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Monday, 29 April 2019

AFICIONADO REVIEW: 'MASTER & APPRENTICE'


Having capably written adventures for key Star Wars saga heroes within the Classic and Sequel Trilogy Expanded Universes, the acclaimed Claudia Gray now gets the lucky opportunity to enter the Prequel-sphere, to build on its own unique realms and characters in crafting an all-new tale of mystery, intrigue and danger for Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn and his dutiful Padawan learner, Obi-Wan Kenobi, set at a time before the events that see them encounter The Phantom Menace. Master & Apprentice, out now in UK hardback from Century, is another fan gift delivered in this year's notable 20th Anniversary celebrations for EPISODE I.

Our popular Jedi heroes- ready for action.

Kick-starting the book off on an action note, Gray has our heroes in conflict with a slimy member of the Hutt clan on Teth, effectively re-establishing the two Jedi's original, formidable pairing, yet also the tense, uneasy relationship between them. Seventeen-year old Obi-Wan has the reckless streak he'd remind Yoda about years later, as well as making the odd cheeky comeback about dangerous situations we'd be used to during the opening to EPISODE I. But there is deep uncertainty nonetheless on whether his tutelage and friendship with the older, seasoned veteran in Qui-Gon Jinn will endure, his never seemingly able to do right by him, Qui- Gon, himself is as equally insecure, ponders whether he should have been given a learner, the maverick in him remembering his unusual teaching and partnership during his younger years with the enigmatic Count Dooku, who, at this point in the saga, has showed his disappointment with the Order and quit to return to his ancestral home on Serenno. In this time of internal crisis, a place is vacant in the Jedi leadership, and an offer is made to Qui-Gon that may change his and Obi-Wan's lives indefinitely.

The dutiful yet troubled young Obi-Wan Kenobi still has the chance to raise a smile or two during their assignment.

Meanwhile, on the far-off realms of the planet Pijal, another unorthodox Jedi- Rael Averross - former friend to Qui-Gon, but with a controversial past to prior separate them, is acting as regent to a young, barely out of her teens, crown princess (who has, along the way in tutelage, picked-up some of his best and worst qualities) at a critical time in her planet's history. Far more inexperienced than a certain, later queen of Naboo, Fanry's leadership, and Pijal itself, is soon threatened with terrorism from a rather unusual source by the the eve of her coronation, alongside the signing of an important treaty linked to the recent discovery of a new hyperspace link capable of opening up trade for her once isolationist system. With his concerns building, it isn't long before Averross sends a call for assistance to Coruscant, of which our duo are swiftly dispatched, discovering that there is more to this terrorist scenario than meets the eye.

In their investigations, Qui-Gon will face the greatest of tests: to his friendship and partnership with his Padawan learner, his once loyalties to his old friend in Averross, and to his past prophecy/teachings legacy acquired from Count Dooku. Elements all linked to a series of macabre and violent Force visions of the future related to the Pijal princess and the upcoming coronation.

The legacy of Count Dooku resonates throughout the book.

As with her distinguished work bringing the seasoned General Leia Organa to life in Bloodline, Gray's grasp of the existing iconic Star Wars characters presented in Master & Apprentice remains consistently excellent. Her developing of the noble but flawed Qui-Gon Jinn proves especially satisfying. As too is more information on the disturbing presence and legacy of Count Dooku, a complex, shadowy figure- never one to have had an easy relationship with the Jedi Council, what with his differing viewpoints on certain past and present decisions they have made. The dour and disciplined Dooku, and his strict relationships with the young and eager to please Qui-Gon on Coruscant, as well as his former pupil in Averross - in past prologues - reveal hints of the disturbing nature building within his nature, and whose own unorthodox streak would become a part of his Padawan learners lives and instincts as established Jedi, though in different way. Gray capably develops some of the early through-lines that will lead Dooku on the dark path, her work acting as an additional tie-in to the upcoming audio novel for the enigmatic villain, written by Cavan Scott. Furthermore in the Lucas-created playground, she also provides some intriguing tit-bits and details about the Jedi and their temple environment, expanding on what was seen in the Prequels, alongside those aforementioned clever lead-ins and subtle tributes to EPISODE I.

Prophecies and danger await Qui-Gon Jinn.

