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Tag Archive: Kenny Baker


KCCC 2016 X-Wing pilot and Luke

Kansas City Comic Con 2016 kicked into high gear today at the Kansas City Convention center at Bartle Hall.  Probably the largest assemblages of writers and artists in the region, literally several hundred with tables on display, are coming back once again today to share their work with fans.  The big themes this year seemed to be 101 fun variants of Deadpool, Suicide Squad Harley Quinns walked every aisle with the classic version sadly absent, some great Wonder Woman cosplay creations, and Star Wars was alive and well.  I can’t wait to see what cosplay comes after Rogue One is released in December.  I’ve seen plenty of professionally crafted costumes of Rebel pilots but the above X-Wing fighter pilot from The Empire Strikes Back was the best I’ve seen, built by the cosplayer’s older brother.  Below are more photos with Star Wars cosplayers–come back tomorrow as we round out even more great cosplay we saw this year at the show.

On a personal note, I had a one-of-a-kind day today walking the floor as Luke Skywalker with his pal R2-D2, a fully-functional radio-controlled droid perfectly re-created by Chris Rice from the KC R2 builders group.  There was no doubt about the joy brought to Star Wars fans young and old as we walked the floor and stopped for photos.  It was among the most photos and hugs I’ve been apart of since cosplaying in Kansas City and a great feeling to spread around and share with others, from little kids wanting to hug R2 to adults wanting to share in a photo.  What a strange thing to get home and learn of Kenny Baker’s passing away at 81.  Elizabeth and I were lucky to meet him and his wife years ago.  What we all shared today at KCCC was a real tribute to Mr. Baker and the character he helped to create and the enduring legacy of Star Wars.

KCCC 2016 Castle Creations and Luke

With Padme, Leia, Mara Jade and Obi-Wan from Another Castle Creations.

KCCC 2016 Luke and Rey

Luke and Rey–are they related? We won’t find out until 2018. What a great Rey!

We also caught up with friends and met some celebrities…

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Labyrinth

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 1986 Jim Henson fantasy classic Labyrinth, Fathom Events has joined with Sony Pictures to bring the movie back to theaters for one night only.  And a new book about the film is on its way from Paula Block and Terry Erdmann and we have some preview pages below.  The fantasy-musical stars David Bowie and a young Jennifer Connelly.

Connelly plays Sarah, a 16-year-old who wishes her brother away, a wish granted by the Goblin King.  In fine fairy tale style, Sarah must rescue her brother before midnight strikes, or he, too, will become a goblin.

Labyrinth_ver2

The film was co-produced by The Jim Henson Company and Lucasfilm.  You’ll see the work of plenty of legendary muppet performers, including Dave Goelz.  You won’t see the work of several actors in make-up from the original Star Wars trilogy, including Warwick Davis, Kenny Baker, and Jack Purvis.

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StarWarsEpisodeVII copyright lucasfilm 2014

Does a picture tell a thousand words?

Lucasfilm released today the slate of the main cast for Star Wars: Episode VII and the above photo.  Writer/Director/Producer J.J Abrams (top center right) with (clockwise from right) Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Producer Bryan Burk, Lucasfilm President and Producer Kathleen Kennedy, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Andy Serkis, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver, and writer Lawrence Kasdan.  Defying the convention of not wearing the band shirt to the concert is our favorite gentle giant Peter Mayhew sporting a rebel-logo golf shirt.

The studio previously revealed the new film would take place 30 years after Return of the Jedi, but considering nearly the entire main cast for the original trilogy is in England’s Pinewood Studios for this cast read-through, the idea that they will be trivial to the story seems to be out the window.  And after a lot of eyeball-rolling from fans across the globe, this is starting to get a bit exciting.

Maybe we were looking at this wrong.  Disney let Marvel Studios make some good movies with The Avengers, Iron Man, and Captain America, right?  And J.J. Abrams made two Star Trek movies that could easily fit in the Star Wars universe.  Heck–they could have served as auditions for getting this directorial gig.  Lawrence Kasdan is one of the best moviemakers ever, with Silverado and The Empire Strikes Back in his portfolio.  You cannot say enough about John Williams, back yet again for another score.  And George Lucas was solely responsible for the prequel trilogy. ‘Nuff said there.  But we won’t let Disney off the hook until they prove that they won’t ruin the greatest franchise of all time.

Ming the Merciless Von Sydow

But more details were released.  Max Von Sydow, Emperor Ming from the 1980s Flash Gordon, will have a key role in the film.  Recall the original Flash Gordon serials inspired Lucas’s original vision.  Von Sydow is perfect for a role here–right up there with classic Star Wars veterans Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, and Christopher Lee.  The original R2-D2 actor will be back, too: Kenny Baker will return as the guy in the droid suit, joining Anthony Daniels as C-3PO.

It’s fanboy speculation time…

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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