LUKE SKYWALKER RETURNS TO THE GALAXY, FROM DECEMBER 15TH, 2017

ARRIVING IN LONDON, FROM 18TH NOVEMBER, 2016. BOOK NOW FOR THE ULTIMATE 'STAR WARS' EXHIBITION

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

'STAR WARS' AT 40: CELL BLOCK BATTLE!


Getting into the Death Star cell bay to rescue Princess Leia was one thing, but trying to get out of there with her...? Well, that's going to be a lot more difficult, as our unlikely quartet discover when Stormtroopers rush the scene and pin them down, in this great image from artists Howard Chaykin and Steve Leialoha, launching issue 4 of the original US STAR WARS comic from MARVEL in early 1977.

ROGUE ONE: SCARIF UNIFICATION!


A wide range of Rebel vessels - several very familiar! - and fighter support have now joined Admiral Raddus's massive cruiser Proundity in battle over Sacrif, in this terrific image from ROGUE ONE, showing the once disarrayed hero forces now finally coming together at this critical time.

Monday, 27 February 2017

'STAR WARS' AT 40: A DAMSEL NOT IN DISTRESS!


"Peering through the smoke with an uncomprehending look on her face was the young woman whose portrait Artoo Detoo had projected in a garage on Tatooine several centuries ago, or so it seemed.

She was even more beautiful than her image, Luke decided, staring dazedly at her."You're even - more beautiful - than I -"

Her look of confusion and uncertainty was replaced by first puzzlement and then impatience. "Aren't you a little short for a storm trooper?" she finally commentated.

"What? Oh - the uniform" He removed the helmet, regaining a little composure at the same time. "I've come to rescue you. I'm Luke Skywalker."

"I beg your pardon?" she said politely.

"I said, I've come to rescue you. Ben Kenobi is with me. We've got your two 'droids - "

The uncertainty was instantly replaced by hope at the mention of the oldster's name."Ben Kenobi!" She looked around Luke, ignoring him as she searched for the Jedi."Where is he? Obi-Wan!"

From the STAR WARS novelization by George Lucas (Alan Dean Foster) - 1976 

The classic scene as in the movie was likely shot at Elstree Studios around May 11th or 19th, 1976.

THE CLONE WARS: THE COSMIC MESSAGE!


Far off in the Outer Rim sieges, Jedi heroes Obi-Wan and Anakin receive an urgent communique from Mace Windu of the sneak attack of the Separatists against Coruscant and the Supreme Chancellor, as Genndy Tartakovsky's always thrilling CLONE WARS 2-D animated series comes to a close, literally, and officially crafted, to lead-in to the packed events of EPISODE III.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

'STAR WARS' AT 40: "BORING CONVERSATION ANYWAY!"


He knows he can only bluff so much when speaking to the confused Imperial officer on the other end of the line, so Han Solo does what he does best: blast the communicator!

To make the scene funny, instinctive and believable, Harrison Ford only cursorily studied the dialogue prior to filming the now infamous "boring conversation" scene. Note that this image was captured on set during rehearsal in May, 1976, and that the scene was filmed before the earlier action - the security cameras above Ford are very much undamaged by pyrotechnics.

CLASSIC ART: A TRIBUTE TO BERKEY


Magnificently capturing the flavour and atmosphere of John Berkey's superb work for the STAR WARS saga- his never used poster concepts that went on to be a firm fixture of the film's 1977 merchandise campaign, the first adventures of Luke Skywalker and Rey are effectively celebrated in these four stylish pieces from popular artist Christopher Shy.

STUDIO RONIN





With thanks to the Sci-Fi And Fantasy Universe Facebook Page for the heads-up.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

ROGUE ONE: EXTREME EXTREMISTS!


Their latest brutal mission to liberate stolen Kyber Crystals from Imperial forces achieved, Saw Gerrera's not-so-motley band of human/alien resistance fighters turn their attentions to Jyn and Cassian, in this scene on Jedha, from ROGUE ONE.

'STAR WARS' AT 40: "WATCH OUT, HE'S LOOSE!"


