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, 31 January 2017

HAPPY 20TH BIRTHDAY, 'STAR WARS TRILOGY - SPECIAL EDITION'

International teaser composition featuring Drew Struzan's poster elements.

Whether you liked the changes (the first of many) or not, there's no denying it was a wonderful cathartic community experience to have the three Classic Trilogy films back on the big screen and generating such box office and Hollywood industry buzz anew, surely beyond anything expected by Lucasfilm or 20TH CENTURY FOX- everything about the return of STAR WARS, and the diverse, wonderful, controversial things that would spawn from it, started today twenty years ago, with other countries soon equally caught in the anticipation of seeing these films in a way not experienced before, or in a viewing environment not experienced since childhood.

Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition Trailer - YouTube

George Lucas On the Special Editions of the Original STAR WARS Trilogy - YouTube

STAR WARS AFICIONADO WEBSITE: STAR WARS SPECIAL EDITIONS

'STAR WARS' AT 40: "FAST SHIP?"


From first impressions, Luke may not be impressed with Han Solo's grand blase about his Corellian flying skills and starship, but Ben Kenobi senses that there's more to the pilot and his loyal Wookiee friend than meets the eye, in this alternate take image of a classic image in the Cantina.

Seemingly one of their primary operating bases, Tatooine and the Mos Eisley Cantina will hopefully make some kind of appearance in the new standalone HAN SOLO movie, which commenced shooting at Pinewood Studios yesterday.

Monday, 30 January 2017

'STAR WARS' AT 40: SMUGGLING COMRADES!

Costume design work by John Mollo. Han's costume would be modified to a more western style genre look for Harrison Ford.

"Nice moves, old man..."

Complimentary yet also drily sarcastic words from the well travelled space smuggler Han Solo towards Ben Kenobi, for his quick work against the Cantina thugs, as he and long time buddy and first mate Chewbacca the Wookiee go on to accept their new charter's quick desire to avoid Imperial entanglements on Tatooine for a journey to Alderaan. No questions asked, indeed, as long as the agreed on fee of seventeen thousand is fully paid on arrival.

More reference material from 1976 by John Mollo.

BEHIND THE SCENES: NO 'SABER DOUBLE REQUIRED!


At the FOX Studios, Australia, during 2003, a clearly bulked up Hayden Christensen continues his lightsaber duel rehearsals/training with Kyle Rowling, resuming stunt playing of Count Dooku and later General Grievous, as filming of Anakin's heavy duty action work for EPISODE III draws near.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

'STAR WARS' AT 40: A FATAL MOVE!


All aggressive, quick to draw their blasters humans and alien scum of the universe should take heed of the fate of the humanoid Doctor Evazan and his associate Pondo Baba in the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine. They thought they could intimidate, bully, threaten and kill a seemingly innocent and precocious young boy and his old hermit acquaintance. Unfortunately, they didn't count on the old hermit being a Jedi and carrying a lightsaber. So that was the end of them!

Alec Guinness gets ready to film the lightsaber move.
Curtis and Ilsey photographed before the rehearsal/filming. Guns and limb already positioned on floor.
Taken out by Kenobi in this reaction footage.
Falling to the floor.
Further reaction shot of the duo, with limb nearby.

Filming the classic scene took place at Elstree on Tuesday 20th April 1976, with Alfie Curtis as the "ugly human" and Tommy Ilsey (presumed) as "walrus man". Note the original severed alien cup hand replaced in post production with a hairy five-fingered arm. In one of the pre-filming script drafts, the little bat-like creature next to them (credited in that day's call sheet to Gilda Cohen, though Rusty Goffe is the official inhabitant of the mask) was supposed to have been with the evil pair in taking on Kenobi, though this was ultimately changed (the idea of a third creature participant- a little rodent-like being, is also present in the official 1976 novelisation- all three slain in a fast and gruesome way by Kenobi). Off screen from the aftermath, we presume that the mutilated duo limped off fast after collapsing from Obi-Wan's strike, or that the Cantina management had the bodies quickly spirited away by a clean-up crew before any Imperials showed up!

CLASSIC IMAGE: DEPARTING SENATOR


There are few people in the world who could wear ornamental hats like that and look beautiful and stylish at the same time. Fortunately, Natalie Portman is one of those people, playing Padme Amidala for the scene where she and Anakin are about to leave Coruscant in secret, during the opening events of EPISODE II.

