CELEBRATING FORTY GLORIOUS YEARS OF 'THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK' AT STARWARS.COM

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

OUT NOW - THE ART OF 'STAR WARS - THE RISE OF SKYWALKER'


For the final time providing the evolving behind the scenes process of a post-George Lucas Star Wars/Skywalker family saga movie via fascinating facts/quotes and compelling conceptual art imagery (from some of the world's finest creative artists blessed with a burning passion for the universe they are spectacularly bringing to life) comes The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, written once more with depth and appreciative detail by Phil Szostak, and stylishly published by Abrams Books. It's the last gap needing to be filled in your vital Sequel Trilogy book collection, and an added indispensable visual experience alongside the now US-available home entertainment release of the hit film.

Book/art previews:

https://www.looper.com/197805/hidden-gems-that-the-art-of-the-rise-of-skywalker-reveals-about-the-movie-exclusive/?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=twitter

https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/the-art-of-star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker-landos-original-look-space-wolves-exclusive-concept-art-170048792.html

https://www.starwars.com/news/the-making-of-the-art-of-star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker?cmp=smc%7C3239622470&fbclid=IwAR1pZpPpoI0Q6myDhWEnWOHQng3PLKsThNItUuNDzvwbgxUnuept_CZ28e0

Book release info:

The official behind-the-scenes concept, production, and post-production art for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Go inside the creative process behind the most anticipated film of the century. The latest trilogy in the Star Wars film series brings the Skywalker Saga to a close and The Art of The Rise of Skywalker will take readers into the creative process behind visualizing the epic worlds, creatures, characters, costumes, weapons and vehicles of the landmark conclusion more than 40 years in the making.

Get the book here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Star-Wars-Rise-Skywalker/dp/1419740385/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1YBM46SEHOYJ8&keywords=the+art+of+the+rise+of+skywalker&qid=1585587715&sprefix=THE+ART+OF+THE+RISE+OF+SKYWALKER%2Caps%2C577&sr=8-1

Monday, 30 March 2020

EPISODE IX: GUIDANCE OF A JEDI MASTER!


The Force and the Force of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker has never been stronger, nor more respectful of a Jedi's weapon, as our hero returns to the saga one last time to help Rey confront her destiny, as Mark Hamill shows the kind of mercurial confidence in his performance that's not unlike Sir Alec Guinness's performance as Ben 'Obi-Wan' Kenobi in the original Star Wars. With no return to Skellig Island for The Rise of Skywalker, the landscape for the important cameo sequence was strikingly recreated on the backlot of Pinewood Studios.


The sequence where Luke raises his X-wing fighter out of the water on Ahch-To, where once as a boy on Dagobah he couldn't, was a fine upbeat moment worthy of the series and a return to the more optimistic character of old.

https://www.cinemablend.com/news/2493293/jj-abrams-wasnt-sure-about-one-rise-of-skywalker-moment-that-ties-back-to-empire-strikes-back

https://www.nme.com/news/film/star-wars-mark-hamill-played-a-secret-role-in-the-rise-of-skywalker-2592445

https://movieweb.com/star-wars-9-mark-hamill-real-luke-skywalker/?fbclid=IwAR3LP9CTPqcp-pwUpC5MAqZqqbaJD_6UtDSpJKodM6UsqVk_a6BfglI3b6E

Sunday, 29 March 2020

EPISODE IX: 'BEING' BABU FRIK!


When it comes to hacking droids and other sophisticated systems for important info (especially of the top secret or forbidden kind), whether for itself or potentially lucrative gain, no one can match the diminutive and resourceful Babu Frik, who, despite only being in a few scenes, proved a terrific scene stealer in The Rise of Skywalker, voiced and uniquely animatronic puppet operated by popular UK actress Shirley Henderson, guided by Neal Scanlan's team of visual engineers.



