2:00 pm CST

Brad Jensen sent the following:

On the local news in my area (KPIX San Francisco) there was a story about Lucasfilm and a couple other companies interested in purchasing some of the Presidio, the now former military base in San Francisco. The plan to privatize the Presidio has been thrown around for the past couple of years. The segment stated that Lucasfilm was interested in building a facility (or facilities. It wasn't made clear) on 23 acres of land for Special effect and animation work. The broadcast was last night (1/6). Interestingly enough, none of the other news shows in the Bay Area ran the story.


9:15 pm PST

A certain Hollywood film score composer (we won't say who, but we have confirmed his identity) has written us in response to our news update below. One of his friends in the industry has actually seen some of Williams' new music for The Phantom Menace. Here's his report:

"[My friend has] held in his hands pages to the new score for Star Wars Episode 1. He did not tell me how much of the score was written in terms of minutes or hours, but he did say that it was for a big orchestra (eight french horns, for example) and had lots of exotic percussion [reminiscent of the Sandpeople theme in ANH? --Ed.] He also said the music was very busy. He told me nothing about it's thematic content, so I have no idea which themes we will hear."

It also might be interesting to note the choice of music for the Episode 1 teaser trailer, which starts out with Ben's theme (played by harp and french horns) before breaking into the famous Star Wars theme.


4:00 pm PST

Steve, a reader of ours, brought to our attention a post at the messageboards of Film Score Monthly, which is supposedly by a member of the Boston Pops orchestra (of which John Williams is a former conductor).

This person states that John Williams has just conducted a performance at Pops, and mentions a few details about the Episode 1 score. Supposedly, Williams has scored about one hour of the movie, and the score contains a fair amount of new material, but familiar themes from the previous Star Wars films appear as well.

Again, we haven't confirmed this with any other sources. Hopefully, we'll have more soon.

12/06/98: NEW INSIDER

3:00 pm CST

Freddy724 got his latest Insider yesterday:

Just wanted to let you know I received the new Star Wars Insider today (Issue 41). Ewan McGregor is on the cover in Obi-Wan garb with lightsaber blazing. I'm working on scanning the stuff in at school and sending it in.

The Prequel Update section with Rick McCallum pretty much talks about the title announcement. Rick says that "The Phantom Menace" will definately be the title. He says that George is finishing up the editing of the film's final cut. The Update says that John Williams will start working on the score in October and will record it in February. He stated that the final cut of the movie will be about 2 hours and 15 minutes.

He said that George's son Jett helped to name Jar Jar. He says that the Episode I game that LucasArts is working on looks great. He says that it's cutting edge work. Finally the last thing of importance that Rick said was that George is currently working on Episode II's script. He (Rick) expects to have it by January so that Chiang can get the conceptual work started.


12:30 pm PST

The Bothan Spy sent us some pictures comparing pictures of various sets at Leavesden Studios to the corresponding shots in the trailer. Many of these set pictures have been seen before, but now it's easier to see what they were used for.

Anakin's Pod
Gungan Submarine Set (Ext.)
Gungan Submarine Set (Int.)
Watto's Private Box


12:41 pm CST

AICN is reporting that Rick McCallum told them that the trailer is done and will be out on November 20th with around 20,000 copies going out. Add it to the rumor pile.

In The Hollywood Reporter's coverage of the Australian press conference, when asked about the director for Episode II and III, Lucas relied, "I don't know for sure, but I probably will." (Indy fans should note that Lucas says the script for Indy 4 is done and that timing will depend on the schedules of Speilberg and Ford.)

According to the Toronto Sun, Hasbro paid $600 million for the rights to action figures and related toys for Episode 1. That's quite a bit considering the film itself cost only $120 million.


2:33 am CST

Australian reader Carl Braga sent us video captures from two Australian news reports on the Lucas press release. We've compressed them and placed them available for download in our multimedia video section. The clips reveal a few shots of the exterior and interior of "Studio 2" that will be used. One reporter pinpoints October 1999 as the start of production of Episode II with release in 2002. Work on Episode III would start a year later. The budget for each film is quoted at $120 million U.S.

It is quite interesting to see the Australian perspective on the announcement: excitement mixed with caution about the real number of jobs created and the possible effect of a Hollywood invation of the Aussie film industry. McCallum assures the crowd that, "Our plan is to use as many Australian crew members as possible."

