Feb 25, 2017

Han Solo movie trivia and facts and Easter eggs

emilia clarke han solo movie

Facts and trivia about the untitled Han Solo anthology movie

  • The script was written by Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon Kasdan. This means that Lawrence has had a hand in writing four Star Wars films (Empire, Jedi, TFA and this one).
  • This film is the first Star Wars movie where Chewbacca is not played by Peter Mayhew. Due to ailing health and frankly age, Mayhew was only able to close up work for Chewbacca in The Force Awakens. Actor Joonas Suotamo did the 'heavy lifting' as the official double and has been given the chance to play the character in full for this movie.
  • Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are the first film makers to co direct a Star Wars movie. They jumped ship from writing The Flash movie to take the opportunity. Beware folks who claim George Lucas also directed with Richard Marquand...
  • This is the second Star Wars anthology movie to be made, following the release of Rogue One. It was intended to be the third but Josh Trank's supposed Boba Fett movie was delayed after he left the project.
  • Is the fifth Star Wars prequel.
  • Emilia Clarke made her name as the 'Mother of Dragons' in Game of Thrones - her appearance in this film means she is the tenth actor from that series to have a part in Star Wars - many of those roles were cameos, this is a full lead. 
  • The working title of the movie was Red Cup, a play on the popular red plastic drinking cups, known as 'Solo' cups. 
Want to know more facts and trivia about Star Wars movies? Try out those of Rogue One, Jedi and The Force Awakens!

13 lucky facts about the making of the Return of the Jedi

leia kissing a guard
Don't ask about what's happening here.

13 lucky facts about the making of the Return of the Jedi

For this writer, Jedi was the first Star Wars movie I ever saw on the silver screen.

I must have been 6.

It was awesome.

I was given a book where you played a cassette along at the same time and I duly memorised it.

I also recall borrowing the novelisation (with pictures) a million times from the school library.

And now too many years later here I am blathering on a facts and trivia about the making of the movie....

Here's 13 awesome bits trivia and facts about the effort that when into the making of Return of the Jedi:

  1. Ewoks were a late addition to the Star Wars mythology. Their part in the story was to be played by the Wookiees, but by the time Lucas and his production partners sat down to write Return of The Jedi, they realized that, because Chewbacca could fly the Millennium Falcon, repair the ship and operate pretty much any weapon or machine in the known universe, they'd made the Wookiees too technologically advanced for the plot.
  2. Yoda was to sit this one out, but he was added after consultation with child psychologists helped George Lucas decide he needed an independent character to confirm Darth Vader's claim that he is Luke Skywalker's father. Now you know why Yoda doesn't do much for the rest of the movie. That and the fact he died of old age.
  3. "It's a trap," which is arguably the most famous line in the movie, was, incredibly, not in the screenplay. The line was scripted as "It's a trick!" and was later changed post-filming after a test screening because, let's face it, "it's a trick" just doesn't have the same ring to it.
  4. Admiral Ackbar's backstory is that he was once the slave of Grand Moff Tarkin, as well as his personal pilot. This is no longer canon. 
  5. Ben Kingsley, who played the title role in the 1982 movie Gandhi, read for the role of Emperor Palpatine and “was considered ‘very English.’ That said, Palpatine was eventually played be Englishman Ian McDiarmid...
  6. David Lynch was originally offered the chance to direct this episode of the series. He turned it down because he believed it was "Lucas' thing." He went on to direct Dune instead.
  7. In the DVD 2004 release, Sebastian Shaw (older Anakin Skywalker) is replaced in the celebration scene by Hayden Christensen. Many fans did not understand, nor appreciate this.
  8. Darth Vader's funeral pyre was added at the very last minute, long after principle photography and pick-ups had wrapped. The scene was thrown together and shot near the hills of Skywalker Ranch.
  9. It took six people to work the full-sized animatronic of Jabba the Hutt.
  10. This is the first Star Wars film to show a lights saber combat something other than another light saber. Luke on the Sail Barge fights guards with staffs and blasters. This perhaps a call back to the original movie where Luke wears a blaster helmet and tries to anticipate shots from the Remote on the Millennium Falcon. This shows the progress Luke has made as a Jedi Knight.
  11. Listen very carefully as Darth Vader picks up the Emperor and throws him down the Death Star shaft. This is the only time the Jedi theme music plays over a shot of Vader, reflecting his return to the light side of the Force.
  12. After appearing in this film, Wedge becomes the only X-wing pilot character (apart from Luke) who survives all three major battles in the films.
  13. The film was originally going to be called Revenge of the Jedi until Lucas decided that Jedi do not seek revenge. This was quite late in the production so there was a lot of promotional gear with the title already printed on it. 
This was just a taste of the vast amount of ROTJ trivia out there - if want more try this book, The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi by J. W. Rinzler.

