Wednesday, 4 March 2015

OUT NOW: 'STAR WARS: PRINCESS LEIA' ISSUE ONE

Art by Alex Ross.
Spurred on by the destruction of her home planet and the continued tyranny of galactic oppression, the Rebel Alliance couldn't have a better leader to fight their cause than Princess Leia Organa. The plucky and resolute icon character's all-new comic book adventures begin this month in a five-issue limited series from MARVEL.

Open Terry Dodson's Princess Leia Sketchbook | News | Marvel.com
Princess Leia gets her own 'Star Wars' comic
Marvel previews Princess Leia solo comic (Wired UK)

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

A 'SITH' AT 10: GRIEVOUS GETAWAY!


Unwilling to be taken prisoner by any "Jedi scum", the hideous leader of the droid armies, General Grievous, makes ready to bring destructive chaos in his escape wake, during this exciting scene from EPISODE III.

Monday, 2 March 2015

AFICIONADO REVIEW: 'HEIR TO THE JEDI'


STAR WARS: HEIR TO THE JEDI

by Kevin Hearne

Out now in UK hardback from CENTURY PUBLISHING


Reviewed by Scott Weller


Before J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan cinematically unleash a different, harder edged and more powerful Luke Skywalker than we've ever seen before this coming December with The Force Awakens, STAR WARS fans get a welcome opportunity to return to a more innocent time for the character when he was still a raw, occasionally fallible, fledgling member of the Rebel Alliance, scoring his first incredible hope-rousing victory for them, and for Princess Leia, by destroying the dreaded Death Star battle station. Kevin Hearne's eagerly awaited book, unfolding early on from these incredible events, Heir to the Jedi, originally once part of the EMPIRE AND REBELLION trilogy before instead becoming a solo vehicle made officially canon by the LUCASFILM Story Group, intriguingly puts our young hero from Tatooine front and centre of the action via a unique and well sustained first-person narrative- a first in STAR WARS Classic Trilogy book history post prequels. Overall, what follows within that structure is a brisk and entertaining read, if hardly classic, benefiting from showing us the youngster's continued efforts to understand his role as a Jedi-to-be, wanting to master its unique and spanning powers but proving a vulnerable widow to it nonetheless, especially now that he's without the guiding help of his great friend and father-figure- the recently departed into the ether Obi-Wan Kenobi, with whom he has had no more in-thought communication since the Battle of Yavin. In a case of small steps leading to bigger things, alongside lots of trial and error in his abilities (an encounter with a Rodian leads to a fun referencing to Qui-Gon and Watoo from EPISODE ONE), Luke is thankfully not without support for too long, primarily via the enthusiastic encouragement and friendship of a new rebel sympathiser, Nakari- daughter to a wealthy bioengineering magnate, pilot/custodian to a top-of-the-line starship, and talented markswoman in her own right, whom, being roughly around Luke's age, reveals a lively and instinctual personality that he can instantly relate to- the makings of their good teaming, along with the ever trusty Artoo Detoo, quickly established as they make their way across the galaxy to encounter numerous perils on planets old and new, negotiate with lifeforms large and small (whose loyalties to the heroic cause vary in scale), and face continued Imperial pursuit, unceasing bounty hunters and biological horrors from the odd lethal ALIEN-esque lifeform or two, whilst on their mission to liberate a unique hacker, capable of giving STAR TREK's Mister Spock a run for his money in the logic stakes, from enemy control and into the rebellion.

Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi Audiobook - Exclusive Preview! | StarWars.com
Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi - Exclusive Excerpt! | StarWars.com
Heir to the Jedi: Star Wars by Kevin Hearne - Book - eBook - Audiobook - Random House

Heir's story feels more likes a series of incidents strung together rather than having one plot, but Hearne's overall grasp of the STAR WARS universe, and Luke in this awkward and evolving time for him between A New Hope and Empire, is often excellent- at times I could imagine the character saying the dialogue, brought to youthful "gosh and golly" life by Mark Hamillcicra 1978- something that's no mean feat and not always the case with some of the other STAR WARS books I've read over the years. Luke's abilities at this point, paired with his wanting to know more about his father (he'd regret it later!), whilst on the cusp of entering a larger, more powerful world in the Force, ring true- his confident, crack-piloting skills particularly showcased/paired alongside his less confident, genuine inexperience around attractive, strong-willed females like Nakari (a pleasing enough one-off addition by the author) and Princess Leia (who makes the odd guest appearance alongside other notable Rebels). The adventure, which also bears celebratory shadings to some of the seventies classic MARVEL comics here and there, ends on a satisfying note with some well structured action (special kudos to Hearne for giving Artoo a portable ion cannon to play with!).