Behind the scenes info:

https://www.cinemablend.com/news/2489353/why-star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalkers-babu-frik-actress-learned-puppeteering-for-the-role

https://www.polygon.com/star-wars/2020/3/20/21187241/star-wars-rise-of-skywalker-babu-frik-maz-kantata-behind-the-scenes-interview-neal-scanlan

https://www.empireonline.com/movies/news/star-wars-babu-frik-nearly-died-steven-spielberg-saved-him/

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2020/05/may-the-4th-babu-frik-star-wars

Saturday, 28 March 2020

EPISODE IX: DROID ADVENTURERS!


On the mountainous/desert realm of Pasaana, our iconic hero C-3PO may impart tourist advice at the wrong time to his human Resistance cohorts, but at least lovable BB-8 enjoys some fellow droid company, as seen in this lovely posed image taken by on set photographer Jonathan Olley, in Jordan, during location filming of The Rise of Skywalker. It's a shot that's likely done in tribute to the famous one of Threepio and Artoo together at the Lars Homestead, from back in 1976.

Anthony Daniels various:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvQ-ktdG5WE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FxVPvpK1xA&feature=emb_logo

Friday, 27 March 2020

EPISODE IX: CHARGE OF THE FINN BRIGADE!


More determined than ever to stop the First and Final Orders from getting their fleet beyond the perilous atmosphere of Exegol, Finn and his friend and fellow Stormtrooper deserter Jannah lead an army of Orbaks into battle in this super image and moment from The Rise of Skywalker.

https://www.insider.com/star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker-space-horses-without-vfx-2020-3



Thursday, 26 March 2020

EPISODE IX: THE RETURN OF MAZ!


Disappointingly, our favourite 'smuggler queen', barkeep and First Order fighter in Maz Kanata, so well voiced and quirkily played by Lupita Nyong'o, had very little to do in The Rise of Skywalker other than impart certain bits of plot information, though it's likely one scene of her with Leia linked to Luke's lightsaber (originally shot for The Force Awakens and re-jigged in a new way) might make its way to a future IX home entertainment release.


Interestingly, Maz was this time realized as a practical animatronic creation on set by Neal Scanlan and his dedicated creatures team, with some CGI added subtleties added later.

https://www.cinemablend.com/news/2487978/star-wars-took-a-different-approach-to-maz-kanata-for-rise-of-skywalker-but-worked-hard-to-make-it-seamless

https://www.movier.net/maz-kanata-was-an-animatronic-in-the-rise-of-skywalker-304802

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

EPISODE IX: SOMETHING WICKED...

The Emperor- back from the dead!

His consciousness prior transferred to a temporarily weak clone body after the events of Return of the Jedi, Emperor Palpatine's designs on eternal control of the galaxy, decades in the making, are about to be unleashed across the galaxy, as Ian McDiarmid makes a welcome and deliciously evil (as ever) return to the Star Wars universe, witnessed in these great behind the scenes images from The Rise of Skywalker.

The facts on the Emperor's 'return'...

On set and rehearsal prior to make-up and filming, and always attracting attention! Note costume designer Michael Kaplan (far left).

In new/old make-up

And gaining a brand new blood red layered costume for his later fully resurrected scenes.
And looking as handsome as ever!

For more background info on the return of Palpatine and the new Sith, check out New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson's hugely enjoyable 'Expanded Edition' adaptation of the film, out now in UK hardback, from Century.

Get it here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rise-Skywalker-Expanded-Star-Wars-ebook/dp/B07YJZRNDG/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=rise+of+skywalker+novel&qid=1585075538&sr=8-1

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

EPISODE IX: THE DANGEROUS JOURNEY...


They're taking the fight to the resurrected Emperor Palpatine on Exegol, but first our Resistance heroes in their small fleet must thread the intense spacial regions - known to spacers as the Blood Net - leading to that dangerous world, in this great effects shot from The Rise of Skywalker.

Monday, 23 March 2020

EPISODE IX: FROM SPICE TO SPACE!


Oscar Isaac's General Poe Dameron strikes a heroic call-to-action merchandising/publicity pose for The Rise of Skywalker. The character certainly faced some new new challenges to his courage and bravery as pilot and leader, alongside the revelations of his past before joining the Resistance, notably his association with a group of spice smugglers led by the enigmatic Zorri Bliss, as played onscreen by Keri Russell.

