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

Saturday, 31 October 2020

GOODBYE, SEAN CONNERY...


He was and remains the only true James Bond with the unique license to kill these past fifty years and beyond. And who else could have possibly played the father to fellow filmic action hero successor Indiana Jones than that impressive man of talent and sex appeal that was Sean Connery, the superstar instinctively recognising the huge potential of the role of Holy Grail-hunting obsessive Dr. Henry Jones Sr, adding a welcome fusion of humour and quirky tenacity to him for the audience beloved Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. And it was a fun performance that could have but didn't steal the film away from his co-star lead in soon friend Harrison Ford. Instead, Connery's collaboration with Spielberg and company helped craft a fine and unforgettable double act between him and Ford, on screen blessed with comedy, humour and relatable father/son emotion. 

The icon Scottish legend, who single-mindedly conquered an early life of poverty, sadly passed away today at 90, his departure to the realms of his very own Holy Grail robbing us of another truly marvellous screen presence who fully deserved his icon status. Thankfully, Connery's shrewd and strong-willed charismatic personality will live forever on celluloid- not just via a superb and diverse legacy of film work (obviously including his 007 persona), but also through his numerous charitable endeavours that will not be forgotten by his friends, countrymen, worldwide fans and fellow influencers for education and personal development. R.I.P. 

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/harrison-ford-mourns-death-of-onscreen-father-sean-connery

http://www.007magazine.co.uk/news_sean_connery.htm



HAPPY HALLOWEEN! (2020)

Art by Indika.

The scary poster visage of a lone blood splattered Stormtrooper helmet, its once occupant long since dead or amongst the living dead, effectively and atmospherically headlines the cover to one of the Star Wars saga's best Expanded Universe attempts at blending action with atmospheric, gruesome horror: Death Troopers, a 2009 tale unlike any other, created effectively by Joe Schreiber. Here's hoping we get another attempt someday of putting the Lucas universe back into this creepy realms of the unknown, perhaps inspiring a future live-action series tale...? 

STAR WARS AFICIONADO wishes all readers worldwide: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


Friday, 30 October 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: REBELS IN RETREAT!


The evacuation code retreat is sounded and the surviving Rebel soldiers emerge from their wrecked emplacements to rush to the last escape transport vessel, though still in the sights of the advancing Imperial Walkers, in this epic moment from the film.

Storyboard for the memorable scene.

The scene as filmed on location circa April 1979, with Walkers added in ILM post production. 



Thursday, 29 October 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: TIME TO GO!

The Rebels' Command Centre has taken a direct hit and its operations are now manned by a skeleton crew, defiantly led by Princess Leia Organa. As Han comes to check on her, the situation is clear- the final phase of the evacuation must be initiated as Imperial forces now penetrate the base. A terrific set photo from this dramatic scene.

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: SCOUTING AHEAD!


Presumably carrying Darth Vader to the Rebel base (at a point in the battle where Imperial Snowtroopers are disembarking for ground combat - a scene mentioned but ultimately not filmed), a solitary AT-ST 'Scout Walker' presses ahead of the remaining Walkers and over the front lines in this memorable moment. 

Luke is oblivious to the background Scout Walker soon after destroying an AT-AT.

The AT-ST 'Chicken' Walker was apparently a last minute addition to the film, at the request of George Lucas, during stop-motion filming, and would be visually altered by the time of its full showcasing with Return of the Jedi three years later.

Evolving concept art for the Scout Walker, later used for the Star Wars Rebels animated series. 



Dennis Muren, one of the key ILM team handling the Scout Walker's late addition to the sequence.


Nilo Rodis-Jamero storyboard for the Luke/Walker scene.

Filming the moment on location with the film's second unit.


Tuesday, 27 October 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: A CRUSHING ESCAPE!


Freeing himself from the cockpit of his crashed Snowspeeder, Luke Skywalker retrieves some necessary equipment and leaps to the snowy floor just in time, as the massive Imperial Walker brings its crushing foot down, in an exciting scene filmed against blue screen at Elstree Studios, London during near Fall 1979, so as to better match with the eventual integrated ILM effects footage.


Mark Hamill in a break between action.

Several shots showing the UK built damaged Snowspeeder vehicle sent to Norway for filming.



Rear shot of a Snowspeeder used in Elstree filming. 

Monday, 26 October 2020

'THE RISE OF SKYWALKER - EXPANDED EDITION' - OUT THIS MONTH IN UK PAPERBACK


2020 began with the continued worldwide theatrical release of the final (?) film of the epic Skywalker saga - The Rise of Skywalker, and now the year nears its end with the paperback edition of Rae Carson's hugely successful 'Expanded Edition' adaptation, available in the UK from 27th October, 2020, from Arrow Books

The final destinies of our sequel trilogy heroes are finally revealed as an epic finale battle of personal heroism and the clash of technological firepower awaits in the harsh and deadly Outer Regions, against the saga's ultimate, dreaded nemesis in the despicable Emperor Palpatine!

Here's the official release details:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - 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. 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. Just as the spark of rebellion is rekindling, a mysterious signal broadcasts throughout the galaxy, with a chilling message: Emperor Palpatine, long thought defeated and destroyed, is back from the dead.

Has the ancient Lord of the Sith truly returned? Kylo Ren cuts a swath of destruction across the stars, determined to discover any challenge to his control over the First Order and his destiny to rule over the galaxy--and crush it completely. Meanwhile, to discover the truth, Rey, Finn, Poe, and the Resistance must embark on the most perilous adventure they have ever faced.