The author equally enjoys crafting her own new civilisation with a deliberately different in tone royal leadership to the one seen with Queen Amidala and Naboo in EPISODE I. Sadly, Pijal fares as one of the Expanded Universe's less memorable forays, whilst her new supporting players operating within it failed to be interesting enough to capture any of my personal enthusiasm. The new Jedi in Rael Averross is another of those quirky Han Solo-ish types, not too dissimilar to Kenobi's later Clone Wars comrade Quinlan Vos, created so as to get away from the serious and very dry personalities of the Order on Coruscant, and generate better dialogue, banter and conflict with our existing heroes. It's all been done before - in fact, why didn't Miss Gray just tailor the story for that existing character in the first place! Likewise lacking in originality, a duo of galaxy-traversing gem thieves searching for a special and familiar crystal on Pijal, plus a rather nondescript galactic corporation whose strength and persuasion in the political scheme and destiny of events threatens to upset things further for the Queen's official rule.

Ultimately, the Prequel Trilogy should have had a more thrilling adventure than what we ultimately got with Master & Apprentice. Indeed, this could easily have been a Star Trek novel, for which Kirk and Spock would have been Federation ambassadors instead of our Jedi duo. Despite the notable icon characterisations, the tale lacks that special quality which makes Star Wars so unique and vigorous in comparison to other sci-fi/fantasy. Continuing the originality and huge scale of George Lucas's imagination within the Prequels seems difficult for authors to truly aspire to.

AFICIONADO RATING: Though I eagerly applaud any new Prequel-era set book, I'm overall sorry to say that Master & Apprentice was not quite the page-turner I'd enthusiastically hoped for. To Miss Gray's credit, it is a well-plotted tale that manages to generate a surprise or two by conclusion, but it's unlikely to be pulled down from my book shelf for a re-read anytime soon, especially in comparison to older, more exciting Expanded Universe adventures. 3 out of 5

Get Master & Apprentice here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Master-Apprentice-Star-Wars-Claudia/dp/1780899882/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3QMPIKV0VSW6D&keywords=master+and+apprentice+star+wars&qid=1556456839&s=gateway&sprefix=MASTER+AND+APPRE%2Caps%2C309&sr=8-1

Author interview:
https://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-master-apprentice-claudia-gray-interview

Saturday, 27 April 2019

AFICIONADO REVIEW: 'QUEEN'S SHADOW'


Crafting a new young heroine to follow in the footsteps of Princess Leia Organa, as inimitably brought to life onscreen by Carrie Fisher, was surely not going to be an easy one for the Prequels debuting from 1999 onwards, yet writer/creator/director George Lucas rose to the challenge considerably with his reveal of the enigmatic, loyal and courageous Queen Amidala of Naboo, an even younger regal player and powerful female role model for fans to enjoy as she, alongside her valiant Jedi Knight protectors, valiantly fought to rescue her people from the oppression of the slimy Trade Federation. To this legion of new and impressionable generation of SW female fans, Queen Amidala, as played with sincerity and beauty by Natalie Portman, was their new saga favourite. One of those beguiled and impressed female fans would be fifteen-year old E.K. Johnston, whose love and affection for the Prequel opus and Naboo's finest leader is now effectively showcased in her adult life as an acclaimed novelist, via an all-new adventure launched within the 20th Anniversary of EPISODE I. Queen's Shadow, here next month in UK paperback from Disney/Egmont, is truly a worthy and affectionate tribute in all the best ways.

The young Queen of Naboo, as seen in EPISODE I.

Four years on from the invasion of Naboo, where the inaugural queen proved herself valiantly against the thuggish brutality of the aforementioned Trade Federation, and was not the malleable puppet ruler they'd originally hoped for, the time has now come for Amidala, no longer involved with the Jedi or her young friend in former slave Anakin Skywalker, to pass the torch of power and responsibility on to a new, older Queen. But Padme's dutiful and inspiring work will not be forgotten by her adoring people, some of whom will even try to amend Naboo's constitution in order for her to stay in office. Recognising this popularity and her strengths, it isn't long before her successor offers Padme - herself at a crossroads and pondering the future now that she is separating from many of her loyal handmaidens - the new and soon hard to resist opportunity of being a senator for her people and system, operating between Naboo and the galactic core world of Coruscant- a task that will soon prove to be as considerably challenging as her once position at the centre of her home world. And one that will not be without controversy (targeted and plagued by the kind of 'fake news' smear campaigning we're all seeing in our own modern world) or potential life-threatening danger, engineered by lingering forces possibly out for revenge after the failed Naboo invasion.

Though used to the senate by the time of EPISODE II, Padme's early dealings are on shaky grounding.