Lucas explains, "We're really going to some place where there's good talent. And that's the primary reason I'm here." He later adds, "I've got digital characters that actually walk and talk with live action characters and do a performance." Perhaps the most enojyable clip is Lucas' empathy with the cost the new films will bring to parents. "I have a five year old son, who's just been introduced to Star Wars and he's a fanatic now. And wanting me to buy all of the toys and everything, so... I'm beginning to see what most people have been going through."


8:00 pm EST

It's true folks. The Official Star Wars Web Site has just confirmed that Episode's II & III will be filmed at Fox Studios Australia.  Title conspiracy hounds should note the use of the title "The Phantom Menace" towards the end of the news release. 


12:30 pm PST

Reader Rohan Thompson sent us an article from The Australian stating that "Star Wars director George Lucas and Fox Studios Australia chief executive Kim Williams will release production details of the next two Star Wars movies at the Sydney film studios today."

We contacted News Corporation in Australia and were able to confirm the press conference. It is being held at 11:00 am Sydney time (4:00 pm PST). The buzz is that Lucas may announce Australia as a filming location for the next two prequels. We'll be reporting details from the press conference as soon as they become available.


8:30 pm EST

You may remember a rumor from several months back that a small amount of Episode I filming took place at England's Pinewood Studios. We've received a report that seems to corroborate this. The scenes that were reportedly shot at Pinewood involve the underwater or water related sequences in the film. Apparently a large tank at Pinewood was filled with water and a Gungan Submarine. Cool stuff!


3:46 PM EST

We checked in with long time informant Mode today. As long time readers recall, he told us about a year ago that the Naboo fighters were called Z-1 fighters. Considering they ended up being officially called N-1 fighters, he seems to be pretty accurate! So take that into consideration when reading the following report from him...

There has been a ton of progress made in the F/X shots. They appear to be right on schedule. Do you remember several months ago when I told you that the movie would be very colourful? Apparently, there are some really flashy, vivid images being produced right now. Lots of bright red and yellow....especially in scenes to do with Naboo. Also, Steven Spielberg toured the ILM facilities with Lucas himself two weeks ago. Lucas has been bringing in a lot of his industry buddies lately to give them a look at the film. I do know that David Fincher and Paul Anderson (who directed 'Event Horizon') have been given tours. Maybe Lucas is scouting directors for Episode 2?


1:13 PM EST

A long-time contact has let us know that John Williams will be seeing Episode I for the first time on Monday (Oct 12) and will then set into motion scoring it.


4:45 PM CST

A contact wrote in to reconfirm that work on Episode I is progressing fully on-schedule. Right now, John Williams is working with rough footage of the movie to complete his musical score. Production at ILM continues and they expect all the main effects to be ready late September or early October.

Even though Episode II is far from being made, casting is under way and is progressing. There is no news on main casting at this point.


7:30 PM PDT

Australian reader Shane O'Connor sent in this tidbit:

Just a miniscule snippet from the E! News program seen here on the Australian Network 10, tonight, Wednesday 23 September.

There was a fluff-piece regarding how Liam Neeson & Ewan McGregor have been fending off the continued questions from reporters. The wrap-up quote was to the effect that "George Lucas is still interested" in filming the second episode here in Australia. "Still" interested? We here in Oz can only hope.


7:30 PM PDT

Scissorhands found this news item on the Back to the Future website that made me smile:

"I have a friend who was working as a carpenter last year on early set building for the new Star Wars prequels at the Leavesdon Studios in England, and he told me he saw three complete DeLoreans in storage there. He INSISTS they were fibre glass, full-size models with only limited interiors. One was painted up in Jungle camoflage. I suggested he may have been mistaken and they were Star Wars vehicles, but he again insisted they were not." [scooped by 'Kevlaw']

This one's quite interesting, to say the least. We can't figure out what George Lucas would be doing with three full-scale model DeLorean time machines, especially considering that they were seen at the Leavesdon Studios in England. Perhaps Marty McFly's "Darth Vader" impersonation somehow gets worked into the prequels.

As long as they don't have Anakin Skywalker coming from the planet Vulcan, I'm fine with it. :)


8:00 PM EST

Our buddy Garth Franklin over at Dark Horizons is reporting that the Hollywood Reporter has run a story on Lucas considering the use of Fox Studios Australia in Sydney. Those of you that have been following prequel news closely will recall that this is something we've been kicking around for some time. Aussie readers be on alert as Lucas is apparently planning an "inspection tour" of the facility during a trip to Sydney this November. Credit goes to Garth's source 'LZ'.