Star Wars: Episode II Attack Of The Clones: Natalie Portman Exclusive Interview - YouTube

Natalie Portman open to Star Wars return | The List

Saturday, 28 January 2017

'STAR WARS' AT 40: THE TRANSATLANTIC CANTINA SCENES

Lucas oversees the new Cantina insert filming.

With the UK Cantina set footage not proving as successful as he'd wanted it to be, the necessity of extra filming during post production saw some additional alien creatures photographed and inserted into the final editing, created courtesy of rising star make-up genius Rick Baker and his inspired, youthful team, including the likes of Phil Tippett, Jon Berg and Laine Liska.

Filming on a smooth booth set in a Los Angeles studio in January 1977.

Rare and Wacky Behind-the-Scenes Photos of the... - Gwynne Watkins

EPISODE VII: OLD SHIP, NEW PASSENGERS!


Inside the Millennium Falcon, and now safe from TIE Fighter pursuit, Rey confers with a hesitant BB-8 about the location of the Resistance Base, in this scene from THE FORCE AWAKENS.


Friday, 27 January 2017

BEHIND THE SCENES: THE SITH LEAP YEAR!


Garbed as Qui-Gon, stuntman Andrew Lawden looks up as Ray Park launches himself into another spectacular feat of aerobatics as the demonic Darth Maul, in this great image filmed on location in Tunisia for EPISODE I.

'STAR WARS' AT 40: THE CANTINA


Though he's never not been aware of other worlds and lifeforms, Luke is briefly taken aback by the wide variety of humanoid and alien creatures gathered in one of Mos Eisley spaceport's most popular Cantina den's of iniquity and deal making- a perfect place for Ben Kenobi to open discreet channels for a passenger charter vessel to Alderaan with some local, or not so local, pilot talent.

A classic scene showing the many make-ups and masks created by Stuart Freeborn and his UK team, and the now iconic diverse and interesting looking extras hired in, from careers spanning across UK film and television appearances of the sixties and seventies, to play the various bar attendees.

Meet the Humans from the Mos Eisley Cantina | StarWars.com

Thursday, 26 January 2017

ROGUE ONE: AN UNWANTED ARRIVAL...


The isolated world of Lah'muh gets few visitors, so the arrival of an old and distinctive shuttle ominously heading towards the Erso settlement soon captures the attention of labour droid SE-2, during the opening scenes of ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY.


'STAR WARS' AT 40: ENTERING MOS EISLEY SPACEPORT


Having cleared the Stormtrooper check-point, our heroes enter the main hub streets of Mos Eisley spaceport, as filmed in the small sea port area of Ajim, Tunisia, decorated with an incredible universe of props and set dressings, on April 2nd, 1976 (of which Sir Alec Guinness' birthday was also celebrated). This is a great image showing the geography of the area - note the far end location of the check-point for a distance shot coming in that never made the finished movie. Director of Photography Gilbert Taylor can be seen top of the scaffold wearing the blue cap, as well as an obscured Lucas wearing his trademark check shirt.

Getting ready to drive in.
Behind the scenes angle.
Deleted establishing shot-alternate take, seen in what was once called The Lost Cut.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

ROGUE ONE: CAPTURING A HEROINE!


The beauty of Felicity Jones and the resilience of Jyn Erso is well captured in ROGUE ONE, as the actress poses for the camera- either a costume reference test or a moment linked to a specific scene. Alongside Gareth Edwards fine direction, Greig Fraser's photography on the film was gritty and atmospheric yet kept the STAR WARS flavour firmly intact.


Find out more about the film's cinematography with the new issue of AMERICAN CINEMATOGRAPHER, out now: Go Rogue with the February Issue of AC - ASC News

'STAR WARS' AT 40: TO BE A JEDI!

Image: Gary Kurtz.

The shocking fate of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru confirmed, a devastated Luke Skywalker returns to Obi-Wan and the droids at the Sandcrawler wreck, cementing his destiny in accompanying his new mentor on the trip to Alderaan with the Death Star plans inside Artoo, and wanting to become a Jedi like his late father.

Shot in a canyon at Tozeur, this day of March 31st, 1976 was a very busy one for the production team of 100 people from 9.30 a.m., what with the huge amount of set dressing, props, dead Jawa dummy bodies and robot parts/ scattered weapons and Gaffi stick/debris needed for and littered around the wrecked blaster holed and damaged Sandcrawler scaffold. Plus, Bantha track trails, smoke, bonfire and flames, both Landspeeder props and all the available versions of Artoo (lightweight, mechanical, pull along, Kenny Baker's version, and 1/2 R2 shell (for riding atop the speeder)). A deleted moment was filmed where our heroes, having cremated the last Jawas, head back to Luke's speeder and depart.

