Thursday, 19 October 2017
The classic 1977 image soon used for marketing/promotion for STAR WARS which we all wish had been in the film- (we assume Luke's) X-wing fighter bearing down on Darth Vader's unique ship, with the Death Star lurking in the background. With very few optical shot frames available for publicity by the film's release, this was a special composite image by Richard Edlund and ILM, with laser fire airbrushed on by Ralph McQuarrie.
Truly a magical and exciting shot, I remember it being used effectively by Letraset UK stationery for 1978 ring binders, whilst Stateside as the very special cover for American Cinematographer magazine, for whom it was first conceived.
The subtle power and strong nobility of Liam Neeson's Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn, from EPISODE I, shines through in this lovely art from regular artistic genius Tsuneo Sanda.
Wednesday, 18 October 2017
Congratulations to Ron Howard and the cast and crew of SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY in wrapping up the film's principal photography stage at Pinewood. We look forward to seeing more teaser images, and, hopefully, a Christmas or New Year trailer showcasing our favourite Corellian scoundrel.
Compiled news: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/han-solo-movie-news-trailers-151520530.html
The Rebels hopes for survival against the destructive power of the Death Star now rest on a young and inexperienced boy with two X-wing fighter wingmen as support. A concerned Princess Leia keeps her faith in her new friend. But will it be enough?
Interestingly, the Revised Fourth Draft shooting script (19th April, 1976) has a small but interesting sequence between Leia and Dodonna, taking place before Luke's run, that was most likely filmed and cut.
This scene could have been part of this moment in the film seen below.
V223 (268) INT. MASASSI OUTPOST - WAR ROOM
Dodonna and Princess Leia listen intently to the talk between pilots. The room is grim after Blue Leader's death (*). Princess Leia nervously paces the room.
LEIA (to Dodonna): Can they go on?
DODONNA: They must.
LEIA: We've lost so many. Without Blue Leader, how will they re-group?
LUKE (Voice over): Close it up, Wedge. Biggs, where are you?
BIGGS (v/o): Coming in, right behind you.
WEDGE (v/o): OK Boss, we're in position.
Note * Blue Leader became Red Leader in the finished film.
|Image: Kurtz/Joiner Archive.|
Additionally the above posed shot taken at London's Shepperton Studios in the Rebel War Room shows both supporting artists Vass Anderson and Alan Harris with the main stars. Though a Rebel technician, we don't see Andersson in the base scenes at all in the completed movie, as far as I'm aware, whilst Harris also played a senior Rebel officer in scenes shot a few months later at Shepperton, alongside Carrie Fisher, on the Rebel Hangar set (he filled in for an unavailable for the day Alex McCrindle). It's possible that because of the background character change with Harris that his and Andersson's potential scene in the War Room was cut- a staged publicity shot like this with scene characters would not have been taken without a reason. It could be a moment set just before Leia and Threepio walk into the main monitoring area after the fighters have taken off, or possibly linked to this scene in the 19th April, 1976 Revised Fourth Draft:
137: INT. MASASSI OUTPOST - WAR ROOM
The princess sits quietly before the giant displays showing the planet of Yavin and her four moons. The red dot that represents the Death Star moves ever closer to the system. A series of green dots appear around the fourth moon. Dodonna stands behind the princess with several other field commanders.
CONTROLLER: The red signal is on the station, it's moving into the system.
COMMANDER: The ships are away.
On one of the secluded mountain peak islands of Ahch-To, Rey continues to develop her lightsaber mastery, hoping that, if Luke Skywalker chooses not to train her, that the nature and power of the Force on this unique planet might at least help shine a light on her future abilities and destiny, in this moment from The Last Jedi.
Tuesday, 17 October 2017
|Luke and his wingmen speed over the exhaust port after their original first failed attempt with torpedoes. A 1976 storyboard.|
With the demise of Red Leader, Luke and his team begin their attack run on the Death Star trench. However, as originally scripted and filmed, he, Wedge and Biggs actually made two attack runs- the first attempt proving a failure as Luke uses his targeting computer (and not listening to Ben's advice in his head) to launch his weapons and missing- the torpedoes going astray and detonating near the shaft. Darth Vader and his wingmen are close behind but fail to catch the fast escaping trio, pursuing them instead into space, with Luke (his X-wing fighter slightly damaged) and Biggs pursued by TIEs (Darth chillingly telling his pilots: "Take them") before both shake off their attackers to re-group with Wedge for another assault.
|Luke's missiles go off course in the original conception.|
|TIE fighters descend to attack Blue (Red) Leader. Back then, in mid 1976, there was no plan to give Vader his own unique ship. That came later and evolved in the design process.|
|Luke and his wingmen rush to Red Leader's singular aid. It is unknown if this shot was ever completed.|
At this point in the film's 1976 conception the idea of setting the sequence to a countdown hadn't been properly worked out-most of that ultimate suspense was created in post production by Marcia Lucas and Paul Hirsch's editing, to give the film more excitement-though the opening portion of the X-wing trio's first trench entry was cleverly sequed into the finished sequence (up to Luke's talking to Wedge about the enemy laser tower), the ultimate omission of Red Five's first unsuccessful torpedo attack did not affect the storytelling- indeed, the loss tightened it up and strengthened it, what with the young Luke now not ignoring Ben's ethereal advice and going on to trust his former mentor and his own instincts in the Force.
With ILM effects/model filming of the Death Star trench run going on until Christmas of 1976, in conjunction with the post production editing, it's likely that the majority of the first trench run sequence by Luke was mostly abandoned by that point, with the technicians concentrating on the adjusted finale instead.
Paul Hirsch brief talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Fo3UvNtpMs
In their Republic Cruiser hangar bay, Anakin, Artoo and Ahsoka discuss their planned attack/bombing strategy against the massive and dangerous Malevolence cruiser with Plo Koon and Admiral Yularen, in a scene from THE CLONE WARS early Season One episode, Shadow of Malevolence.
Monday, 16 October 2017
His missile having impacted on the surface of the exhaust port, we barely see the damage caused by Red Leader's torpedo in the original STAR WARS, apart from the explosion as the X-wing pulls out of the trench. But a lot of effort went into creating that damage and the model of the port itself, as seen in these pictures taken at ILM in late 1976/77.
|Model maker Steve Gawley at work.|
|The hand of the Empire, indeed!|
Steve Gawley and Lorne Peterson talk about the model making of the Classic Trilogy:
As the interior of the Erso farm homestead on Lah'muh is turned into a fireball, the chilling bleak visage of an Imperial Death Trooper, part of an elite killing machine, searches the nearby environment for the missing child Jyn, in this moment from ROGUE ONE.
Sunday, 15 October 2017
Late in 1976: with filming of STAR WARS halted at London's Elstree Studios, a returned to the US Mark Hamill, with friends Robert Englund and an unknown female, visit ILM at Van Nuys to see the models and model filming then in progress. It must have been a tremendous buzz for Hamill, always a big fan of special effects and stop motion animation fantasy film-making, now partaking in an ambitious undertaking fusing those genres superbly.
|Mark checks out the stored Falcon model, whilst Englund looks around.|
Its interesting to remember that it was Englund's testing for STAR WARS (Han Solo) in 1975 that informed Hamill about the auditions then taking place in Hollywood, whilst he was staying in his apartment. We owe Mister Englund a debt, indeed.