Things get explosive in the Death Star cell block as our heroes and the binder's-free Chewbacca cause blaster mayhem, taking out the Imperial officer (Malcolm Tierney) and guards (Peter Diamond, Colin Skeaping and Reg Harding) and the many ceiling security monitors in the process.

Now they have to find out which cell the Princess is housed, within the labyrinth cell horizon ahead...

'STAR WARS REBELS': THE SENTINEL!


We've seen his younger self helping to launch the animated series three years ago, now Obi-Wan Kenobi in his Sir Alec Guinness persona returns to defend young Luke Skywalker from the likely assassination threat of Darth Maul on Tatooine, as STAR WARS REBELS approaches its final batch of episodes heading into Spring, on DISNEY XD.

Star Wars Rebels Season 3 finale and title descriptions! - Making Star Wars
Star Wars Rebels: showrunner on Obi-Wan return | Den of Geek

Other Season news:

Tiya Sircar on Sabine's Star Wars Rebels Journey | StarWars.com
'Star Wars Rebels' season 3 episode 16 spoilers: An unlikely warrior; Fulcrum in danger
Clip and images for Star Wars Rebels Season 3 Episode 16 – ‘Through Imperial Eyes’
Dave Filoni Explains This Weekend's Surprising 'Star Wars Rebels' Twist – /Film

Friday, 24 February 2017

ROGUE ONE: TARKIN DOMINATES 'CINEFEX'


Great screen villainy never goes out of fashion, especially when its linked to the ever popular Peter Cushing, as the incredible CGI version of his supreme Imperial leader Grand Moff Tarkin graces the cover of the new CINEFEX, out now and dedicated to the digital magic weaved by ILM for ROGUE ONE.

How 'Rogue One' Recreated Grand Moff Tarkin | Design FX | WIRED - YouTube

More on the visual effects pre-viz: Rogue One: Visual effects revealed - BBC Click - YouTube

'STAR WARS' AT 40: A MEETING OF TALENTS


On the Death Star lift shaft set at Elstree, a very youthful George Lucas goes through a specific scene or directorial point with Harrison Ford, whilst Mark Hamill looks distracted and serious. Behind them, holding Chewbacca's handcuffs, is assistant director Anthony Waye, best known for his long-time work on the legendary James Bond franchise, in a variety of producing roles.

EPISODE VII: SKIES OF THE RESISTANCE!


Resistance X-wings led by Poe Dameron soon make efficient destructive work of the First Order's TIE fighter forces above Maz Kanata's wrecked castle on Takodana, in a terrific scene from THE FORCE AWAKENS.

I love the incredible detail of this shot and what's going on it. Notice the other X-wing chasing TIEs far right middle, and the sharp depth of the overall geography beneath them. A truly stunning image from ILM that has to be experienced in High Definition.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

'STAR WARS' AT 40: HEADING TO THE CELL BAY


The disguised Han and Luke with their unique "prisoner" in Chewbacca stop at a lift shaft junction en route to the cell bay, watching a hive of people and the odd droid coming and going on a set at Elstree that was literally built next door to the chasm area and filmed in the first week of May, shortly after Luke and Leia's swing across. At least twenty extras in various specially made or adapted Bermans and Nathans rented-in costumes appeared in the scene, whilst the black/green droid was likely played by Anthony Daniels stand-in, Harriet Colville.

Our heroes arrive at the lift shaft area.
Reference image featuring Imperial extras, later used as reference at ILM.
Ralph McQuarrie's lovely production painting for the scene.
Ralph McQuarrie plans out the matte painting dimensions at ILM.
The side area matte painting as credited to Peter Ellenshaw. Note that the middle empty black strip actually made it into the finished film!

The set was extended and the chasm area concealed in post production by a matte painting from ILM that added further size and depth, planned out by Ralph McQuarrie but ultimately credited in final execution to DISNEY matte artist Peter Ellenshaw (as named in 'THE ART OF 'STAR WARS' book), aka Harrison Ellenshaw, who came in to help with the matte painting work load by 1977.

With thanks to Chris Baker for selected images.

ROGUE ONE: OFFICIAL BLU-RAY AND DVD ANNOUNCEMENT

Available on UK Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD and Digital Download from April 10th, 2017.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story | official Blu-Ray trailer (2017) - YouTube

The Mission Comes Home: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Arrives Soon on Digital HD and Blu-ray | StarWars.com

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

'STAR WARS' AT 40: WHEN A 'MOUSE' MET A WOOKIEE!