Bonus fact - Alan Rickman auctioned for the role of Jer Jerrod. 

Bonus picture of the Death Star II being built:

building the death star

Do you want more Star Wars trivia? Check out these 101 intriguing facts about Star Wars

Feb 23, 2017

How 'Robby the Robot' from Forbidden Planet influenced Star Wars

Robby the Robot's influence on Star Wars

How Robby the Robot from Forbidden Planet influenced the development of C3PO 

We've covered many of the influences that films and novels have had over George Lucas but Kitbashed found a great one in the form of the classic movie Forbidden Planet. I particularly enjoyed discovering how the famous 'Robby the Robot' had an influence on the robot that became C3PO.

While we have previously discussed how Ralph McQuarrie's design for C3PO was inspired by the Maschinenmensch from Fritz Lang's famous film, Metropolis and that his comedy duo act with his foil R2D2 came from The Hidden Fortress, it's Robby the Robot that sets the tone of the golden rod.

Early C3PO design sketch
Early C3PO design sketch
How many times in the Star Wars movies does C3PO mention that he is a protocol droid that is capable of speaking some 6 gabillion languages? A thousand? Robbie the Robot did it first as he was being introduced to the human space travelers:

"If you do not speak English, I am at your disposal with 187 other languages, dialects and sub-tongues"

Kitbashed cleverly notes that this example means that Robby the Robot is effectively a proto-protocol droid. C3PO's introduction to Padme in The Phantom Menace shows how he is modeled on this concept "Hello, I am C-3PO, human cyborg relations "

Word on the street has it that George Lucas has stated that the lumbering robot was not a direct inspiration for C3PO. This is not wholly true. In the documentary about science fiction films of the 1950's, Look at the Sky! discussion is had with the directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas about Forbidden Planet.

Spielberg suggests that Lucas must have been inspired by Robby as he developed C3P0′s character. Lucas naturally suggested he was more influenced by Metropolis. That may be so for the 'look' of C3PO but Lucas totally stole the protocol droid idea whether he admits it or not!

There's a further reference to Robby in A New Hope. At a point in Forbidden Planet the character Alta tries several times to summon Robby with her remote control, he excuses his absence with having been busy taking an 'oil bath'.

What does C3PO do when he gets to Luke's moisture farm? He has an oil bath and he exclaims "Thank the maker! This oil bath is going to feel so good."

And as we know Darth Vader is C3PO's maker, the line is doubly clever.

Feb 22, 2017

Well well, what have we here? My predictions for The last Jedi. Some serious, most fanciful...

Here’s my plot predictions for The Last Jedi

These are just predictions and guesses of mine for Episode 8. Some serious,  most fanciful. They are made before anything leaks from the set so I’ll be interested to come back and see how they play out in 2017.

  • Rey’s staff will contain a lightsaber
  • Rey’s lightsaber will be double-bladed and blue
  • Poe will do bugger all but fly around looking pretty in his X-Wing
  • Leia will demonstrate some real force action. She will be er... Forced to make a terrible decision - save Rey or someone else...
  • The end of TFA made it clear Luke and Rey had made a connection. Luke has the 'oh damn, all my troubles have literally climbed up this hill to say 'allo guv' look. 
  • Luke must thus train Ray as the Force has demanded it. 
  • This training will mirror and echo the training that Luke recieved from Yoda. He will import everything he can into Rey but the lingering flaw that nags Luke will set Rey on the wrong path
  • Luke is probably Rey's father.
  • We'll learn what happened at the Jedi Academey. 
  • Kylo Ren will have matured into a bad ass.
  • He will go head to head with Luke and we'll see his green saber flash for the final time.
  • That's right, we think Luke might die, leaving Rey to be The Last Jedi.
  • General Hux will die but before that he will do something evil to one of our fan favourite characters.
  • Billie Lord will have a bigger part.
  • Benico Del Torro's character will die at the conclusion of the film.
  • There will not be a Darth Vader flashback.
  • Lando Calrissian will turn up.
  • We will learn of Snoke's broader motives.. like dur
  • Unkar Plutt will have some kind of revenge on Rey. Or he will completely turn around and help her. He will only have one arm....
  • We will learn about Finn's back story. He will not be the son of Lando. 
  • Rey will have Skywalker lineage. Possibly Shimi's sister had a daughter who had a daughter... 
  • The film will be dedicated to Carrie Fisher

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

treat williams star wars cameo

Treat Williams had a sweet cameo in ESB 

It turns out that actor Treat Williams made a cameo of sorts on Empire Strikes Back as an Echo 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? Here's 101 more bits of interesting facts.

