Saturday, 30 November 2019
Forget what'll happen between Rey and Kylo Ren, or whether good will triumph over evil. What a lot of Star Wars fans want to know is whether we'll see the return of the Porgs, created by Rian Johnson, for The Last Jedi? Well, the answer is a resounding YES!, as recently revealed in one of EPISODE IX's recent character-packed movie posters- primarily Chewbacca's small co-pilot, seen flying into a cockpit window at speed to humorous effect during the Battle of Crait.
Here's hoping we get further comic relief and bravery from the furry Puffin-esque critter come EPISODE IX.
Woe betide any Jedi young or old who crosses paths with the distinguished Madame Jocasta Nu and her knowledge of the vast archives within the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, as Obi-Wan politely discovers, in a scene from EPISODE II.
Friday, 29 November 2019
A lovely reference and celebration to things past, to 1977 and the launch of the original Star Wars, with this new US RealD poster for The Rise of Skywalker. Forty-two years? Where has all the time gone?
New International Trailer:
They've been in and out of some terrible scrapes and escaped some very close shaves with the Galactic Empire, but now the future looks very bleak for both Han Solo and Chewbacca with their capture by Darth Vader and the resourceful bounty hunter Boba Fett at Cloud City, in this scene from The Empire Strikes Back.
|Camera rehearsing the scene with multiple cameras at Elstree Studios -Summer 1979. Note the maskless Peter Mayhew.|
Thursday, 28 November 2019
The rebuilt Resistance/Rebellion has gained strength in pilots and soldiers by the time of The Rise of Skywalker, including the notable face of a familiar J.J. Abrams series favourite, British talent Dominic Monagahn, a long-time fan of the SW saga whose dream to appear in the franchise has finally come true. He plays the intriguingly-named 'Beaumont Kin'.
We finish our exhaustive and unrivalled 20th Anniversary coverage of EPISODE I with another great art showcase, this time Hugh Fleming's splendid piece that adorned the complete version of Dark Horse Comics 1999 adaptation of the film. The art is a fitting end in showcasing the story's iconic characters in colourful fashion...
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
The next chase begins, as our heroes try to speedily avoid pursuant First Order forces after the completion of a mission - a no doubt thrilling sequence filmed in Jordan, acting as the desert realm of Pasaana, for The Rise of Skywalker.
First movie clip:
They've spent many hours in the enclosed space of the Death Star's infamous trash compactor- the water's dirty and smelly, and the actors rubber undersuits are uncomfortable and tight as the studio's overhead lights heat intensify. But Carrie Fisher and a half submerged Mark Hamill persevere and prepare for the next shot, whilst British cameraman Ronnie Taylor (who sadly passed in 2018), wearing fishing wetsuit trousers, gets ready with portable equipment for close-in work.
Ronnie Taylor's previous obituary:
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
|Merchandise publicity for Kylo Ren and his Knights.|
They've efficiently and brutally helped their leader bring terror to the galaxy by the time of The Force Awakens, now the fearsome, heavily-armoured Knights of Ren return after a film's absence to face a bigger test to their mettle- the formidable enemy of Rey and the new Rebellion, as the group makes its anticipated, welcome return to the sequel franchise with The Rise of Skywalker.
|Arrived on Pasaana for their master.|
Taking on Trade Federation Battle Droids and their ilk seems like a walk in the park for our Clone Trooper heroes compared to subduing the might Zillo Beast on the Dug's homeworld of Malastare, in this great shot from The Clone Wars Season Two monster episode, The Zillo Beast.
Monday, 25 November 2019
In the wreckage of the Emperor's throne room, within an equally wrecked Death Star, Rey once more confronts the Dark Side influenced Kylo Ren, for what will surely be another pivotal moment from The Rise of Skywalker.
|J.J. Abrams confers with Adam Driver during filming.|
J.J. Abrams talks about the new movie:
With all the troubles and dangers they've had getting the raw coaxium out from the spice mines of Kessel, there's no way Han Solo's gonna let the valuable and neck-saving consignment get taken by those 'marauders' led by Enfys Nest, as seen in this great cowboy-esque visual moment from Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Sunday, 24 November 2019
Boasting numerous character covers (3 plus the unique subscribers edition), the new January 2020 issue of EMPIRE promises the ultimate coverage of EPISODE IX, plus a supplement celebrating the entire nine-film saga.
It's not the most agreeable of worlds for a Wookiee, and there isn't much food to enjoy, nonetheless Chewie shows great patience in his time on the far-off realm of Ahch-To during early events of The Last Jedi, especially when it's in regard to trying to win his self-exiled Jedi Knight and friend Luke Skywalker back to the hero's journey!
