Sep 18, 2014

Which Star Wars film did Treat Williams take a turn in as an extra?

treat williams star wars cameo

It turns out that actor Treat Williams made a cameo of sorts on Empire Strikes Back as a Echoe Base rebel in one of the Hoth ice base attack scenes.

Treat is never intended to be in the movie, it happened by a chance set visit. He was just visiting Carrie Fisher and got caught up in it all.

Treat has said  in an interview:

"I’ll tell you the story: I went over to London and I was visiting Carrie [Fisher]. She said, “Wouldn’t it be fun to run through a shot?” And, I said, “Sure. All right.” And, she said, “We’ll dress you up and you’ll run through the soundstage a couple of times and that’ll be it – it’ll be fun.”

"I didn’t mention it for like fifteen years after that. Then, once I did in some interview a few years ago, all of a sudden I got more fan mail than I ever have in my entire life! I mean, people sent little dolls and little paratroopers – they still do! It’s crazy. "

You won’t find Treat William's name anywhere in the credits but some people claim he played the part of Jess Allashane. This is misinformation as Treat made a set visit in England whereas the scenes for Allashane were filmed in Norway. 

So how's that for a bit of random trivia? Click the link if you want to see who else has done some cameos in Star Wars.

Sep 16, 2014

Who is this and what does it mean for the plot of Ep7?

Is this a set picture of Adam Driver in a pilot's uniform? Is it even Adam? If so does this mean he flies on the side of the good guys? Or does he became a bad guy. Is he a spy?

adam driver
So many questions, so few answers. It's probably not really a picture of Adam. It's a deliberately fuzzy photo leaked and designed to put us all off the scent on what the plot of the movie is.

Sep 1, 2014

Ten facts about Mos Eisely, a well known hive of scum and villany

Mos Eisley

Ben Kenobi famously described Mos Eisely as a hive of scum and villany where people need to be cautious. The place has become a cultural touch stone in many ways. It's where the storm troopers didn't find the droids they were looking for. It's were Luke met Han and the infamous Han Shot First Mantra has spread beyond Star Wars. They even named a whiskey after the place in the film Young Adult.

So what's there to know about the place? Here's some facts:
  • The first view of Mos Eisley in Star Wars where Obi Wan delivers his famous quote about it being a place of villany and scum, is was shot from a place called Death Valley in California from what is known as Dante's View. with a matte painting added in the distance to create the visual.
  • The real-world locations for places around Mos Eisley were filmed in Tunisia
  • Check out the drink dispensers from the Cantina - one of them was recycled into assassin droid IG-88.
  • The name of the famous cantina is Chalmun's Cantina. A well known haunt of freighter pilots and a host of other dangerous characters it is where Han shot Greedo first and where Obi Wan cut off Ponda Baba's arm
  • The Cantina had a 'no droids' policy. 
  • The name of hangar where the Millennium Falcon takes off from in A New Hope is docking Bay 94.
  • If you want to know more about IG-88, check out the short story in which he attempts to take over the world.
  • The band that plays the famous "Cantina' music is called Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes. The bald players are known as Biths. You can hire them for weddings.

Aug 30, 2014

What is the structure that Luke enters while training with Yoda on Degobah?

What is the structure that Luke enters while training with Yopa on Degobah during The Empire Strikes Back?

It wasn't until I read this awesome article about Ralph McQuarrie that it dawned on me that yes, what is that place that Luke ventures into on Dagobah when is is undergoing training with Master Yoda? It seems to be a cave but it has like ummm structure.

Ross Plessat asked McQuarrie and wrote:

"Hoping to learn about the stone hallway on Dagobah where Luke confronts “Vader,” I pointed to his sketches of it and asked, “Is that a remnant of a mysterious civilization?” “It must be,” he answered. “Somebody lives there, Yoda lives there. I don’t know very much about Dagobah.“ I replied, “In an early script Yoda tells Luke that Dagobah had been used as a training ground for Jedi in the past, so maybe this structure was part of the academy.” “Could be,” he said. “There must be some barracks or something left there. [Laughs] I don’t know; I didn’t get into it with George.”

Training ground in the past? Seems like not too ban an idea. But why would Yoda hide so close to such a place? Couldn't Vader find him? Maybe it was a place so ancient that only people who are 900 odd years old would remember such a thing. 