This was also the day that second unit aerial shots were taken of the area (presumably for the Landspeeder back projection footage needed of Luke and Threepio's earlier search for Artoo and the descent into STAR WARS Canyon) as well as generic shots of the group in the Landspeeder heading for Mos Eisley. Stills of the Sandcrawler prop from high up the nearby mountains were also captured and used in behind the scenes articles for years to come.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

ROGUE ONE: SET COURSE FOR TATOOINE...


Already docked for repairs and upgrades within the belly of the massive Mon Calamari cruiser Profundity, which had made an unanticipated but vital re-routing to the battle of Scarif, and ultimately paying a devastating price for its involvement, Princess Leia's Blockade Runner only just manages to escape from the clutches of the newly arrived Darth Vader, the young Rebel leader becoming the new custodian of the stolen Death Star plans that will save her people and bring freedom to the galaxy...

It's interesting to note that, back in 2015, ROGUE ONE's story was to have ended a short time before the start of EPISODE IV. With the 2016 reshoots, however, the film now literally leads straight into it. An effective change that works well and also acts a perfect lead-in to IV's Fortieth Anniversary celebrations in 2017.

'STAR WARS' AT 40: THE JOURNEY "HOME"!


With the discovery of slaughtered Jawas from Imperial Stormtrooper blaster fire- the same little critters who originally acquired the droids, Luke's concerns that the sale could be traced back to his adoptive family soon has him running to his Landspeeder and making all possible speed to the homestead, where a grisly discovery awaits...

Rare early footage of the Landspeeder filming, we presume in Death Valley, California (1977), in which the car version of the vehicle had reflective mirroring on its sides to hide the automobile wheels and create the illusion of it floating above ground. It didn't work, however, and other footage was used with painstaking optical masking/animation in order to fix out the visual problems.

The underside mirror section breaks off against the awkward terrain.

Star Wars Landspeeder - YouTube

'STAR WARS REBELS': SHIFTING LOYALTIES?


His dedication to hunting down and destroying our Lothal based heroes during STAR WARS REBELS Season One was seemingly boundless. Now, however, it appears that Agent Kallus has mended his ways, seeing Kanan, Hera and the others in a more heroic and helpful light as a new spy for the Rebellion, during early events of Season Three, back for premiere episode runs on the UK's DISNEY XD.

Monday, 23 January 2017

EPISODE VIII: THE OFFICIAL TITLE REVEALED...


Mysterious and exciting, and love the red logo. But is Rey "The Last Jedi" of the title, rather than Luke Skywalker?

I have no doubt that this won't be the end of The Adventures of Luke Skywalker yet, and what happened leading to his self-exile by EPISODE VII will be mostly revealed, alongside some kind of dramatic confrontation with his ex-pupil, Kylo Ren.

Prepare for December 15th, 2017...

The Official Title for Star Wars: Episode VIII Revealed | StarWars.com

Episode VII finally has a title - Star Wars:

Mark Hamill reacts to new 'Star Wars' title - YouTube

Rian Johnson Shares Sneak Peek At The Opening Crawl For 'The Last Jedi' | The Star Wars Underworld

ROGUE ONE: WAVE WARRIORS!


Three of ROGUE ONE's diverse heroes hit the beach and go into battle, for this nice cover art promoting the film for the French film magazine Cinema Teaser. If anyone knows the artist please get in touch.

Congratulations to the cast and crew of ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY for its hitting the billion dollar box office mark this past weekend.

Other news:

Marvel's 'Rogue One' comic adaptation: Go inside
Rogue One director Gareth Edwards explains away film's cameo 'plot hole' | The Independent
Star Wars: Rogue One originally included Jedi - and one was related to Jyn | GamesRadar+
'Rogue One' mystery: What happened to the Hammerhead crew?
The Secret Origin of Jyn Erso's Name Revealed by 'Rogue One' Mastermind
ROGUE ONE - A STAR WARS STORY: John Knoll - Overall VFX Supervisor & Chief Creative Officer - Industrial Light & Magic - The Art of VFXThe Art of VFX
How Darth Vader Got His Groove Back in 'Rogue One' Thanks to Last-Minute Tweak
Angus MacInnes Talks Bringing Gold Leader Back To Life In 'Rogue One' | The Star Wars Underworld

CLASSIC ART: WORLD OF THE WOOKIEES!


