Saturday 25 May 2019
On a far-off realm, smuggling legend-to-be Han Solo, his loyal wookiee compadre Chewbacca, the enigmatic criminal Qi'ra, and the man with his eyes always on the prize, Lando Calrissian, stand by the intergalactic hot rod, the Millennium Falcon, ready for their next big adventure. Great composition art which we assume was part of the film's marketing campaign somewhere in the world back in 2018.
The entertaining as ever Solo: A Star Wars Story celebrates its First Anniversary today. And if any film deserves a sequel, further developing our heroes whilst also bringing in the likes of notorious 'scum' like Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett, it's this one!
The power of the Force, via the mystery and magic of the Jedi lightsaber, is used to striking effect in this great conceptual movie poster art by Tom Jung for Return of the Jedi, and a visual idea/motif that eventually came to fruition promoting the upcoming mystery of the film, and Luke Skywalker's ultimate destiny, come May 1983.
HAPPY THIRTY-SIXTH ANNIVERSARY TO 'RETURN OF THE JEDI'!
Forty-two years on, that 'Saturday matinee serial'-esque tribute' movie, originally called Star Wars back in 1977, continues to thrive and endure brighter than the twin suns of Tatooine. Great stories and iconic characters never go out of fashion, as shown in this striking fan art from Joshua Budich.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, 'STAR WARS'!
George Lucas on the film's genesis:
Friday 24 May 2019
|'Who's going to come save you, Junior?' The Jones boys - art by Drew Struzan.|
'The dad thing was my idea. The grail doesn't offer a whole lot of special effects and doesn't promise a huge physical climax. I just thought that the Grail that everybody seeks could be a metaphor for a son seeking reconciliation with a father and a father seeking reconciliation with a son. It also gave me a chance to suggest Sean Connery. Who else but Bond could have been worthy enough to play Indiana Jones' dad?'
Steven Spielberg - EMPIRE film magazine - 2006
HAPPY THIRTIETH BIRTHDAY TO 'INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE'!
Thursday 23 May 2019
Clearly a formidable opponent and lethal in close-quarters combat (note those handy thigh-strapped double blades she's ready to use), welcome to the Star Wars universe, Keri Russell's Zorri Bliss, as mysteriously revealed on the planet Kijimi, in the EPISODE IX coverage for the latest issue of Vanity Fair. Image by Annie Leibovitz.
Being on EPISODE IX:
Wednesday 22 May 2019
|Image: Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair magazine.|
POSSIBLE SPOILERS! Amidst hurricane-like weather conditions on an unknown world, possibly atop the hull of a now near water drenched (or possibly even submerged) Millennium Falcon, or some kind of freighter craft, a deadly confrontation takes place between Kylo Ren and Rey, in this stunning image from EPISODE IX captured by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair. Presumably, the exciting sequence reuniting the opposite sides of the Force was filmed at the infamous water tank area of Pinewood Studios during 2018.
The striking opening magazine coverage for IX goes to Vanity Fair, featuring an enjoyable phenomenon overview article for the most part, and surely Annie Leibovitz's best modern Star Wars film related photo shoot work. A gorgeous collectible issue, guaranteed.
Tuesday 21 May 2019
|The adapted Roger Kastel poster for Empire soon used in UK publicity on London's Underground network and in newspapers during 1980, incorporating the important characters of Lando Calrissian and Boba Fett. Image: via Matthew Shaw Collection.|
'George (Lucas) had been given enormous license by the success of Star Wars. So when he started talking to me about The Empire Strikes Back script that didn't exist, he knew what had to happen in the story, and it was very dark stuff. I was delighted that it was not going to be a rehash of Star Wars, and that after having set the whole thing up, and gotten that rousing start, you launch into the second act where everything goes straight to hell. And that's usually the best act in a play.'
Lawrence Kasdan - 'Empire of Dreams' documentary, 2004
HAPPY THIRTY-NINTH BIRTHDAY TO 'THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK'!