Perhaps the Extended Star Wars Universe can help

The cave / structure itself is sometimes referred to the Dark Side cave. This is possibly because Dark Jedi practiced there and maybe died there. 

But frankly unless George Lucas spells it out in terms of the movie, nothing will explain it.

Who is Koyi Mateil?

This is Koyi Mateil

Koyi Mateil - Revenge of the Sith
Are they real or are they just spectacular?
Koyi Mateil made a brief appearance in Revenge of the Sith during the scene at the Galaxies Opera House. The scene was notable for being when Palpatine revealed to Anakin he could help save Padme from dying and now infamously supplying the knowledge that Twi'leks are no strangers to getting breast implants...

Aug 25, 2014

Just how influenced by Star Wars was Guardians of the Galaxy?

guardians of the galaxy star wars themed posterNow that the hype and dust of Guardians of the Galaxy has settled somewhat, we can take the time reflect on just how good a movie it was and wonder why that might be. Is it because it felt like Star Wars? For this writer, it may have been the best fun he’s had at the movies since he saw Roger Rabbit or Return of the Jedi as a child so maybe there is something there.

Before we go through the Star Wars influences on Guardians, we should note the first comic form of Guardians of the Galaxy was published in 1969, some 8 years before Star Wars hit the silver screen. So this writing is about how the Star Wars films influenced the Guardians movie.

To clear up any doubt about whether the influences are real or just imagined by rabid Star Wars fans, the film’s director James Gunn was quoted as saying:

“This was intentionally my version of Star Wars. When I was first considering doing the movie, the chance to make something like that was one of the things that got me on board. Not just Star Wars, but Raiders Of The Lost Ark, and other movies like that. The stuff I loved as a kid. I wanted to make a movie that made people feel the way they made me feel.”
  • The duo of Groot and Rocket Racoon pretty much stole Guardians from Star Lord. They were very funny did some cool things and they had a great personal relationship. Did you notice how Rocket translated everything Groot said for their fellow Guardians? That’s unmistakably a Han Solo and Chewbacca type friendship right there. Han spends a lot of the Star Wars films sharing what Chewie thought or responding. C3PO totally does with R2D2 so this would seem an obvious Star Wars influence on GoG.
  • While Peter Quill (Star Lord) is arguably of the Han Solo mold, Groot is effectively Rocket’s version of Chewbacca. How is Quill like Han Solo? How about his quips for every situation he’s in, his sexual tension chemistry with Gamora mirrors Solo and Leias and he turns out to be a hero after struggling a bit. 
  • Evil Fathers. As Luke and Leia had Vader as their evil father, sisters Gamora and  Nebula had the world conquering Thanos as their adopted father. 
  • There's a puppet master pulling strings. Ronan the Destroyer takes the part of Vader in this film and like Vader serving the Emperor, Ronan served Thanos. 
  • Thanos even kills an underling who annoyed him which mirrors Vader’s force choke moves.
  • George Lucas also managed to have a random influence on the post credits seen – Howard the Duck makes an amusing appearance. While Howard is a Marvel product, it was Lucas who directed the movie version. You could argue that a lot people (such as myself) would only have known who Howard was from having seen the movie (as a child, many years ago!).
So Guardians is not exactly a copy of Star Wars it certainly has been influenced by it. This is not to say that Guardians was not influenced by other things as well. The movie has a multitude of references to icons of the 1980s such as Troll Dolls. Star Lord is also arguably based on Indiana Jones (which was based on a million of other things but is actually another Lucas influence). At one point Quill even makes a passing reference to the Ark from Raiders. 

It's nice to see Star Wars and George Lucas having an impact on movie making in a great way - it's returning the favour after all...

Aug 21, 2014

Photos of Star Wars characters 'Out of character'

Anthony Daniels dressed as C3PO without his head
Mirror, mirror on the wall 
Sometimes we might be guilty of taking Star Wars too seriously. Not as serious as some Star Wars fans mind you. We don’t really care about parsecs actually being a measurement of distance. (Or do you? – Ed) So it’s good to take a step back and have some fun with Star Wars, as that’s what movies are all about really, fun. 

Here’s some  of the characters from the films being caught a little bit out of character at amusing or interesting moments. Carrie Fisher is always having a blast on set – indeed it looks like the Star Wars production sets were a fun place to be!

Mayhew and Irvine
Peter, I want more rawwweerrrrrrr

I'd sooner kiss a wookie!
carrie fisher onhoth base
Drop it like it's Hoth