Saturday 25 December 2021



The Christmas Holidays mixed with the original Star Wars saga characters always make for a successful combination - an earliest success being with Artoo and Threepio getting into the holiday spirit with none other than Santa Claus himself, as seen in this great art by Ralph McQuarrie for the memorable Christmas in the Stars - The Original Star Wars Christmas Album, first released by Meco/RSO records sometime in November, 1980.

STAR WARS AFICIONADO wishes all its worldwide readers a safe, happy and very MERRY CHRISTMAS and 2022! 

Friday 24 December 2021


Another striking production painting from Ralph McQuarrie, of our heroes bidding farewell to the Falcon.

It's certainly been a busy, epic year and a half in the making, but we hope you've enjoyed STAR WARS AFICIONADO's truly exhaustive Fortieth Anniversary coverage of a very special film: The Empire Strikes Back.

Thumbnails work for the production painting.


Flanked by escort fighters. the Medical Frigate and the rest of the small Rebel fleet heads off into the stars, as new destinies await our heroes for the May 1980 title announced Episode VI: Revenge of the Jedi...

The long shot of the cast looking out into space as the Frigate turns away from camera was filmed at Elstree Studios and rear projected onto a window of the ILM built model ship in post production. UK effects director Brian Johnson would do similar shots with the pilots housed in their Eagle craft for the hit TV series, Space:1999.

Joe Johnston storyboard for an ILM revised effects shot from March 1980, handled all too close to the film's release.

Thursday 23 December 2021


Goodbye for now...

"I'm really excited about it because I think 'Empire' is better than 'Star Wars', People assume that I'm paid to say that. But what I mean is not so much better, but the story is so justifiable. I can't wait for the audience to be the jury on 'Empire' because, as before, it doesn't matter what the critics say, It's the people who go and see it. It's a perfect summer movie. I'm really excited about it. I can't wait to get onto the next one. It's a lot of fun."

Mark Hamill - Questor magazine - 1980

"First of all, I want to know what happens next and secondly, I think it's all getting more interesting. Now the STORY is emerging and people's perceptions about the characters will have to change. Like Ben Kenobi being the symbol of purity and righteousness. Well, in Empire, if he wasn't lying, he at least wasn't being 100% truthful, and I think all that is interesting. Whether audiences will agree I don't know yet. I think it's a gamble, because people may be expecting the same kind of phenomenon that he had with the first one. The kids went back to Star Wars again and again, because it always delivered that same feeling of exultation - it was very triumphant and very optimistic – but Empire is really downbeat and it raises so many questions and worries. But I think it's great we're taking this gamble…"

Mark Hamill - Starburst Magazine - 1980

“'Star Wars' was basically a “let’s get Darth Vader” storyline, all action and little dialogue. The Empire has romance, minor tragedies and characters working more off each other. Sure, it’s a fairy tale, just like the first, but it has an additional dimension.” 

Carrie Fisher - TIME magazine, May 19th, 1980

“I figure that there were at least $11 worth of entertainment in EMPIRE. So if you paid four bucks and didn’t get an ending, you’re still seven dollars ahead of the game."

Harrison Ford - The Making of Return of the Jedi book - 1982


Making her first visit to the former nexus point of the early Star Wars saga, the fully Jedi trained Rey makes a safe, secret place for the remnants of the Skywalker legacy, whilst equally of importance discovering a new home for herself, in this memorable and subtly moving finale moment to The Rise of Skywalker.

Wednesday 22 December 2021


His robot hand devastated having destroyed the Techno Union's cataclysmic-potential siphon generators, Anakin Skywalker goes on a destructive rampage against the cruel Wat Tambor and his cronies in the great art linked to the finale of the memorable 2005 Clone Wars Micro Series.


"If you think about the focus of this part of the Star Wars saga, it's on survival, not triumph. The theme of Empire is that for some people, for some part of their lives, just surviving is enough of a triumph for that moment. And because of that, because of Luke's feeling that he was ready to challenge Vader and then his realisation that he wasn't, and was also unable to save his friend - all these things are important to the emotional state at the end of the story. This episode, the middle act, has to be slower and more sombre in a way. It spends the time to delineate the characters a little better, it explains some of the motivation and so on. It wouldn't work if you had three films that are exactly the same."

