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

ARRIVING IN THE NETHERLANDS, FROM 30/9/17. BOOK NOW FOR THE ULTIMATE 'STAR WARS' EXHIBITION

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

RETURN OF A COMICS LEGEND: HOWARD CHAYKIN'S "EMPIRE"!


Kudos to the team at STAR WARS INSIDER for its slightly improving issues recently. There's been a few new bits of information filtering through about the behind the scenes, attempts at a few more interviews, here and there rare or rare-ish pictures and some special commissions linked to the film series and the new CLONE WARS. Today's news that legendary comics artist Howard Chaykin has contributed a brand new cover for STAR WARS INSIDER's December issue (pictured above), is an excellent new step in the right direction. I have long been fascinated by Chaykin's art for the early STAR WARS comic adaptation, he was specially selected by Lucas due to his work on his sci-fi epic CODY STARBUCK- and gamely visualised a universe in 1976 and 1977 that was still in flux production wise. The adaptation of STAR WARS, one of the very few early clues to the public as to what the film was going to be about, may not look like the universe that was later recreated by Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon for their movie adaptations of EMPIRE and JEDI, but it has a wondrous comic book hybrid feel about it that, thirty four years on, is still ambitious and exciting to look at, and which, with its exciting style, inspired the dreams and ambitions of many young artists who would follow in Chaykin's large foot-steps.

Chaykin's original poster art which appeared at the San Diego COMIC CON in 1976
"Enter Luke Skywalker - will he save the galaxy or destroy it?" Chaykin's adapted poster, now a cover for the launch of the STAR WARS US MARVEL comic.

This new EMPIRE art, of which Chaykin has taken his cues from what he originally did for the limited edition San Diego COMIC CON poster of 1976 (which was then adapted for the cover of STAR WARS MARVEL COMIC number 1) is very nicely done, and I'm sure this issue of INSIDER, with an accompanying behind the scenes feature about Chaykin at MARVEL for STAR WARS, will be a huge success.

STAR WARS 3-D. IT'S FINALLY COMING!


And now its official. The entire STAR WARS saga in 3-D theatrical release, safe in the supervisory hands of effects guru John Knoll working with the ILM team, and surely with "a few new surprises" begins from 2012 with EPISODE ONE (though lets hope that UK IMAX cinemas get to show 'em all, too-they completely ignored the IMAX version of EPISODE II back in 2002-the damned fools!). This is all further great news in what has already been an amazing year for STAR WARS, what with Celebration V, the continuing CLONE WARS animated series and next year's Blu-ray box set release. All I need now is a box of Ferrero Roche chocolates and I'll be feeling really spoiled!

Now, George, how about EPISODEs VII to IX??!!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

CLASSIC IMAGE: THE NET IS CLOSING IN...


Within one of the labyrinth corridors of the Death Star battle station, Chief Bast (as played by UK actor Leslie Schofield (who was referred to as a commander in the official movie cast listing of 1977)) informs Lord Vader (Dave Prowse), aware that the angry Dark Lord's unique interrogation of Princess Leia Organa is not working, that the search of Tatooine's Mos Eisley spaceport for the escaped droids continues apace in this classic STAR WARS deleted scene (of which many stills exist), which was eventually shown, with new re- dubbed dialogue by James Earl Jones and an unknown US actor, for the 1978 STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL.

Clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvSDm8w08-I

However, whether the original, legendary 1976 scene, one of the earliest filmed by Dave Prowse, and which would have been recorded on set with his and Schofield's original voices, ever made it past the post-production editing stage to the later point where James Earl Jones added his unique voice to Vader is not known, but, regardless, and after years of seeing that scene in poor quality form from bootleg HOLIDAY SPECIAL copies, let's hope we get it in the best quality possible on the upcoming Blu-ray.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

FAN (BOYS) - TASTIC!

Kristen Bell joins the special ranks of Slave Leia-dom for FANBOYS (out on DVD and Blu-ray October 4th). Image: copyright ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT.

