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

Thursday, 30 April 2020

CLASSIC IMAGE: THE OTHER PRUNE FACE!


The stately but also slightly sinister Bat-like figure of Utapauan leader Tion Medon, as personified by one of Australia's finest cult film actors - Bruce Spence, poses for a special wardrobe/publicity photo for EPISODE III during the Summer 2003 at FOX Studios, Australia.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

CLASSIC IMAGE: WHEN LEIA WAS BOUSHH!



In Jabba's Palace, the mysterious, newly arrived bounty hunter Boushh is looked over by Jabba's 'Major Domo', Bib Fortuna, in this great posed publicity image of mystery for Return of the Jedi that was an early favourite of mine in 1983.

Discover how Leia came by the unique infiltration disguise in one of the pleasing Forces of Destiny animated shorts:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thOQwKCm-IY

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

CLASSIC IMAGE: REPUBLIC BACK-UP!


Padme's back-up forces arrive at Count Dooku's secret escape hangar, buried deep in a Geonosian mountain, but is she too late to help her Jedi friends or stop the nefarious Separatist? A critical moment towards the end of EPISODE II.

Monday, 27 April 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: A DARK LORD OBSESSED...


He'd been the second villain, very much the strong arm to the evil Governor Tarkin, for most of the original Star Wars, but not so with the return of the Sith Lord Darth Vader in the then eagerly-awaited The Empire Strikes Back, and an epic tale that would feature the world's favourite super-villain in a more darkly complex, darkly thoughtful and monstrously dangerous way than we'd seen before. Vader was not previously happy with the destruction of the Death Star, nor thrilled by having his prototype TIE fighter damaged and spinning out into deep space by a surprise appearance from the Millennum Falcon. Both the hunt for Luke Skywalker, destroyer of the Death Star, of whom the Force is very strong within him, and the capture of his unique friends, being the obsessive focal point to Vader's psyche within the important first sequel's plotting...

Terrific 1980 art by Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon of Vader, later to adorn a memorable full colour cover to the UK's Star Wars Weekly comic, from Marvel.

Sunday, 26 April 2020

CLASSIC IMAGE: UNDER WATCHFUL EYES!


An almost Planet of the Apes-esque moment from EPISODE I, as Anakin Skywalker, within the grass plains of Naboo, coordinates with a Gungan lookout scout firmly atop an ancient embedded statue, in this terrific visual image from EPISODE I that would mix a model, CGI and live action plate filming with Jake Lloyd to notable effect.

An important look back at EPISODE I from a key former Lucasfilm employee:
https://www.upworthy.com/lucasfilm-insider-phantom-menace-reconsidered

Saturday, 25 April 2020

CLASSIC ART: X-WINGS AWAY!


The ominous power of doom, the Death Star, is rapidly approaching weapon-firing conditions on Yavin IV as the Rebel Alliance sends out its best pilots to meet it, as seen in this simply gorgeous art used in a new European poster merchandise set linked to the Classic Trilogy. If anyone knows the artist, please get in touch.

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

Monday, 20 April 2020

EPISODE IX: OUT NOW ON UK HOME ENTERTAINMENT!


UK fans finally get to complete their epic Skywalker saga movie collection in all home entertainment formats with today's release of The Rise of Skywalker - an exciting, always lively, action-packed conclusion to the George Lucas created saga, with some welcome incorporated footage of the late Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa, plus the overall satisfying conclusion to the arc of the former scavenger turned Jedi, Rey.

Official release details:

SYNOPSIS
Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams join forces once again to take viewers on an epic journey to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the riveting conclusion of the seminal Skywalker saga, where new legends will be born and the final battle for freedom is yet to come.
BONUS FEATURES all in 1.78:1 Aspect ratio
  • The Skywalker Legacy
  • Pasaana Pursuit: Creating The Speeder Chase
  • Aliens In The Desert
  • D-O: Key To The Past
  • Warwick & Son
  • Cast Of Creatures
Available in Resistance and First Order exclusive sleeves via AMAZON UK.

