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

Saturday, 27 February 2021

AVAILABLE NOW: 'THE ART OF STAR WARS - THE MANDALORIAN (SEASON ONE)'

"This is the way." Cover art by Doug Chiang.

Undoubtedly one of the trailblazing success stories of the all-new franchise era stewardship now tightly held by Disney, The Mandalorian, created by Jon Favreau, has captured not only the hearts of die-hard fans but also those of the general audience watching it across the Disney+ channel's excusive airings, many of whom had likely never experienced the saga's potential and expanded shades of grey realms in quite so much fascinating depth beyond the original three Luke Skywalker character starring films created by George Lucas. 

As well as the quite wonderful onscreen pairing between the seasoned bounty hunter Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), one of the nomadic Mandalorian warrior tribes, and The Child, an emotionally scarred and withdrawn former Jedi that he has taken under his protective wing (a magical relationship slowly developing to new heights of emotional bonding), the Emmy-winning series outstanding production design, hugely referencing yet building on a mixture of two trilogies, as well as foreshadowing elements to come with the post 2015 sequels era, has proven itself another vital component to the evolving format's accomplished success. 

Led by veteran Doug Chiang, who brought such visual freshness to the opening Prequel films (and provides an informative foreword to this new book), The Mandalorian's behind the scenes art team has proved itself yet again as one of the most accomplished and respected groups immersed within the evolving world of film and TV fantasy action entertainment. Their love of Lucas's established universe unabated, the marvellous and innovative conceptual/production artwork they've spellbindingly concocted is in-depth charted and celebrated once more by artist/historian Phil Szostak, within an overall continuing series origins/development format featuring key contributions from Favreau, series co-writer/director Dave Filoni, and other enthused directors from the show's striking opening year. Out now - the latest must-have official book via ABRAMS: The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian (Season One)

Here's the official release details

This official behind-the-scenes companion to the Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian features exclusive concept art, character and costume sketches, and vehicle and creature designs. 

The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian takes fans behind the scenes of the first ever live-action Star Wars television series. Filled with concept art, sketches, and interviews with key cast, crew, and creatives, including executive producer/showrunner/writer Jon Favreau and executive producer/director Dave Filoni, The Art of Star Wars: The Mandalorian will provide readers with an exclusive look at a whole new universe of Star Wars characters, locations, and vehicles. 

Premiering in November 2019 as a key launch title for Disney+, The Mandalorian follows the adventures of galactic gunslinger Din Djarin and the Child as they traverse the outer systems of the galaxy and evade remnants of the Empire. Readers will encounter early visual and conceptual ideas for these new characters and unexplored frontiers, filled with crime syndicates, bounty hunters, and smugglers. The gritty, lived-in cantinas and spaceports are populated by a talented cast that includes Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones), Werner Herzog (Fitzcarraldo, Grizzly Man), Nick Nolte (48 Hours), Gina Carano (Haywire, Deadpool), Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), and Carl Weathers (Rocky).

https://www.space.com/star-wars-art-concept-book-phil-szostak

https://www.looper.com/308951/the-truth-behind-the-mandalorians-different-types-of-armor-exclusive/

https://www.looper.com/312274/why-making-the-mandalorian-is-more-challenging-than-the-movies-exclusive/?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=twitter

Get it here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Star-Wars-Mandalorian-Season/dp/141974870X/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=THE+ART+OF+THE+MANDALORIAN&qid=1614357896&sr=8-1

 

Friday, 26 February 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: WILL THE REAL YODA...


Out of the rain and inside the quirky stranger's small hut, Luke tries his best but soon grows impatient to find the elusive Jedi Master Yoda. With the voice of Obi-Wan suddenly around him, the boy gets a mighty surprise and learns a valuable lesson as to how not to judge a being by their height or appearance. Yoda has been with Luke all along. Reluctantly trained as a Jedi the boy will be, but not before Yoda gives him a verbal scolding...

A possible deleted scene as Luke looks out to Yoda from the window.



Some snake manipulation on set, prior to Kershner's filming.


Sampling Yoda's culinary skills.


Luke says he's not afraid. "You will be... you will be."

Mark Hamill played his scenes opposite Yoda with great conviction and believability even when one of the small and worrying rented-in snakes (not one of his favourite species), used as set decoration, started moving up his leg during Yoda's infamous and slightly menacing, "You will be... you will be" moment.

Home truths about Luke's dreamful years on Tatooine, from a near scolding Yoda.


Thursday, 25 February 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: THE MASTER MEETS HIS CREATOR!


August 6th, 1979. On the raised hut interior set at Elstree, George Lucas has an important look over the development and manipulation abilities of the Yoda puppet via a foam-rubber light-weight (near accurate to the final look) stand-in model in full costume (one that would be made to look used and dirtied later on).Operated by Frank Oz, in test scenes also watched over by Gary Kurtz and Irvin Kershner, Lucas is clearly pleased and enthused with the way things are going regarding his unique new creation. 