I don't really need any incentive to put up this wonderfully gratuitous shot of the gorgeous Kristen Bell dressed as Bikini Leia from the Kyle Newman STAR WARS love letter/road trip movie FANBOYS, but its a nice celebration of the fact that the film, also produced by Kevin Spacey (who does one helluva mean Christopher Walken as Han Solo impersonation!), is finally being released on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK, from ANCHOR BAY ENTERTAINMENT, on October 4th (perhaps the film company thought they'd tease us Brits the way FOX did back in 1977, by having us wait six months longer than everybody else in the world to see it!). There's also a prior London West End premiere of the film taking place at the Apollo Cinema in Piccadilly Circus the pm of Tuesday 28th September, so, along with the anticipated stars, I'm sure the promotional people handling the films release here are eager to see as many people as possible dressed up as Jedi and Stormtroopers to act as a celebratory crowd for both the films much anticipated arrival, and, equally important, to justify their work as publicists!

UK DVD release trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SH9zZEZJOQ

They'll be more on AFICIONADO about the UK release of FANBOYS soon...

INDIANA JONES: AN ANNIVERSARY OF ADVENTURE!


Fans who want to keep up with the Jones's will no doubt enjoy today's all day showing of Indy's feature film adventures on SKY MOVIES ACTION/ADVENTURE in the UK. We can't confirm this but it looks like the screenings, which will be shown in HD, will not be the same HD prints as the ones recently shown on the BBC (of which RAIDERS had a new cgi background effects shot added) - the latter were apparently the versions to have been released on Blu-ray before Spielberg apparently changed his mind and asked for more extensive cleaning up be done to them.

With the thirtieth anniversary of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and Indiana Jones next year, lets hope that there are some major league celebrations upcoming planned by LUCASFILM and PARAMOUNT. How about a limited theatrical run of all four films in plush digital screenings at the cinema, or at least RAIDERS, and not just in the US but worldwide, and then release the Blu-rays? How about some kind of cast and crew signings. And OFFICIALPIX, open up your INDY shop again for a limited time to celebrate (with some new images, too!). Perhaps a revised and updated release of the Rinzler making of book with some more publicity on it may be nice to see.

With the recent news that the main cast have been told the apparently "crazy and exciting" story, what's going on with INDY 5? And, with the success of THE CLONE WARS, how about an Indy animated series?

Want more on Indy? Then why not join our YAHOO GROUP:

Friday, 24 September 2010

JAR JAR BINKS: HESA BACK!!


Love him or hate him, that gangly Gungan is back for more comedy shenanigans in tonight's US episode of THE CLONE WARS, showing on CARTOON NETWORK, working with Bail Organa in an adventure titled SUPPLY LINES. I'm personally rather fond of Jar Jar- he reminds me of my late dog, with his big ears and eyes- and I'm intrigued to see what Filoni and co. will do next with the character. I thought in the Prequel films that Lucas bottled out from using Jar Jar more actively in EPISODEs II and III, after such a large involvement for the creature in EPISODE I, presumably due to his first appearance having caused great dismay and controversy from older fans who hated the Buster Keaton always getting into trouble inspired visual comedy character. In EPISODE II, Lucas did, to his credit, cleverly use Jar Jar to help instigate Palpatine's lifetime Supreme Chancellor-ship, which was very nicely done, and I was hoping he'd have a similarly and equally important sequence like that for EPISODE III-perhaps one act of supreme bravery on his part to help Padme and Obi-Wan, perhaps even sacrificing himself to save his friends, a move that might have been very interesting and added to the darkness of the final film of the Prequel Trilogy. Alas, it was not to be-and we still don't know what happened to him in that twenty year gap between sagas (despite the celebration visit to Naboo showing Gungans en masse in the revised version of RETURN OF THE JEDI on DVD in 2004).

Still, despite his on screen movie controversy, Jar Jar works very well in the animated series-BOMBAD JEDI in THE CLONE WARS first season (one of the earliest to be made in the run) was a fine example of slapstick comedy, and its nice to have Ahmed Best back behind the microphone to provide the characters unique voice. Somebody get Ahmed to be a convention guest at a future Celebration. The Jar Jar furore must have eased down by now, and I'm sure he has lots of great behind the scenes stories on the Prequels to tell that will delight fans of all ages!

CLASSIC IMAGE: FLUORESCENT YODA!


