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

Friday, 28 November 2014

'STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS' - THE FIRST TEASER TRAILER ARRIVES!


Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Movie Trailers - iTunes
Star Wars: The Force Awakens UK teaser | Official HD - YouTube

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' character names revealed -- exclusive | Inside Movies | EW.com

Short but very sweet (and pretty much confirming what plot material has already leaked online), it's here, and we can't wait for December 2015!

The new stars of STAR WARS. Introducing John Boyega as Finn...
Introducing Daisy Ridley as Rey.
Introducing Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron.
A new droid hero, BB-8, to capture family hearts.
A new Sith opponent- Kylo Ren?
Old enemies get a visual upgrade...
... whilst the Rebel Alliance is back in business.
And some things thankfully never change!

Welcome Back to the STAR WARS SAGA!

CLASSIC IMAGE: STARSHIP SENTINEL!


Filmed during London pick-ups for EPISODE II, the Artoo Detoo "suit" is later operated out of shot by regular Droid Man" Don Bies, for the moment where it picks up Obi-Wan's urgent message from Geonosis.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

ILM CLASSIC IMAGE: BREAKING THE BLOCKADE!


Flying boldly into the face of the Imperial blockade, the first Rebel Transport and its two X-wing protectors make a full speed departure from Hoth covered by the destructive energy rounds sent from their base's Ion Cannon, in this great storyboard from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

EPISODE I AT FIFTEEN: RACING THE DESERT!


His presence now detected on Tatooine by dark technological forces, Qui-Gon Jinn and his new Jedi-to-be friend Anakin Skywaller race the desert wilderness beyond Mos Espa in order to reach Queen Amidala's ship and initiate an even quicker departure from Tatooine, in this memorable scene of imminent danger from EPISODE I.

Friday, 21 November 2014

CLASSIC ART: LIGHT AGAINST DARK!


The intimidating figure of Darth Vader looms large over the galaxy's newest protector, the young and innocent Luke Skywalker, firmly holding his father's laser sword as he's thrust into the adventure of a lifetime, in this early but nonetheless stunning poster idea concept art from Ralph McQuarrie for Star Wars.

The original STAR WARS and its incredible impact on, and tribute to, the science fiction/fantasy genre will form part of the first episode of the upcoming three-part UK BBC 1 documentary series Tomorrow's Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction, which also looks at other past greats including STAR TREK and DOCTOR WHO. It starts tomorrow (Saturday 22nd November) on BBC 2 and BBC 2 HD (9.45 pm) and will surely prove essential viewing...

Anthony Daniels taster clip: ▶ The secret of Star Wars' success - Tomorrow's Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction - BBC - YouTube

Tomorrow’s Worlds: The Unearthly History of Science Fiction – New BBC Two Documentary Series | Telly Chat

Thursday, 20 November 2014

CLASSIC IMAGE: JEDI CRUCIBLE!


Another of Nick Gillard's specially posed lightsaber conflict images for Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen, as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, used for key publicity and marketing images for EPISODE III.


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

CLASSIC IMAGE: B-WING BRUISER!


Seen in so little of the finished film but nonetheless a popular addition to the STAR WARS spaceship league: the Rebel B-wing fighter prepares to enter the Battle of Endor, during the gargantuan action-packed finale of RETURN OF THE JEDI.

I always wanted its toy incarnation as a young teen, but it was quite hard to find in the UK during the mid-eighties. Here's hoping this unique craft-type gets more glory if the rumours of its reappearance prove true for EPISODE VII...


Monday, 17 November 2014

"HAPPY LIFE DAY!" (AGAIN!)


Yep, it's that time of the year again, when we take that dusty VHS tape down from the back of the cupboard and settle down to either A) celebrate B) enjoy C) wail in pain or D) angrily throw cans at the screen! Hoorah, its the 36th Anniversary of THE STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL!

I wonder if the new cast of The Force Awakens have heard of it, or even seen it. I'd love to know what they thought of this 1978 "gem", and whether they mercilessly teased Harrison Ford about it during filming!

On behalf of space chef Gormaanda, HAPPY LIFE DAY!

That Horrible Star Wars Holiday Special | Mental Floss
'The Star Wars Holiday Special': Read THR's 1978 Review
http://www.ranchoobiwan.org/2014/11/17/happy-life-day-for-the-36th-time-now-go-out-and-collect-something/

Saturday, 15 November 2014

THE CLONE WARS: PRESSING THEIR ADVANTAGE...


Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano assist the injured Ki-Adi Mundi and his soldiers in capturing Geonosian prisoners, after a tense, fiery conflict, during Landing at Point Rain- the adrenaline-fuelled first part of the epic re-taking of Geonosis, beginning Season Two of THE CLONE WARS in action-packed style.

'TEMPLE OF DOOM' AT 30: GONE FOR A RIDE!


He's used to planes, trains and automobiles. Now Harrison Ford undertakes an altogether more different, and literally back-breaking, form of transportation than he's normally used to, during Sri Lankan filming of TEMPLE OF DOOM in 1983.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY, ELSTREE STUDIOS!

The incredible Rebel base interiors for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK at Elstree Studios in 1979.

It housed labyrinth planet killers, bog planets, enormous ice caverns, and alien-filled cantinas for the the STAR WARS universe from 1976 to 1982 (as well as a few mostly blue screen domains during 2002 and 2005), then became home to the globetrotting exploits of that fearless archeologist adventurer Indiana Jones. Now, the UK's prestigious ELSTREE STUDIOS celebrates 100 incredible years of existence in bringing dreams to cinematic reality. It's had some rough patches over the years, mirroring the ever-changing overall state of the British entertainment industry with whom its been locked in symbiosis, and studio facilities may also have shrunk over the last ten years- the loss of the incredible George Lucas Stage to make way for a TESCO superstore in the nineties remains an unforgivable act- but Elstree's lasting legacy as one of the world's finest film and TV production base facilities looks set to be sustained for a long time to come- particularly as home to many continued popular BBC series and event specials.

To all the men and women, past, present and future, working at the studios: HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY! 



Elstree Film Studios Homepage

List of Elstree Studios productions - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

STAR WARS AFICIONADO WEBSITE: AFICIONADO REVIEW: 'THE ELSTREE EMPIRE DAY' - 5TH MAY 2012

Monday, 10 November 2014

CLASSIC IMAGE: GETTING A GRIP!


Not ready to let Padme's would-be assassin escape his grasp, Anakin Skywalker holds for dear life onto the tip of slippery bounty hunter Zam Wesell's craft, during the memorable Corsucant air chase of EPISODE II.

OUT NOW ON UK BLU-RAY AND DVD: 'X-MEN - DAYS OF FUTURE PAST'


A genuine return to form for the epic 20th Century Fox franchise, thanks to the combined talents of director Bryan Singer- the original keeper of its cinematic flame, and the writing talents of Simon Kinberg, proving just as adept bringing these complex MARVEL comic heroes to life as he is with the new STAR WARS REBELS for Disney, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST- the fifth film in the series of man versus mutant, mutant versus mutant, is complex, epic, and a helluva lot of fun. As exciting now as when things first kicked off in 2000, its certainly the best adventure since X2, as our beleagured, threatened with extinction saviours of the past and present must join forces through the powers of thought process time travel, and the custodial presence of Hugh Jackman's always snarlingly excellent, claws-wielding Wolverine, to fight the oncoming threat of the lethal and highly adaptive robot killers that are the Sentinels- finally making their way to the big screen with emotionless savagery.

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST - Official Trailer (2014) - YouTube

Delivering the kind of effective old and new character mixing/storytelling that we hope will be achieved, if hopefully done even more inventively, for the upcoming EPISODE VII, DAYS OF FUTURE PAST arrives on Blu-ray and DVD today in the UK and is well worth a look, alongside a solid array of special features and select deleted scenes.

Full review: KOOL TV REVIEW: 'X-MEN - DAYS OF FUTURE PAST' (BLU-RAY)

Get it here: X-Men: Days of Future Past [Blu-ray + UV Copy]: Amazon.co.uk: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Bryan Singer: DVD & Blu-ray

Thursday, 6 November 2014

AFICIONADO REVIEW: 'STAR WARS COSTUMES: THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY'


The clothes that defined a universe. The superb STAR WARS COSTUMES: THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY. Images: TITAN BOOKS/LUCASFILM. 