Click the link if you want to see who else has done some cameos in Star Wars.

Jawas - They're gonna need a bigger barge


Jawas - that's a pretty good remake of the classic Jaws poster. They're gonna need a bigger barge though...

A brief design history of Darth Vader, Nazi inspiration and all.

Early concept of a young Starkiller dueling Vader

A brief history of the design of Darth Vader

Kylo Ren may be obsessed with Darth Vader but the rest of the world got there well before him.

It was in 1977 to be exact when Vader stepped into the Tantive IV and threw a few Rebels about.

As he did so, he stepped into movie infamy as one of the greatest villains ever.

We have a theory that one of the key reasons why that happened was the look of Vader.

He was like a caped black knight, spewing evil from that robotic face. Not to mentioning that terse, measured breathing that was utterly terrifying.

It was just sinister. Vader was a big deal, even before the most infamous reveal of his fathering Luke Skywalker.

Indeed Pierre Christin, a noted comic creator who had some influence over Star Wars, had this to say on why we love Vader, “A villain like Darth Vader is simply a cinematic flash of genius, destined to be a great film icon forever. The reason we fear him so much is because he partly reflects ourselves.”

So we love Vader because we fear him.

Got it, thanks French dude.

So what were the elements that went into the design of Darth Vader? Who came up with him and his look?

And the meaning of his name?

Read on, Star Wars fan, read on.

How did the concept of Vader come to being?

George Lucas is the father of Darth Vader.

When Lucas was throwing around ideas for his ‘Journal of the Whills’ concept he wrote down the name of ‘General Vader’ who he noted was an imperial commander.

The character was described as a “tall, grim looking general”. Lucas also wrote down ideas for 'Knights of the Sith', a character called 'Kane Starkiller' who was a cyborg.

Eventually Lucas fashioned the character as a 'Black Knight of the Sith' who served the 'Master of Sith'.

Initially Vader did not have his famous helmet. Lucas had suggested his face be obscured by a black silk scarf.

This was during 1975 at which time Lucas asked Ralph McQuarrie to turn this concept into a drawn character.

When McQuarrie learned that Vader (as it was then in the script) was to cross through the cold vacuum of space to enter Leia’s spaceship, he added the mask.

Obviously the reasons for Vader needing the mask were made more interesting later on.

McQuarrie delivered duly delivered some concept art:

Early Darth Vader concept designs
Early Darth Vader concept designs
A costume designer by the name of John Mollo was given these sketches and told to get to work. He was inspired by samurai influences (which would have pleased Lucas given his penchant for Akira Kurosawa movies) and Nazi uniform and armour that was used in the trench battles of World War I.

In keeping with this minor Nazi influence, Stormtroopers were named after specialist German soldiers from the same era.

Brian Muir made the actual helmet and mask, fashioning early sculptures out of clay. He did his sculpting over a plaster head of David Prowse.

Here’s a great interview with Muir explaining the process.

Fun fact: Vader’s armour was given the serial number E-3778Q-1M.

That voice

During filming, David Prowse did the actions and also voiced the character believing he would be doing the final recordings as well.

Lucas had other ideas and tried to hire the great film maker Orson Welles (speaking or Welles, check out our Theory About Director Krennic's name) with no success.

This was just as well for James Earl Jones got the gig and Vader’s final ingredient was found. Jones recorded his lines in 2 and half hours.

Jones also chose to not receive an on screen credit as he thought his role was too small.

This was eventually rectified when Star Wars become a global smash again with Empire Strikes Back.

That breathing

Ben Burtt invented the sound by recording him using a scuba breathing apparatus.

The microphone was placed in the regulator.

To get the sound just right, these recordings were played in empty rooms and re-recorded to get that ‘from the helmet’ sounding effect.

Who was that guy that played Vader in Jedi?

During ANH and TESB, David Prowse did the body work for the character. Bob Anderson did the heavy lifting. Come time for the finale of Jedi, there was a need to show Vader’s face.

It was the big reveal moment, father and son eyeballing each other for the first, and last time in their lives.