Yoda's certainly looking a bit brighter these days, as this reference dummy, used by the cast and crew at FOX STUDIOS for EPISODE III in 2003, clearly demonstrates.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

CLASSIC IMAGE: BLUE SCREEN TALKS!


During additional EPISODE II re-shoots for dialogue and action sequences set within the Geonosian corrdiors and droid conveyor belt, taking place at the legendary British EALING studios in early 2002, Hayden Christensen confers with friend/producer Rick McCallum, whilst Anthony Daniels prepares to film a blue-screen scene with Artoo Detoo.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

CLASSIC IMAGE: DEATH STAR BATTLE STATIONS!


As alarm lights blaze and sirens fill the air within the corridors of the Death Star, elite TIE fighter pilots rush to their ships, ready to engage the attacking Rebel X and Y-wing ships, in this deleted scene from STAR WARS, filmed by Gary Kurtz's second unit at some point in July 1976 at ELSTREE. A partial clip from the deleted footage would later be used in RETURN OF THE JEDI.


I'd have love to have seen a sequence where we see the pilots actually get into their TIE ships and take off. In the film we see Vader and his wing men depart the docking bay, but there's a great moment in the MARVEL comic strip adaptation of the time (above image) where we see Vader actually getting into his ship.

I wonder if that was just writer Roy Thomas/artist Howard Chaykin's visual idea, or whether there was a scripted scene that was possibly filmed? Or perhaps the scene was planned for but unfilmed due to time and money pressures- Script Continuity Supervisor Ann Skinner has the scene in her shooting script (currently held in the British Film Institute), so it looks likely. Perhaps the Blu-ray will solve the many mysteries once and for all...

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

ILM CLASSIC IMAGE: "RED FIVE STANDING BY"


A great ILM STAR WARS 1976/77 storyboard of Luke Skywalker in the cockpit of his X-wing, at some point during the Death Star attack. We assume the illustration was brought to life by Joe Johnston, and based around the earlier July 1976 filming of the fighter pilot cockpit scenes at ELSTREE.

Monday, 20 September 2010

CLASSIC IMAGE: DROID TESTING


Here's some fun late 1975 (?) screen grabs of behind the scenes footage, presumably shot at ELSTREE, of UK practical special effects co-ordinator John Stears (the Oscar winning technician behind the early James Bond movies, I might add!) and George Lucas testing the droids that will eventually be used for upcoming filming for the STAR WARS Jawa droid sale in Tunisia in March 1976 and then through various scenes at ELSTREE afterwards.




The footage also shows an early test for a silver Artoo Detoo (there's someone in it who looks like hes wearing some kind of protective nappy?!) - we're not sure if its Kenny Baker in Artoo or not during this screen test filming (credited to Gilbert Taylor, about to finish his director of photography work on Richard Donner's horror film THE OMEN). Not all of the droids that Stears and his team constructed for filming, many of which would be re-painted and re-dressed over five months, actually made it into the finished movie-it would be intriguing to see the stills or deleted footage of those lost droids...

A selection of John Stears droid creations on the Death Star hangar set during early Summer 1976 (note the left middle Treadwell used for the deleted Tunisia scene with Mark Hamill).

Friday, 17 September 2010

THE MAKING OF "THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK" BOOK - SNEAK PEEK TRAILER

On the immense Dagobah set at ELSTREE, Yoda gets ready to film his scenes, watched by a crew member helping Kenny Baker inside the Artoo shell - one of many amazing behind the scenes images from AURUM PRESS BOOKS new THE MAKING OF THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK book, written by JW Rinzler, and out from October 15th.

It's not long now until J.W. Rinzler's epic tome, THE MAKING OF THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, the true story behind the creation and filming of the much loved second STAR WARS movie from 1980, is finally with us (released in the UK on October 15th). To tide us over for release, UK publisher AURUM PRESS BOOKS have sent me this great trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kewvFdh_RS4

And here's grabs of just a fraction of that fantastic rare imagery to get our appetites even more ready for the feast....


CLASSIC IMAGE: BEFORE THE RACE!