STAR WARS COSTUMES: THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY

Written by Brandon Alinger

Forewords by John Mollo, Nilo Rodis-Jamero and Aggie Rodgers

Published in the UK by TITAN BOOKS


Reviewed by Scott Weller


Back in 2005, Prequel Costume Designer Trisha Biggar compiled one of the most lavish coffee table books yet on the huge range of incredible costumes created for the STAR WARS saga: Dressing a Galaxy, yet its section devoted to the Original Trilogy was by no means as detailed and complete as it could have been-with plenty of potential possibilities for a separate, future title of its own. Such a project has been a long time coming, but now die-hard prop collector/film-buff Brandon Alinger, surely the envy of STAR WARS fans and rivals everywhere, has put together (with support and encouragement from LUCASFILM’s J.W. Rinzer) the ultimate book charting the many varied, beautiful, functional and stylish costumes present within A NEW HOPE to RETURN OF THE JEDI, as STAR WARS COSTUMES: THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY, published by franchise stalwarts TITAN BOOKS, arrives just in time to fill some very big Christmas stockings this holiday season.

▶ Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy - Book Trailer - YouTube
 
A 1976 Mark Hamill poses for an image now specially adapted for the new book.

Truly the most meticulously researched look at the largest archive of costumes taken out of storage since their original filming, their presentation in this 200 page plus tome comes via stunning, newly shot photography showcasing them at their very best quality possible outside of physically looking at them at exhibitions, additionally providing us with a unique and rare window into the world of costume creation and production for a series of films that set the standard for so much that would follow in its wake in the sci-fi and fantasy genres. And for inspired and inspiring Cosplayers it’s surely a dream come true to finally be able to create/reproduce work to similar standards!
 
A specially shot image of the surviving Chewbacca costume, presumably from RETURN OF THE JEDI.

STAR WARS COSTUMES also gives us the lowdown on, and celebrates, the work of the many people and companies involved behind the scenes, and reveals more about the little details that would make the big picture seem that little bit bigger- items created and captured on celluloid that we may have missed previously, despite umpteen viewings, now ripe for exploration, alongside some known and not so well known anecdotes on how and why certain things were made (like how Lando’s JEDI guard helmet was amusingly inspired from a pair of baseball gloves!). There are a few unavoidable blanks in the origins here and there that, which, with the long passing of time, will likely never be truly solved, but this book is nonetheless full to the brim with behind the scenes info to be relished.

So, one film at a time, here’s AFICIONADO’s guide to the books highlights…
 
John Mollo's original 1976 design for the Jawas of Tatooine...
... and as photographed for the STAR WARS COSTUMES book.

STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE (1977) aka STAR WARS

Not wanting to get caught in the trap that so many sci-fi films, then and now, fall into when it comes to futuristic wardrobes: over the top designs that soon look dated or feel more in the style of the era they were originally made, STAR WARS creator George Lucas wanted a wardrobe for his new space fantasy adventure that didn’t stand out yet had to be futuristic, whilst also feeling recognisable and accepting to the audience. No mean feat, requiring someone with extraordinary insight into the world of costuming and practical realization.

Early Ralph McQuarrie costume concepts for Han Solo and Chewbacca from 1975.

Used to a more earthbound military history in film-making, John Mollo’s attention to detail and believability made him the perfect choice in bringing life to the Rebels and Imperials waging intergalactic civil war in the original first film, of which he’d later win a well deserved OSCAR- the only time a sci-fi film has won such a distinction for Costume Design from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. And for STAR WARS COSTUMES, he gives his most detailed behind the scenes contributions yet regarding their genesis and making: from oft-experimenting with fabrics- sometimes a case of using only what was available to them on a tiny budget, the vital importance of conceptual designer Ralph McQuarrie at the films early stage of pre-production, the many conversations and experimentation ideas Mollo conceived with George Lucas (including some never before seen art pieces), and numerous trips to the prestigious London Bermans and Nathans costume makers/hirer's to create concept- working pieces that could then be later built and tailored for use imagineering the film’s diverse characters and creatures. All of this gives us a unique flavour of the original film’s making- a creatively intense experience of the kind that would later be similarly felt by Mollo’s successors during RETURN OF THE JEDI.

The evolving faces and costumes for C-3PO.