They're on their way to rescue a Princess, but challenges to our heroes come in all shapes and sizes on the Death Star, primarily a little "Mouse Droid" soon sent packing to another destination on the space station by the intimidating "prisoner" in Chewbacca. A charming comedy moment.

A close-up look at the droid from 1976.

This unique type of little droid, originally conceived by UK practical effects chief John Stears, would go on to background appear in the next two Classic Trilogy films, as well as EPISODE III (en masse on Mustafar), THE FORCE AWAKENS, and, more recently, in ROGUE ONE.

BEHIND THE SCENES: ATTACK AND COUNTER-ATTACK!


Watched by George Lucas, some unforeseen and very last minute lightsaber moves are hurriedly choreographed by Nick Gillard for Ian McDiarmid and Samuel L. Jackson, now fighting within the Supreme Chancellor's office set at FOX Studios, Australia, for EPISODE III.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

THE 'HAN SOLO' MOVIE: FALCON GREETINGS!


Principal photography is now underway at Pinewood for the Han Solo standalone movie (aka "Red Cup"), and cast and filmmakers pose for this lovely image direct from the Falcon cockpit. Great to see Chewie there, too, and with a new 40 years younger face!

STAR WARS AFICIONADO has no doubts that this will be a more than successful shoot in the UK and worldwide.

Han Solo - Smuggler. Scoundrel. Hero. A New Star Wars Story Begins | StarWars.com

J.J. Abrams Says 'Han Solo' Film Script is 'Amazing' | The Star Wars Underworld

New Chewbacca Actor (Joonas Suotamo) writes wonderful letter to Star Wars fans

'STAR WARS' AT 40: DROID FELLOWSHIP!


"Lock the door" and "Hope they don't have blasters" are not the reassuring words C-3PO and R2-D2 were hoping to hear from Luke and Han, especially now that they're about to leave them in the control room alone in order to go out and rescue Princess Leia. A priceless little moment from STAR WARS.

Reunited for a special commercial in 1978.
On set filming in 1978.
The American poster image for the campaign.

This particular set, originally filmed on during early Summer 1976, would be resurrected (and expanded) from storage at Elstree Studios two years later, for a special commercial shot for American audiences, with the lovable droids telling viewers of the important need for children to have immunization against whooping cough. The April 1978 shown informercial, featuring Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker, directed by British filmmaker Peter Shillingford, was a big success, cementing the power the characters had with family audiences.

Star Wars 'Childhood Immunization' PSA - YouTube

STAR WARS AFICIONADO sends Birthday Greetings out to Anthony Daniels.

CLASSIC IMAGE: TARGET: KENOBI!


It's not a sight you see everyday- that of a Jedi hanging onto the underside of a flying droid zig-zagging the city skyline, but bounty hunter Zam Wessel couldn't care less as she aims her weapon at the approaching and equally dangerous Obi-Wan Kenobi, in a memorable EPISODE II scene on Coruscant.

Monday, 20 February 2017

OUT THIS WEEK: 'EMPIRE'S END'


Arriving in UK bookstores from the 21st February, 2017, with the explosive storytelling power of a thermal detonator, comes Chuck Wendig's final novel in the official post JEDI/pre THE FORCE AWAKENS trilogy saga that is AFTERMATH, and the spectacular battle between heroes and villains that will decide an Empire's End, from CENTURY PUBLISHING.

6 Reasons to Be Very Excited for Aftermath: Empire's End | StarWars.com

Here's the latest cover blurb: 

Following Star Wars: Aftermath and Star Wars: Life Debt, Chuck Wendig delivers the exhilarating conclusion to the New York Times bestselling trilogy set in the years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. 

EVERY END IS A NEW BEGINNING. 

As the final showdown between the New Republic and the Empire draws near, all eyes turn to a once-isolated planet: Jakku. 

The Battle of Endor shattered the Empire, scattering its remaining forces across the galaxy. But the months following the Rebellion's victory have not been easy. The fledgling New Republic has suffered a devastating attack from the Imperial remnant, forcing the new democracy to escalate their hunt for the hidden enemy. 

