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Tag Archive: Jeremy Bulloch


Troopers in the hall

Review by C.J. Bunce

Written and directed by Jon Spira and funded via Kickstarter, a documentary about the making of the original Star Wars is now available in the U.S. via Netflix after a release last year in the UK and limited-city U.S. theatrical release this summer.  Elstree 1976 is a time travel trip to visit some of the more obscure actors who portrayed characters and, except for Darth Vader actor Dave Prowse, would not make either the poster credits or, for some, even the movie’s end credits.

Yet each of the characters they portrayed became known by diehard Star Wars fans because of its historic success.  Spira’s documentary asserts 2 billion people on Earth have seen Star Wars–something like 25% of the planet’s population.  Perhaps even a fleeting image of an actor in such a universally acknowledged work justifies our fascination with even the most obscure bit player (see George Lucas’s Frames, reviewed here and here at borg.com, for instance).  Remember the Stormtrooper who uttered the line “These aren’t the droids we’re looking for… move along”?  What about Luke’s friends from the deleted Tatooine scenes?  Or one of the actors who claims to be the Stormtrooper who cracked his head on the door aboard the Death Star?

Elstree 1976 poster

Spira selected ten actors to be featured in his film.   Hundreds more could be seen in a similar documentary or documentaries made tomorrow.  But what fascinates is that just as Star Trek actors will tell you about how you never leave Star Trek once you play any part in the franchise, the same holds true for Star Wars.  The convention circuit has breathed new life into careers and new opportunities to make money.  Unlike many films about fans of big franchises, this documentary is quite respectful of the fans, not showing them as oddities.  Most of the actors interviewed are respectful and grateful to the fanbase, too.  The only downside is the uncomfortable politics of the convention circuit among these actors–a few see themselves as a higher status of guest and believe others should not be going to conventions, which sort of misses the point of conventions altogether.

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Wil Wheaton standing room only crowd at Planet Comicon 2013

In addition to great creators from outside the Midwest, like legendary writer/artist Howard Chaykin, artist Bill Sienkiewicz, and of course, Stan “The Man” Lee, the great thing about returning to a Con year after year is running into all our friends who write, sketch, or paint incredible works for a living.  Planet Comicon 2016 is no different.

Area creators at Planet Comicon this weekend with national success included Jason Aaron, who will have his own lines of fans getting his Star Wars series autographed, as well as artist Freddie Williams II, drawing sketches for fans and signing copies of his Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, and Disney artist Bryan Fyffe, selling his hand-framed, incredibly vibrant and diverse collection of prints.  Bryan also has a Con exclusive–his variant cover edition of the latest Lady Death series.

Make sure you get a copy of Issue #1 of the awesome new series Barrens from writer C.W. Cooke and artist Bryan Timmins–the debut of the series is this weekend.

Planet Comicon 2014

Authors Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore are scheduled to attend, along with trading card artists Nathen and Keven Reinke, and comic book creators Jai Nitz, Seth Peck, Phil Hester, and Greg Smallwood.

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Troopers in the hall

Written and directed by Jon Spira and funded via Kickstarter, a new documentary about the making of the original Star Wars is coming your way, and it’s not anything you will find in the special features of your twelve editions of the original trilogy in your home video collection.  Elstree 1976 is a time travel trip to visit some of the more obscure actors who portrayed characters who, except for one, would not make either the poster credits or, for some, even the movie’s end credits.

Yet each of the characters they portrayed became famous because of the historic success of Star Wars, and the fact that so many have seen the film so many times that every frame of the film has taken on its own life in the annals of sci-fi/fantasy cinema history.  Remember the stormtrooper who uttered the line “these aren’t the droids we’re looking for… move along”?  What about Luke’s friends from the deleted Tatooine scenes?

Elstree 1976 poster

Spira selected ten actors to be featured in his film.  The documentary includes interviews with actors who filmed scenes at Elstree Studios in England in 1976.  The most well-known are David Prowse (Darth Vader), Jeremy Bulloch (The Empire Strikes Back’s Boba Fett), and Garrick Hagon (Biggs Darklighter), whose scenes were cut by director George Lucas, only to be re-inserted into the Special Edition in the 1990s.

Comic Con with Boba Fett Jeremy Bulloch Bunce

Your Editor with Jeremy Bulloch and the character he made famous a long, long, time ago.

Other actors included are Paul Blake (Greedo), Anthony Forrest (Luke’s friend Fixer and the Jedi-tricked Sandtrooper), Laurie Goode (Stormtrooper and cantina patron Saurin), Derek Lyons (temple guard/medal bearer), Angus MacInnes (Gold Leader), Pam Rose (cantina patron Leesub Sirln) and John Chapman (X-Wing pilot Red 12).

Here’s the trailer for the documentary Elstree 1976:

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Every sci-fi fan, and most certainly everyone who claims to be a diehard Star Wars fan, knows what you mean when you speak of “Blue Harvest,” the code name that Lucasfilm used to cloak its production shooting and top-secret plot information for Return of the Jedi.  For years, hats and shirts with Blue Harvest patches, which not-so secretly were printed in a familiar Empire Strikes Back font, as well as production memos and call sheets (with the intentionally-crafted “worst title and subtitle for a real film ever” of Blue Harvest: Horror Beyond Imagination reference) have surfaced, but not until this week has the mother lode of Blue Harvest reference material been revealed to the public, for free even.

This week, everyone’s favorite prop supply house, The Prop Store, posted on their website 38 photos taken during the Spring of 1982 in Buttercup Valley in the Southern California desert.  They were taken by one uber-fan named Mike Davis and a small band of mercenaries dead set on sneaking up on a real, live Star Wars trilogy production shoot.  Unlike a lot of paparazzi photos for any number of films you’ll find across the Web, and unlike other productions, the Lucasfilm crew let Davis & Co. shoot photos and hang out so long as they stayed out of the way.  It’s a scene straight out of Fanboys, the film with Veronica Mars star Kristen Bell about a group of Star Wars fans trying to get into Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch to get a sneak peek at Star Wars: The Phantom Menace before it premiered.  If you’ve never heard of this indie film, it’s a must-see along with the recent fanboy-themed release, Paul.

If you’re a Star Wars fan like me, you’ll find that you can lose two hours easy checking out every corner of these photos.  Highlights include:

  • Boba Fett, more than you see in the actual movie
  • The first look of Mark Hamill as a Jedi Knight
  • Every angle you’ve never seen before of Jabba the Hutt’s sail barge
  • Every angle you’ve never seen before of the sand skiffs
  • Strange bikes that will be familiar to you, but not on Tatooine
  • The actors and stunt actors performing in the desert skiff scene
  • Carrie Fisher on the set where she wore her famous slave girl outfit
  • Kenny Baker outside of his R2-D2 unit

OK, if you haven’t just jumped ahead and checked out the link for yourself, get on with it!  I particularly think any cosplayer working on a Boba Fett uniform will appreciate the several angles of this best version of the Mandalorian armor.  Boba Fett is no doubt the best background character-turned-icon of all time and I can’t get enough of him, despite him getting killed off in such a lame way in Return of the Jedi.  If you ever get to meet the man in the suit, Jeremy Bulloch, he shares a lot of great stories.  Here he is at a Con back in 2005 with yours truly and a member of the 501st Legion:

Enough already!  Here’s the link to the exclusive photos hosted by The Prop Store.  Mega “props” and thanks to Mike Davis for letting The Prop Store share this great experience with us that Davis lucked into more than 30 years ago.  Check out The Prop Store website for great entertainment memorabilia and this link for past stories here about the company.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com