Mollo also gives Alinger access to sections of his costume notes/production diary (including EMPIRE), alongside dips into of their time interviews with key production personnel (presumably Charles Lippincott’s original BTS interviews, parts of which were also used in J.W. Rinzler’s THE MAKING OF STAR WARS, back in 2007). Alinger, a massive STAR WARS original prop collector known for buying up many rare treasures from the likes of Alan Tomkins and the late Stuart Freeborn, has also surely brought his own items for inclusion, not just costumes but precious art and reference polaroids.
 
On the Death Star hangar set, Dave Prowse is costumed as Darth Vader by Wardrobe Supervisor Ron Beck.

Further on, there’s important sections on how the various departments would often interact and join forces, especially on the droid and creature costumes, and key boxes on other top contributors: sculptor Brian Muir and his creation of the mask for the distinctive, bulky first Vader costume (with additional sections for the cosmetic changes later made to the Dark Lord by other talents for EMPIRE and JEDI), the late Liz Moore’s remarkable work in creating the numerous face and plating’s of C-3PO (with a selection of evolving "faces" specially assembled), and Stuart Freeborn’s innovative work in creating the mask for Chewbacca the Wookiee, an evolution on his previous engineering of the ape creatures for Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. Plus a wide variety of pattern changing Rebel pilots helmets and the challenges of the early Stormtroopers (still the best of the three films, in my opinion) that were tough to make yet ultimately proved flimsy and breakable over the duration of their filming time.

It’s a shame that so few of the original costumes for the first film survive to hold court at LUCASFILM- some have disintegrated beyond use, whilst others would disappear years ago, before the company began a proper archiving/inventory of its materials (from 1980 onwards). Other costumes built specially for the film by Bermans and Nathans, then returned back to them afterwards in a prior arrangement, have since been lost or acquired by rival collectors. With LUCASFILM wanting to keep the book strictly within their own official remit, I'm assuming Alinger was probably unable to contact some of these very well known "outside" fans and ask for their additional help/contributions. Fortunately, there’s enough good use of rare imagery, conceptual art and other items to supplement what is available, and fill in most of the missing history pieces.
 
Ralph McQuarrie's early design for the "Superstormtrooper".

EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

With STAR WARS a bona fide world hit, a sequel was swiftly inevitable. At first, the producers thought they could re-use existing costumes and save money, but, thankfully for everyone, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK became bigger, bolder and more expansive in its costume requirements and variety than anything seen previously, solidifying the fact that this was not going to be a quick and dirty cash-in to the impressive adventure that came before. More challenges would come for the returned John Mollo, but this was ultimately to be his final work for the series, an overall experience that didn’t prove to be quite as an enjoyable now that George Lucas was no longer director and instead an Executive Producer. The pressure of delivering a first sequel that could live up to audience’s expectations was firmly grasping everyone’s mindset, especially the intelligent, thoughtful and more slow in deliberation new director in Irvin Kershner. Mollo’s relationship with Kershner ultimately proved less efficient and slower-moving than it had been with Lucas, as, alongside producer Gary Kurtz, every costume detail/iteration was pondered to the last possible minute. But the ultimate results more than paid off for any stresses incurred over the long seven month shooting schedule.
 
John Mollo and Irvin Kershner inspect a Snowtrooper costume in its near final stages.
The vast costume wardrobe for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK at Elstree Studios, 1979.

Unlike EPISODE IV, the photo records and majority of costumes from EPISODE V onwards would thankfully be retained and catalogued by LUCASFILM. The new environs of the ice planet Hoth would see some superb designs and final creations, including Samurai-style Imperial Snowtroopers, and rough and ready Rebel opponents. Then there’d be the key emergence of shadowy predator Boba Fett, whose detailed origins from “Superstormtrooper” concept to eventual bounty hunter are finally, exhaustively revealed, alongside a wealth of new studio photography, particularly showing us the many variations of helmet used both in EMPIRE and the second sequel– this is the book that finally presents the exhaustive history of the character’s costume creation.

Anthony Daniels suits up again for C-3PO, in an easier to wear costume.
On set polaroid costume test for Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker- April 1979.

In the film’s final third, the cloud city of Bespin and its costumed populace would need to convey the Art Deco sense that Lucas specifically wanted, whilst the creation of tiny Minch Yoda sets a future precedent, its wearing of clothes following in the tradition of Ben Kenobi, but, by the time of the Prequels making, ultimately becoming synonymous with all of the Jedi Order.
 
