Saturday 24 December 2022


They'll soon be back (March 2023) for more thrilling and emotional adventures in that galaxy far, far away. Until then, there's plenty of holiday time for the Mandalorian and Grogul the Jedi to enjoy, as seen in this great fan art.

STAR WARS AFICIONADO wishes all its worldwide readers a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR!

Thursday 22 December 2022


Taken to the arena for execution, Padme surprisingly shows her true love for Anakin in a tender moment before they are led out to the eager to see them die crowd of Geonosian insect vermin. Together with a flippant Obi-Wan Kenobi, all three captives must join forces to fight and escape from what lies ahead...

Erik Tiemens art from November 19th, 2001

Inside the Petranaki stadium.

Our captive heroes are gathered for execution.

Obi-Wan gives a hilariously dry and flippant reply to Anakin's misguided plan to rescue him. "Good job!"

The crowd enjoys the spectacle.

Preparing to meet their fate, as Padme has a hidden trick up her sleeve.

Count Dooku and his villainous associates watch the execution.

Father and son watch events behind the Geonosian leader Poggle the Lesser.


Hayden and Natalie with their blue screen suited driver.

Chained and prepared for upcoming execution.

Lucas and Christopher Lee go through a scene in the private viewing gallery area. Image: Lorne Peterson.

Christopher Lee gives a rare near-smile.

Temuera Morrison on stage with two blue outfit artists playing Geonosians.

Concept art for the wideshot of the arena.

Close-up model work of the arena at ILM.

Lucas and John Knoll discuss the camera filming at ILM.

Filming numerous angles on the huge model set at ILM.

Close-up look at the VIP viewing area model.

Tuesday 20 December 2022


Celebrating the fifth anniversary of Rian Johnson's unique vision for The Last Jedi, here are the lovely pieces of publicity/merchandise portrait art by Steve Anderson celebrating most of the saga's then key characters. Some of the images also ended up being used on TOPPS Cards of the time.

TOPPS exclusive card.

Another TOPPS rarity.

Sunday 18 December 2022


Deservedly acclaimed sci-fi novelist Timothy Zahn's epic relaunch of the Star Wars saga post ROTJ with The Thrawn Trilogy back from 1991 onwards hasn't diminished either in its imaginative and thrilling storytelling power or via its enduring fan popularity. The thrilling tale of the Empire's fight back, led by iconic alien tactician Grand Admiral Thrawn, certainly made for a great transfer to comic book series adaptation, from Dark Horse, back in 1996. Here's one of the great cover spreads for the Heir to the Empire compilation, featuring stunning art by Mathieu Lauffay.

Lucasfilm, isn't it about time that The Thrawn Trilogy was finally made into a (non-canon if necessary) animated mini-series for Disney+? In general, what is stopping the two companies from making the kind of exciting animated adventures for the Classic Trilogy era that we all want to see? Or is the upcoming Ahsoka series, with our main hero's search for Grand Admiral Thrawn, planning some kind of alternate live-action version of Heir?

Friday 16 December 2022


On the jungle world of Yavin IV, our newly arrived heroes prepare to face the approaching wrath of the fearsome Death Star, now approaching their system. Thankfully, a weakness in the battle station has been found in its construction schematics/plans that must be taken advantage of no matter how small and risky to penetrate, and the thirty X and Y-wing fighter pilots, including new recruit Luke Skywalker as call-sign Red Five, get ready for space conflict that will decide the fate of the Rebel Alliance.

Great establishing shots of the Rebel hangar bay set at Shepperton Studios.

Airbrushed shot used for the Topps Cards of 1977/78.

The new 'Red Five': Luke Skywalker, in flight gear.

Luke tries to convince Han and Chewie to stay, but seemingly fails.

Han wishes Luke, 'May the Force Be With You'!

After kissing Luke, Leia says “May the Force be with you” to him, too - the scene was cut from the film, though you can hear Carrie Fisher saying the dialogue during the Yavin hangar Shepperton filming footage shown in The Making of Star Wars documentary of 1977.

Luke meets up with old friend Biggs in a deleted scene later partially restored in 1997.

Luke with Biggs and Red Leader in the deleted scene.

Another angle from behind the scenes.

Rehearsing Artoo's being lifted into the X-wing fighter.

Memorable posed shot of Mark Hamill on set with his X-wing fighter.

Another posed outtake.

Preparing to depart.

A helmeted Mark Hamill poses for the camera.

Final prepartions begin for the squadron departures.

Superb behind the scenes image showing George Lucas, Gary Kurtz (far right) and the entire camera team and assistants.


Filming begins on Shepperton Studios soundstage H involving the X and Y–wing fighters on Yavin Four, from Wednesday June 9th, 1976, to Friday 11th, followed by Monday 14th and 15th June with Second Unit work commencing on the last day, shooting pilots going to ships, insert cockpit shots, and craft taking off, whilst the main crew return to Elstree to finish off other necessary sequences. The first two days of filming at Shepperton would have shooting extensions until 19.30pm-due to the large amount of scenes needed to be completed within such a small filming schedule window.

An unpainted look at the full size X-wing fighter prop, presumably taken before arrival at Shepperton.

Also constructed as a real prop would be the distinctive Y–wing, which would be only partially completed (as seen in John Jay’s on set stills) in the finished film - it would have a single unattached engine on it’s port side, and the rear half of the main body, which is left without full detailing). A matte painting in post production would fill out the uncompleted segments of the vehicle. Respected British film/TV actor Drewe Henley, now on set and cast to play Red Leader (filming his additional dramatic cockpit scenes at Elstree later in July), likes the X-wing fighter craft, comparing it to a greyhound- “all stripped down and ready for action."

Establishing shot of the temple fighter bay- this image was flipped in post production. Notice the uncompleted Y-wing fighter and separate pod at the bottom of the image.