For her role in the deadly ambush, Grand Admiral Rae Sloane is the most wanted Imperial war criminal--and one-time rebel pilot Norra Wexley, back in service at Leia's urgent request, is leading the hunt. But more than just loyalty to the New Republic drives Norra forward: Her husband was turned into a murderous pawn in Sloane's assassination plot, and now she wants vengeance as much as justice. 

But Sloane, too, is on a furious quest: pursuing the treacherous Gallius Rax to the barren planet Jakku. As the true mastermind behind the Empire's devastating attack, Rax has led the Empire to its defining moment. The cunning strategist has gathered the powerful remnants of the Empire's war machine, preparing to execute the late Emperor Palpatine's final plan. As the Imperial fleet orbits Jakku, an armada of Republic fighters closes in to finish what began at Endor. Norra and her crew soar into the heart of an apocalyptic clash that will leave land and sky alike scorched. And the future of the galaxy will finally be decided. 

'STAR WARS' AT 40: THE QUICKEST OF BATTLES...


It's now become classic art used in countless areas of STAR WARS related media- Jerry Vandersteldt's superb painting of Obi-Wan Kenobi, lightsaber raised, within one of the Death Star corridors after having dispatching Imperial Stormtroopers- a scene that never happened onscreen that would have been cool to see, before the old Jedi Master's ultimate struggle with former pupil Darth Vader.

And intriguingly, back in 1976, a scene like that very nearly happened- it was certainly in one of the fourth draft shooting scripts (dated 1/1/76) that was changed before principal photography at Elstree Studios from April onwards, as Peter Mayhew revealed in 2015 on TWITTER via his fascinating weekly page scans of his earliest script for what was then known as THE STAR WARS.

Here's the scene:

SCENE A106. INT. MAIN PASSAGEWAY - DEATH STAR

Ben moves swiftly down the Death Star passageway to where four troops are guarding an intersection. Ben walks right up to the officer in charge.

OFFICER: Your sanction.

The guards start to lower their weapons, but before they can fire, Ben has moved through them swinging his deadly blade, cutting the troops to ribbons. The old Jedi swiftly continues along the passageway and disappears.

What a shame it never made it to filming, though Ben was certainly adept at ducking in and out of corner alcoves!

Artist's website: Vanderstelt Studio

1987 Sir Alec Guinness interview on STAR WARS: BBC Arts - BBC Arts, Sir Alec Guinness talks Star Wars in 1987

Sunday, 19 February 2017

EPISODE VIII: LATEST NEWS (FEB 2017)


The first EPISODE VIII promotional art for our main three saga heroes of Rey, Finn and Poe has arrived, and more goodies await unveiling at the US CELEBRATION event in April 2017.

Until then, here's this month's crop of news:

Rian Johnson On The Last Jedi's Progress, Influences, And Surprises, Feature | Movies - Empire

5 things we learned about the new 'Star Wars' from director Rian Johnson

The most must-see films of 2017, from 'Beauty and the Beast' to 'Star Wars'

'Star Wars': Lucasfilm Confirms A Mysterious Rey & Kylo Ren Connection NEWS— eastcoastmovieguys

'Star Wars: Episode 8': There will be two trailers; One for Celebrations and the other online

Star Wars has dropped a big clue about Episode VIII - BBC Newsbeat

Rey Hairstyle Star Wars Episode 8 - The Last Jedi Daisy Ridley Hair

General Leia's Scenes In Rian Johnson's 'Star Wars: Episode VIII' Revealed NEWS— eastcoastmovieguys

Star Wars 8: Leaked trailer description reveals Luke Skywalker and Snoke scenes in Last Jedi

Adam Driver on 50-Pound Weight Loss, 'Girls' Finale and the Next 'Star Wars' - YouTube


The latest teaser image from Rian Johnson via his cryptic Twitter account. And that's not Tom Hardy!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi's Super Star Destroyer and Finn's curious outfit - Making Star Wars

Laura Dern says as much as she can about 'Star Wars'

EXCLUSIVE: Laura Dern Opens Up About Carrie Fisher & 'Star Wars: Episode VIII': 'What an Incredible Gift'