John Mollo's 1978 costume concept art for Leia's Hoth wardrobe.
The final realisation, as specially photographed for the book.

Behind the scenes, EMPIRE is also the film where “greeblies” - a term used by Lucas for STAR WARS to describe pieces of junk used to add costume and character effect- would come into their own!

John Mollo's superb costume rendering for Darth Vader from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.

EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI

By 1982, past the tense filming and almost crippling schedule overrun costs of EMPIRE, Lucas would decide to do as much of RETURN OF THE JEDI’s pre-production as possible in the US. Enter resident ILM talent Nilo Rodis-Jamero as the film’s new costume designer, under recommendation from new director Richard Marquand to Lucas, alongside practical realization via the equally dedicated and enthused Aggie-Guerard Rodgers, both of whom would, where possible, wisely keep to the original continuity for the previous films created by Mollo in between concocting a diverse new range of stunning pieces that would forever cement the final film into fans and cinemagoers imaginations.
 
Howard Kazanjian, Richard Marquand and George Lucas go through Nilo Rodis-Jamero's expansive costume portfolio for RETURN OF THE JEDI in late 1981.
Watched by Aggie-Guerard Rodgers, Mark Hamill and Lucas discuss Luke's darker new look in 1981.

Speaking of their time on JEDI with affection and detail, backed up with key interviews from wardrobe assistants (who’d be on set daily to assist in the practical wear of the costumes by the actors), cutters, specialist plastics manufacturers and jewelry makers, innovation and collaboration would be the key words for their time on the movie, which would ultimately need more costumes devised and created than ever before- the emphasis on durability and comfort in order to face even more wear and tear in studios and on location, especially with the film’s many new action sequences and increased use of stunt actors.


Leia's Bounty Hunter disguise in Jabba's Palace.
Lucas supervises the costume test for Carrie Fisher's wearing of Leia's Rebel Commando outfit.
She may have hated every minute wearing it, but there's no denying that Carrie looks terrific in her Slave Girl costume!

JEDI was a ground-breaker in so many ways, especially generating a further strong union between costume design and the newly formed ILM creature shop then building the many animatronic heads and body parts to which the costumes would be applied with, and which had to be specially constructed for easy access in wearing. This same kind of close communication would also apply to what was being built in the UK with the love ‘em or hate ‘em Ewoks, and the way they developed in practical form via Stuart Freeborn. Such intense lengthy periods of costume use would go on to generate unique problems needing unique solutions, like finding ways of keeping all the alien costumes clean and hygienic- no mean feat, especially for our teddy bear heroes in the ever-changing weather of the Californian Redwoods during April/May 1982!


Darth Vader- updated.


Boba Fett goes green for Jedi.
Costume reference polaroid for Michael Carter as Bib Fortuna- January 1982.
At Elstree, the many created Ewok heads are kept in special bags to keep them clean.

The end of an era, until our classic heroes return with EPISODE VII, its JEDI’s costumes that standout the most within the book. Colour depth and detail on the newly photographed clothes is especially superb. Highlights include Princess Leia’s Boushh disguise, with its intriguing layerings, Jabba the Hutt’s major domo alien, Bib Fortuna, select key aliens from Jabba’s Palace and the Skiff battle, and the popular biker scouts of Endor. Going back to the Princess, there’s more on the creation of her infamous “Slave Bikini” (including an interview with its original co-creator/sculptor Richard Miller). It’s also nice to see the deleted sandstorm scene costumes getting an airing, too.

The revised blue-shirted Han Solo costume for JEDI that Harrison Ford ultimately gave a thumbs-down to!

Rounding off the book, more rare goodies include a set of ultimately unused, adapted TESB Hoth Rebel trooper costumes for Endor scene filming, an intriguing test photo of an early, more primitive looking Ewok from Stuart Freeborn, and some costume ideas for Han Solo (including a specially created and fabricated new brown waistcoat) that Harrison Ford didn’t want to wear! And, last but not least, and because you surely demanded it, that charismatic caped wonder Prune Face finally gets his time in the limelight!

AFICIONADO RATING: A prestige collection and celebration, and an essential purchase. 8.5 out of 10

Please note: Certain archive images presented in this feature are not in the book.

With thanks to TITAN BOOKS for all their assistance with the compiling of this feature.