Saturday, 23 November 2019
Needing only a bowler hat, and despite wearing half of his famous droid costume suit, Anthony Daniels looks the epitome of an English Gent in Star Wars land, in this great behind the scenes location image from The Rise of Skywalker.
Find out what Mister Daniels felt about once more returning to the saga from the 2015 onwards sequels inside his hugely entertaining new autobiography of life being the famous golden protocol droid- the critically well-received I Am C-3PO - The Inside Story, out now, published by DK BOOKS. It's a perfect Christmas present for fans to enjoy.
More book info here:
Get it here:
Only those with belief in their hearts and minds will be able to reach the legendary cup of the Holy Grail, as seen in this impressive art referenced by the 'Jones boys' during their epic search, and with the eventual 'leap of faith' made by Indy himself, during the finale to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade!
Friday, 22 November 2019
|Image by Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm/Disney.|
On the chilled, snow-clad streets of Kijimi, Kylo Ren's First Order Stormtroopers seek out Rebellion activity, in a military force moment from The Rise of Skywalker.
Amidst the clever juxtapositions of the Death Star and the tropical world of Scarif (and its Imperial base), young rebel Jyn Erso must face the ultimate challenges as the heroine of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in this cool poster artwork leading up to the film's release in 2016, by Matt Ferguson. Note that this poster is more aligned with the film's originally shot version- note the lone signal station as seen in the film's original teaser trailer, which was located separate to the main Imperial facility.
Thursday, 21 November 2019
Finally, Rey discovers the legacy of Darth Vader, and how his past presence in the Dark Side of the Force still resonates and influences the future, in this scene, we assume within some kind of Imperial/First Order Archive, from The Rise of Skywalker.
(12) Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker | “End” TV Spot - YouTube
Another great piece of James Clyne concept/production art for The Force Awakens, as Resistance X-wings descend to attack Starkiller Base and its ascending TIE fighters. It's also a nice visual reference to A New Hope's Special Edition, with the new shot of the Rebel fighters descending into the Death Star.
Wednesday, 20 November 2019
Poe Dameron said he can fly anything, so it's great to see him with Chewbacca at the controls of the iconic mind-of-its-own Millennium Falcon, during another pivotal action moment from the upcoming The Rise of Skywalker.
At ILM, actress Amy Allen prepares to film Aayla Secura's Order 66 death scene against green screen, with Star Wars creator George Lucas on hand to help fill in the visual clues to the Felucia background that will be added on behind her by the time of EPISODE III's 2005 release.
Tuesday, 19 November 2019
The original Star Wars saga is coming to an end and the upcoming Entertainment Weekly magazine is in celebratory mood, giving us these great classic characters composition covers spanning the three trilogies.
The original A New Hope large size Millennium Falcon model is back on the ILM blue screen filming stage ready for action, with top effects legend ready to coordinate her destiny, in this great behind the scenes shot from late 1982 for Return of the Jedi.
Richard Edlund was one of the many excellent guests past and present celebrating the work of the original Star Wars back in June 2019, as part of the Galactic Innovations talk at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in California. This was an event linked to Lucasfilm's special donation of its first Dysktraflex camera to the Academy.
Remembering the now-passed talents who worked on the Classic Trilogy:
ILM@40 “In Memoriam” on Vimeo
Monday, 18 November 2019
In a realm yet to be revealed, Emperor Palpatine's immense and ominous throne, carved from evil, awaits its Sith Master's presence, in this great image from The Rise of Skywalker. The great man of evil is also briefly shown in the film's final trailer, looking down towards Rey. But if it's indeed him, how did he survive the Battle of Endor?
As has been noted by fans recently, the design of the chair is another welcome tribute to the Classic Trilogy's past - based on great early conceptual art pieces by the much-missed Ralph McQuarrie, originally for Revenge of the Jedi.
|Revenge of the Jedi concept art by Ralph McQuarrie.|
Even Princesses like to have fun once in a while, as our favourite heroine from 'A Long Time Ago...' is transported to Earth during the fifties, at a time when beach parties, bikini babes and 'Surf's Up!' were the in-thing! A great shot of a pre-'Slave Girl' outfit Carrie Fisher in prime bikini style alongside top comedienne Gilda Radner, during the classic NBC TV's Saturday Night Live sketch/parody - 'Beach Blanket Bimbo from Outer Space' - which aired 18/11/78. Making the most of her quirky side, Miss Fisher even got to sing as Leia once again after her memorable Holiday Special cameo, this time with the classic 'New Kid on Earth'.
Sunday, 17 November 2019
They may live in the trees and commune with nature, but the Wookiees of the arboreal world of Kashyyyk also know how to make the most of modern technology in their unique home dwellings, as seen in this fun Ralph McQuarrie conceptual art for the much-maligned but still fan-enjoyed The Star Wars Holiday Special, celebrating its 41st Anniversary today.