Sunday 19 May 2019
'This one (the new Trilogy) deals basically with the issues of evil and the issues of how a good person turns bad. It's a tragedy. I'm not sure how commercial it's going to be. but I've got myself into the position where I can do whatever I want. So I can take risks with the films I make; I can tell stories that may not pan out to be popular but are the stories I want to tell. I worked pretty hard to get into this position and now I can take advantage of it.'
George Lucas - BBC Interview (1998)
EPISODE I - global box office (so far): $1.27 billion.
HAPPY TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY - 'EPISODE I'!
Official oral history:
STAR WARS CELEBRATION 2019 honours EPISODE I:
'The third film is very, very dark. It's not a happy film by any stretch of the imagination. It's a tragedy. People think of the Star Wars movies as happy movies. What they're going to do about a tragedy, I don't know. It will probably be the least successful of all the Star Wars movies - but I know that.'
George Lucas - Empire magazine - September 1999
'I'm proud of the second three moves. People may not like them, but I'm proud of them. I never in a million years thought I could finish the whole story. In its course, I've done a lot of things I wanted to do, taking themes and stringing them in different tones through different times - recurring elements twisted in different ways. And I've managed to do something that I've always been fascinated with - doing something over twelve hours instead of two. What it really comes down to is, I am a happy man. What else can I tell you?'
George Lucas - Time magazine - May 9th, 2005
EPISODE III - global box office (so far): $848 million.
HAPPY FOURTEENTH ANNIVERSARY TO 'EPISODE III'!
Saturday 18 May 2019
It takes all sorts to fight the tyranny of the First Order, of which the Rebellion's finest BB unit, super-cute and super-resourceful BB-8, joins forces with a new friend in the equally charming D-O to aid the cause of light. A lovely little visual moment from the teaser trailer to EPISODE IX. The environment around them looks like some kind of scrap or salvage area, perhaps similar to Watto's junkyard from EPISODE I?
Thursday 16 May 2019
|'Begun, the Clone War has...'|
'The next film (EPISODE II) is a love story, and I don't know how that is going to be taken by fans. They think of Star Wars as one kind of movie. And it's drifting a little more - by the nature of it being a love story, it's less of a kids' movie because they don't like to sit through all that yucky stuff. But it's still aimed at the same age level, so it's going to be a real challenge for me to get through that part.'
George Lucas - Empire magazine - September 1999
'The whole aspect of (EPISODE II) which is 'the mystery' is based upon a 1940's film noir, Maltese Falcon - all the great mystery movies of the '30's and '40's. That's the influence here. I wanted it to have the quality of those great Raymond Chandler mysteries. You have to remember that this whole series of films is based on a '30's genre. the acting style is very much from the '30's. Conceptually, it's using the inspiration of the '30's films as its basis, the most central being the '30's matinee serial.'
George Lucas - EPISODE II DVD commentary - 2002
EPISODE II - global box office (so far): $649.4 million
HAPPY SEVENTEENTH BIRTHDAY TO 'EPISODE II'!
Tuesday 14 May 2019
The two key beloved minds and destiny-shaping individuals of the Star Wars Universe, in front of and behind the camera: Master Yoda and George Lucas, come together for a memorable Japanese marketing campaign of the mid-nineties. we assume linked to Panasonic video tech.
STAR WARS AFICIONADO website sends its warmest birthday greetings out to George Lucas!
Monday 13 May 2019
The presence of General Grievous on Utapau has been confirmed, and now Obi-Wan Kenobi, with the aid of his current droid, make plans for the upcoming attack on the enemy stronghold located at the upper levels within Tipocca City. Another memorable image from EPISODE III.
Saturday 11 May 2019
The road to Jabba's Palace is long and paved with declarations of doom-laden woe, courtesy of Threepio, as he and Artoo reach their inevitable destination, in this lovely Ralph McQuarrie production art for Return of the Jedi, showing a different landscape to the one ultimately seen in the finished film of 1983, though it would appear successfully translated to the MARVEL comics adaptation art by Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon.
