Friday, 15 December 2017


The two-year wait is over for US fans. Enjoy The Last Jedi!

Movie preview:

Interviews various:

Hamill interviews:

Ridley interview:

Driver interview:

Domnhall and Serkis:

Johnson interview:

Johnson, Isaac and Dern interview:

Christie and Daniels on Alan Carr chat show:

Marie Tran talks:

Cast talk deleted scenes:

UK Graham Norton show preview:


Lucasfilm press interview soundbite clips with the cast of The Last Jedi:


Based at the Marine World Africa Zoo in California, the adaptable Mardji the Elephant gets a makeover she surely never expected, costume decorated to become a horned Bantha creature for Sandpeople-related extra scenes needed for post production insertion in the original Star Wars- circa January 1977, filmed at Death Valley, and a small unit by George Lucas.

As Mardji appeared in the film- a still linked to the film's international release.

Thursday, 14 December 2017


The Dark Side poster for the now-showing-in-the-UK The Last Jedi.

The two-year wait is over for UK fans- enjoy The Last Jedi!

Latest TV spots:


UK cast press conference:

Featurette on EPISODE VIII:

Behind the scenes:

BB-8 US TV ad:

Hamill on Colbert:

Hamill interviews:

The Porgs become the cover stars of the EMPIRE magazine subscriber's cover.

Cast go Unscripted

Cast interview:

Daisy Riley UK interviews:

Meet Rose/Kelly Marie Tran:

Adam Driver interviews:

Hugh Fleming art for a US fan screening of the movie.

Cast talks to Wired

Domnhall Gleeson and Andy Serkis BBC interview:

Cast interviews for HMV:

Cast talks for MTV:

Movie and Carrie Fisher remembered:


Stuart Freeborn at work on one of the Chewbacca face masks for the Classic Trilogy.

Already an industry legend with regards to make-ups and make-up techniques on the likes of Stanley Kubrick films' Dr. Strangelove and 2001: A Space Odyssey, British talent Stuart Freeborn was the go-to guy for George Lucas once his base of operations for filming the original Star Wars had been set up in the UK. The first creature to get Freeborn's attention was the soon-doomed thug Greedo, re-worked from and based on a previous alien design that Lucas had seen and been impressed by in his London workshop. Then came the beloved wookiee costume for Chewbacca that had to be specifically created using yak hair and via the same special techniques so effectively showcased in the late sixties with the ape-men for 2001. Illness forced Freeborn to abandon work on several never competed Cantina aliens by May 1976, with Rick Baker's US creature make-ups team eventually filling in the gaps with 1977 additional shooting.

A colourized image of some of Freeborn's Mos Eisley aliens at Elstree - May 1976.

Freeborn and Peter Mayhew at Shepperton Studios- mid-May 1976.

A funny, dedicated, much-loved and much-missed inspirational creative genius, Stuart Freeborn, his wife Kay, son Graham, and the rest of his dedicated make-up team would return for the following two Classic Trilogy adventures and even bigger, ambitious creations.

As part of their special Star Wars themed evening on Thursday 21st December, 2017, the UK's BBC 4 have a special documentary showcasing the best of British talent to have worked on the saga over forty years: The Galaxy Britain Built. We're hoping that the more than qualified Freeborn family will be amongst those greats showcased...


He's back to terrorise the galaxy and its freedom fighting heroes anew with the latest and final season of the DISNEY XD Star Wars Rebels series. But let's find out more about this mysterious, unique alien strategist Grand Admiral who's in loyal service of the Empire, as his acclaimed creator in author Timothy Zahn brings us a masterly and efficient backstory like no other- Thrawn, now arriving in UK paperback from Arrow Books.

From his suspicious but inventive origins - seemingly 'discovered' by an Imperial squad in the mysterious Outland Regions - to his swift ascendancy, if rubbing his superiors and xenophobic elitist human colleagues up the wrong way at the Imperial Academy, during his early days 'discovering' both how the Galactic Empire works and the ways it can be used to his subtle benefit, soon sweeping his intimidating presence over officers primarily in their positions of powers via means of existing political/family dynasties, rather than showing any of the superior talents indeed possessed by Thrawn. Swiftly promoted for those 'talents' and his abilities as a tactician for combat and war strategies, the blue-skinned alien is recognised by the feared Emperor himself for his knowledge and his usefulness in a sector of space not yet explored and potentially dangerous to the stability of his realms of influence and control.

Yet such a being like Thrawn can' t survive, nor thrive, these early days without a friend, a guide and and ultimately, often, a decoy to be used in a friendly way as he rises the ranks. And that human/alien is Eli Vanto, at first an unwilling and wary translator to Thrawn, essentially one of the key people involved in his 'discovery', seemingly becoming a friend and confidante and recognizing faster than others the Chizz's true abilities. Or was it all a case of Thrawn letting him know his talents as and when needed? Is Vanto simply yet another tool, a pawn in Thraen's unique life goals- his masterplan?

At first feeling wasted in his new role alongside Thrawn, after years of limited career advancement seemingly stalled by the upper echelons, Vanto travels alongside Thrawn's personal journey to Star Destroyer officer and commander, as the book's second half deals with the Imperial hunt for elusive and smart smuggler insurgent known as Nightswan, soon proving himself a resourceful and equally matched opponent. Thrawn knows that if Nightswan can be found and his pirates eliminated, the final path to power in the Imperial Navy will be assured...

