September 03, 2004
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September 03, 2004
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
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
September 02, 2004
Council Scene Packs 3 & 4
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!