The natural beauty of the Wookiee world of Kashyyyk, and one of its key lagoon environs, is given further artistic life by Erik Tiemens, in this lovely conceptual piece for EPISODE III - lets hope that the upcoming Han Solo standalone adventure will have some kind of visit to this intriguing jungle planet, linked to his evolving friendship with Chewbacca.

'STAR WARS' AT 40: "FEAR" - IN THE NAME OF THE EMPEROR


At last, the power and command of the Death Star has been achieved by the Grand Moff Tarkin, the man closest to controlling the fate of the peoples and planets of the Galactic Empire after Emperor Palpatine himself. Cruel, slyly clever and ambitious like no other in the Imperial Navy, such despicable, heartless villainy is rare and clearly been finely nurtured and cultivated by his leader.

As the last remnants of the Old Republic are being swept away by the Emperor's "new order", alongside the true solidification of his power base via the emergent Death Star, the time and destiny of Tarkin's evil awaits, especially the first true test of the immeasurable power of the battle station against a planetary target whose destruction will send shockwaves of fear and terror into the hearts and minds of any existing or potential Rebel sympathisers.

NEW: Death Star War Room scene alternate take with additional deleted dialogue (and Dave Prowse voicing Vader): 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ja4WudpzBYw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xIBdWBou7w

Peter Cushing talking about Star Wars and Grand Moff Tarkin - YouTube
Mark Hamill talks about Peter Cushing - YouTube

Peter Cushing Appreciation Society UK

Sunday, 22 January 2017

ROGUE ONE: DECIPHERING THE ORIGINAL SCARIF LAND BATTLE...

Into the fire, as Jyn and her team run towards Imperial Walker fire in a classic deleted scene from ROGUE ONE.

Who didn't love that superb end shot to the first April 2016 teaser trailer of ROGUE ONE showing our heroes, led by Jyn clutching the stolen Death Star data tape, running into an approaching storm of AT-AT's? And who wasn't mildly disappointed that the scene - the perfect visual marketing image - didn't make it to the final film?

From what's been revealed in all the various behind the scenes materials and trailers, and until some hopefully deleted scene material reaches the DVD and Blu-ray this April, here's AFICIONADO's best guess as to how the original land battle of Scarif played out before it underwent drastic editing and reshoots last summer. Don't get me wrong, we loved the end cinematic product and how it played out - tense, dramatic and involving, but the original sequence is too fascinating to not want to discover more about, especially as interviews with the film's editors remains relatively vague on what was changed and reworked here.

A helicopter follows our arrived heroes for unused camera angles.
No time to enjoy the scenery.
Another unused angle being shot.
Rushing the beach and on the look out for Stormtrooper patrols.
Either a generic patrol of the shore, or a scene where they are looking for our heroes.
Another great shot of the Stormtroopers in this evocative setting.
Specially posed image, or the aftermath of a beach battle?
Stormtrooper in the jungle.
Presumably the same one that falls foul of Chirrut Imwe's lightning reflexes.
Our heroes gather outside the bunker entrance after taking down a Stormtrooper squad.
Jyn and Cassian check equipment as they begin the next stage of their plan.
A brief respite from battle for Baze Malbus and Chirrut.
Filming this scene with director Gareth Edwards in the UK.
The Moroff (Ian Whyte) was cut out from the Scarif scenes but was seen earlier in the film, on Jedha.
Moroff and Rebel squad leader Pao on the beach in a behind the scenes shot.
Our disguised heroes begin their entry to the Imperial Vault complex.

Starting out, we can assume that Bodhi dropped Jyn Erso and her main squad (which also comprised Baze and Chirrut) from their obtained shuttle onto the beach, before heading to one of the outdoor Imperial landing fields. Jyn's party then ran to one of the outdoor bunker areas leading into the vault complex. On the way, they likely took out Imperial Stormtrooper beach patrols and Shoretroopers, with Baze, Chirrut and the rest of their squad being cover and/or creating numerous diversions in and around the bunker, whilst Jyn, Cassian and K-2SO, disguised as Imperials, entered the facility, then the vault, to steal the plans.