Fighting back in pilot mode after the disastrous Battle of Crait.

Renewed past ties with Zorri Bliss (Keri Russell) on the frontier world of KIjimi.

Publicity image of Oscar Isaac and Keri Russell for EPISODE IX.

Interview clips:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lgyp21qUU9Y
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRjcLOB5Tw0

Sunday, 22 March 2020

EPISODE IX: A HISTORY IN EVIL...


It's a full-time job hunting down and eradicating 'Rebel Scum', but experienced sadist Allegiant General Pryde is more than capable of leading that task for the First Order, having also been a veteran of the original First Galactic Empire and its dreaded Emperor, in this being-filmed moment from The Rise of Skywalker.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

EPISODE IX: LEIA THE JEDI!


The moment we all wanted to see in a Star Wars film, as Leia Organa wields a lightsaber as part of the Jedi training given by her brother, and besting him in combat no less, at a time after Return of the Jedi, and seen in flashback form for The Rise of Skywalker, out on UK home entertainment next month. A worthwhile use of facial CGI manipulation using the late Carrie Fisher, as well as Mark Hamill, as they looked in ROTJ, with her important body stand-in during 2019 filming deservedly being Fisher's daughter herself, Billie Lourd.

Billie Lourd as Leia.

Clip:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1icdEOnDfk

Billie Lourd talks about Carrie:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vRa6FBB7hk

And don't forget the all-new Expanded Edition novelisation of The Rise of Skywalker, by Rae Carson and published in the UK by Century, that has more on this scene and Luke's training of Leia.

Get the book here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Wars-Rise-Skywalker-Expanded/dp/1529124565/ref=sr_1_1?crid=37Q65S94HDKK9&keywords=star+wars+the+rise+of+skywalker+novelisation&qid=1584808136&sprefix=the+rise+of+skywalker+novelisation%2Caps%2C-1&sr=8-1

Friday, 20 March 2020

EPISODE IX: THE ANTILLES LEGACY!


With the character's literary return via the prior published Resistance Reborn novel adventure, fans had a hunch that our favourite former Rogue Squadron X-wing leader Wedge Antilles would make some kind of live-action cameo for The Rise of Skywalker. And, though brief, we weren't disappointed. It was great to see Denis Lawson, having previously turned down a similar kind of cameo offer with EPISODE III in 2005 (happily replaced then by Jeremy Bulloch), make one last (?) return to the saga, iconically manning one of the Millennium Falcon gun turrets during the epic Battle of Exegol.


Thursday, 19 March 2020

EPISODE IX: GROUND TO AIR COMBAT!


The fun of the Pasaana life celebrations are cut all too short for Rey and Chewbacca, soon fighting against pursuant First Order forces atop an 'acquired' speeder skimmer of sorts, in this great action image from The Rise of Skywalker adorning the cover of the latest issue (169) of Cinefex, the ultimate magazine covering the incredible and expansive realms of special visual effects, which is now celebrating an epic 40th anniversary in publishing this year.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

EPISODE IX: THE OFFICIAL NOVELISATION - OUT THIS WEEK!


The final film of the original Skywalker saga arrived to great fanfare and success, now comes the highly-anticipated final movie adaptation, as rising star Rae Carson joins the elite club of Star Wars novelists to be awarded such a prize job, and get the exciting opportunity to officially expand the cinematic story written by J.J. Abrams and Chris Terrio. The Rise of Skywalker - Expanded Edition debuts in the UK from March 19th, 2020, courtesy of Century.

Here's the official book release details:

Witness the epic final chapter of the Skywalker saga with the official novelization of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, including expanded scenes and additional content not seen in theaters!
The Resistance has been reborn. The spark of rebellion is rekindling across the galaxy. But although Rey and her fellow heroes are back in the fight, the war against the First Order, now led by Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, is far from over.
Rey, Finn, Poe, and the Resistance must embark on the most perilous adventure they have ever faced. And this time, they’re facing it together. With the help of old friends, new allies, and the mysterious guidance of the Force, the story that began in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and continued in Star Wars: The Last Jedi reaches an astounding conclusion.