Interestingly, the same production painting would be displayed on the Star Wars Identities world exhibition tour, but with an added image to it of a Gamorrean Guard (as seen below). When and why exactly the creative decision was made to incorporate the creature I don't know.
|From the Star Wars Identities UK Exhibition. Photo: Scott Weller.|
|Another unused angle/vista art concept for the route to Jabba's Palace.|
Wednesday 8 May 2019
|An iconic partnership begins, with cinema history charted alongside them, in Rob Bredow's best-selling Industrial Light & Magic Presents: Making Solo: A Star Wars Story, out now in the UK from ABRAMS.|
Industrial Light & Magic Presents: Making Solo: A Star Wars Story (ABRAMS; April 16, 2019; £35; Hardcover) is an eyewitness account of the film's production, from Industrial Light & Magic's visual effects supervisor and coproducer Rob Bredow, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects for the film. The book, featuring a special foreword by director Ron Howard, gives readers an intimate glimpse into the journey that Solo took from pre-production, production, and post-production, fully documenting how the film came to the big screen, from an insider who was at the centre of it all.
Bredow talks about the book:
|Fulfilling a dream - author, photographer and top visual effects talent, Rob Bredow. Image: STARWARS.COM.|
Here's six particular reasons why the book is both an indispensable treat and essential purchase, especially with the film's first anniversary this month:
1. Accessing all areas! The making of any Star Wars film post 1979's first sequel in The Empire Strikes Back has always expectantly been shrouded in an atmospheric fog of Top Secret, ultra-closed sets and need-to-know shooting conditions, so as to not have their efforts in crafting classic scenes copied by rivals (the long shadow and after-effects of 1978's Battlestar Galactica still remembered) or leaked out before their time. With Making:Solo a new precedent is set, as the curtains are temporarily lifted to show us many illuminating secrets of the tight-knit realm run by Disney/Lucasfilm. Previous 'making of' books published so far on the saga have, with the exception of J.W. Rinzler's EPISODE III book of 2005, successfully covered the film's post release, with others published so many years after the fact. Rob Bredow's work here is unique and exciting in that, as one of the key players bringing Solo to life throughout its building block assembly, he gives us the kind of unparalleled access, coverage and perspectives we've always wanted to see on bringing the essential Star Wars blend of storytelling and thrills to life, and on a film project that has generated a mysterious mix of turbulent yet also innovative fascination.
2. Gorgeous photography. The Disney held, post 2015 SW film series has seen a massive step back (yet forwards) into building real world environments and vehicles at the franchise's new home shooting base at Pinewood Studios. This book's superb colour and atmospheric B/W imagery across many gorgeous spread layouts shows us the detailed magnificence of new realms not previously seen on screen - the snow-caped Vandor (and its frontier township), the harsh environments of slave colony Kessel, and the lavish interior of Dryden Vos's dagger-styled vessel. Striking sets of which the film's young cast and crew would clearly be in awe of the finished work translated from concept to reality (the talent and humour of the film's key star in Alden Ehrenreich most noticeable and well captured is some great candid imagery). Plus, a detailed look at Solo's striking natural locations used in Spain (for the refuelling station of the far-off Savareen) and Northern Italy for an epic high-speed Imperial train heist- places capturing screen magic that brought their own unique on and off screen challenges and life-experiences to bear fruit.
|Bringing the infamous Sabaac game to life. Image: Rob Bredow © & TM LUCASFILM LTD. Used under authorization.|
3. More on the 'alternate' version of the movie. As we all know, acclaimed and versatile director Ron Howard came onto the project after the departure of its original helmers in Chris Miller and Phil Lord (the award-winning duo now officially referred to as producers on the project). Though the aspects and reasons for the duo's departure are played down, nay almost non-existently, in the book, their presence and enthusiasm of being on the film two years back is clear to see through certain photography, notably early on where we see more of their original vision towards the characters and story, which looked like it had even more of an American West meets Star Wars flavour to it, especially in the originally shot version of the Vandor train heist sequence- Han and Chewie riding distinctive buffalo-like creatures alongside the rapid-moving Imperial track vehicle.