Veteran English actor Sebastian Shaw was hired. His scene was filmed in secret so as to hold off on the ‘surprise’ as long as possible.

It is Shaw who stands as a Force ghost with Yoda and Obi-Wan in the original form, replaced by Hayden Christiansen in the Special Edition.

Coming back to Kylo Ren for a moment – When Luke Skywalker ceremonially cremated his father's armour on the moon of Endor in Jedi, Vader’s helmet featured on the pyre.

In the real world specific prop was an old promotional mask that was used from the promotional touring that took place after the premiere of A New Hope.

In the movie realm, the mask and helmet that Kylo Ren is holding when he talks to his grandfather Vader in The Force Awakens has been retrieved from the pyre.

By whom?

We'll probably never find out.

Feb 21, 2017

Punch it!



Cameras are rolling on the adventure-filled past of the iconic scoundrel and everyone’s favorite Wookiee; principal photography on the untitled Han Solo Star Wars Story officially began February 20 at Pinewood Studios, London.
The movie will explore the duo’s adventures before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, including their early encounters with that other card-playing rogue from a galaxy far, far away, Lando Calrissian.
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are directors co-piloting the movie, with a cast that includes Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, Thandie Newton, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, with Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca.
“Watching such inspired people from all over the world, with such unique voices, come together for the sole purpose of making art, is nothing short of miraculous,” Lord and Miller said. “We can’t think of anything funny to say, because we just feel really moved, and really lucky.”
Written by Lawrence and Jon Kasdan, it will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Allison Shearmur, Simon Emanuel, and co-produced by Kiri Hart, Susan Towner, and Will Allegra. Lawrence Kasdan and Jason McGatlin will executive produce.
Crewing the ship will be some of the industry’s top talent, including Academy Award nominee for his work on Arrival, Bradford Young (Director of Photography), Chris Dickens (Editor), Dominic Tuohy (SFX Supervisor), Rob Bredow (VFX Supervisor) and Brad Allan (Action Designer).
They will be joining returning Star Wars veteran crew members Neal Scanlan (Creature & Droid FX Creative Supervisor), Neil Lamont (Production Designer), Dave Crossman and Glyn Dillon (Co-Costume Designers), Jamie Wilkinson (Prop Master), Lisa Tomblin (Hair), Amanda Knight (Make-Up) and Nina Gold (UK Casting Director).
The untitled Han Solo Star Wars Story is slated for release on May 25, 2018.

Feb 20, 2017

We need to talk about Darth Vader's eye brows

Yes, we absolutely need to have a quick chat about Darth Vader's eye brows.

Recall your last viewing of Return of the Jedi. 

Maybe you watched the Special Edition on DVD

Still with me? 

What colour were Darth Vader's eyebrows?

Can't recall? Or are you of the recollection that Darth had no eyebrows to speak of? And you would be correct. Darth Vader didn't have eyebrows in Jedi. 

Here's the proof:

Vader with no eyebrows in Return of the Jedi

Or is this fake news? 

No, not really just a minor change that George Lucas made to the film. See, the first cinematic release of Return of the Jedi actually had Vader featuring eyebrows. 'Face actor' Sebastian Shaw's eyebrows were on full display.

Like two little worms have a dance. 

Here's the proof:

Vader without eye brows in Return of Jedi

So why did this happen? What did George Lucas have Darth Vader's eyebrow's removed by the magic of CGI. 

Because of this moment in Revenge of the Sith. 

Annakin's eyebrowns burnt off

Did you notice anything? 

That's right, Vader's eyebrows and (general face) were burnt off after he caught on fire in the lava following Kenobi cutting him down. No way given those burns that Vader's eyes would have grown back. 

A minor change indeed but one of the better ones made!

15 cool facts and trivia about actress Carrie Fisher and a character she played called Princess Leia Organa

princess leia slave bikini long pose

15 cool facts and trivia about actress Carrie Fisher

Princess Leia is one of the quintessential Star Wars characters, one of the so called 'Big 3' characters. 

Every epic adventure needs a princess to be rescued and Leia was that damsel in distress.

Or was she?

Carrie Fisher was one of Hollywood’s more interesting creatures. 

Made a world wide star by Star Wars, her private life has maintained her legendary status amongst the fans, what with her coke addition and mental health challenges. And the marriage to Paul Simon, her affair with Harrison Ford, and of course her role in the classic movie, The Blues Brothers. 

