The easy answer is, look for an awe inspiring composition, a refined color palette, dynamic character poses, and original ideas. But my job in researching the Making of Return of the Jedi was to differentiate between a McQuarrie production illustration and his licensed artwork. Not so easy as it might sound, as they’re all stored together in the archives.
Archive for ‘Behind The Scenes’
Good news! I’ve selected the Clone Wars season 5 clips that will be shown at Celebration VI – and I think you will be very pleased. To give you a small preview, take a look at this photo of me and Mattias (one of our editors) finalizing a scene. I had fourteen different clips pulled for consideration, but we narrowed it down to a final list. It may surprise you to know that getting these clips together is no simple task. Many come from episodes that are not yet finished, and still require sound design and final lighting shots before they are presentable. Never fear! Matthew Wood and David Accord will be working on the sound design to make sure you have the best possible experience watching these clips at Celebration.
This would be the fifth or sixth time I’d be asking George about the making of one of his films. In this case, we’d be talking about The Making of Return of the Jedi. The first official interview was back in 2004 for a book on The Making of Revenge of the Sith. Then we went back in time to Star Wars, the Indiana Jones films, and Empire, for their respective books. For each I always bring lots of backup: extra batteries, a second recorder, notes, laptop (optional)… and of course the questions. (The last thing I want to be doing is scribbling frantically—though that’s what I had to do on set, as it wasn’t practical otherwise.)
San Francisco’s SFGate.com just posted a rare video interview with Berkeley KPFA radio dramatist Erik Bauersfeld, the man responsible for voicing Admiral Ackbar’s iconic “It’s a trap!” and other classic lines spoken by Return of the Jedi’s intrepid Mon Calamari hero.
In addition, Bauersfeld was also the voice behind Bib Fortuna, Jabba’s Return of the Jedi majordomo, and had even auditioned for the voice of Yoda. The accompanying editorial also exposes some new items of interest:
- Bauersfeld wasn’t listed in the cast when “Return of the Jedi” came out, but has since been credited.
- Bauersfeld was unaware of the Internet memes and surge in popularity for Ackbar and “It’s a trap!” He seemed to find the University of Mississippi’s drive to have the character named a school mascot especially entertaining.
- To this day [Bauersfeld] hasn’t seen the original “Star Wars,” but he’s developed a growing fondness for “Star Wars” fans, saving their correspondence in a filing cabinet and writing personal responses to each one.
Head on over to SFGate.com to check out the rare interview – and yes, he serves up at least a couple “It’s a traps,” which sound just as deliciously meme-friendly as they did almost 30 years ago…
Ian Ambercrombie, best known to Star Wars fans as the voice of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine in The Clone Wars, sadly passed away on Friday. He will be deeply missed by The Clone Wars crew and the many Star Wars fans who have enjoyed his Clone Wars characterization of Palpatine and his alter-ego, Darth Sidious.
The Clone Wars supervising director and producer relayed their regrets on Friday to the Lucasfilm Animation crew and the many fans of Ambercrombie’s work on The Clone Wars:
Supervising Director Dave Filoni:
“Today is a very sad day for Star Wars fans, as we lost a dear friend in Ian Abercrombie. I cannot express how thankful I am to have had the opportunity to work with Ian. He was extremely passionate about his role on the series and he was brilliant at it. I always called him ‘Chancellor’ no matter where we were, in the studio or out at a restaurant. I think he enjoyed that a great deal. I learned so much from him about directing actors, and working with dialog. His advice and mentoring will be sorely missed by all of us. Though he played a villain on our show, you would be hard pressed to meet a kinder person. He loved to laugh and his sense of humor always lightened our record sessions. I will miss his stories, I will miss his performances, and I will miss his contribution to our show.
“My friend, the Force will be with you, always, and you will never be forgotten.”
Producer Cary Silver:
“Today is a sad day in the Star Wars galaxy. We lost not only an incredible actor but also a very dear man. Ian Abercrombie was an integral part of Clone Wars from the beginning and we will deeply miss not only his portrayal of the Supreme Chancellor, but also his professionalism and especially, his stories. We owe a great debt of gratitude for the time we did get to spend with Ian. May the force be with him.”