How Lupita Nyong’o Feels About Keeping Star Wars Secrets - CINEMABLEND

Star Wars Force Friday II Coming September 1, 2017 | StarWars.com

'Star Wars: Episode 8' spoilers: An exciting new weapon

Star Wars 8 The last Jedi Guess whose son Benicio del Toro is playing? | Films | Entertainment | Express.co.uk

Star Wars 8 news Rey will lose her hand in The Last Jedi | Films | Entertainment | Express.co.uk

'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' Spoilers: Judi Dench Interrogates 'Episode 8' Plot (Aereon RIP)

Star Wars: Episode 8 Is Likely To Feature A Force Tree; Luke Skywalker’s Screen Time Revealed

'STAR WARS' AT 40: "SHE'S RICH!"


Han Solo isn't all that enthused about the idea of rushing into a detention centre to rescue a Princess he's never heard of. Thankfully, the idea of riches beyond his dreams soon proves an effective incentive, as fuelled by an eager Luke Skywalker.

Yellow indicates filmed but deleted conversation footage - a fun little moment from Ford as Solo:

Luke: No. Look a minute ago you said you didn't want to be captured, now all you wanna do is stay?

Han: Marching into the detention area is not what I had in mind.

Luke: But they're gonna kill her!

Han: Better her than me.

"So -is - life." Deleted dialogue moment between Han and Luke.

Luke: (trying to convince Han) No, no, no, no, Han. I've seen her. She's so beautiful.

Han: So - is - life.

Also of note, Peter Mayhew had dialogue as Chewbacca in the hangar control room scene as Obi-Wan departs ("That old man's mad!"), relevant for the actors to take their cures from, but also presumably acting as a rough guide for where sound effects would be inserted for the creature.

CLASSIC INDY: CUSTODIAN AND PROTECTOR!


As Indy continues his brutal bare-knuckle fight against the formidable Russian bulk that is Dovchenko, the lovable but barely sane Harold Oxley keeps his eye on the prize - the Crystal Skull, using its power to stop the approaching ground storm of killer ants, in a fun moment from INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL.

STAR WARS AFICIONADO remembers the much-liked and respected British character actor Sir John Hurt (1940 - 2017), who not only relished his role in the Indiana Jones franchise, but was beloved in other high quality sci-fi/fantasy- the likes of ALIEN, HARRY POTTER and the modern version of TV's DOCTOR WHO. His other work across film and small screen genres was equally high-quality, admirable and unforgettable, from playing the insane Emperor Caligula in I, CLAUDIUS, to the noble yet afflicted John Merrick in THE ELEPHANT MAN. 

RIP, Mister Hurt.

Sir John Hurt obituary | Film | The Guardian

Saturday, 18 February 2017

'STAR WARS' AT 40: DIFFERENT DESTINIES!


Now in hiding in a control room above the Death Star hangar bay, Han Solo and Chewbacca are itching for a fight, whilst Kenobi goes off in search of deactivating the tractor beam that will let the Falcon escape, but not before saying goodbye to a saddened Luke, though he is soon ultimately distracted by the news that Princess Leia is also present on the station, as a prisoner to be rescued.

Note this this is image is taken during the scene's rehearsal- the distinctive Imperial lighting is not on. After 1976 filming was completed, Mark Hamill was allowed to keep his Stormtrooper costume.

CLASSIC IMAGE: PALACE TAKEOVER!


The invasion of the peaceful Naboo by the Trade Federation is completed and seemingly won. All that's needed now is for the acquiescence of their stubborn young Queen, then the first stage plans of their ally in the shadowy Darth Sidious are assured- a scene filmed at Caserta Palace, Italy, with Keira Knightley as the decoy Queen, from EPISODE I.

Friday, 17 February 2017

'STAR WARS' AT 40: SUBDUING IMPERIAL BOARDERS!


Back in 1977, we heard but never saw our hidden heroes on board the Falcon taking out the Imperial scanning crew and the subsequent ramp Stormtroopers in the Death Star hangar. Thankfully, the talents of long-time STAR WARS artist Chris Trevas would happily rectify that by 2015, in the art The Folly of TK-421...