Gary Kurtz, responding to criticisms of the time concerning Empire's downbeat cliffhanger finale, to Starburst magazine Issue 23, 1980.

Tuesday 21 December 2021


More on set and behind the scenes of the final scene's filming on the Medical Frigate set at Elstree Studios, with Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, plus Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker, as they watch their friends depart...

Mark and Carrie have fun behind the scenes.

More fun captured from an alternate angle.

The droids are fully cleaned and repaired.

Filming the separate reaction shots of the golden Threepio and Artoo (heightened for a better camera position) on the set.

A rare moment of humour between Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker between takes.

The second unit prepare to film a shot with Kenny Baker inside the Artoo shell.


Images by Rob Bredow from Making Solo: A Star Wars Story, published by ABRAMS.

The heist begins of the Imperial train transport on Vandor, but not as seen in the finished film of Solo: A Star Wars Story. Before the eventual Summer 2018 re-shoots, it was planned that Han and Chewbacca would ride local beasts of burden, Kod'yoks, during the original interception (shot against blue screen at Pinewood with Alden Ehrenreich and Joonas Suotamo), rather than be aboard Beckett's stolen Imperial craft.

The creatures would ultimately be seen in the finished film but only as background attractions.

Get the acclaimed Industrial Light and Magic Presents: Making Solo: A Star Wars Story, here:

Monday 20 December 2021


Image: Star WarsScreenCaps website.

It's goodbye for now to the Millennium Falcon as its crew head back into what looks like the galactic core, bound for Tatooine in their search for Boba Fett. 

A shot of intergalactic beauty adding to the atmosphere of the emotionally subdued cliff-hanger ending to The Empire Strikes Back. In the fifth draft script, the Rebel fleet was to have been parked near a red star, which lent a unique sunset glow on space and the watching rebel heroes during the final scene of the film. There is debate as to what the phenomenon is that our heroes see outside the Medical Frigate main window. ILM referred to it as a spiral nebula, it's also been referred to as a Galaxy. The online debate continues...

Joe Johnston and Dennis Muren attend to the spiral nebula model, its filming elements comprising flour, over-exposure and a mirror on the ILM stage.

Unused ILM starfield painted image.

Sunday 19 December 2021


Seeking solace and sanctuary on the hidden, ancient Jedi Temple world of Ahch-To, the guilt-ridden Luke Skywalker is not sure what to make of the new arrival to his world, Rey - the Emissary to his Resistance-leading sister, within the mysterious tree housing enigmatic books on the history of the Jedi. An interesting character scene for Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley in The Last Jedi

Saturday 18 December 2021


The elite Imperial Death Troopers deliver their brutal, no-prisoners sensibility to any battle they are dropped into, and especially making a murderous impression against our Rebel Alliance heroes during the epic ground conflict finale to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Great marketing/merchandising art linked to the movie by acclaimed talent Joe Corroney.

Celebrating five years of the film, STARWARS.COM has a special interview with director Gareth Edwards:


Friday 17 December 2021


It's a time of bittersweet reflection by Luke and Leia - in many ways the pair have now become different people to the ones we saw at the start of The Empire Strikes Back - and a short break to re-gather their strength before they begin their mission to rescue Han Solo from the clutches of both Boba Fett and Jabba the Hutt on the far-off desert world of Tatooine...

Storyboard for the reshot Medical Frigate final scenes by Joe Johnston - November 1979.

At some point, once the original filming on the set was completed (which we presume was originally July 1979?), Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker would be recalled back for some additional shooting for the film’s finale (likely some point between August and December 1979). Daniels recalled to Starburst magazine in 1983: “Oh, I hated that (ending to EMPIRE). I know I didn’t pay for the ticket but I said, “Wait a minute” as it ended in outer space…we all had to do that shot again. That very final shot (in EMPIRE) I said they couldn’t shoot it like that. They said, “Oh yes, we can!” I said, “No, we’ve all got to be standing on the set.” I’m such a know-all. About a month later I got a phone call (laughter). The film had wrapped by then. Fortunately they had saved that one set.”

The heroes gather to watch the Falcon's departure.

Adjusting to his new hand, Like joins the trio.

A specially created publicity image (presumably by Terry Chostner at ILM) with the Falcon and a red nebula art image superimposed. The nova image would be used in other Star Wars related merchandise publicity.