You can read more about the work of Ian Ambercrombie (who is also well known to Seinfeld fans as Mr. Pitt) at imdb.com.
George Lucas appeared on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart last night to talk up Red Tails, the new action-adventure movie about the heroic Tuskegee Airmen of World War II. Lucas shared the process of making the film, why he felt compelled to bring the Tuskegee Airmen’s story to the screen, and his hopes for a Red Tails sequel (and prequel!). Stewart, a self-confessed Star Wars fan, couldn’t help making comparisons to his favorite film saga – an idea Lucas seemed receptive to:
“I’m just talking about a bunch of guys, kids, who are 19-20 years old, flying the fastest prop-plane ever built, and going up against the new-fangled jets,” explained Lucas. “It’s a combat movie. Honestly…this is as close as you’ll ever get to Episode VII.”
The world lost a key contributor to the Star Wars saga last week in sword master Bob Anderson, who coordinated the lightsaber duels of Episode IV: A New Hope, and even donned Darth Vader’s armor for the high-intensity dueling with Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
The man who established how “an elegant weapon for a more civilized age” should be wielded in the Star Wars universe passed away on January 1 in West Sussex, England. He was 89.
“Bob Anderson was essential in defining what a lightsaber duel would look like,” says George Lucas. “He was the Jedi Master of the original trilogy, training the actors to duel with a new kind of weapon. In Empire and Jedi, Bob donned Darth Vader’s cape and helmet to battle Luke Skywalker in all of the amazing lightsaber battles. It was pure movie magic that Bob became Vader.”
Fortunately for Star Wars fans, Bob Anderson’s legacy will forever survive through the signature fighting styles of Jedi and Sith alike. He will be deeply missed.
On the heels of the recent early Mark Hamill interview we discovered a couple weeks ago, StarWars.com contributor Bob Miller sends a heads up on another rare interview – or set of interviews – from a press junket surrounding the 1980 release of The Empire Strikes Back.
Recently posted from the archive of reporter Bobbie Wygant, this lost interview, which appears to have occurred at the 20th Century Fox Studios press event in early May, 1980, includes some rare conversations with Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Dave Prowse, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, and director Irvin Kershner.
Some of the highlights include Hamill discussing his newborn son, Nathan, who he jokes might be available for the role of an “eight-year-old” Luke for the prequels (well, he got the age right, but was a generation off!). Another treat is the rare dual interview with Harrison Ford and Anthony Daniels, who we’ve rarely seen interviewed together. Dave Prowse also has some detailed information regarding the Darth Vader masks used on Star Wars and Empire, and how they are different (Vader historians take note!).
Most amusingly, though, interviewer Wygant closes with the tease that if Lucas continues with all nine chapters of his Star Wars saga, “the Force may be around until 2001!”
Check out the 13-minute video here.
A rare 30-minute interview with Mark Hamill, which appears to have been taped in late 1977 just before the release of Star Wars in Britain that December, has surfaced on YouTube by poster “mhsayers.”
The interview, which is described as having been conducted at Imperial College London, seems to have been broadcast on British television in October, 1978 — although Hamill at one point mentions the film hadn’t yet released in England, likely placing the original session sometime in late 1977.
It’s very rare to find such an extended one-on-one interview with one of the key cast members from this period, which had Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford whisked from one interview to another, often spending only a few minutes with any single interviewer.
Some interesting insights are revealed here that to our knowledge have never been officially publicized — definitely worth the watch if you’ve got a half-hour to spare (and can tolerate choppy editing on black-and-white videotape!)
UPDATE: According to our favorite Star Wars bibliographer/historian Bob Miller, this session was taped December 14, 1977, based on Hamill’s mention of “Blue Peter” being taped the following day (which occurred on December 15). Miller was also able to cross-reference the host’s mention of Hamill’s percentage reported in the Evening News, which was published on December 12.