Respected British author/actor Andrew Secombe may not have appeared on screen to deliver his excellent vocals as the greedy Toydarian Mos Espa junk dealer, Watto, for the Prequels, but he certainly was filmed delivering those lines to the actors during the principal photography of EPISODEs I and II at LEAVESDEN, and then in Tunisia - and he was a vitally needed presence there, too, so that the actors could respond correctly to where the flying character was going to be CGI placed by the animators at ILM. Note in this shot that Secombe is wearing a hat-this visual idea for the character was dropped for EPISODE I, but it came to eventual fruition for his outdoor cameo scene for EPISODE II seveal years later.

With the Toydarian race in general back in the new season of THE CLONE WARS, and, from a brief trailer snippet, what looks like a possible return to Tatooine and Mos Espa, might we also see the return of the wheeler dealer? Let's hope so.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

CLASSIC IMAGE: BLUE IS THE COLOUR!


Here's a fun family photo you don't see everyday, showing Katie Lucas and her proud father, a certain Mister George Lucas, as the alien beings Chi Eekway and her daddy, Baron Papanoida- members of the animated series seen Pantoran race, both of whom make cameo appearances in EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH. George's appearance-which he apparently had to be dragged kicking and screaming into doing- is literally a blink and you miss it moment at the Coruscant opera. Katie is also in that scene talking to him as Chi, but she does get a line of dialogue in EPISODE III, in a sequence with Padme and the Delegation of 2000 that's ultimately cut out, though it would eventually resurface on the film's DVD release a short time later. Katie, now a script writer for the animated CLONE WARS series, will soon have the entire Pantoran/Lucas family dynasty return for an an action-packed episode of politics, intrigue and danger.

Look for the episode - its title currently unrevealed - to transmit in the not too distant future on CARTOON NETWORK in the US and SKY MOVIES in the UK.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

ILM's TV CELEBRATION!

Artist Drew Struzan's classic logo for ILM

The world's greatest effects men and women, who launched a new revolution with STAR WARS in 1977, and its opening shot that wowed cinema audiences forever, will be celebrated in a new US TV special.

Here's the details:

Lets hope it comes to the UK at some point!

CLASSIC IMAGE: THE MISSING "CLONE WAR"!


With the eve of the new third season of THE CLONE WARS airing in the US on CARTOON NETWORK this week, we thought we'd take a look back to the original 2008 pilot film and this intriguing image of the Clone Soldiers fighting Battle Droids and Super Battle Droids on what I'm assuming is the desert wilderness of Tatooine? This exciting image, used for the films publicity at the time, never made it into the film, though, if I recall correctly, a portion of a clip of this scene appears in one of the opening monologues of one of the first seasons episodes...

I'm wondering if Captain Rex and his team did a final clean-up of the Separatist forces once Anakin and Ahsoka had delivered Rotta to father Jabba the Hutt, and it was just cut from the final film for time reasons. But why not include it on the film's Blu-ray/DVD deleted scenes?

If anyone out there has any more information on this scene please get in touch...

OUT NOW: "LEGACY OF TERROR" PHOTONOVEL / ACTIVITY BOOK


Anakin Skywalker and Luminara Unduli, two Jedi of complete diversity yet both strong in the Force, are the cover stars for this lovely new release from the UK's SUNBIRD children's book release linked to the classic THE CLONE WARS Season Two episodes featuring the spectacular second Battle of Geonosis, full of colour art and imagery for newbie young fans of the animated STAR WARS universe, and plenty to keep them active during the holiday seasons- prepare to have character stickers all over the house!

Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Legacy of Terror Comic and Activity Book with Stickers: Amazon.co.uk: Sunbird: 9781409390220: Books

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

CLASSIC IMAGE: THE TWO MASTERS OF DARKNESS!


From the EPISODE II DVD special features, here's some fun images showing legendary actor Christopher Lee- Count Dooku himself- at FOX STUDIOS AUSTRALIA in 2000, getting ready to film the next part of his lightsaber duel (with double Kyle Rowling) in the Geonosian hangar for EPISODE II, and this time up against his old Jedi Master, Yoda. Only, his opponent's looking a little bit different today!


The reference Yoda dummy used on that days filming would be given some vampire fangs by the behind the scenes crew in an amusing DRACULA joke/honorable homage. Despite Lee's seriousness on set to Lucas that he didn't find the improvised visual gag funny, we secretly hope that he eventually saw the lighter side of it all!