Author interview:
https://www.starwars.com/news/rae-carson-star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker-interview

Get it here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Wars-Rise-Skywalker-Expanded/dp/1529124565/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3SVZVWC3IL6L0&keywords=the+rise+of+skywalker+novelization&qid=1584290401&sprefix=the+rise+of+skywalker+novel%2Caps%2C1495&sr=8-1

Sunday, 15 March 2020

BEHIND THE SCENES: 'DEADLY BLASTERS!'


In one of the many corridors of the immense Death Star battle station, a trio of Imperial Stormtroopers believe they've finally re-captured the escaped Princess Leia and one of her Rebel cohorts, as the classic chasm sequence begins from the original Star Wars. The above shot, part of a sequence filmed in late April 1976, was one of the well-used images in worldwide publicity and merchandising of the soldiers.

Stormtroopers attack our heroes just as the chasm shield door goes down. Note that in this unseen take there are four troopers, one of whom is down - presumably taken out by Luke's return fire.

No matter how better constructed future generations of armour would be across the various sequels, and how many other variations of soldiers were created, the original onscreen incarnation of the Stormtroopers, created for the 1976 filming in bulk via the London-based Shepperton Design Studios, remains the best.

Stuntman Colin Skeaping (left) with two extras/colleagues (right, possibly stuntman Reg Harding) either in scene rehearsal or in-between action filming.

(12) Every Stormtrooper in Star Wars Explained By Lucasfilm | WIRED - YouTube

Saturday, 14 March 2020

EPISODE IX: A POINTER FOR THE RESISTANCE!


At their secret jungle base on Ajan Kloss, Poe, Rose and Finn tracks the movements of Rey's homing beacon as she travels the perilous route to Exegol in Luke Skywalker's X-wing fighter, in this moment from The Rise of Skywalker, now available to watch online in the US.

https://www.slashfilm.com/frozen-2-on-disney-star-wars-rise-of-skywalker-hits-itunes-early/

Friday, 13 March 2020

THE CLONE WARS: THE SEA WARRIORS!


The brave Mon Calamari forces are on the offensive as difficult and dark times disrupt their aquatic existence, in this great image from the terrific Season Four launcher to The Clone Wars animated series: Water War.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

EPISODE IX:OF FATHERS AND SONS...


Kylo Ren is dead, long live the returned Ben Solo, as the complex villain receives an unexpected visitation of love and support from his father. A memorable surprise moment from The Rise of Skywalker, out on UK Home Entertainment formats from April 20th, 2020.

Harrison Ford's Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Return Explained

Home entertainment release clip:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSPVWuRiZgQ


Wednesday, 11 March 2020

'SOLO': FUN WITH CHEWIE AND ENFYS!

Image: via Joona Suotamo/Instagram.

Let's face it, who's going to turn down the chance to have fun on location in Spain with a cuddly. lovable wookiee like Chewbacca, nor the immensely likeable actor now bringing him to life in Joonas Suotamo? Certainly not young Erin Kellyman, who gave such an impressive performance in Solo: A Star Wars Story in 2018. Perhaps she'll return as Rebel heroine Enfy's Nest in another spin-off somewhere down the line?


Miss Kellyman talks about her special role:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ga6Z0Xr-t68&list=PL148kCvXk8pDbF6fs3PUYRcVaqx7Z2Z3r&index=20&t=0s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ga6Z0Xr-t68

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

EPISODE VIII: THE FLAMES OF DESTINY!


He's a self-exiled Jedi on a mission, finally summoning up the will to destroy the ancient tree on the Ahch-To island. Yet Luke Skywalker is not alone, as an old friend from the nether world of the Force arrives as a spectator to his actions, in this intriguing conceptual art for The Last Jedi by Seth Engstrom.

Monday, 9 March 2020

ROGUE ONE: NO MERCY!


Next time SKY Movies do their Top Twenty Star Wars Moments programme, I'll be intrigued to see how the quickly classic and brilliantly conceived (if at the last minute in the post production phase) Blockade Runner battle from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, between the doomed Rebel Soldiers and the truly brutal lightsaber wielding, Force-using Darth Vader, gets to position-wise. I'm thinking top three status at least!



