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

Monday, 30 November 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: ROCK COLLECTION!

 

Steve Gawley at ILM with a variety of Asteroids. 

We'd seen asteroids and asteroid fields in science fiction film and TV before, but never realised like this-natural and out of control, dangerous and of varying sizes spread throughout a field at the edge of the Hoth system and soon rushing against the Millennium Falcon and pursuant TIE fighters. ILM's model team for Empire would create a diverse arrange of rock bodies for filming, including some humorous shapes to look out for, some of which are presented here.


Ken Ralston prepares lighting readings for filming.



Dennis Muren and Steve Gawley have fun.


Sunday, 29 November 2020

GOODBYE, DAVE PROWSE...

Art by Marrieta Ivanova.

The man who was, 'is', and always will be the ultimate physical personification of Darth Vader - Dave Prowse, MBE - sadly passed away yesterday, but he'll be forever icon remembered and beloved for the work he did from 1977 - 1983, not just inside the Star Wars universe, unforgettably playing the ultimate screen baddie, but outside of it too- for his decades enjoying meeting and signing saga autographs for the fans who loved his work via worldwide conventions, and also for the many worthy charitable causes he keenly supported around it. 

The classic autograph card importantly reminding viewers of the Star Wars saga who was portraying the ultimate screen villain.

Equally, let's not forget Prowse's other important legacies beyond playing the Dark Lord of the Sith. Thanks to his talents as a British champion in the field of body building/weight training and sporting fitness, Prowse helped turn the once puny young newcomer Christopher Reeve into the Man of Steel icon he'd become throughout the seventies and eighties; he was a hugely beneficial influence to UK road safety in his numerous TV and school visit appearances as the Green Cross Code Man, became other memorable 'monsters' in the likes of Doctor Who, Space:1999, and several classic Hammer Horror films. Plus numerous TV guest roles in now classic series like The Saint and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. as well as a memorable early seventies film appearance in a disturbing sequence of Stanley Kubrick's controversial A Clockwork Orange, that soon led to Prowse being recommended to rising star director George Lucas for some strange sci-fi film being made at Elstree Studios then called The Star Wars.

With the rest of The Empire Strikes Back cast (sans Anthony Daniels) at a London press call- May 1980. 


Father and son reunited! Prowse and Mark Hamill have fun at the UK Star Wars Celebration in London during Summer 2007. 

Beyond Vader, I personally felt that Prowse's best acting work had to be the BBC 1981 drama series The Rose Medallion, a quirky little affair where he played the simple-minded but kindly loyal cousin to an intrepid and avaricious antiques dealer detective of sorts, played by Donald Sumpter, now known for his work on Game of Thrones. If Rose ever gets a replay one day, it's worth a watch, showing viewers how seriously Prowse wanted to be taken as an actor during his eighties prime.


RIP, Dave, and May the Force Truly Be With You...


http://www.darthvader-starwars.com/

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/mark-hamill-mourns-death-of-star-wars-icon-david-prowse

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8997777/Darth-Vader-star-dead-85-British-actor-David-Prowse-dies.html

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-55117704




Saturday, 28 November 2020

CLASSIC IMAGE: IN (ALIEN) HEALING HANDS...


At the far out alien archaeological dig at the Polis Massa asteroid base, its kindly aliens treat the ill and heavily pregnant Padme Amidala, watched by her protectors in Yoda, Bail Organa and Obi-Wan Kenobi, during this important scene from EPISODE III.

Friday, 27 November 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: BEWARE: ASTEROIDS!


The TIE fighter pilots chasing the Millennium Falcon out of the Hoth system are clearly skilled, but even their abilities will be tested to the limit by Han Solo as two (of four) of the Imperial craft follow the renegade freighter into a perilous asteroid field, in this great storyboard, presumably by Joe Johnston, for The Empire Strikes Back.



Thursday, 26 November 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: INTO THE ASTEROID FIELD!


It's one of Han Solo's craziest stunts ever, as, against all worries from his friends (and odds advice from C-3PO), he sends the Millennium Falcon into the nearby Hoth system asteroid field in order to escape Imperial pursuit one more time, as seen in this great storyboard by Joe Johnston.

The chase as captured in an early movie trailer.

 
And below, a lovely piece of thumbnail art by Ralph McQuarrie.



Wednesday, 25 November 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: FAST REPAIRS!

'I don't know how we're gonna get out of this one!'

It was all looking so good for the Millennium Falcon to escape its Imperial pursuers, and then the Hyperdrive went kaput! Now racing to fix the problem, with alluvial dampers and hydro spanners at play, Han and Chewbacca are hard at work. But bigger, denser problems will soon add to their woes...

"Bring me the hydro spanner!"

Harrison Ford has fun behind the scenes.




Irvin Kershner and Peter Mayhew pause for a fun photo on the Falcon hold set.


Tuesday, 24 November 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: THE PURSUED!

Swiftly out of the atmosphere of Hoth's sixth planet, our heroes on the Millennium Falcon now face new obstacles, with Threepio trying to impart important information to an irritated Captain Solo about the ship's Hyperdrive that is deliberately ignored until all too late...

Monday, 23 November 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: EVADING THE IMPERIAL STARFLEET!

Specially created effects composite image by ILM, used for theatrical release/merchandise publicity.