Terrific close-in shot of the partial Y-wing prop, constantly re-positioned around the Shepperton Stage to give the illusion of similar types of fighter being present.

In addition to the specially built model craft are three full size two-dimensional photo blow ups of the X– wings and three of the Y–wings, strategically positioned across the set at various times during filming of different scenes, so as to give the impression that the hangar is packed with fighter craft. Though the cut-outs are stacked closer together than would have been possible if they had wings, their inclusion visually increases the hangars size. The completed set would also make clever use of a few tricks that served to enlarge the environment- one wide shot of the hangar is created by taking one plate of the set and creating a matte painting with two holes in, in which that same plate is placed twice (a further new matte painting would be created for the 2004 DVD release of the movie), whilst strings of lights in front of a black curtain on the stage make the far wall appear to be much further away than it actually was. Set decoration around the craft includes fuel pumps, landing lights and various other pieces of unusual technology (as well as a miniature buggy/car which would be redressed as a transport speeder that would carry the various pilots to their ships).

Lucas has fun with Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford.

Chewie gives Han a look...

... which Han responds to in a fun behind the scenes moment that appeared in The Making of Star Wars documentary. 

Filming Luke's walk away from the departing Han and Chewie.

Continuity Supervisor Ann Skinner watches Hamill and Fisher rehearse their scene.

Fisher has fun delivering liquid nourishment to Hamill inside his X-wing.

More fun for the pair in one of the studio changing rooms.

Gerry Anderson TV series stalwart Shane Rimmer, who was between work on two films (including the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me) played the technician who says to Luke: “This R2 unit of yours seems a bit beat up. Do you want a new one?” 

After Tunisia, and his brief scene at Elstree (for the sequence where Luke goes to the Tosche power station), Garrick Hagon would go on to work on a play at the BBC, followed by a part in Richard Attenborough’s epic World War II movie A Bridge Too Far (1977). Aware that he would be needed in July for the next batch of filming, Hagon had kept his hair long to keep visual continuity. Upon reaching the Bridge set however, he is told by its director Richard Attenborough that, being a period film, the actor would have to cut his hair, something which he didn’t want to do, but which Attenborough demanded had to be done, Star Wars filming or not. Returning to the Wars set after the completion of Bridge, a worried Hagon tells Lucas about his new short hair look. Lucas, fortunately, would tell him not to worry, as the later scenes of his re-uniting with Luke were set a lengthy period after their last meeting on Tatooine, and that Biggs would probably have got his hair cut at the Academy anyway. Some of Hagon’s lines in the Rebel hangar would be trimmed because they were thought to be “a little too flowery”, though the actor has great fondness for Biggs original parting words to Luke: “We’re a couple of shooting stars that’ll never be stopped”, loving the ring of that line, and wishing he could have said it in the final film. 

Conferring with Red Leader (Drewe Henley) and Biggs (Garrick Hagon).

The scene in which Biggs is reunited with Luke would ultimately be cut from the original 1977 theatrical release, but would eventually be restored, as a special treat for fans, in the 1997 Special Edition. Also restored but trimmed was a sequence where Red Leader talks to the pair and inquires about Luke’s flying experience (though lost is an additional piece of dialogue in which Red Leader tells Luke that he once flew with his father, a scene that had to be cut in case it created long term continuity problems. The cutting of this latter dialogue was achieved by a very clever wipe editing, using an ILM effects inserted Rebel guard to walk across the scene at the precise moment that Henley is about to deliver the unwanted dialogue.   

Getting the Rebel pilots suited up at Shepperton.

All of the actors playing fighter pilots wore several signal flares strapped to one leg- a design element that would be taken directly from German fighter pilots of World War II, who strapped belts of flare pistol cartridges in the same position. The same extras used for the previously shot Shepperton Throne Room finale filming of May 1976 would also appear as technicians/pilots in the fighter hangar scenes. Special care was taken for the most part with both sets of filming so that background actors didn’t wear easily identifiable twentieth century costuming, or real life items like wristwatches or sunglasses.

The ramp that the droids descend on set.

To make life easier for the actors in droid costumes, as well as the remote controlled Artoo’s, half the sides of each set of stairs within the fighter bay stairs of the fighter bay were replaced with smooth flat surfaces. 

Detailed look at X-wing nose area.

Lucas on the massive sound stage.

UK practical special effects coordinator John Stears supervises the lifting of the X– wing fighters from the Yavin base (presumably shot on June 14th as the filming ends at Shepperton at a later time-21.05pm, of which the movie is now 13 days over schedule!!). The structure of the Shepperton Stage H roof does not unfortunately prove capable of carrying the full weight of the specially built five ton X-wing prop, and the rig (an additional weight of three quarters of a ton), for which it was planned the craft will be hung. Knowing that there was no other way of achieving the sequence, Stears hires a crane to lift the ship, but finding a place for the crane to operate becomes a problem, because the X–wing and the set are being filmed with different cameras simultaneously, each one from a different angle (which, in later editing, would give the illusion of many fighters taking off); there was no way to place the crane without it showing up in the picture. It is finally decided to have a tower crane, capable of lifting seven tons from a distance of one hundred feet. 

The Zealous crane opposite and high above Shepperton Stage H.

The crane they use, called a Zealous, stands one hundred and sixty feet high and has to be positioned outside the soundstage, making the task of operating it very difficult. The operator, sitting outside the soundstage, is unable to see what is going on inside the sound stage. The problem would be solved by having another crane operator, familiar with the characteristics of the crane inside the soundstage, relaying instructions to the operator via radio. Amazingly, thanks to the two crane operators skills, not a single re-take is required due to any errors. The moves they had to make, which had to be precise within a fraction of an inch, prove perfect. 

The X-wing takes off!