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

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: DOOM-LADEN PROCESSION!

 


Hiding away, Luke watches a mysterious, clearly dangerous stranger and his escort, and soon decides to follow them... 

Is it possible that Luke recognises Boba Fett from their earlier animated encounter showcased in The Star Wars Holiday Special?

The scene has clever use of music by John Williams creating a sombre funeral march to accompany Fett and his carbonite escort on their way to Slave 1. Also, note in the long shot how Fett (walking with the sound of cowboy spurs added on in post production by Ben Burtt) turns his head after hearing the minutest sound of Luke unclipping his blaster - a clever visual touch.








Filming Luke's reactions...




Monday, 2 August 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: TAKING HIS BOUNTY!


The slightest sound heard on his receptors can mean potential conflict for Boba Fett, unwilling to let his ultra-valuable prize in the carbon frozen Han Solo be taken away from him whilst making his way to Slave 1, and departure to Tatooine, in this super close-up image of the character from The Empire Strikes Back.


Amazingly, this brief image of the carbonite Han Solo made its way to an early teaser trailer but was scarcely picked up by fans at the time.




The two escorting Bespin guards would be played by regular stand-in from the original Star Wars, Alan Harris, and Quentin Pierre, fresh from his background role as a regular security guard for Space:1999. Pierre was recommended to the film by second unit director David Tomblin, who had worked with him as a writer/director on that popular British TV sci-fi series (Harris had also appeared as a Moonbase Alpha technician from time to time).

Behind the scenes on set continuity polaroid. 

Jeremy Bulloch interview:
https://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-identities-jeremy-bulloch-interview



Sunday, 1 August 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES: BRING OUT THE WOOKIEES!


On one of the spacious blue screen surrounding stages of Fox Studios, Australia, enthused animation director Rob Coleman goes through the paces with his assemblage of local actors and sportsmen playing the incredibly tall Wookiee warriors needed for EPISODE III's all-too-briefly-seen-on-screen Battle of Kashyyyk.

Saturday, 31 July 2021

CLASSIC ART: THE A-WINGS LAUNCH!


The call to action is initiated, as sleek Rebel A-wing fighters, seen here in original Expanded Universe action, recently returned to the Star Wars saga with The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, speed out of a cruiser's hangar, acting as escort to smaller vessels. 

Great cover art by John Nadeau for the X-wing- Rogue Squadron: Family Ties comic series from Dark Horse, of 1998.

Friday, 30 July 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: NO RECEPTION COMMITTEE?


The overall atmosphere seems way too quiet for Luke and Artoo, the pair having touched down at Bespin's Cloud City. Luke's visions of danger to his friends have brought him here, and he's so far armed and ready as he pulls back a screen door, in this deleted moment from Empire.

Where is everybody?

Luke makes his way further into the city. This image would also be used for the Kenner action figure character card in 1980.

Continuity Polaroid for Luke's more weathered fatigues - April 1979, that will have to match with the eventual Dagobah filming costume/s in the Summer.


Thursday, 29 July 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: IN PERFECT HIBERNATION!


Lando inspects the carbon frozen form of Han Solo and announces that he has indeed survived the freezing process. Against his wishes in seeing Han taken by Boba Fett to Jabba the Hutt. Lando's other plans to keep Leia and Chewbacca under friendly house arrest at Cloud City are swiftly obliterated by Darth Vader, once more altering the deal, now planning to have them taken to his ship, with the news that his real prey, Luke Skywalker, has arrived. It soon proves a deal-breaker too far for the Baron Administrator...  


In the Marvel Comics Super Special adaptation of Empire, instead of having his prisoners transferred to his ship, Vader instead orders a Stormtrooper garrison to be stationed at Cloud City to keep watch over Leia and Chewbacca with Lando.

Kershner with Williams, whilst David Tomblin prepares for filming.



Wednesday, 28 July 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: SOLO'S NIGHTMARE FACE!


With the carbonite body frame previously sculpted from British supporting artist Alan Harris, Harrison Ford's face for the frozen visage of Han Solo would be separately moulded and attached to Harris's body by Stuart Freeborn at Elstree Studios at least a month prior to the studio filming at Elstree.


Graham and Stuart Freeborn apply some mucky business to Harrison Ford!



Back-up moulds later created by ILM.



Tuesday, 27 July 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: CARBON HELL!


Our shocked heroes are witness to the living death inflicted on Han Solo by Darth Vader, in this memorable specially created cover for one of the UK issues of The Empire Strikes Back Weekly comic, from famed classic comics artist Carmine Infantino, himself a regular artist on the US Marvel Comics Star Wars monthly colour comics for the previous two years.

Monday, 26 July 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: THE CARBON NIGHTMARE!


Later described as 'a big wide awake nothing' nightmare by Han Solo, the smuggler's carbon frozen form is finally revealed -  its grim visage making for an eerie and unnerving sight to Star Wars fans as actor Harrison Ford's future participation in future sequels now seemed uncertain...

Sunday, 25 July 2021

CLASSIC IMAGE: A TIME FOR TRUTH...


Their dinner at the Varykino lake house on Naboo had been one of quiet delight, but now, retreated to a nearby fireside, Anakin Skywalker can hide his feelings for Padme Amidala no more, in this emotion-building and future consequences-filled scene from EPISODE II.

Friday, 23 July 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: OUR HEROES DEFEATED?




Their situation within Imperial captivity has never been grimmer for Chewbacca and Princess Leia Organa as they watch their loved one in Han Solo withdrawn from the Carbon Freezing pit within his new locked-in frozen visage now cruelly revealed.

Interestingly in an early draft, writer Lawrence Kasdan thought it would be an interesting idea if Chewbacca early-on showed some mild jealousy towards Leia for her building relationship with Solo. Ultimately, on screen, Chewbacca would become her devoted protector in many ways, a scenario enjoyed by actor Peter Mayhew by the film's final act.




Filming of the scene would prove quite intense for all the actors, especially Carrie Fisher who was unhappy with last minute script changes being made without her knowledge, and whom needed careful emotional handling in her direction from Irvin Kershner, with additional assistance from Gary Kurtz. No matter the problems offscreen, the onscreen results of Miss Fisher's dramatic work are outstanding.

Going through the dramatic scenes with Irvin Kershner whilst a mask-less Peter Mayhew and background stormtroopers take a break on set.


The carbon frozen Han block is moved into position on set.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: DARK WITNESS!


The near demise of the talented rogue smuggler Han Solo in his carbonite trap, and the emotional effects such a brutal act has on his rebel friends now prisoners, ultimately means nothing to Darth Vader, as his obsessive quest to finally capture Luke Skywalker nears completion.  To him, deep beneath the mask and the iron lung breathing methodically, and to the Dark Lord of the Sith's mind, Solo is a necessary means to an end, and that is all.

Dave Prowse in character posing for the on set photography.

A few superbly atmospheric images of Dave Prowse as Darth Vader on the Carbon Freeze Chamber set, taken during Summer, 1979.


A soon classic image used in many magazines publicising the movie during 1980.