|Director Ron Howard and cinematographer Bradford Young re-visit a classic! Image: Rob Bredow © & TM LUCASFILM LTD. Used under authorization.|
4. The Millennium Falcon. These last few years only specialist chosen ones have gotten the chance to see and explore Corellia's fastest hunk of junk at its confines at Pinewood Studios. Bredow gives us a special window of exploration to the stunning interior of super-smoothy Lando Calrissian's souped-up freighter turned pleasure vessel, from the cockpit to the main hold, as well as its glorious fine-detailed exterior. A mouth-watering visual treat for fans, and fan builders in particular, to discover. Towards the end of the book there's also a cute linkage with the return of Phil Tippett's beloved holo-chess game in its prequel stages, plus a fun behind the scenes anecdote to the original 1977 crafted Star Wars stop-motion sequence that not many people might know.
5. The definition of ILM teamwork. Alongside Bredow's lovely photography and key oral history to the film, there are further contribution quotes from the core ILM team members that worked under considerable time restraints to deliver such an enjoyable end product, all giving us the lowdown on techniques old and new being used to keep the George Lucas universe as exciting and innovative as ever.
|Howard and cast prepare for a memorable finale to the film. Image: Rob Bredow © & TM LUCASFILM LTD. Used under authorization.|
6. That 'We're making a Star Wars movie!' vibe. The saga's staying power as a pop culture phenomenon, linked to the incredible camaraderie experiences of the cast and crew working on a special film like Solo. is another showcase element through the book's lovely pictorial spreads. Clearly, the people involved in the project don't take their work on it for granted, or want to disappoint the expectant fans. There's an endearing awe and sense of dedication-to-heritage shown by everyone too - honouring the past yet delivering new moments to enhance the legacy. Oh, how lucky these people all were to be immersed in such a fantasy world, and within a very privileged behind the scenes club, where they all got to smile and play every day!
With thanks to ABRAMS UK for their help in the preparation of this review.
|Image: Rob Bredow via STARWARS.COM.|
Other online book publicity:
Get it here:
Monday 6 May 2019
On location in Italy during 2000, Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen make the most of their picturesque shooting venue but stay under the shade to protect both their make-up and costumes, in this fun behind the scenes shot from EPISODE II. Their site was further post production beauty enhanced by ILM, right down to the necessary shot-by-shot removal of many buzzing-about flies.
Friday 3 May 2019
|Peter Mayhew with a Chewbacca mask (presumably a prototype from Don Post Studios?), the actor attending a special meet and greet competition for young fans in Toronto - December 1977. Image: Toronto Sun newspaper.|
'In some respects, it's nice that you can hide behind a character and just be yourself and the character comes through. I more or less think like a Wookiee, almost. But there is such a lot of feeling that can go in and can be expressed, that it's just a nice character to do.'
Peter Mayhew- TV publicity interview during 1979 filming of The Empire Strikes Back.
The world says a sad goodbye to the 'Gentle Giant' and loyal ambassador of the Star Wars Saga- Peter Mayhew, who passed away yesterday.
Official tribute: https://www.starwars.com/news/peter-mayhew
|Art by Paul Shipper.|
A special 1977 Canadian publicity meet and greet:
Starlog 10th Anniversary Convention interview (1987):
Unpublished 2005 interview:
Thursday 2 May 2019
In the misty forest realms of an unknown world, Kylo Ren's lightsaber savagery knows no bounds, as he and his First Order soldiers take on enemy resistance. An intriguing, violent moment from the EPISODE IX teaser effectively showcasing the return of Adam Driver's immensely popular character.