Saturday, 16 November 2019
|Dark fates await Count Dooku and Asajj Ventress in the all-new Dooku - Jedi Lost. Cover art by Aaron McBride.|
Though Anakin Skywalker's journey into darkness is the lynchpin to the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, there were other Jedi from his era who'd also fall from grace and show great evil. Most notably, the nefarious, enigmatic and ruthlessly cruel figure of Count Dooku, as played in Episode's II and III by the stately presence with that classy veneer of evil that was silver-screen legend, Sir Christopher Lee. Now, in celebration of both the character and the man who played him, British author Cavan Scott gives us more on the origins of Dooku, born to nobility, becoming a once powerful Jedi, then a threat to the universe upon transferring his allegiances to the Sith, as Dooku - Jedi Lost's audio drama script gets a satisfying book release, available in the UK from Century Publishing.
Ever the imaginative storyteller, Scott uses Asajj Ventress, Dooku's own powerful Padawan for evil, as his key and unique framing device in launching the story, to peel back the dark layers of Dooku's past, his locked-away vulnerabilities, and soon future, whilst more facets of Ventress's own past, discovered and used by Dooku for twisted ends, are concurrently revealed.
|Christopher Lee as the battle-scarred Count Dooku.|
Removed from his linage of dynastic power on the Outer Rim world of Serenno by a Jedi seeker, an act of deliberate abandonment engineered by his powerful Father - a cruel leader despising of the Jedi (including his own son) and the Republic to whom they serve, Dooku's power is soon cultivated at the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. But despite that potential goodness and the genuinely faithful service given to his Masters, as well as the benevolence and experience he gives as a role model teacher himself in his later years, Dooku's ego/arrogance, fused with driven ambition and greed to be the ultimate Jedi, alongside growing dark knowledge of secret Sith artefacts and prophecies at the Jedi Temple, assuredly launches his eventual steps towards the realms of darkness - true pride before a fall, bolstered by his frustration at his friends building inability to bring true peace and justice to the galaxy, of which even his closest confidants and later Padawan learners are not enough to keep him close to the side of light.
|Dark times ahead for Dooku and Sifo-Dyas.|
And Dooku's tragic family history already has ties to the Sith- the world of Serenno having been one of the sect's many empiric worlds from a thousand year before, whose now wary people are on the verge of rebellion against the Republic, egged on by his despot father. In Dooku - Jedi Lost, all these elements are well explored and used, as is the development of Dooku's problematic family ties (a weakness for his beloved sister being an important plot point) on a world he knows faces fiery oblivion, and which must be saved and shaped anew under his guidance, leading carefully to his eventual reign as Separatist Leader by the time of EPISODE II. In those final years before becoming one of 'The Lost Twenty', Dooku will further manipulate an old Jedi friend- the vulnerable Master Sifo-Dyas, a visionary on the brink of madness, who sees the dark future of the galaxy with building emotional intensity...
|The many faces of Dooku. Art by Aaron McBride.|
As the story reaches its darkest moments, Dooku- Jedi Lost proves a solid concoction from Cavan Scott that Prequel fans will enjoy. Most of the author's work in developing the Count feels right in the reading - a rare privilege to be able to bring so much more detail to such a popular Star Wars villain, including research that cleverly combines opinions and thoughts observed about the character from the late Mister Lee himself. Though I did have a problem in picturing Dooku as a pet person, as discovered here in moments that felt too Harry Potter-esque for my personal tastes, and not even during his prior positive status as a Jedi. (The choice of pet, however, soon proves key to the dark phoenix rising-esque idea perpetuated by the author.)
AFICIONADO RATING: Sith happens! From these interesting script/book foundations, there's lots of potential for a sequel drama showing Dooku properly assuming the mantle of Darth Tyranus alongside Darth Sidious, so let's hope that happens... 3.5 out of 5
More on the book (plus excerpts):
Get the book here:
At FOX Studios, Australia in 2000, Ewan McGregor may have to endure lots of rain on the Kamino set but at least he also gets to enjoy having his own starfighter and go on a Dick Tracy-esque detective spree during filming for EPISODE II.
Friday, 15 November 2019
|Image: Annie Leibovitz/Vanity Fair.|
At the incredible location of Wadi Rum in Jordan, best remembered for its use in the more Earthbound epic of Lawrence of Arabia, writer/director J.J. Abrams prepares to continue the story, and reveal the ultimate destiny, of the heroine he brought to life so effectively onscreen. alongside the very special British actress who plays her with such strength, courage and singular vulnerability- Daisy Ridley, for The Rise of Skywalker. Another great image captured by the iconic photographer Annie Leibovitz that appeared exclusively in Vanity Fair magazine, earlier in 2019.