AFICIONADO RATING: It may have the notoriety of being the first official Classic Trilogy character canon title to come our way, but Heir to the Jedi retains the intimacy and downsized plot engineering of previous Expanded Universe books. Those seeking another big action Shadows of Mindor type affair for Luke will be disappointed, but Heir, notably at its best during its second half, is a deserving enough confectionery of STAR WARS storytelling that die-hard fans will appreciate, initiating an author whose talents are certainly deserving of a return visit to George Lucas's playground. Not top ten SW book material then, but a fine holiday read warm-up to to the eventual EPISODE VII. 7 out of 10.

Get hold of Heir to the Jedi here: Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi: Amazon.co.uk: Kevin Hearne: 9781780892610: Books

Sunday, 1 March 2015

CLASSIC IMAGE: STAYING THE PATH...


Critics (notably the UK's Antonia Quirke, whose self-serving and patronising EPISODE I 1999 review for ITV still lingers in my memory) saying that the first Prequel didn't reveal enough of the Jedi Order, nor their powerful connections to the Force, would eventually be rewarded by expansive scenes within their vast and stylish temple on Coruscant for EPISODE II, notably this early one, where Anakin Skywalker's destiny is discussed by Masters Yoda (atop his cool levitation pod!) and Mace Windu, along with a concerned Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

STAR WARS REBELS: BACK IN BLACK!


Bringing dark side tyranny and terror in his wake, the world's favourite baddie, Darth Vader, returns for a hopefully exciting in-the-armour cameo within the final explosive episode of STAR WARS REBELS first season- Fire Across the Galaxy - airing in the US this March 2nd on DISNEY XD, and coming to the UK soon after. Known as the place where Jedi go to die, will our small band of heroes survive the fiery realms of Mustafar and its Imperial guardians?

Star Wars Rebels: "Fire Across the Galaxy" Trailer | Star Wars Rebels | StarWars.com
▶ Star Wars Rebels | He's Alive | Fire Across the Galaxy - YouTube
Interview: Dave Filoni on Star Wars Rebels, Part 1 | StarWars.com

Friday, 27 February 2015

AFICIONADO EXCLUSIVE! DELETED SCENE: HAN vs MONTROSS!


Between being caught in battle with Imperial Stormtroopers, and before his new bargaining with Jabba the Hutt (played in human form by Declan Mulholland), our space pirate hero Han Solo had one more problem leaving Docking Bay 94 with his Alderaan-bound charter. Trouble in the form of a snidey Imperial bureaucrat, Montross, and two of his armed officers. In the original shooting script for STAR WARS, Montross would be thankfully foiled by the smuggler's quick thinking skills, during what would have been an inconsequential but fun character showcase for Harrison Ford and Han Solo. Sadly, the Falcon interior scene, of which Bill Bailey (a friend of the late Richard Le Parmentier-originally considered for the role of Montross before being Motti) had been cast in the role and was ready on the day, apparently in costume, was ultimately cut because the Elstree filming on the Docking Bay set with Jabba had encountered problems, causing delays which were already pushing the film over schedule and costing money.

STAR WARS AFICIONADO proudly presents a PDF of this rare deleted scene exclusive in its scripted entirety, part of Ann Skinner's original continuity script for the movie, via the BFI SPECIAL COLLECTIONShttps://drive.google.com/file/d/0B80ITjM31EVRbnF4Q1VKbTZEa2s/view?usp=sharing

Original STAR WARS AFICIONADO PDF feature on Montross: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B80ITjM31EVRbUU5T0xWMVd4bkE/view?usp=sharing


CLASSIC IMAGE: STAR SQUADRON!