With the original twenty year Expanded Universe of comic/book fiction gone and reshaped from The Force Awakens onwards, author and Thrawn creator Timothy Zahn has to stay away from the tales and history previously concocted linking into what was is now an alternate sequel history post -ROTJ, as well as prior connections from the Prequels. Thankfully, though, the new Lucas books empire does at least respectfully allow him to recognise certain elements of Thrawn's once future background and especially a one-off past encounter with Anakin Skywalker, as seen in the memorable Outbound Flight - a scenario that will surely be crucial for his eventual meeting with Darth Vader in this book's upcoming 2018 sequel.

Governor Tarkin, the Emperor and now ISB Security Chief Admiral Yularen (the latter from The Clone Wars animated series originally and transplanted into Rebels) make effective appearances in Thrwan at strategically placed moments linked to the Thrawn's personal journey. The build-up to the Rebels timeline of which Zahn's plot and lead character now travels in ultimately proves well handled. Plus, there's mention of that mysterious top secret Imperial construction project underway, out in the deepest reaches of space, soon catching Thrawn's quiet attention...

Above them all, though, and obviously the star of the title, Thrawn, by hyperspace miles, remains one of the best non-Lucas created characters ever conceived for the STAR WARS universe, and this book effectively reminds us why this is so, and how blessed the fiction universe of Lucas Books is to have such a talented writer in Zahn still with them, always delivering solid books and page-turning adventures. The genesis of the character is fascinating and intriguing, especially in the aforementioned second half of the book, what with his command of the Expanded Universe Imperial cruiser Chimera, as well as showing us the original officers under his command, of which the inclusion of more female officers in the Empire and its vast Imperial navy is most noticeable here than ever, in sync with Kathleen Kennedy's plan to put more female roles into the saga in all its facets.

A key female player alongside Thrawn in the Rebels TV series, the soon-to-be Governor Pryce's origins are also revealed concurrently to Thrawn's and eventually converging, revealing her steady turn to the dark side over the years by revealing her mining world home of Lothal and the mining company her family once owned soon taken control of by a greedy and duplicitous Imperial officer and a corrupt senator, all of whom sow the seeds for her own entrance into the Empire and setting about her plans of revenge on them, and in taking control of Lothal, and its desperately needed minerals, for herself. I have to say that I personally would have preferred to have read the entire book just abut Thrawn, as Pryce's character, though fleshed out in a workman-like way beyond the boo-hiss cypher she is on television, ultimately proves less interesting and distracting.

AFICIONADO RATING: Thrawn fans and Rebels fans in particular will find this well worth the wait if they don't already have it in hardback. A book that carefully peels back the layers of the Chiss warrior, yet teasing us that there is still so much more to come with him... 4 out of 5

Get hold of the best-selling Thrawn, out now in paperback, here:

Wednesday, 13 December 2017


Image: 'The Dark Side Wizard'

STAR WARS AFICIONADO Editor Scott Weller, forty years a fan (and now starting to feel like some kind of bizarre 'Legacy' character himself), was proud to attend last night's hugely enjoyable, glitz and glamour-packed, truly magical Royal European Premiere of The Last Jedi at London's red-light soaked Royal Albert Hall, of which pretty much the entire main cast were present to launch the film and meet the Royal brothers (who also make cameos as Stormtroopers in a key movie scene). It was particularly special seeing Mark Hamill at the red carpet, once again, and, more deservedly than ever, firmly back in the limelight for this movie. Believe me, his performance in The Last Jedi is superb- a true cinematic career best so far.

A detailed review for the film and a celebration of key scenes will follow on this site by Christmas. But some early thoughts... George Lucas's presence and genuine creative inspirations remains much-missed by this reviewer, but Rian Johnson proves himself a worthy successor to the work done by J.J. Abrams on The Force Awakens. Though it possesses a slightly sluggish and unevenly structured middle act, The Last Jedi ultimately triumphs thanks to its bigger-than-ever spectacular action and very emotional ring-true character moments (light and dark side) that will prove unforgettable to fans, especially relating to Luke and Leia. Carrie Fisher's final onscreen work is genuinely affecting.


Early spoiler-ish-free reviews:

The closest to AFICIONADO's views on the film:

Other reviews:

Alternate Mail review:


Daisy and Mark launch The Last Jedi.

America gave it its World Premiere, and now it's time for the UK to launch The Last Jedi into Europe with even greater flair, as well as closing the saga's Fortieth Anniversary celebrations on a satisfying high.


Meeting the Royals:

Web coverage:

Daisy Ridley sparkles.

John Boyega gives it his all!

The Princes are reunited with BB-8.

It may be cold weather, but Kelly Marie Tran is warmly supported by fans.

Joonas Suotamo is a worthy new Chewbacca for the saga.

Gwendoline Christie with her chaps!

Laura Dern remains delightfully quirky as ever!

Oscar Isaac lights the Resistance fire in the new film.

Getting a well deserved 'hiss-boo!' for his character on the Royal Albert Hall stage: Adam Driver.

The man, the myth, the all-round great guy: Mark Hamill.

Prince Harry gets his Stormtrooper helmet!


He knew he had a great role that he'd make the most of, in a film that may have looked strange, nay bizarre, to work on but which he also knew had a story so attractively primal and recognisable that it would be successful.What Harrison Ford didn't reckon on, however, was just so how successful the original Star Wars would be- launching him on to an incredible and acclaimed box-office smash career and life-changing adventure from 1977 onwards, and the birth of a cinematic legend with his portrayal of space-smuggler Han Solo...

Tuesday, 12 December 2017


Watched  by Artoo Detoo, our lovable first mate Chewbacca scrambles into what looks like a previously unseen area of the Millennium Falcon, no doubt for a highly charged action-related scene from The Last Jedi.