Being quite the stranger in a very strange land on Coruscant, discovering the unique characters and ways of the 'Lion's Den' Republic's unique political affairs of ego, greed and powerplays - indeed, a place not for the timid, Padme must become inventive and responsive in interactive ways beyond anything straightforward, especially as many senators are wary of the newly inaugurated senator after she prior deposed the beloved Chancellor Valorum and helped replace him with one of her own in the seemingly benign former Naboo senator, Palpatine. In and out of the main diplomatic chambers, this is a book that gives us important first meetings with the key political figures of the Star Wars universe that will shape her life and destiny by the doom-laden turn of events that will be EPISODE III, including Alderaan's influential Bail Organa, the quietly powerful Mon Mothma, and Padme's future lover who'd go on to appear in The Clone Wars animated series- the slippery and ultimately corrupted senator/banker Rush Clovis.

Senator Amidala and her handmaiden/aide Dorme enter the new and complex political arena on Coruscant.

Further filling in important gaps in the timeline of the Prequel movies (one little moment in the book that we would have loved more of - Padme's dealings with the Wookiees: a potentially great solo tale in itself!), critical events build that will see-in approaching Separatist disharmony (egged on by a mysterious figurehead of respected intellect), leading to Padme and her new allies having to use all their ingenuity and skill-sets to fight the counter-productive, overriding greed and corruption of the senate once an humanitarian crisis beckons, amidst the build-up of rampant space piracy in the mid-rim sectors. Cleverly, the book also leaves room for events years down the line, initiating sequel avenues linked to those surviving characters of Naboo from the aftermath period of Padme's ultimately heart-breaking demise.

Queen Amidala hides as 'Padme' amidst her decoy handmaidens, during the events of EPISODE I.

As the book's star, Johnston's vision of Padme Amidala is every inch the character from the movies transferred to the page for this new story, and in my mind's eye I could effectively imagine Natalie Portman playing out certain scenes had they been filmed- certainly, were this story slipped onto the actresses dressing room table, I'm sure she'd read it and be impressed with the thought and care taken with the character. The new senator even gets a detail-descriptive wardrobe that costume designer Trisha Biggar would be proud of! In between heavy diplomatic duties, Padme's return visits to Naboo see her reunited with her cherished family (sadly necessary casualties of the EPISODE II editing process), providing her with welcome stress relief and initiating the vital heart-to-heart decisions needed in shaping both her life and her new status in helping the weak and the vulnerable.

The ever-loyal Sabe, as played in EPISODE I by Kiera Knightley.

Beyond politics and duty, another intriguing aspect to The Phantom Menace linked to Amidala would be the fascinating nature of protective duality she'd share with her elusive, enigmatic and ultra-loyal handmaidens, always in the background and ready to serve. With Queen's Shadow, we're given an equally thorough exploration of those handmaidens personalities and backstories unlike anything attempted before. alongside vivid development of the affection and emotional bonds they share, almost like symbiosis. The most important of them, Sabe, the handmaiden who was Padme's closest confidante and chief bodyguard/decoy (originally played by Kiera Knightley in EPISODE I), notably her own unique sub-plot missions, including a special trip to Tatooine, and undercover work on Coruscant linked to Padme's safety. All of which goes some way to explaining the character's absence by the time of EPISODE II.

The decoy Queen and her Handmaidens on Naboo.

Continuing the post 2015 LUCASFILM initiative to shake up the status quo and bring more female participation into all the saga's realms, Queen's Shadow further introduces Captain Panaka's wife in the role of successive security chief, plus a feisty new pilot replacing Ric Olie. Though, in all honesty, these additions add very little to the overall existing strong collective.

AFICIONADO RATING: More a book of character incidents rather than having an overall story, Queen's Shadow is a worthy read, better than Miss Johnston's previous, Ahsoka. Though specifically aimed at the female Star Wars side of the market (indeed, the UK cover is very much geared for the young 11-15 year old territory that's now so strong in buying power), it's also one that generic Prequel fans will nonetheless greatly appreciate. 3.5 out of 5.

Available from May 2nd, 2019. Get the book here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Wars-Queens-K-Johnston/dp/1405293381/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=QUEEN%27S+SHADOW&qid=1556186718&s=gateway&sr=8-2

Thursday, 25 April 2019

ILM CLASSIC IMAGE: THE GREAT ILLUSION!


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

THE 'PHANTOM' AT TWENTY: INTRODUCING ANAKIN SKYWALKER


'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':
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TodHWgzPlUc

Sunday, 21 April 2019

EPISODE IX: RETURN OF THE BARON!