Norman Reynolds production design for Yoda's hut. Note the image of Yoda at the time of the illustration is still resembling the once conceived by Joe Johnston.

Another Norman Reynolds idea for Yoda's hut- note the ceiling mosaic- a clear homage to what was above the Lars Homestead dining room in the original Star Wars.

Production design maquette of the cramped set.






Interestingly, in all the behind the scenes footage and stills photography for the movie seen over the years, this seems to be the only time that the stand-in was visually captured. 

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: LET ME IN!


No longer willing to stay and watch over the camp, a lonely Artoo, caught in a rain deluge, has clearly used his scanners to discover Yoda's hut, in a scene that was partially cut for time and pace reasons. 


Preparing for filming. Note the covered remote controlled Artoo.


Artoo skiddles towards Yoda's home whilst the rains pour down.

Both types of Artoo were used for this scene: the remote control three-legged unit, and Kenny Baker in the shell looking through the window, helped off camera into position by a stage hand. 

Artoo is unable to gain inside access to Yoda's hut.


Unused footage of Artoo by the ground entrance to Yoda's hut.



Filming Artoo looking into the separate hut interior window which is raised on a scaffold for puppeteer work.


Tuesday, 23 February 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: VADER'S TRUE MASTERS!



Dave Prowse takes time out from terrifying his onscreen Imperial officers to enjoy the company of his real filmic bosses, George Lucas and Irvin Kershner, in this fun behind the scenes image taken in Darth Vader's meditation chamber.

Monday, 22 February 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: A PAST AND FUTURE DANGER!


We ave a new enemy: Luke Skywalker, so The Emperor informs his servant Darth Vader, the latter soon turning the idea of converting Luke to the Dark Side, rather than killing him, to his Master's chilling favour, in this scene that was ultimately replaced by 2004, with Ian McDiarmid's EPISODE III made-up visage replacing the original version, alongside new story expanding dialogue. 

Stalwart New Zealand character actor then living in Hollywood, Clive Revill, provided the subtly menacing voice of the original Emperor back in 1980, over a final onscreen image that was provided by Rick Baker/ILM that comprised the made-up face of elderly character actress Marjorie Eaton (who spoke the original scripted dialogue dubbed over by Revill), overlaid with chimpanzee eyes to create an eerie and memorable final effect.


Portraying the Emperor in unused first test footage, Rick Baker's wife Elaine wears a mask created by her husband. 

The footage of the original Emperor was deemed unsuccecssful and abandoned.



Accomplished elderly actress Marjorie Eaton would become the new 'face' of The Emperor for 1980. 




Chimpanzee eyes filmed by ILM would be superimposed over the make-up'd face of Eaton as The Emperor.

The combined effect.


Original forehead appliance from Phil Tippet's former ILM collection.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

CLASSIC IMAGE: SKILLED DEVIL-MAY-CARE!


Attuned to the his powers in the Force, young Anakin Skywalker cements his bold and seemingly fearless reputation as one of the Republic's greatest pilots during EPISODE III's visually spectacular opening Battle of Coruscant.

With thanks to Chris Baker for the image. 

Saturday, 20 February 2021

CLASSIC IMAGE: HAN FIGHTS BACK!


Captured no more, thanks to the war-bringing arrival of the diminutive but tough Ewoks, our Rebel squad takes the surprise initiative against the Empire, led by Commander Solo, in this great action image from Return of the Jedi


Friday, 19 February 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: IN COMMUNICATION WITH THE 'GALACTIC EMPEROR'!


Appearing via hologram, and looking more skeleton-like or mummified compared to the visage of The Emperor ultimately seen on screen by 1980, this was certainly a scary entrance for the character rendered in these memorable ILM storyboards. 




Thursday, 18 February 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: THE EMPEROR COMMANDS...


Now removed from his meditation chamber, Darth Vader makes his way to the main hologram reception point for the important communication with his 'Master', in scenes filmed early May, 1979.

Prowse getting 'suited up' by his wardrobe assistants.

The  visually impressive wraparound far wall of the meditation chamber's hologram reception area. An idea similar to theatrical design work.

Image from The Ben Ageros Collection.



The macabre visage of The Emperor appears via hologram.


Wednesday, 17 February 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: INITIATING CONTACT WITH THE EMPEROR


Now that a clear transmission can be sent, Darth Vader opens up communication to The Emperor's domain, firstly from within his Meditation Chamber, in a sequence that was ultimately deleted but would instead be importantly used for the originally planned beginning of Return of the Jedi, for the moment where Vader reaches out in the Force, searching for Luke Skywalker. 


Set design by Norman Reynolds.


Generic filming shot in the camber.



Shots of Vader in mediation/contact, footage to be used for Return of the Jedi.



A crewman assists inside the meditation/healing chamber.