Luke and Artoo may have escaped Hoth relatively easy, now heading for the mysterious Dagobah, but things are harder for Han Solo and company. They've barely shaken off one set of Imperial enemies on the surface, now the crew of the Millennium Falcon face further, bigger threats in space, encountering the Star Destroyer blockade en force, all vessels of which are under orders from Darth Vader to capture the Falcon at all costs. Han Solo and Chewbacca must use all the piloting skills and tricks at their disposal to avoid such a fate.

The chase begins, as seen in this ILM storyboard by Joe Johnston.


The Falcon makes a fast descent that sends the Star Destroyers into chaos, as seen in this ILM storyboard.


A dizzyingly effective storyboard as the TIE fighters continue pursuit.


Sunday, 22 November 2020

CLASSIC IMAGE: WHERE'S LEIA?


With the new disappearance of Leia, having previously pursued an Imperial Biker Scout, Luke and Han ponder their next move in this scene from Return of the Jedi filmed in the Redwoods of California during late April/May 1982.

Behind the scenes on ROTJ, and some rare imagery:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8070021/Star-Wars-scenes-Candid-photos-Mark-Hamill-Harrison-Ford-sell-4-000.html?fbclid=IwAR1S-1LeFC0gmg8RSBsT24vQP4HfcFq8AUn2UDrRi2FDvTVUT5ujbMWi8ik




Saturday, 21 November 2020

CLASSIC IMAGE: POWER PAINS!


Reckless Anakin's knowledge of the Coruscant streets proves useful as he and Obi-Wan pursue a mysterious bounty hunter out to kill Padme with its second attempt. But flying into power coupling detonations in their speeder is not what they had planned, in this scene from EPISODE II.

Friday, 20 November 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: FINSE FINALE!


The weather conditions would prove more intense than ever anticipated at Finse, Norway in March/April, 1979, as one of the worst winters in the country's history continues, resulting in The Empire Strikes Back's second unit, only partially completing the epic snow battle and other needed scenes/inserts, gets ready to return home. But not before they and Mark Hamill pose outside the Finse 1222 ski resort hotel for a final photo call, celebrating the comradeship and their incredible and unforgettable time spent there...



The Second Unit team lark about for another posed shot-note the Hoth soldier dummy high-up far right amidst their ranks.



Thursday, 19 November 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: HOTH DEPARTURE!

Wedge (left) says goodbye as Luke checks his X-wing fighter.

Ready for a swift departure from Hoth and the invading Empire, Luke Skywalker gives his X-wing nose tip a friendly pat (not in the script and presumably improvised by Mark Hamill) whilst his comrade in battle, Wedge Antilles (once more played by Denis Lawson), having said goodbye to his commander, carries equipment to his own ship, in a deleted scene from The Empire Strikes Back, filmed on location in Norway. There is mention in the script of Wedge's gunner being present at the location, but if this was the case it was more likely a Norwegian or UK cast member in a background flight suit at the site. Ultimately, this scene was partially re-filmed at Elstree Studios near the end of principal photography on Empire, with changed/additional dialogue between Luke and Artoo

Luke checks out his X-wing and pats it. The craft was literally just the nose cone length cockpit at the location, without the heavy long wings.


From the Empire script Fifth Draft revised 20/2/79.

Scene 210: EXT ICE SLOPE - X WING - HOTH

Luke, Wedge and his gunner trudge onward toward the nose of an X-wing fighter.

LUKE: At least Han got away. Wedge, that looks like yours over there.

WEDGE: Right. Good luck, Luke... see you at the rendezvous.

The Pilots split up. Luke waves. He walks on, and hears a familiar whistle.

LUKE: Artoo, is that you?

Artoo chirps an excited acknowledgement as Luke climbs aboard the spacecraft. Artoo beeps his relief. The roar of the departing X-wing can be heard in the distance.

LUKE: Activate the power and stop worrying... we'll soon be airborne.

Hamill awaits his scene cue, as other Rebel pilots (presumably Norwegian or UK crew) can be seen in the background.


Location shot seen in the movie with expanded background by ILM of departing X-wings and escape transport. Note Luke walking towards camera is holding his arm from an unseen injury, we assume from his fall from the Walker.


Wednesday, 18 November 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: ADIEU TO HEROES!

It's a lonely walk through the Hoth battlefield back to his escaping X-wing fighter unit, but at least Luke Skywalker is comforted by the sight of the Millennium Falcon escaping the Imperial invasion of Echo Base, in this great moment filmed on location at the Harjukeelen Glacier in Norway, and one of the last scenes to be filmed there by Mark Hamill, with a second unit, before returning back to London.


Tuesday, 17 November 2020

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: PHOTO CAPTURED AMONGST THE RUINS!

Image: Star Wars Archives website.

The Empire Strikes Back's top on set photographers capture an array of potential character publicity images inside the deserted hangar bay of the Rebel Base created at Elstree Studios during late Summer 1979. Carrie Fisher was not present for the shoot, presumably taking a short break from filming.














'HAPPY LIFE DAY!' FOR 'THE HOLIDAY SPECIAL'!


It's back to business for Bea Arthur's memorable Ackmena and her memorable weird and wonderful patrons at the Cantina, in this great posed B/W shot for The Star Wars Holiday Special of 1978, a programme whose unique legacy remains both a positive and negative factor for its makers and fans within the franchise's early history!

HAPPY LIFE DAY! to all STAR WARS AFICIONADO readers worldwide!