Monday, 13 September 2010

CLASSIC IMAGE: GOODBYE, HAN SOLO!


Here's another great image from EMPIRE-this one showing the terrible time Chewbacca and Princess Leia have whilst watching Han Solo become carbonised. Its an evocative image-and one not always seen in its entirety (often cropped to focus just on Leia and Chewie when used in magazines during the period of EMPIRE's 1980 theatrical release)- and shows what an incredible set the Carbon Freezing chamber was during the filming in the summer of 1979-full of atmosphere, heat and steam, brilliantly lit by the UK lighting team and filmed with strong, but beautifully haunting cinematography by Peter Suschitzky.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

CLASSIC IMAGE: THE NAME'S SOLO...HAN SOLO!


Here's three great shots (above and below) of Harrison Ford having a little fun posing outdoors at Han Solo at the studio exterior backlot at Elstree Studios, during April 1976- one of the earliest posed photo shoots of Harrison Ford in costume, having fun with his new blaster weapon/prop. The images, of which one similar was used in J.W. Rinzler's excellent MAKING OF STAR WARS hardcover from 2007, came from a recently sold rare contact sheet from that classic time, showing us a Ford still very much a star in the raw. It is unknown who took the photograph-possibly Gary Kurtz, David Steen or John Jay?




With thanks to Chris Baker for the images.

On other things related to Han Solo, one of the big surprises of Celebration V was a new fan film about the adventures of the space pirate, alongside Chewbacca. I never got round to seeing it at the event, but everyone who saw it said it was great, and I now totally agree with them! Brilliant work and thanks to everyone who was involved in it (thanks to Andy Dukes for the link):

http://www.theforce.net/latestnews/story/The_Solo_Adventures_3D_133788.asp


And then there’s that great recently re-discovered
Bobbie Wygant 1977 interview with Harrison Ford, before he came to dis-own STAR WARS, that’s well worth a look:

Saturday, 11 September 2010

THE BOUNTY HUNTERS RISE AGAIN!


The UK's SKY MOVIES platform are having a daily triple/quadruple bill of repeats, showing for one week from this Monday 13th, of Season Two of STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS in the run up to their exclusive showing of Season Three next month.

Re-live your favourite episodes from this enjoyable and ambitious year (my personal hits were CARGO OF DOOM, LANDING AT POINT RAIN, GRIEVOUS INTRIGUE, THE ZILLO BEAST STRIKES BACK and R2 COME HOME!).

Here's the link to the info:

Friday, 10 September 2010

CLASSIC IMAGE: REBEL ASSEMBLY!


Those determined Classic Trilogy detectives at the REBELSCUM autograph forum's area have managed to correctly identify all of the main UK stunt team that worked on RETURN OF THE JEDI as Rebel Commandos (click on the image for a larger scan. Note: Mark Boyle should be read as Marc Boyle) - most of which also attended the Yuma/ Redwoods filming, playing multiple parts including Jabba's mercenaries and Stormtroopers, with special permission (for reasons of filming continuity) from the US government at that time in 1982. The group, headed by legendary STAR WARS stunt specialist Peter Diamond, would pose for a series of fun behind the scenes images taken on the Emperor's Throne Room set, alongside Mark Hamill and Bob Anderson as Darth Vader, at some point at ELSTREE studios between February and April 1982. With thanks to Chris Baker for sending the above image)

And here's some other images from that fun shoot:



Thursday, 9 September 2010

CLASSIC POSTER ART: LUKE AND TAUNTAUN ON HOTH


I'm a big fan of this great artwork by William Stout for EMPIRE that was used back in the early eighties for a National Philharmonic Orchestra recording of John Williams timeless score (currently available on CD from Varese Sarabande music). As far as I'm aware, it's appeared on several sci-fi related magazine covers over the years but has never been commercially available as a poster or other piece of memorabilia in the UK. If anyone's got any more information on its commission, or, even better, if they have a higher res scan that shows the full image so that I could use it at its best on the site, please get in touch - thank you.

The classic art as seen in FANTASTIC FILMS  magazine-18th September 1980.