As to the subdued foes final fate we never found out on screen. I assume Han and Chewie dumped the unconscious or dead bodies somewhere in the hangar bay shortly afterwards, or kept them tied up in the Falcon's hidden compartments, later giving them over to the Rebels as prisoners of war.

ROGUE ONE: A CHANCE OF RESCUE...


Arrived at the mountainous and inhospitably wet realms of Eadu, Jyn has boldly made her way to the secret Imperial research base in preparation to rescue her father, in a dramatic moment from ROGUE ONE.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

CLASSIC IMAGE: THE BESPIN TRAP!


Leia, Chewbacca and the blown-to-pieces Threepio are the bait that Imperial Lt. Schekil and his Stormtroopers successfully use to lure Luke Skywalker to his confrontation with Darth Vader at Bespin. But they've forgotten all about that other member of the escort party, the out of frame Lando Calrissian, who has a few tricks up his sleeve when it comes to dealing with hostile intruders...

STAR WARS AFICIONADO SENDS OUT BIRTHDAY GREETINGS TO MISTER BOBA FETT HIMSELF, JEREMY BULLOCH...

'STAR WARS' AT 40: INSIDE THE DEATH STAR HANGAR!


Stormtrooper squads are mobilized around the Death Star hangar as Darth Vader (Dave Prowse) and an Imperial officer (actor unknown) walk towards and inspect the apparently "empty" pirate ship vessel. A classic and very busy image from the original STAR WARS. At least thirty extras were needed as Stormtroopers for this scene (Fifty Stormtrooper costumes were built in all for the 1976 filming), on the immensely impressive set constructed around the partial Millennium Falcon shell, of which Chris Muncke played the Imperial officer conferring with Vader about the apparently "abandoned" ship. I like the working elevator rising up discharging its Stormtroopers, adding an extra layer of believability and functionality to the set and the overall environment.

A great colour variation shot.
Two technicians race past, as extra Stormtroopers appear, in footage first seen in the original 1977 STAR WARS trailer.

During the filming of this scene, UK Script Supervisor Ann Skinner took a colour reference image similar to the one above middle shot, so far unseen to the public, featuring the Stormtroopers assembled at the left side of the image.

With thanks to Ann Skinner and the BFI.

ROGUE ONE: CONCERNING THE DEATH STAR...


On Yavin IV, Mon Mothma, her Rebel generals and tacticians, and important senators, gather to look at a hologram of the Death Star and work out their next strategy, in a deleted scene from the original version of ROGUE ONE.

There's lots to assume from this deleted scene and the alternate decision making presumably made by the Rebellion. We assume the intimidating visual of the Death Star was part of Galen Erso's message to Jyn and that she didn't lose it on Jedha as seen in the finished movie. Note that Cassian Andor, presumably speaking on Jyn's behalf and to give support, is present in this meeting when he's barely seen in the re-filmed sequence, which would also be minus the Death Star graphic or any kind of hologram. Presumably, in the original cut, the Rebellion took a more proactive decision to join forces with Jyn's plan to capture the schematics. In the reshoots, their continued doubts about Jyn, and their inability to fight alongside her, were surely added, making her final journey to Scarif more dramatic.

Alternate version, with no Cassian.

Another consideration as to why the scene was changed could be that it might have been deemed too similar to the briefing room scene with Mon Mothma and the Rebels occurring by the time of RETURN OF THE JEDI.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

'STAR WARS' AT 40: CAPTURED BY THE DEATH STAR!


At ILM in Van Nuys, Richard Edlund and a colleague make adjustments to the Millennium Falcon model prior to the Dykstraflex camera's filming of the vessel's striking entrance into the Death Star hangar bay. The scene took several takes/camera passes to accomplish successfully.

Behind the scenes footage of the Falcon's entry into the bay, once more handled by Edlund, was also specially shot for the later The Making of Star Wars TV special, aired in 1977.

EPISODE VII: FIRE OF THE FIRST ORDER!


The dedicated followers of Lor San Tekka have fought bravely against the newly arrived firepower of Kylo Ren's Stormtrooper squads, but, in the end, the enemy proves too great, especially when the Flametroopers begin their harsh and murderous work, in this scene from the opening sequence to THE FORCE AWAKENS.

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