Featuring all-new scenes adapted from never-before-seen material, deleted scenes, and input from the filmmakers, the story that began in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and continued in Star Wars: The Last Jedi reaches an astounding conclusion.

Get it here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rise-Skywalker-Expanded-Star-Wars/dp/1984818643/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=THE+RISE+OF+SKYWALKER+PAPERBACK&qid=1603554671&sr=8-1


Sunday, 25 October 2020

EPISODE VII: THE LANGUAGE OF TRUST AND FRIENDSHIP

 


With our vulnerable heroine Rey unsure of her destiny and now hiding in one of the forests of Takodana, it's up to the ever-loyal BB-8 to provide some support and friendship to her in a dark time. Rey returns the favour to once more fix the droid's always bending antenna wire in this sweet moment from The Force Awakens.

The trusting and often charming relationships between Humans and Droids in the Star Wars films is an important part of the saga's underlying popularity with audiences of all ages. Not all humans onscreen necessarily understand the Astromech language though, so how about a handy and fun new guide from Chronicle on how to successfully navigate such a unique form of communication: How to Speak Astromech with BB-8, joyously illustrated by popular UK artist and lifelong saga fan JAKe, alongside enlightening text by I.M. Rollin.
 

More official info on the book:

Featuring one of the most popular characters from the new Star Wars films, How to Speak Astromech with BB-8 collects 10 essential BB sounds alongside tongue-in-cheek translations and playful illustrations.

Ten droidspeak audio clips, translation and conversation tips, and funny illustrated scenarios help readers understand and get the best out of their own droid companion in a galaxy far, far away.

This sound-driven operator's guide demonstrates the many amazing qualities of the BB-series of astromechs—including bravery, resourcefulness, curiosity, comedy, and more—all through the entertaining adventures of BB-8.

• New insights on a beloved character that will delight Star Wars fans of all ages
• Follows the success of the sound books How to Speak Wookiee and How to Speak Droid with R2-D2
• Packed with inside jokes

BB-8's (frankly adorable) ball-droid construction, spherical mobility, handy tool bays, dedication and loyalty to their owners make them great mechanical allies and friends.

This sound book celebrates the Star Wars droids and all their quirky traits.

• A celebration of the fan favorite BB-8 and fresh fun from the new trilogy and beyond
• A perfect gift for Star Wars fans of all ages
• Add it to the collection of books like Solo: A Star Wars Story Sound Book by Erin Rose Wage, Star Wars: The Force Awakens Flashlight Adventure Book by Phoenix International Publications, and BB-8 on the Run by Drew Daywalt

© & TM LUCASFILM LTD. Used Under Authorization.

Get the book here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Wars-Speak-Astromech-BB-8/dp/1797201778/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2JSY9R159K5UW&dchild=1&keywords=how+to+speak+astromech+with+bb-8&qid=1603453781&sprefix=how+to+speak+astromec%2Caps%2C204&sr=8-1


Saturday, 24 October 2020

'THE MANDALORIAN' - SEASON TWO NEARS...


With the new series about to explode with the ferocity of a thermal detonator onto Disney+ from October 30th, 2020, here are the latest character posters (featuring visual 'Easter Eggs') and an all too brief recent trailer release...





https://www.tvinsider.com/951521/the-mandalorian-season-2-disney-plus-dave-filoni/



Friday, 23 October 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: TO CRUSH A SPEEDER!

The weighty issue of an AT-AT foot destroying Rogue Leader's crashed Snowspeeder is filmed at ILM, with Art Director Joe Johnston being one of the key supervisors of the scene, and whose model filming had to match the previously shot live-action footage at Norway, earlier that year...

Readying the Snowspeeder model for the weighty AT-AT foot drop on the ILM filming stage.


Crunch-time!



More ILM behind the scenes of this sequence.

Joe Johnston adds detail to the giant Walker leg.

Model maker Ease Oweyung checks the Walker legs. 

The ILM model makers clown around!


Thursday, 22 October 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: CRASH-LANDED, AND INTO GREATER DANGER!

 


He's survived the crash-landing and now Luke Skywalker must escape his near-totalled Snowspeeder (and recover important battle equipment from its interior) before it's ultimately trampled upon by an approaching Walker, as seen in this location footage filmed in Norway, on a very cold day, with Mark Hamill. It's believed that a Norwegian extra filled in for the body of Dack. 

Scene plate filmed on location, with approaching Walker added by ILM in later Post production.

The UK built wrecked Snowspeeder.


Detailed look at the cockpit interior,


A very cold Hamill on location.


Hamill and Gary Kurtz in a filming break.


Escaping the Snowspeeder.



Wednesday, 21 October 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: ROGUE LEADER GOES DOWN!


Rogue Two has been taken out by the Walkers firepower, now its Luke's turn as his Snowspeeder is critically damaged, soon careening onto the snowy surface, in this great storyboard by Joe Johnston,

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: A BRUTAL WAR!


In memorable on location photos that definitely captured the sense of hardship, comradeship and brutality of war seen with our very own real-life conflicts in the trenches of World War One, exhausted and injured Rebel soldiers gather whilst their comrades fight on against the walkers, Such near-realistic images weren't ultimately seen in the completed film (alongside shots of dead dummy Rebel soldiers littering the snowscape), perhaps considered too adult and realistic for the fantasy film, despite the overall darkness prevalent in this first sequel.


The above posed location photo would clearly be an inspiration for one of the rarer-seen Ralph McQuarrie production paintings for the film.