So given Leia is Carrie and Carrie is Leia, here’s 15 facts and trivia about the actress and character.
  • Princess Leia never actually gets to 'meet' Obi Wan Kenobi. She sees him from afar when she's escaping the Death Star and Obi Wan is about to let Darth Vader kill him but that's it. Unless you count Obi Wan being present for her birth in Revenge of the Sith...
  • As Adele would say, rumour has it that Carrie Fisher had a massive drug problem during the filming of Return of the Jedi. Cocaine was apparently her powder of choice. Apparently. OK, there is no apparently, in Jedi you can see she wears and extra long finger nail which is just a perfect instrument to assist with the distribution of nose candy up the nose.
  • Carrie Fisher has spoken many times of her struggles with bipolar disorder. You wouldn't wish this on any anybody. Watch this interview she did with the great Steven Fry.
  • Princess Leia was subject to one of the most famous ad libs in cinema history - that being Han Solo's response to her declaration of love - "I know". Harrison Ford apparently made it up at Irvine Kershner's suggestion. Leia got to return the line in Jedi during the Battle of Endor. After Han Solo grabbed her breast....
  • According to Fisher in her novel, The Princess Diarist, she and Harrison Ford had a three month fling during the making of A New Hope.
  • Carrie Fisher appeared as nun in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. This movie was a weird Kevin Smith homage to Star Wars and featured an appearance by Fisher as a nun and Mark Hamill as a parody of himself. Carrie's cameo was the one that got the laughs...
  • A lot of people forget this but Fisher appeared in the classic movie When Harry met Sally. She was the 'friend' of Sally who ended up marrying Harry’s best friend.
  • Carrie Fisher wrote an actual bestselling novel Postcards from the Edge and screenplay for the film based on her writing. The book was about her drug addiction and her relationship with her mother. Fisher has managed to parlay her writing talent with a few turns at playing script doctor for a few Hollywood movies, most notable Dustin Hoffman's Outbreak. Her appearance in Scream 3 was apparently scripted by herself. Beauty and brains eh?
  • Speaking of mothers, Carrie Fisher's mother is actually a famous actress in her own right, Debbie Reynolds
  • Fisher was once married to one half of Simon and Garfunkel. It was Simon.
  • Fisher delivered some classic quotes:
    • Help me Obi-wan Kenobi, you're my only hope
    • Governor Tarkin, I should have expected to find you holding Vader’s leash. I recognized your foul stench when I was brought on board.
    • Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
    • Why, you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf herder. 
    • I'd just as soon kiss a wookie!
  • If you asked the average Star Wars fan what was Leia’s home world, they would be correct in answering the planet Alderraan and they could go to the head of the class. If you asked the most hard core fan, they might also quickly add that Leia and Luke were actually born at a medical facility on Polissa Massa – if you’ve seen Revenge of the Sith you might recall that is where Obi Wan Kenobi took the injured Padme for medical assistance.
  • Leia's character has her own musical theme titled "Princess Leia's Theme". It is represented by the musical leitmotif method which is famously used across the films. The piece was composed by John Williams and was used several times. It first appeared in A New Hope, heard when Princess Leia is captured by the evil Sith Lord, Darth Vader. Later, it surfaces as R2-D2 plays her holographic message to Obi-Wan Kenobi. The also theme plays when Kenobi is killed by Vader and it makes an appearance in the credits of the movie. It also is used in the two follow up movies and the Revenge of the Sith prequel when her adoptive father Bail Organa introduces her to her adoptive mother. 
  • Leia's golden metal bikini that she wore while strangling the slug Jabba the Hutt in Return of Jedi is perhaps one of the most famous bikini in the history of bikinis. Its iconic status in film history is perhaps only rivalled by Ursula Andress’s exit from the beach in James Bond’s Dr No. Many women (and the odd male!)  like to dress as Leia and attend conventions dressed in the bikini. Bless. Bless them all…
  • In a New Hope, Leia was kept captive on the Death Star in cell number 2187. This was a deliberate choice as 2187 is the year that the Lucas directed film THX 1138, was set. 
  • Leia says the last line of the movie Rogue One "What Is It They've Sent Us? Hope." It's a clever set up for the title of A New Hope and ties in thematically well. In saying this last line, that takes Leia's tally of saying the final line of a Star Wars movie to three - the other two being The Force Awakens and Return of the Jedi.
  • The Last Jedi was Carrie's last Star Wars movie, meaning Leia appeared in a total of seven Star Wars films (Remember the Revenge of the Sith appearance!).
And there you have it! 

Do you have any thing else to add? If so, leave a note in the comments. 

RIP Carrie.