More info on the Special Features' feature-length documentary:

https://www.starwars.com/news/10-secrets-from-the-skywalker-legacy-documentary?cmp=smc%7C3242085687&fbclid=IwAR3ClG26g2YkvwiOEYzdxU-RoGU-TFCKpK5V-N1vF8z9DDmxkrhstOpgfxI

Get the release here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Wars-Skywalker-Limited-Artwork/dp/B0825CGWDF/ref=tmm_blu_title_1?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1586887851&sr=8-1

Sunday, 19 April 2020

EPISODE IX: RESISTANCE INCURSION!


Having freed the captive Chewbacca, Finn and Poe begin their retreat action within the belly of the First Order star destroyer Steadfast, making swift work in dispatching approaching enemy Stormtroopers, in another exciting image captured by on set photographer Jonathan Olley for The Rise of Skywalker.

Saturday, 18 April 2020

EPISODE IX: LANDO'S NEW DESTINY...


The Emperor has been destroyed and the First Order defeated across the galaxy, yet a sad and wistful Lando Calrissian (amidst the celebrating Resistance) ponders the legacy of their evil, soon meeting a sad young girl, Jannah, with a tragic history that will spark a new and potentially fulfilling adventure in her company. This is a great behind the scenes shot from UK filming of The Rise of Skywalker, featuring Billy Dee Williams with the Saga's 'Legacy' character custodian in writer/director J.J. Abrams, in 2018.

https://www.insider.com/star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker-lando-calrissian-daughter-2019-12

https://www.cinemablend.com/news/2493976/star-wars-lando-calrissian-gets-a-spinoff-trilogy-in-cool-fan-made-posters

Friday, 17 April 2020

EPISODE IX: MONSTER FROM THE MIST!


He's swiftly massacred the Mustafarian cultist group worshipping the legacy of Darth Vader, now Supreme Leader Kylo Ren has one final obstacle in his way to finding the secret Sith world of Exegol- the mysterious swamp creature known as the Eye of Webbish Bog, in this great concept/production painting art for The Rise of Skywalker by David Levy. The scene was filmed and the creature realised by Neal Scanlan's team, but it was ultimately dropped from the final cut for time and pace reasons.

https://heroichollywood.com/eye-of-webbish-bog-star-wars-rise-of-skywalker/

More of David Levy's atmospheric work for the film can be savoured in the now UK released The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker coffee table book, completing the marvellous and insightful trilogy of art/behind the scenes publication trilogy on the Sequel saga written and compiled by Phil Szostak, once more working tirelessly alongside each film's superb concept/production painting artists to present the ultimate visual representations to the evolving adventures of Rey Skywalker and her friends. The new presentation is once more lavished published by those ever-impressive stalwarts at ABRAMS BOOKS.

https://screenrant.com/star-wars-9-kylo-ren-concept-art-wolves/?utm_source=SR-FB-P&utm_medium=Social-Distribution&utm_campaign=SR-FB-P&fbclid=IwAR3L_YWDPh-SqEees0iR_20Yk9nFq2VZrFFNscHAxn0tVSgJrtB0bxucIyM

https://www.starwars.com/news/check-out-5-never-before-seen-works-of-concept-art-from-the-art-of-star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker


Get the book here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Star-Wars-Rise-Skywalker/dp/1419740385/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=THE+ART+OF+THE+RISE+OF+SKYWALKER&qid=1587054115&sr=8-1

Thursday, 16 April 2020

EPISODE IX: LETHAL PURSUIT


As the mystery of Jedi Killer Ochi of Bestoon's ship is given investigation by her comrades, Rey, sensing the arrival of Kylo Ren on Pasaana, has no choice but to take him on in combat once more, showcasing her formidable skills and mindset in the Force against the intimidating enemy now flying fast at her in his souped-up TIE whisper fighter, in this great moment, filmed on location in Jordan, for The Rise of Skywalker.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

EPISODE IX: BIDDING ADIEU...


We first saw him as a farmboy, then witnessed his becoming a distinguished Jedi, followed by his final journey into the Force as a heroic and powerful Jedi Master. Luke Skywalker, as personified with youthful vitality. seasoned courage and later mature experience on screen by Mark Hamill, has finished his journey in the Star Wars cinematic universe, and Mark Hamill has sent his own April 2020 'goodbye' letter celebrating the closure of his and Luke's journey, whilst also celebrating and honouring the past and upcoming future of the franchise...

Goodbye, and thank you, Mister Hamill. Star Wars won't be the same without you...



From Mark Hamill/TWITTER.

https://www.thedad.com/skywalker-says-bye-to-star-wars/

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

EPISODE IX: KICKING UP A (SAND)STORM!


The First Order's technological might knows no boundaries as one of their Stromtroopers efficiently rides a Treadspeeder across the Pasaana desert in pursuit of 'the Scavenger' and her friends, in this great image taken on location in Jordan by photographer Jonathan Olley for The Rise of Skywalker.


Monday, 13 April 2020

EPISODE IX: HAVE BOWCASTER, WILL TRAVEL!


On board the First Order flagship above Kijimi, C-3PO is once more the hilarious 'fish out of water' droid, especially as an unlikely sight carrying the heavy armament belonging to the captured Chewbacca, in this quirky moment from The Rise of Skywalker. Though likely against all of his protocols as a droid servant, it would have been fun to see Threepio use the weapon for some kind of comedy scenario.

Threepio had more to do in IX than The Last Jedi, for sure. But it turns out there was more deleted material shot for the character's final (?) movie appearance:

https://movieweb.com/star-wars-9-c3po-deleted-scenes/?fbclid=IwAR3Y_Mxe8sPoPfGpVu_9E-Wz-1EQGgYnZ61CQTo97SVZqQOs9a_ucvnBrg8

Sunday, 12 April 2020

EPISODE IX: BEST OF FRENEMIES!


They may be bitter rivals and enemies onscreen within the First Order, but actors Domhnall Geeson and Richard E. Grant are clearly enjoying their Star Wars filming experiences at a location just outside Pinewood Studios now turned into one of the few tree-lined areas of the volcanic world of Mustafar. A deleted scene at the beginning of The Rise of Skywalker, where General Hux and Allegiant General Prye watch Kylo Ren at his most slaughterous in his mission to find the lost Sith world of Exegol.

The brief scene can be found intact in Rae Carson's recently released 'Expanded Edition' novel adaptation of the film, published in the UK by CENTURY, and available here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rise-Skywalker-Expanded-Star-Wars-ebook/dp/B07YJZRNDG/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+rise+of+skywalker+novel&qid=1586696089&sr=8-1

https://www.gamesradar.com/uk/star-wars-rise-of-skywalker-domhnall-gleeson-general-hux-death/

Saturday, 11 April 2020

EPISODE IX: SNAP-PING TO IT!


Friends with writer/director J.J. Abrams since childhood, popular film and TV actor Greg Grunberg was back in the X-wing cockpit for more Resistance action with The Rise of Skywalker, playing Snap Wexley, though with such a brutal finale sky battle closing the film someone in the supporting cast had to bite the dust as a casualty of war, and that would be Wexley, caught in a deadly TIE fighter trap during the exciting Battle of Exegol.

Snap may be gone, but his sacrifice was ultimately not an empty one.



Grunberg talks IX:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/star-war-greg-grunberg-debunks-rise-skywalker-directors-cut-1285724?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&fbclid=IwAR1JuqtG0QTgSFV9H1bxQtdwntMGMokHKZ73VnMT32FEp4jVxjM2CSc66h8

Friday, 10 April 2020

EPISODE IX: SLIP-SLIDING AWAY...


They may have taken out their last First Order pursuer, but our heroes are soon caught in a futher slippery situation in the wastelands of Pasaana, in this memorable moment from The Rise of Skywalker which was achieved using special on-site underground built hydraulics for the cast to 'sink' into.

Thursday, 9 April 2020

EPISODE IX: THE GIFT OF FRIENDSHIP!


She'd always liked the mighty Chewbacca, and now Maz Kanata finally gets to hug the beloved wookiee when reunited after the epic Battle of Exegol. This lovely production art piece for The Rise of Skywalker by Glyn Dillon may not have made it to the final movie onscreen, but at least Maz managed to present Chewie with Han Solo's medal from the Battle of Yavin, in a touching moment. This is one piece of great art included in the recently US published The Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, another brilliant volume written by Phil Szostak, and the ever-impressive stalwarts at ABRAMS BOOKS.


More book info here:
https://starwarsaficionado.blogspot.com/2020/03/out-now-art-of-star-wars-rise-of.html

Available in the UK from April 11th, 2020, get the book here:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Star-Wars-Rise-Skywalker/dp/1419740385/ref=sr_1_1?crid=13URURWU21OWV&dchild=1&keywords=the+art+of+star+wars+the+rise+of+skywalker&qid=1586278820&sprefix=the+art+of+star+wars%2Caps%2C398&sr=8-1

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

EPISODE IX: WHERE'S KLAUD?

J.J. Abrams inspects Nick Kellington inside the Klaud creature suit at Pinewood.

A brand new addition to both the Resistance and the Star Wars saga's creature collection, the alien technician known as Klaud, a member of the unique Trodatome species, was certainly a noticeable, and sizeable, figure in the early part of The Rise of Skywalker, helping Poe, Finn and Chewbacca keep the Millennium Falcon in continued service during its busy activities against the First Order.

Klaud would be inhabited by one of Neal Scanlan's regular creature operating team members, Nick Kellington, best known for so memorably playing 'Space Monkey' in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.


On location with Greg Grunberg as Snap Wexley.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

EPISODE IX: EMPRESS REY!


Clouded a Jedi's future can be, but Rey's seems particularly dark via her Force vision moments in the dramatic run up to discovering her true identity, and a possible future where she is the Sith Empress. in this great filming moment seen for only briefly in The Rise of Skywalker.

Filming Daisy Ridley on the immense throne, based on an original Ralph McQuarrie design for Revenge of the Jedi.

Monday, 6 April 2020

EPISODE IX: HE LOOKS FAMILIAR?!


He brought the epic nine-part Star Wars saga to sweepingly majestic and emotionally resonant musical life in ways that no other person could possibly have done better, so it was right and fitting that J.J. Abrams, in awe of the great John Williams, would give the talented icon a fun cameo in the final Skywalker adventure, playing the disgruntled owner of a bar on the far-off First Order victimized world of Kijimi, amidst a bar area covered with a lovingly assembled treasure trove of props linked to his entire soundtrack career.



https://www.laughingplace.com/w/articles/2020/03/16/the-john-williams-easter-egg-in-star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker-is-actually-pretty-amazing/

Sunday, 5 April 2020

GOODBYE, JAY BENEDICT...

Image: Jay Benedict/Wordpress.

Though his one and only brief scene as a background artist playing bored Tatooine kid Deak ultimately didn't appear in the original Star Wars back in 1977, popular film/TV American actor Jay Benedict was nonetheless a welcome, witty and personable presence at conventions around the world revealing behind the scenes information on his scene with Mark Hamill and company shot in April 1976 at Elstree Studios, which, for years, was never properly available on home entertainment to see. His passing, linked to the awful Coronavirus that has truly blighted the world, is very sad news indeed and he will be much missed- always a fine character actor in the projects he appeared. Star Wars Aficionado sends its condolences to his family and friends in this difficult time.

Jay Benedict in the background to the now infamous Toschi Station deleted scene.

https://jbenedict.wordpress.com/

https://www.fanthatracks.com/news/film-music-tv/rest-in-peace-jay-benedict-deak-in-a-new-hope/?fbclid=IwAR0l30B79YQYUzc25jeIZPicm4FoJvi4Ot_uiwZaOc6cynDOgHgflH373ao

EPISODE IX: PAST AND FUTURE RECKONINGS!


He thought he'd destroyed the past, but now Kylo Ren must return to the legacy of the Sith and the Dark Side of the Force to whom that cult loyally served. The resurrected Emperor Palpatine is back from the dead, as resultant new bids for power are opened during the events of The Rise of Skywalker.