More on J.J. Abrams talking EPISODE IX:
Newly arrived in a crashed escape pod on Dagobah, a vulnerable Luke Skywalker is attacked by a mysterious life/Force draining insectoid, in an early idea ultimately cut from the later script to The Empire Strikes Back written by Lawrence Kasdan, but which nonetheless had intrguing and scary conceptual art done for it by Ralph McQuarrie.
Thursday, 14 November 2019
Supreme Leader Kylo Ren and his legion of First Order troopers are certainly caught in the eye of the storm- specifically the repelling force of the Millennium Falcon, and an escaping Rey, during a key action scene, and another tantalizing piece of imagery, from The Rise of Skywalker.
|George Lucas on the Episode I promotional circuit- this time in Japan- 1999. Photo: Getty Images.|
Its post production completed, May 1999 onward saw Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace 'escaped' into the world to be loved and hated in equal measure by expectant fans. But one important factor remains- the Star Wars saga was back anew, and pretty much back for good in the public consciousness thanks to the worldwide box office success of the Prequel Trilogy, an event that would launch a new generation of devoted enthusiasts, primarily thanks to the imagination and skills of its writer/director, George Lucas.
"Well, I had mixed feelings about being George (Star Wars) Lucas. That was a hard thing, but I did finally accept that there was probably nothing I was going to do with the rest of my life that was going to change that, that I might as well live with it. It's not the worst thing in the world."
George Lucas- Time magazine - 2005
Wednesday, 13 November 2019
The time has come for General Leia Organa to partially step back from the fight against the First Order in some respects, but not before launching her friends, her comrades, her new family, on a critical search mission at the start to EPISODE IX.
Back in 2018, AFICIONADO made an online blog request asking for the Star Wars/Lucasfilm movie team to find some way of using deleted footage and CGI wizadry in somehow bringing Carrie Fisher and General Leia Organa into the epic conclusion that is EPISODE IX. They likely never saw a word of what was written regardless, but we're glad and say 'Thank you!' that J.J. Abrams and company, alongside the Fisher family/estate, were able to find that special and surely emotional on screen way of doing so.
'We're sort of like a family. Carrie is like my little sister, and I'm Harrison's little brother.'
Mark Hamill - Bantha Tracks newsletter interview to Craig Miller (April, 1978 issue)
It was Friday May 28th, 1976, and Stage 3 of London's Elstree Studios was having a busy day on its 'Death Star Forward Bay' set housing the mammoth half-built Millennium Falcon prop. Classic scenes and action would be shot, including the moment where Obi-Wan Kenobi surrenders himself to the Force whilst Darth Vader (Dave Prowse) cuts him down - a charged moment shot with both Sir Alec Guinness and a collapsing cloak effects prop that proved troublesome on the day (seen in far left background), and the start of Luke Skywalker's shocked retaliatory battle against five Imperial Stormtroopers (including stunt men Peter Diamond, Colin Skeaping (seen sitting down behind Mark Hamill in the pic) and Reg Harding).
It was also the day that a UK behind the scenes filming crew caught one of the defining classic moments 'backstage' from the original Star Wars, showing the relaxed and fun-loving American trio of Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher at their finest together- three pals embarking on a strange but fun film-making journey in a far away land, both in the film and on location in London. It would be a great and wild time that would never quite be recaptured for them again when reunited for future sequels. Nonetheless, the image remains the perfect time capsule moment to that original friendship.
Tuesday, 12 November 2019
Working in the same profession, the late Jango Fett said he was just 'a simple man' trying to make his way in the universe. Things look a little different, however, and a lot harder in the life-threatening stakes, for the formidable armoured figure of The Mandalorian, during the dark and dangerous days post Return of the Jedi. The exciting and innovative launch season from Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni debuts Stateside on the all-new Disney+ (a service additionally rolling out Europe-wide from Spring 2020 onwards).
The Star Wars Show preview:
The situation is grave for the Kaminoans, crew and recuperating Clone Trooper wounded located in on one of the space-distant Republic medical cruisers, as news comes through of a deadly Separatist weapon on the move against them. A crisis moment from The Clone Wars Season One episode, Shadow of Malevolence.
Monday, 11 November 2019
Though now at one, and at peace, within the Force, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker will nonetheless make some kind of vital, final contribution to the upcoming The Rise of Skywalker, linked to the destiny of that girl from 'nowhere', Rey. Whether this contribution by our favourite saga hero, played with such mature and acclaimed distinction by Mark Hamill in The Last Jedi, will either be in vocal form (as heard in recent trailers), and/or in physical manifestation as shown via Annie Leibovitz's striking posed photography for Vanity Fair earlier this year, remains to be seen...
More on the original arc for Luke that was planned early-on for the sequels: