Friday, 23 December 2016

FAMILY REUNION!


Newly arrived at the Shield Generator base on Endor, Darth Vader meets an Imperial party bringing in a young Rebel that has deliberately surrendered himself to the enemy, in a production painting created by Ralph McQuarrie used in mid to late 1982 onwards publicity for the then REVENGE OF THE JEDI.

Friday, 18 November 2016

DELETED SCENE: DROID OF THE STORM


Artoo Detoo cuts a lone figure as the Tatooine sandstorm around it and the Millennium Falcon continues, in this great filming image from the start of production of EPISODE VI, for what was originally titled REVENGE OF THE JEDI.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

WHEN 'FANTASTIC FILMS' MET 'REVENGE'!


1982 was already a great year for blockbuster sci-fi movies, from STAR TREK II to E.T., and just around the corner in 1983 was the next STAR WARS film, or the epic sounding REVENGE OF THE JEDI as it was then called, previewed in the US FANTASTIC FILMS magazine's expanded Summer Edition, supplied via LUCASFILM some key and explosive Ralph McQuarrie Sail Barge battle art to whet fans appetites, of which it certainly delivered the expectant goods!

Saturday, 5 November 2016

'REVENGE' AT 'CELEBRATION 2016'


Some of the REVENGE OF THE JEDI items from the collection of UK designer Michael Lamont, shown at the Prop Store exhibition during the three-day STAR WARS CELEBRATION 2016 London event.

Friday, 28 October 2016

A 'REVENGE' IN '82!


A great preview/behind the scenes spread for REVENGE OF THE JEDI, from a Lucasfilm Yearbook of 1982, recently sold in auction via the Prop Store website.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

CLASSIC ART: THE CREATURES OF ENDOR!


From 1981, when RETURN was REVENGE OF THE JEDI, an interesting shot of an early Ewok (or Ewak as it was first known) riding one of the second originally planned races of Endor- the long stilted leg creatures the Yuzzum, very near to being seen on screen but ultimately abandoned, before reconceptualized to a shorter, singular creature, for the Jabba's Palace monster menagerie by January 1982. We presume the art is by either Joe Johnston or Phil Tippett.

Image: via PROP STORE website auctions.

Friday, 14 October 2016

A 'REVENGE' FOR THE IMPERIALS!

Image: via STAR WARS ARCHIVES website.

Han Solo and the Rebel Commandos have fallen into the Emperor's trap and are now herded out into an area outside the shield generator bunker, in a terrific image used for early REVENGE OF THE JEDI promotion, as seen here in a spread FOR the FANTASTIC FILMS magazine.

Han Solo was to have fought against the Empire in a raid on a critical Imperial facility during REVENGE's original story ideas, according to Gary Kurtz, and would have been killed off halfway through the film. Lucas changed his mind about killing lead heroes off by the time he began his own storylining process going into 1981, and against the strong-willed requests of Harrison Ford.

Friday, 7 October 2016

BACK IN BLACK!


Another early poster concept design for REVENGE OF THE JEDI, I believe by Lawrence Noble, with the emphasis on Darth Vader after the revelations of EMPIRE- a clear design brief from Lucasfilm, given how a similar idea was brought to the fore for the now classic Struzan poster.

Friday, 30 September 2016

CLASSIC ART: BEAST OF FRIENDLY BURDEN!


One of the intriguing creature concept paintings linked to the unused grass world of Sicemon, originally planned for REVENGE OF THE JEDI: a creature that the Rebels on that world use as a means of transportation. This one is presumably carrying our main heroes to an important gathering.

Friday, 23 September 2016

BATTLE READY HEROES!


The legacy of REVENGE OF THE JEDI continues with this terrific unused poster concept art by John Alvin, which certainly shows Luke and Leia in a more impressionistic light, though Harrison Ford remains near faithfully intact, as the lightsaber wielding evil of Darth Vader draws near.

Friday, 16 September 2016

A 'REVENGE' OF DISTINCTION!


The very classy red/black REVENGE OF THE JEDI logo looks particularly classy on this 1982 badge. I wonder how many are still out there in proud fans' collections?


And let's also not forget this equally attractive brass paperweight sent out only to theatre owners ready to show the film back in the day, and which must be worth a handsome sum on today's collectors market.

Friday, 9 September 2016

A 'TRIBUTE' TO 'REVENGE'!


There's numerous magazines in 1982 previewing the expectant REVENGE, but this is a personal favourite: the US TRIBUTE magazine from the Fall of that year. Check out its coverage here: Revenge of the Jedi (Tribute Magazine) | Bad News Central

Friday, 2 September 2016

GETTING A COCKPIT VIEW


One of the many early colour transparencies from the film that had the REVENGE OF THE JEDI logo on it- some of which are still floating around the STAR WARS merchandise tables and online even now. This one linked to blue screen X-wing fighter cockpit filming for ILM.

Image: via STAR WARS ARCHIVES FACEBOOK page.

Friday, 26 August 2016

THE CREATURE FEATURE!


George Lucas always wanted REVENGE OF THE JEDI to be a creature film, and ILM quickly found itself paving the way to his requests with a small army of weird and wonderful characters who'd make their way to Elstree, London by January 1982. What better way to celebrate the new "Creature Shop" of that time than with this great T-shirt!

Friday, 19 August 2016

THE RETURN OF 'REVENGE' (2011)

Princess Leia (Sandstorm outfit).

Back to the Sandstorm, and the deleted scenes of EPISODE VI linked to REVENGE OF THE JEDI's 1982 filming days, with these great 2011/2012 KENNER figures that cleverly emerged linked to the then Blu-ray saga box set release. Special illustration work, photoshopping of stills from EPISODE VI, and new artwork were used for the card covers. Interestingly, none of the stills of actor Mike Stevens in the deleted scene Falcon cockpit gun section were used for the cover art (perhaps for legal and cost issues- the figure bears no likeness of Stevens, either). Instead, a photo of an American model, who looked vaguely similar to the UK actor/extra, was used.

Luke Skywalker (Lightsaber Construction).
Lando Calrissian (Sandstorm Outfit).
Colonel Cracken (Millennium Falcon Crew).
Special REVENGE logo for Rebel Commando.
Rebel Pilot (Mon Calamari).

Friday, 12 August 2016

THE LEGACY OF ALDERAAN...


She'd killed Jabba the Hutt, unthawed her rogue man in Han Solo from carbonite, proved her worth as a speeder bike pilot, and helped bring down the Imperial Shield base on Endor. Once all that was done, Princess Leia Organa, as well as discovering she was sister to a Jedi,  became a key member of the New Republic to restore full freedom to the galaxy. The events of RETURN OF THE JEDI and beyond, these certainly were. But not within the original early planning for REVENGE OF THE JEDI, and certainly not with a future alongside her friends, as Producer Gary Kurtz recalled in the nineties:

"In the original idea for JEDI there wasn't another attack on the Death Star. They spent a lot of time getting Han Solo back, and he was supposed to die in the final attack on the Empire. The end was going to be the coronation of Princess Leia as Queen of her people-what was left of them- and separate her out from the others because she then had royal obligations to her family. So, in effect, the coronation cut her off from Luke and the others and they went their separate ways. It was a slightly poignant end in the original."

Would that original ending have worked? Or would a slightly downer ending have proved box office poison, especially with the planned death back then of Han Solo before they changed their mind and stuck with it? (Until THE FORCE AWAKENS, of course- a whole different time period and a very specifically engineered passing of the generational torch). Certainly food for thought and debate...

Friday, 5 August 2016

CALL-SHEET SHOWCASE!


A selection of varying size and res call sheets for REVENGE OF THE JEDI when it started shooting under top secret frenzied conditions at London's Elstree Studios from January to April, 1982. Look out for some great info listed on the pages, like the sheet listing Peter Diamond's eventually unseen "Lightman" creature.







Friday, 29 July 2016

A 'REVENGE' WITHOUT THE EMPEROR?

Early concept art for the Emperor for REVENGE.

With the passing of time, SW fans and critics have acknowledged the incredible acting contributions and legacy brought to the Classic and Prequel sagas by Ian McDiarmid, with his portrayal of the truly evil, Dark Side lightning-bringing Emperor. But in the original story ideas being developed for REVENGE OF THE JEDI during mid-to-late 1980, this character's involvement wasn't locked down. Back then, Darth Vader was still clearly going to be the uber villain of the middle trilogy's final film, and not necessarily killed off, either.

Recalled Producer Gary Kurtz in a nineties interview: "Well, (first of all), the Emperor wasn't even supposed to have come into it, except in reference, as in EMPIRE, until the last episode of the series, the ninth one. Having the Emperor show up, in effect, emasculates Darth Vader as your chief villain."

From other previous sources, as well as further info from Kurtz, this originally conceived "ninth" film would have been about the final battle waged against a retreated Empire by the "other" (referred to in EMPIRE), and whom wasn't originally Leia, though still a female member of the Skywalker family- a character returned from a far-off realm to help our surviving older heroes.


Friday, 22 July 2016

THE US 'REVENGE' SNEAK PEEK...


Returning to US cinemas for a fourth time on 13th August 1982, the original STAR WARS latest re-release poster had an additional hook to pull in fans old and new: a teaser trailer for REVENGE OF THE JEDI. By November of that year, the rumblings of the titles changing back to RETURN were beginning to happen...

The Star Wars Saga US Release and Re-Release History | StarWars.com

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

'REVENGE' OF THE EWOK!


He may have only been eleven during the making of REVENGE OF THE JEDI, but Warwick Davis, seen here holding up a rare banner and an Ewok stick/club for an early UK newspaper article/interview, was clearly going to be one of the country's favourite acting talents by the noughties onwards, and a popular international ambassador for the franchise.

Extremley rare Star Wars footage - Return of the Ewok PT.1 - YouTube
Extremley rare Star Wars footage - Return of the Ewok PT.2 - YouTube

Friday, 8 July 2016

JAPAN GOES 'REVENGE'!


A selection of pages from a Japanese magazine promoting REVENGE OF THE JEDI with a very cool blue logo, alongside some great classic imagery. If anyone knows the magazine title and the exact publication date, please get in touch. We assume its from 1983, and even though the title had already changed to RETURN, as many of these published photos weren't released officially until nearer the film's theatrical dates.

With thanks to Chris Baker for image restoration.





Friday, 1 July 2016

'REVENGE' AT THE 1982 CHICON IV EVENT

Image: Maureen Garrett for BANTHA TRACKS in 1982.

A great little blog here about the very cool and very rare REVENGE OF THE JEDI exhibition and talk from the 40th World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago from 1982: Neato Coolville: REVENGE OF THE JEDI EXHIBIT AT THE 1982 CHICON IV

Saturday, 25 June 2016

THE STRUZAN 'REVENGE' CONCEPT POSTERS


Everyone knows and loves the marvellous original teaser poster that Drew Struzan did of Vader against red for REVENGE/RETURN OF THE JEDI in 1982/83, but what about the unused concept poster ideas he had? Well, here's a selection.




Official site: welcome to DrewStruzan.com

Friday, 17 June 2016

THE IMPERIAL CITY OF 'REVENGE'

Art by Ralph McQuarrie.

RETURN OF THE JEDI's climax heavily concentrated its planetary storytelling on the forest moon of Endor and the second Death Star, but in the original 1981 drafts of REVENGE OF THE JEDI, a lot of drama and action would also have been set on the Imperial City, later named Coruscant, of which George Lucas (apparently albeit reluctantly) also used the Expanded Universe's devised planet name for the Prequel Trilogy.

An Imperial Shuttle flies the skies. Art by Joe Johnston.

As well as Joe Johnston, Ralph McQuarrie was heavily involved in early concept work, recalling to STARLOG magazine in October 1983: "The biggest thing left out of RETURN OF THE JEDI was the planet for the Imperials. We worked on this Imperial City a long time, but its never used in the film. George decided to just have everything taking place in space. It's elaborate and quite pretty. But I don't want to reveal what it looks like because George might use it in the future." 

Some of McQuarrie's images would later find a home as part of 1996's much-loved EPISODES V and VI bridge in Shadows of the Empire, and the concept art for the Imperial City would indeed be revisited by Lucas for the Prequels.

Friday, 10 June 2016

'REVENGE' OF ATARI!


STAR WARS arrival from the mid-seventies onwards conveniently followed along the popular path of the exploding home video game genre, each one soon influencing the other in many respects and ambitions. ATARI was one of the kings of that Eighties "Golden Age", of which REVENGE OF THE JEDI was to have played a memorable part, as seen in these two prototype game covers bearing the original title and logo.


Saturday, 4 June 2016

BEHIND THE SCENES: PATCHY YODA!


Its hard to believe that George Lucas seriously considered that the little green Jedi wonder Yoda might never came back for REVENGE OF THE JEDI, especially after all the costly production difficulties and delays it had cost to bring him/it to life during THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. Thankfully, incoming director Richard Marquand, a big supporter of the character, knew the importance of the Jedi Master's return to the saga, basically for what would be a limited but story confirming role, and then be killed off to join the netherworld of the Force.

As much as Vader had been the emblem for EMPIRE, so too would be Yoda's inheritance of the patchwork insignia for REVENGE/RETURN. Below are the variations.


With thanks to Chris Baker 

Monday, 30 May 2016

CLASSIC SCENE: THE SANDSTORM


A sequence surely synonymous with the aura of REVENGE OF THE JEDI must be the infamous deleted "Sandstorm", one of the first sequences shot for the movie, showing our heroes escorting a wounded Chewbacca back to the Millennium Falcon and neighbouring X and Y-wing fighters on Tatooine. The sequence, of which the barest of intriguing glimpses was seen on an early trailer, was finally released in very rough form on Blu-ray, with hard to hear dialogue that was never re-dubbed: the scene having been such an early editing casualty during the late Summer of 1982.

Find out more about the sequence here: STAR WARS AFICIONADO WEBSITE: SANDSTORM

Check out all the REVENGE OF THE JEDI related features on our brother STAR WARS AFICIONADO site, here: STAR WARS AFICIONADO WEBSITE: REVENGE OF THE JEDI

'REVENGE OF THE JEDI' - THE ORIGINAL ROUGH DRAFTS: A SYNOPSIS

Unused poster concept art for REVENGE by John Alvin.

'REVENGE OF THE JEDI' - THE ORIGINAL ROUGH DRAFT/REVISED ROUGH DRAFT: A SYNOPSIS


By George Lucas

February 20th, 1981


THE REBELLION IS DOOMED. SPIES LOYAL TO THE OLD REPUBLIC HAVE REPORTED SEVERAL NEW ARMOURED SPACE STATIONS UNDER CONSTRUCTION BY THE EMPIRE.

A DESPERATE PLAN TO ATTACK THE DREADED IMPERIAL CAPITOL OF HAD ABBADON AND DESTROY THE DEATH STARS BEFORE THEY ARE COMPLETED HAS BEEN PUT INTO EFFECT.

REBEL COMMANDOS, LED BY PRINCESS LEIA, HAVE MADE THEIR WAY INTO THE VERY HEART OF THE GALACTIC EMPIRE: AS THE FIRST STEP TOWARDS THE FINAL BATTLE FOR FREEDOM…. (*)

The two Death Stars! Art: McQuarrie.

The title crawl pans down to reveal Had Abbadon, capital of the Galactic Empire, a huge city covered planet. Darth Vader and Moff Jerjerrod are in an Imperial shuttle discussing Abbadon’s green moon, of which Vader has felt possible Rebel activity there. Meanwhile, Leia disguised as a pilot, and with a covert Rebel team and heavy equipment including an Ion canon weapon, have stolen an Imperial Shuttle and gone to the green moon in order to set up a base. They see the two DEATH STARS under construction in orbit above Had Abbadon. Vader and Jerjerrod, a dangerous new rival to the Dark Lord, meet with the Emperor in his underground throne room, which looks over a fuming lake of red lava. The Emperor knows that Luke Skywalker has become more powerful and must be destroyed. Concerned by Vader’s behavior regarding his son, the Emperor orders Moff Jerjerrod to keep an eye on him: he wants Vader to think that Luke is to be destroyed when in fact the boy will take Vader’s place at his side. The Emperor is also aware of the Rebels planning their imminent attack.

The droids are escorted to Jabba. Art: McQuarrie.

Meanwhile, having heard the thoughts of Darth Vader in a dream, which also has the presence of Ben and Yoda, Luke, staying in a Tatooine peasant hovel, joins Lando, Chewie and the droids in planning Han Solo’s rescue from Jabba the Hutt, scheming to deliver a phony “spice extractor” in exchange for Solo. Artoo and Threepio act as emissaries to Luke and enter the palace to meet Bib Fortuna (**) and Jabba himself. When Lando and Chewie arrive with the extractor, however, they are soon captured and thrown into a cell where a bearded Han Solo resides (having already been taken out of carbon freeze). Han wants to strangle Lando for what happened on Bespin, until the rescue situation is explained. Artoo opens one of his small compartments, giving the pair a blaster each, which they hide on their persons as they are taken to Jabba, where, after a trial alongside the now captured Luke, he orders them to be put in the “Sloth Pit.”

Sail Barge battle. Art: McQuarrie.

Traveling on the desert skiff (***), Luke and the gang fight back, whilst Artoo and Threepio escape the Sail Barge before Artoo’s sabotage makes it explode, sending Jabba, Bib and company into the mouth of the Sloth. Escaping Tatooine in the Falcon, our heroes travel to a Rebel base in the Sice system. On board, Luke falls asleep and dreams of Vader and Yoda. Not sure he can go through with the future, Ben appears in the dream and reveals to Luke that he has a sister-Luke soon understands that it is Leia.

The planet Sicemon. Art: McQuarrie. Planet design later used for STAR WARS REBELS.
Sicemon Rebel base.
Travelling to the base via winged transport.

On one of the planets of Sice, in the city of Sicemon, a Rebel war room meeting takes place with our heroes and General Madine, who briefs them on Leia’s current situation. Aware that Luke has successfully repaired his lightsaber, Yoda appears to tell him his skills as a Jedi are complete and that he is ready for the final test: to face his father. Luke doesn’t feel he is up to the challenge, but when he sees a vision of Leia in danger, and the Rebel mission failing, he has no choice but to follow the path, taking off with the heroes to the green moon, whilst Lando and General Madine, leading the Rebel fleet, await their signal and success.

On the forest moon, Leia meets a race of furry creatures called “Ewaks” and they join forces. Luke, Han, Chewie and the droids arrive, searching for Leia. However, the Falcon has been spotted and reported to Vader, where Luke is caught in a trap (****) and whom, upon Ben’s advice, surrenders to General Veers, resisting the order of Moff Jerjerrod to take him directly to the Emperor on Had Abbadon, and instead following Vader’s orders to have him on his Star Destroyer. Vader offers Luke a second chance to join him but he refuses. An angry Moff Jerjerrod arrives on the Star Destroyer and, seeing him as a continued threat, Vader kills the Imperial. Han, Chewie and the robots meet up with Leia and the Ewaks. As Artoo, Threepio and Wicket go to the Falcon to send a message to the Rebel fleet, Han and the Rebel commandos, with help from their furry friends, attack the Imperial base and facilities, whilst Leia and Rebel Captain Jode knock out Had Abbadon’s communications disk (presumably with the Ion canon). The Rebel fleet soon arrives and the space battle around the two DEATH STARs and the planets begins.

On a journey to the Emperor. Art: McQuarrie.
The volcanic throne room. Art: McQuarrie.

On their way to the throne room on Had Abbadon, Vader and Luke are contacted by Ben, who tries to turn Vader back to the good side of the Force. Vader doesn’t budge and takes Luke to the Emperor. Once there, Ben and Yoda reappear, telling the Emperor that he has overestimated his own abilities. A panicked Emperor orders Vader to kill his own son. The lightsaber by the nearby throne flies into Luke’s hands and the fight begins with Vader and Luke jumping from one rock to another over a bubbling pool of lava. Luke cuts off Vader’s artificial arm. The Emperor has declared Vader old and weak, offering Luke half the power of the Empire if he kills his father. Luke refuses to kill his begging for death father. Luke, having only fought in self-defence, switches off his lightsaber and throws it to his father. The Emperor then orders Vader to kill Luke. As Vader refuses, the Emperor then attacks Luke with Force lightning resulting in Vader, unable to let his son die, rushing the Emperor, grabbing him and both falling dead into a lake of lava.
 
Death Star space battle. Art: McQuarrie.

With the space and ground battles successfully won by the Rebels, Luke tells Leia that she is his sister during the victory celebrations. Han and Leia leave Luke alone; suddenly Ben appears in real flesh and blood and is soon followed by an old man, the good Skywalker. Yoda watches them all celebrate.

(*) Title crawl used from the Revised Rough Draft by George Lucas- June 12th 1981.

(**) Described in the Revised Rough Draft as a "wizened old man".

(***) Described in the Revised Rough Draft as being a bigger version of Luke’s original Landspeeder.

(****) In the Revised Rough Draft, Luke is kidnapped by Imperial spies on Tatooine, just after he, Lando and Chewie have rescued Han.