Ric Olie's fighter squadron takes to the air, away from Naboo and into battle with the Trade Federation, in this lovely composite shot for EPISODE I which visually conjures up the kind of Flash Gordon-esque imagery that first inspired Lucas to make his fantasy saga back in the early seventies.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

EPISODE VII: A SPECIAL AUCTION...

Image: LUCASFILM/DISNEY.

The American-based experiences site IfOnly has contacted STAR WARS AFICIONADO with special news of a terrific opportunity to charity bid for a unique personalised, one-of-a-kind photo of the cast of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS from their first script table reading, along with an equally special Behind-the-Scenes Tour of Lucasfilm. May the Force be with you all for this very worthy cause.

Here's the details:


Adam Driver has Joined Forces with IfOnly to Benefit Arts in the Armed Forces with a Unique Star Wars: The Force Awakens Online Auction  

Star Wars Fans Can Bid to Win A One-of-a-Kind Signed Photo and Behind-the-Scenes Tour at Lucasfilm

SAN FRANCISCO (February 26, 2015) – IfOnly, a marketplace for experiences that donates a portion of its proceeds to charities, has announced the launch of its partnership with Lucasfilm and actor Adam Driver with a chance to win a hand-signed photo by the cast of Star WarsThe Force Awakens and a tour of the Lucasfilm campus in San Francisco.  The auction, which will benefit Adam Drivers’ cause Arts in the Armed Forces (AITAF), is open for bidding today and will end on March 19, 2015. Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens December 18, 2015. www.ifonly.com/starwars

The signed photo includes faces and signatures from many of the cast members from the original films as well as the new members joining them in Star WarsThe Force Awakens. The photo is only one part of the auction, however: the winning bidder will also receive a behind-the-scenes tour of the Lucasfilm campus at the Presidio in San Francisco.

The photo alone is a special collectable, but the signed version is invaluable to the “Star Wars” enthusiast. When the film was publicly announced, each cast member was given a copy of the first photo of them together, taken during one of their first table reads of the script. Adam asked each cast member to sign a copy and is auctioning it off to benefit Arts in the Armed Forces, an organization he co-founded that brings performing arts to the military free of charge.  Driver’s career prior to being cast in “Star Wars” doesn't follow any of the typical Hollywood plotlines. His path took him through the military, to Juilliard, and then to a career in film and television. Passionate about helping those in the military, Adam uses his cause to bring performing arts to other service members.

“AITAF brings quality entertainment to veterans and those currently serving. We cultivate tonally eclectic, often hilarious content that focuses on the human challenges we all share. We recruit great actors to read it, and make it cost-free. Though AITAF offers an artistic experience that can’t immediately be quantified, the feeling after an AITAF performance is tangible, as we watch someone from the military ‘get’ that the act of self-expression is as powerful a tool as the rifle on their shoulder.” – Adam Driver, founder, Arts in the Armed Forces

The photo is signed by most of the cast, listed below.
           
Signatures include:
·         Adam Driver
·         J.J. Abrams
·         Harrison Ford
·         Mark Hamill
·         Carrie Fisher
·         Lawrence Kasdan
·         John Boyega
·         Oscar Isaac
·         Andy Serkis
·         Kathleen Kennedy
·         Daisy Ridley
·         Lupita Nyong’o
·         Gwendoline Christie

Option to add signatures from:
·         Anthony Daniels
·         Domhnall Gleeson
·         Bryan Burk
·         Peter Mayhew

To reach the IfOnly concierge with questions, please call 415-754-8167 or concierge@ifonly.com.
About IfOnly

IfOnly delivers extraordinary experiences for good.  Founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Trevor Traina, IfOnly is a premium experiential marketplace that offers exclusive experiences to customers who are passionate about food, wine and spirits, music, sports, entertainment, travel and beyond. IfOnly partners with A-list luminaries to curate dream experiences at every price point, with a trusted charity benefiting from each purchase. Now the largest site for curated or customized offerings, IfOnly has expanded its vertical categories to include outdoor adventure, fashion, gaming, niche leisurely activities and more. To date, IfOnly has worked with celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Kobe Bryant, Andre Agassi and Alice Waters, collectively raising money for more than 200 different charities.

