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Archived News
September 2004
Week 1

Friday September 03, 2004
Hasbro's New Site

Hasbro has a great new website that you need to see. It is very interactive using Macromedia Flash, with some really cool features. Be sure to go and see them if you haven't lately.

Posted by: Jedi Power

Friday September 03, 2004
Homing Beacon #118

The latest Homing Beacon has arrived, and today we get to talk about Shepperton Studios. From August 23 to September 3, Episode III Set Diarist Pablo Hidalgo is in Shepperton, UK, chronicling the 11 days of additional photography for Revenge of the Sith. Here is a classic-themed bonus entry, exclusive to the Homing Beacon. If you're not a Hyperspace member, you've missed in-depth coverage of Episode III since the very first day of principal photography, including a live webcam capturing images from the filming locations.

A casual stroll through Shepperton Studios reveals its deep roots in the history of cinema. Structures on the lot such as the Orson Welles Building, the David Lean Building and the Korda Theatre give hints to its storied past. Here, Lean shot some of Lawrence of Arabia, Stanley Kubrick shot parts of 2001 and Dr. Strangelove, John Huston shot some of The African Queen. And here, George Lucas is shooting Star Wars ...again.

In May of 1976, Shepperton became the Fourth Moon of Yavin for three days of studio shooting. Though Elstree formed the bulk of the studio shoot for the original A New Hope, the production trekked to Stage H in Shepperton Studios to find the space needed for the Rebel outpost.

"Stage H at the time was the biggest stage in England," recalls Lucas. "They didn't have the Bond stage here yet. I built a bigger one later in Elstree for Empire, but that's all we had back then."

On Friday, May 14, 1976 -- a little more than a year before the movie would come out -- Star Wars came to Shepperton. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels and Peter Mayhew were the principal cast members there for the medal ceremony in the Massassi throne room. Joining them were supporting cast members Alex McCrindle (General Dodonna), Angus McInnis (Gold Leader) and Colin Higgins (who appears to have played Wedge in the Rebel briefing scene, though the report lists no character name).

I figured Colin Higgins may be a common name around here, but I had to ask George: "Is this the same Colin Higgins who wrote Harold and Maude?"

"No, that wasn't him," George laughs. I've brought copies of the Daily Production Progress Reports from those three days of shooting along with me to the re-shoots, to see if they jog any classic Star Wars memories.

An eye-catching detail is the length of the workday. The current Episode III pick-up schedule has days starting at 7:30 am and wrapping at 7:00 pm. In 1976, it's a different story. On May 14, it's 8:30 to 5:40. On Tuesday, May 18, it's 8:30 to 7:35. On Wednesday, it's 8:30 to 5:30. Furthermore, on Episode III, the first set-up is typically completed within a half-hour of the day's start. For Episode IV, these three days have set-up times of an hour, an hour and a half, and two hours, fifteen minutes.

How things have changed. "This was the crowd breakdown then?" asks Ewan McGregor, who also examines the progress reports. He looks at what the extras got paid for the Massassi war room sequence. "Seventy-eight [extras] at 12.38p, two at 10.00p..."

"Those were the days," chuckles George. "In those days, you could get a really good dinner for 10!"

Ewan, who has spent so much time preparing for the fateful duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin, took special interest at the May 18, 1976 report. "Look at this: 'As per Call Sheet, a rehearsal of the Sword Fight between Sir Alec Guinness and Dave Prowse was held, but the venue was EMI Studios this morning, under the supervision of Stunt Arranger Peter Diamond,'" he quotes. "These are amazing."

Anthony Daniels, who was present at the '76 Shepperton shoot, recalls that it was George Lucas' birthday during the first day. He also recalls the assistant director giving him an important piece of advice on an extras-heavy day. "He told me to have lunch a little early. I said I could wait for everyone else, to which he responded: 'have you ever seen a crowd of extras rush for lunch?'"

Posted by: Jedi Power

Thursday September 02, 2004
Jedi Council Scene Packs 3 & 4

Hasbro has more Jedi Council Scene Packs on the way. You can connect to other Jedi Council Scene Packs to complete the entire Jedi High Council Chamber. Scene 1 includes Yoda, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Ki-Adi-Mundi; Scene 2 includes Obi-Wan Kenobi, Plo Koon, and Eeth Koth. Scene 3 includes Adi Gallia, Anakin Skywalker and Saesee Tiin; and Scene 4 includes Staas Ali, Agen Kolar and Shaak Ti. These Jedi Council Scene Packs can only be found at your local Toys R Us this fall. Be sure to click here to see these new Jedi Council Scene Packs!

Posted by: Jedi Power