The helmet of Darth Vader makes a welcome return in EPISODE IX.

More on Kylo Ren/Darth Vader:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpZ2OT09fzo

https://screenrant.com/star-wars-9-deleted-scene-kylo-darth-vader/

Saturday, 4 April 2020

EPISODE IX: FEMININE FIGHTERS!


A genuine breath of fresh air in the difficult realm of bringing intense action sequences to practical and believable life for the Star Wars universe, whilst also giving the heroic yet vulnerable Rey a pleasing and very individual lightsaber fighting style, the enthusiastic and talented Stunt Coordinator Eunice Huthart was a welcome addition to the UK-based moviemaking family on The Rise of Skywalker, and was immediately loved by cast and crew alike, seen above with Daisy Ridley going through the moves of Rey's intense Jedi training sequence seen at the start of the movie.


https://screenrant.com/star-wars-rise-skywalker-action-deleted-scenes/

Friday, 3 April 2020

EPISODE IX: CRIMSON KILLERS!


Ready for quick deployment during the intense Battle of Exegol, the all-new Sith Troopers, another step in the evil soldiers' visual evolutionary ladder. are a truly lethal force, as seen during the finale to The Rise of Skywalker, and, as part of the film's overall legacy, working well as an excellent early marketing tool in both pre and post release.

The Rise of Skywalker, out now on US Blu-ray and other formats.

Details on all the US releases of IX: 
https://www.starwars.com/the-rise-of-skywalker

Thursday, 2 April 2020

GOODBYE, ANDREW JACK...


At their fortified-as-best-they-can hideout, stalwart Resistance General Emmat surveys the Crait salt landscape ahead, just prior to the heavy-duty attack by First Order forces, in a memorable moment from The Last Jedi.

Star Wars Aficionado was deeply sorry to hear of the passing of popular actor/voice coach Andrew Jack at the all-too-young age of 76, linked to the world tragedy that is the Corona virus. He was certainly a distinct part of the sequel trilogy's background cast and will be much missed by his family, friends and the Star Wars/film-making community at large, all of whom will remember his enthusiasm and dedication to his work.



With the other Resistance leaders in a time of crisis during EPISODE VII.

Another great character image from EPISODE VIII.

News:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-52111530

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/01/entertainment/andrew-jack-star-wars-coronavirus-dies-gbr-intl-scli/index.html

EPISODE IX: OF BELIEF AND COURAGE!


Bidding her dedicated and spirited Jedi pupil Rey a subtle and knowing goodbye in her mission to find the deadly realms of Exegol, General Leia Organa is equally aware that the next phase of her own life destiny in the Force will soon be determined, in a memorable and emotional moment from The Rise of Skywalker, out now on US Home Entertainment formats.

More on how Carrie Fisher/Leia was resurrected for EPISODE IX:

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/movies/story/2019-12-20/star-wars-rise-of-skywalker-leia-carrie-fisher-brother

https://www.cinemablend.com/news/2493553/star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker-originally-gave-leia-another-fight?fbclid=IwAR2KZlnW6VvIvZv3xVRS_Vd6YM4EWt0TnDiufX7DdF7OT79MXmFbTGxc4vU

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

EPISODE IX: WAR AMONGST THE WAVES!


Kylo Ren is more determined than ever to have the Force powerful Rey beside him on a throne of new Dark Side power, whether she wants it or not, leading to an epic lightsaber duel between the duo on the surface of the Death Star II. A sequence from The Rise of Skywalker that proved well staged due to fine action work choreography from Eunice Huthart, the dedication of Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver as on screen combatants, and some superb sound design. All these combined elements effectively brought the necessary atmosphere and danger to the big screen, filmed in cold November 2018 British weather, amongst even colder big water cannon blasts drowning the environment and actors constantly on the Pinewood studios backlot.

Relive the epic sequence now, as The Rise of Skywalker debuts on US home entertainment release.

A look at the lovely Target stores exclusive 4K release in the US.

https://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-the-rise-of-skywalker-exclusive-covers