STAR WARS AFICIONADO WEBSITE: ROGUE ONE: ENTERING THE VAULT - THE UNUSED FOOTAGE

The alarm has been raised...
The AT-ACT's are out in force on the shoreline.
A race against time for Jyn and her comrades to the Communications Tower.
Jyn, holding the plans, Cassian and K-2 run for it amongst debris.
As enemy fire blankets the beach, a stuntman on wires prepares to "die".
Still running from the bunker as Rebels fire at enemy troops now also behind them.
Running out of options...
A Rebel U-wing makes a timely entrance.
Suspended by crane, the container representing the U-wing gun interior is above our heroes.
Bistan provides fire against the enemy.
Advance leaked BTS image of the crashed U-wing on the jungle/shoreline set recreated at Buckinghamshire.
Our heroes dive for cover and return fire at both attacking sides from within the huge sand trails of the crashed U-wing.
Pao is front and centre of the battle but soon killed.
Felicity Jones on the burning wreckage set at Pinewood.
Filming on the Maldives from various positions, including more aerial shots.
Cassian and his men fight back against beach Stormtroopers.
Pinned down by enemy forces.
Baze fires at a Walker, as Cassian and his men provide additional blaster support.
Bodhi on the beach holding binoculars not seen in the film.
Filming on location in Maldives, Bodhi with the heavy duty cable he'd wear on his back as seen in the film.
A different angle of the exploding shuttle than was seen in the completed film.

By then, the base is on alert, and as the team assembled and rushed out of the Bunker - Jyn and Cassian - now back in Rebel fatigues- are attacked by four approaching AT-ACT Walkers (three seen in the film) as they rush to the separate location Communications Tower and its dish from which to send the captured plans/schematics to their arriving forces (the dish can be seen in the teaser trailer). As the race/battle across the shore continued, the U-wing carrying Bistan provided cover fire above/behind them (as filmed on location in the Maldives, and confirmed by Felicity Jones in a recent magazine interview) but is soon cut down, crashing on a section of beach near the Communications Tower (seen but reworked with editing/CGI in the finished movie). We know that in this original sequence, Jyn, Cassian, K-2, Chirrut and Baze were all together (alongside several of the other alien creature rebels joining them somewhere in the action), cut off and fighting in small sand trenches against front and behind opponents near the U-wing wreckage, before the timely arrival of the X-wings and their swift attack on the lumbering beasts. Concurrently, Bodhi, at some point alongside Rebel protectors in the jungle (as seen in an early released image/BTS footage), is presumably killed in the exploding shuttle on the landing field, before he can take off to rescue his colleagues. (Bodhi's role in the film's story would be significantly expanded on at the beginning and end in re-shoots, one notable example: the need for him to send a signal to Admiral Raddus about the incoming transmission from Jyn- a sequence shot in the Maldives but with more added to it later).


Shoretroopers and Stormtroopers emerge as our heroes press on to the communications dish- part of a reworked scene in post production.
Death Troopers rush the beach.
Ruthlessly attacking our heroes by the crashed U-wing fighter.
Baze's last stand was re-worked for the final cut.
The enemy presses its attack.
Atmospheric war shot from behind the scenes footage.
Director Krennic arrives at the Communications Tower to survey the chaos.
Krennic pulls his trusty blaster pistol out, in a scene shot at Pinewood.
The original demise of K-2, being repeatedly gunned down, presumably in the alcove or just inside the Communications Tower entrance.
K-2 collapses near to the dead (or injured) Cassian.
Jyn inside the Imperial facility - on a set we didn't see in the film.
Injured and limping, Jyn struggles across the dish platform catwalk.
Gareth Edwards films Jyn's struggle.
Cornered by a TIE fighter.
Jyn leaps out of the way of blaster cannon fire...

We know that Krennic's Death Troopers rushed the beach originally (the film scene of them coming down the all-new TIE Shuttle ramp to attack surviving Rebel soldiers added or digitally manipulated in re-shoots/post production), and were fighting our remaining core heroes in and around the U-wing wreckage- presumably where Chirrut and Baze met their end taking out the special enemy soldiers, and that, in a beach area laden with Stormtrooper bodies, the newly arrived Krennic may have killed or critically injured Cassian (footage shows Krennic pulling out his gun to shoot at someone), with K-2 also succumbing to further enemy fire in the bunker or canopy area to fall near Cassian's body (as seen in a recent ABC news clip). With a wounded (clearly limping) Jyn the only survivor, she makes her way up to the tower's dish (presumably by lift), getting it ready to send the signal transmissions of the plans, then faces down a TIE fighter which laser strafes the catwalk she races across, partially destroying it (the TIE fighter was replaced in an alternate scene, with a new ship used on Scarif - the fast atmosphere riding TIE Striker). After the catwalk attack, we can assume that Jyn confronted and killed Krennic either by herself or possibly with the help of a not dead but wounded Cassian, presumably leading to their final scenes together as seen in the film, escaping via the beach bunker to witness their final end from the Death Star weapon Tsunami...

If anyone has any more information on the sequence, please get in touch.
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