About Arts in the Armed Forces
Arts in the Armed Forces bridges the cultural gap between the United States Armed Forces and the performing arts communities by bringing the best of contemporary theater to the military free of charge. AITAF programming accentuates the shared humanity of all Americans by using performance to unite artists and service members and encourage dialogue. AITAF enlists artists of the highest quality and chooses thought-provoking content with an eye to what might speak to this particular audience.
 

DELETED SCENE (UPDATED): FALCON DUDES!


Here's a scene from STAR WARS that I want to see included on the upcoming Blu-ray release no matter what-I don't care if it turns out good or badly realised, I just want to see it. It's the moment after the TIE fighter battle where Han and Luke congratulate themselves on their laser gun targeting skills. There's a real "Whoa, look what we did!" expression on Luke's face. Classic.

UPDATES: 26/3/2015. Access to Ann Skinner's continuity script reveals some handwritten extra dialogue notes added to the TIE fight attack aftermath filming, linked to this scene:

LUKE: Hey, that was great! Listen, just going to the deck to see if the droids are okay.

HAN: Okay. Smooth shooting, Kid.

LUKE. Thanks.



In the following Falcon cockpit scene, just before Han sits down to talk to Leia, there's a reason why Chewie departs to the corridor, as revealed in another of Skinner's handwritten script additions:

HAN (to CHEWIE): Hey pal- good going. You did great. Go check the aft coverter. We took a couple of hits real close to that.

With thanks to Ann Skinner and the BFI SPECIAL COLLECTIONS.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

DELETED SCENE: SHADOWED BY A DARK LORD...

In one of the vast Death Star corridors, Vader stalks an old foe...

'STAR WARS' FOURTH REVISED DRAFT: 19th April, 1976

Scene 111: INT. DEATH STAR- NARROW PASSAGEWAY

Ben hides in the shadows of a narrow passageway as twenty or thirty stormtroopers * rush past him in the main hallway. He checks to make sure they're gone, then runs down the hallway in the opposite direction. Darth Vader appears at the far end of the hallway and starts after the old Jedi.

* Denotes change to six Stormtroopers- this is confirmed in Ann Skinner's continuity script and a scene marked colour Polaroid of the Stormtroopers on-set, within the BFI SPECIAL COLLECTIONS.

FROM 'THE ART OF 'STAR WARS'' BOOK 1978 MOVIE SCRIPT/TRANSCRIPT

INTERIOR: DEATH STAR NARROW PASSAGEWAY

Ben hides in the shadows of a narrow passageway as several stormtroopers rush past him in the main hallway. He checks to make sure they're gone, then runs down the hall in the opposite direction. Darth Vader appears at the far end of the hallway and starts after the old Jedi.

Stormtroopers on their way through an arched shield door corridor. This image corresponds to a continuity Polaroid for Scene 111, with the same studio/set lighting.
On the same set, a stealthy Obi-Wan watches them disappear.
Again on that set, a droid (actor unknown) walks past before Vader appears in shot. Image: via STARWARZ.COM. 
Still in the corridor, a shot not in the film, likely linked to Vader catching a glimpse of Kenobi.

Looking at Ann Skinner's Continuity Script from the original 1976 filming, the moment of Vader silently shadowing Kenobi, following on from Ben's evading the Stormtroopers (and still part of Scene 111), was likely filmed, though it never made the finished cut. In STAR WARS post-production editing, several separately filmed sequences/retakes of Kenobi and Vader filmed in the same corridor were changed (a reaction shot of Kenobi was flipped to a different direction), cut, or shifted around across the Death Star interior sequences of the finished movie.

Unless improvised whilst shooting and not listed (unlikely), Vader's sensing the nearby Kenobi (with lightsaber in hand), and the Dark Lord's heavy breathing rate altering as he feels the presence of his old master in the Force, were a clever addition by the film editors and Ben Burtt in post. This scene isn't in the Revised Fourth Draft Script of 19th April 1976, or in the later published script/transcript hybrid version of THE ART OF STAR WARS book. This second sensing by Vader of Kenobi, after the Falcon's tractor beam capture, would cleverly heighten his soon after exchange with Tarkin about the return of his old foe.

With thanks to Ann Skinner and the BFI SPECIAL COLLECTIONS for their help and assistance.
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