from four months of studio shooting.

Discussing Princess Leia's fake demise with Daine Jir.

An unused angle of Vader and Daine Jir.

If anyone out there has any further info on the deleted scenes of this sequence, please get in touch.