The UK's Empire film magazine also did this great Subscriber's Only cover a while back that also artistically caught the scene, and Darth Vader at his prime bad-ass-ness!



Sunday, 8 March 2020

EPISODE VII: TIE PURSUIT!


The chase by the First Order to stop the Millennium Falcon continues, as their TIE fighters enter an area of space vessel wasteland on Jakku both hazardous yet worthy of any top pilots' skills to navigate, in this scene from The Force Awakens.

Saturday, 7 March 2020

CLASSIC IMAGE: OUT FROM THE SHADOWS...


No longer secretly emerged in shadow at the Coruscant Senate landing area, Senator Amidala (wearing a very distinctive Princess Leia-esque hairstyle) is reunited with Anakin Skywalker on Coruscant, bringing him life-changing news during a memorable moment of tenderness before tragedy in EPISODE III.

Friday, 6 March 2020

CLASSIC IMAGE: SALACIOUS DAYS!


Though Jabba the Hutt was the biggest star of the alien universe of Return of the Jedi, his little sidekick Salacious Crumb was the clear scene stealer, as brought to wicked life on and off screen by Tim Rose from the creature's seat of power and intimidation on the Throne Room set of Elstree Studios during 1983. Director Richard Marquand particularly enjoyed seeing the character brought to life on screen, as seen here giving direction to the little horror.

"Hey, where's Edgar?' Time Rose brings Salacious to life at ILM.

Not everyone enjoyed Salacious Crumb and his talents, though. An hilarious anecdote from Tim Rose on how Harrison Ford tried to fire the character actor/puppeteer during the early filming:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-7093041/Harrison-Ford-tried-Admiral-Ackbar-puppeteer-Jamie-Stangroom-fired-Return-Jedi.html

Thursday, 5 March 2020

BEHIND THE SCENES: TALKING JEDI!


It's a well known fact that Ewan McGregor isn't always enthused by a lot of excited grown-up Star Wars fans he encounters, but when it comes to the little 'uns, it's a different story, showing himself as a brilliant ambassador to them as part of the franchise both off screen and on set in his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi. As seen here. with the Padawan Younglings during 2000 Australia filming for EPISODE II.

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2020/01/the-obi-wan-kenobi-series-is-delayedbut-not-canceled

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: CANNON MAN!


Luke Skywalker is back in his fighter pilot garb to man the laser turret of a Rebel Tank (prior used in filming at Norway), in posed publicity pictures of Mark Hamill for The Empire Strikes Back, taken around June 1979 on the Rebel Base hangar set at Elstree Studios.

There has been a lot of fan misreporting and persistent online lingering that one of the publicity images was linked to a scene in TESB that was deleted, in which Luke fires at attacking Wampas, part of an earlier filmed but deleted sequence where the ice creatures had broken into the base and attacked Rebels and R2-D2 (partially seen on Blu-ray). But it is not. Leigh Brackett's original unused script draft based on the original George Lucas outline for 'STAR WARS II' of late 1977 did indeed have a scene where the Wampa, at the worst possible time, attacked the hangar right in the middle of the Imperials ground assault, of which Luke fought a monster back only to be injured (resulting in Artoo flying him into space in the X-wing en route to Dagobah), but this never made it to the final shooting script by Lawrence Kasdan for shooting.



Tuesday, 3 March 2020

CLASSIC IMAGE: ROYAL PROTECTORS!


Loyal as ever, Captain Panaka (Hugh Quarshie) and his elite, skilled guard force are ready to do their Queen's bidding during the Battle for Naboo, as EPISODE I nears its action-packed conclusion.

Find out more about the original invasion and battle of Naboo this summer, with the eagerly awaited second book in the Padme Amidala/Handmaidens saga by E.K. Johnston: Queen's Peril, published in the UK by Egmont.


Get it here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Queens-Peril-Emily-Johnston/dp/1368057144/ref=sr_1_1?crid=161LMUOLXU7C2&keywords=star+wars+queens+peril&qid=1583333918&sprefix=star+wars+queens+p%2Caps%2C193&sr=8-1