Thursday 16 December 2021


The Empire Strikes Back may often have had its gloomy and dramatic story moments for Princess Leia Organa, but behind the scenes in bringing her character to life, Carrie Fisher was clearly having a blast, enjoying the company of the veteran British technicians, especially director of photography Peter Suschitzky and his small camera team, as seen in these great images during shooting on the Medical Frigate set at Elstree in July,1979.

What's she pointing at? Fisher with Peter Suschitzky!

Further regular clowning about with camera operator Kelvin Pike.

More: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ledVnZOf24


Critically acclaimed author Claudia Gray returns to the Star Wars Expanded Universe, taking on fresh creative challenges within the popular all-new The High Republic series of bestseller adventures, as The Fallen Star comes to UK paperback from Century on 4th January, 2022.

Here's the official release blurb.

In this gripping sequel to Star Wars: The Rising Storm, the light of the Jedi faces its darkest hour.

Time and again, the vicious raiders known as the Nihil have sought to bring the golden age of the High Republic to a fiery end. Time and again, the High Republic has emerged battered and weary, but victorious thank to its Jedi protectors-and there is no monument to their cause grander than the Starlight Beacon.

Hanging like a jewel in the Outer Rim, the Beacon embodies the High Republic at the apex of its aspirations: a hub of culture and knowledge, a bright torch against the darkness of the unknown, and an extended hand of welcome to the furthest reaches of the galaxy. As survivors and refugees flee the Nihil's attacks, the Beacon and its crew stand ready to shelter and heal.

The grateful Knights and Padawans of the Jedi Order stationed there finally have a chance to recover-from the pain of their injuries and the grief of their losses. But the storm they thought had passed still rages; they are simply caught in its eye. Marchion Ro, the true mastermind of the Nihil, is preparing his most daring attack yet-one designed to snuff out the light of the Jedi.

Get it here:


Also released that month (6th January, 2022) in the paperback edition of Cavan Scott's earlier book in the series: The Rising Storm.

More info here:


Get it here:


Wednesday 15 December 2021



Luke's physical injuries are healed, but what about his psychological scars from the conflict with Vader?

As the 2-1B medical droid attends to Luke's injuries and applies his replacement hand, the boy and Leia communicate with Lando and Chewie at the Millennium Falcon as they prepare to part company, bound for an eventual rendezvous at Tatooine...

The scene where Luke Skywalker flips the skin lid over the interior housing of his new hand was an age old filming trick captured by the second unit on 30th August, 1979, with an extra's hand poking out from a table, underneath the fake hand housing the robot servos. Irvin Kershner insisted on demonstrating that Luke has feeling in his artificial hand: "We were starting to make him a mechanical man, and he's not; I wanted to show that in the future when he makes love to a woman he'll have some feeling there -- that's what I was thinking.” Stand-in Chris Parsons was approached (and call sheet listed) to be Luke Skywalker’s hand model. Unfortunately, his habit of nail biting at that time precluded his taking the part.

A likely moment from the additional shooting that matches a revised November 1979 ILM storyboard.

Despite having a British police bodyguard escort start the week (which stays with her until she has completed her filming - due to kidnap threats intercepted by mother Debbie Reynolds in the US), Carrie Fisher is in high spirits for the Medical Frigate scenes captured on Stage 8 at Elstree Studios during July 12th/13th, 1979. In real-life science fact news, the 11th July saw the abandoned Skylab space station fall to Earth and disintegrate. For additional humour on set, Mark Hamill would be wearing a hat announcing, 'Skylab is falling'!

The finale sequence also shows Threepio fully repaired and polished up after his prior ordeals-the camera crew having to be very careful the way they photograph him so that they won’t be mirror-esque reflected on his gold casing. 

In the later released Donald F. Glut adaptation of the film, there is no mention by Luke of his meeting Lando and Chewie at the Tatooine rendezvous point. All we know is that Lando and Chewbacca are off to find Han and Boba Fett. Presumably this was Glut working from one of the pre-filming scripts, with that new part of the plotline scheduled for Revenge of the Jedi

Another stunning shot of Carrie Fisher as Leia.

Fisher confers with Kershner.

Having fun with Gary Kurtz.

A previous deleted look at the filming of the scene (including re-shoots):

Carrie clowns to the camera once more.

Polaroid shot (by Continuity Supervisor Pamela Mann?) of Carrie Fisher partying with the Medical Droid on set.