POSSIBLE SPOILERS! 

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

BEHIND THE SCENES: THE EVOLUTION OF THE 'TONNIKA TWINS'

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

THE CLONE WARS: AN HONOURABLE INSPECTION!


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:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0XlB2EJZuA&t=3252s

Monday, 15 April 2019

EPISODE IX: THE SERPENT RETURNS...


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:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1-o47Y70lM

Saturday, 13 April 2019

EPISODE IX: THE BONDS OF REBELLION!


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, and a very familiar instrument of destructive terror.

A powerful legacy that must not fall into enemy hands.

CELEBRATION 2019 stage and interviews:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL148kCvXk8pDbF6fs3PUYRcVaqx7Z2Z3r

Latest EPISODE IX news: 

http://www.jedinews.co.uk/film-music-tv/articles/entertainment-tonight-interviews-daisy-ridley-oscar-isaac-kelly-marie-tran/

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2019/apr/12/star-wars-trailer-episode-ix-rise-of-skywalker-biggest-takeaways-review-

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-6916653/Star-Wars-Episode-IX-Rise-Skywalker-teaser-trailer-shared-showing-Rey.html

https://uk.ign.com/articles/2019/04/12/star-wars-jannah-lando-calrissian-daughter-episode-9


https://www.digitalspy.com/movies/a26844875/star-wars-episode-9-oscar-isaac-leia-doesnt-fade-away-unused-footage/

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/star-wars-rise-skywalker-why-death-star-is-trailer-1201883?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social

Cast interviews: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaZpMI1-lHY

More on the trailer: SPOILERS! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08QR9DNYk50

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-12/star-wars-movies-will-take-a-break-after-episode-ix-disney-says


Wednesday, 10 April 2019

OUT THIS MONTH: 'INDUSTRIAL LIGHT & MAGIC PRESENTS: MAKING SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY'

Celebrating the on and off screen storytelling magic, charting the adventures of Han Solo and Chewbacca, within the all-new Industrial Light & Magic Presents: Making Solo: A Star Wars Story. Image: Rob Bredow.© & TM LUCASFILM LTD Used under authorization.

Giving us an unparalleled photo documentarian look into the top-secret, closed-set universe that is today's on-the-floor making of a modern Star Wars film (post-Disney takeover), in ways not seen or documented since 2005's The Making of Revenge of the Sith, albeit this time from the perspective not of a then rising star journalist (as in the esteemed J.W. Rinzler) but of a key member of the film's creative/production team, instead - top ILM veteran/coproducer Rob Bredow. Industrial Light & Magic Presents: Making Solo: A Star Wars Story, from Abrams is surely going to be the highlight coffee table book of the year, building on (yet going beyond in so many ways) 2018's 'Art of' book coverage for the film in uniquely charting the epic teamwork and dedication needed for one of the riskiest, most ambitious and challenging productions so far conceived within George Lucas's originally created universe, and a busily turbulent filmmaking time by late 2017 heightened with positivity and a fresh pair of eyes with the fortuitous arrival of popular blockbuster imagineer Ron Howard, a trusted veteran boldly taking the creative reins of Solo: A Star Wars Story and steering the once-troubled production to new heights of cinematic enjoyment, whilst recognising and respecting the vital talents aided to him by Bredow (whose striking colour and B/W photography is used here to maximum reference impact) and his essential teammates at ILM.

Rob Bredow at the controls of a familiar ship. Image: Lucasfilm/STARWARS.COM

Official book preview/interview:
https://www.starwars.com/news/rob-bredow-making-solo-book-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.


Tuesday, 9 April 2019

THE CLONE WARS: TESTING TIMES!


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

'STAR WARS REBELS': 'THE GHOST' OF 'GALACTICA'?


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

CLASSIC INDY: AND HERE COMES DAD!


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

CLASSIC IMAGE: RESCUERS NEED NOT APPLY!

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:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Leia-Organa-Rebel-Leader-Box/dp/1452167214/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=princess+leia+rebel+leader&qid=1554289874&s=gateway&sr=8-4

Monday, 1 April 2019

OUT THIS MONTH IN THE UK: 'MASTER & APPRENTICE'


'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:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Master-Apprentice-Star-Wars-Claudia/dp/1780899882/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1VY27MUGAT0YN&keywords=master+and+apprentice+star+wars&qid=1554044871&s=gateway&sprefix=master+and+apprentice%2Caps%2C471&sr=8-1