We got this report from Javier Fernandez from Spain.

Two weeks ago I had the privilege to meet Irvin Kershner while he was attending a lecture about the art of movie making at Ronda (Spain). During a break I had the chance to speak with him about the prequels. He told me that he visited the sets at Leavesden last year. He said that Lucas shot the prequel movie in a very different way from the time they shot ESB (Lucas told him that he considers this new movie as an experiment). When I asked him if he would direct any of the other two movies he said (laughing) NO, because one Star Wars movie is enough for anybody (he spent most of the lecture talking about the tons of difficulties they had to face on ESB).


4:07 PM EDT

We received reports that ILM is renting Hanger 39 at Alameda Naval Air Station in San Francisco. Why, you ask? No, they are not looking for nooklear wessels. They want to film cool explosions! Whether or not this is for Episode 1 has not been determined (it could just as easily be for another movie), but ILM has filmed there in the past.


10:35 am EST

Bothan Spy checked in this morning with yet another news flash from set of Episode I. Again, please highlight the text below to read it, as it contains spoiler material!

What were probably the last scenes of Star Wars: Episode I ever to be filmed, were filmed today in Whippendell Woods! This last scene was a tree top shot of our heroes approaching the entrance to the hidden city of the Gungans, Ottow Gunga, lead by Jar Jar. This is reportedly a short time after he meets Obi-Wan for the first time.

Here's a quick rundown of some shots filmed this week that haven't been mentioned thus far:

1. Padme talking to Watto on the streets of Mos Espa.

2. Obi-Wan ducking out of the way of Jar Jar's ear in the swamp sequence, after he attempts to greet him with a smootch. Note: Greeting with a kiss is possibly a Gungan custom. This would easily explain the origins of this seemingly odd comic moment.

3. Anakin's dialogue in his fighter during the battle at the Palace Hangar.

4. Qui-Gon meeting Shmi and Anakin for the first time. Qui-Gon seems surprised that 'mere slaves' are talking to him. This scene is key to the future of the Star Wars universe.

6. Padme's Quarters - Anakin coming in to say goodbye.

As for the Battle Droid sketch that was posted it's very similar to the final version. The only difference is that the extensions on the back of the head are longer and expect to see two round eyes with a slit in the middle (horizontally) instead of the visor effect you see in the sketch.


1:30 am PDT

Reader Grant Johnson sent in this bit:

I went to Orange County this weekend to visit an old friend of mine. He took me to a store that sold some Star Wars and Star Trek stuff, and I saw an ad that Kenny Baker was going to be there for a few hours that Sunday. So I stopped over there and asked him a few questions, and got his autograph.

He said that he'd been working on the prequels, which is pretty much common knowledge. And of course, if he knows the title (I don't think he does) he wouldn't say so. But I did get this little tidbit--I asked him if he was working on any other projects, and all he said was that he was going back for Episode 2 next year. Looks to me like Lucas is not wasting any time getting started on the next movie. I hope you guys can use this--I thought it was interesting, but you seem to be a lot better informed than I am.


4:42 pm EST

The infamous Bothan Spy wrote today with an update detailing this final week of Episode I pick-ups. Feast your prequel hungry eyes on this! As always highlight the text below to read what might be considered spoiler material.

A bit of filming occurred at the outdoor set of the Palace Courtyard. Although much of this set has been disassembled (the entire right side and back wall) a small area of the floor, and the archway remain. Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor participated in a take here. This take was reportedly for a rescue scene involving the Gungans. The Gungans will of course be CG and composited into the sequence later. Queen Padme was mysteriously absent from this scene.

The set for Anakin's House on Tatooine has been moved into another building at the Leavesden complex. A patio has been built on to it for the filming of scenes where folks come in and out.

Ms. Portman, Jake Lloyd, Hugh Quarshie, and around 20 supporting artists were also in. Many of these shots were filmed against a bluescreen! Much of this week's work consists of bluescreen shooting. Contrary to one of your previous reports, the sets are NOT being reconstructed and the action filmed this week will be composited into old footage taken before the Naboo Hangar, and Queen's Ship were disassembled.

There was some filming in the Queen's quarters, which is a relatively new set. This set is a very luxurious set, and is my favorite so far! It's covered with red velvet and such. It has many different styles and designs that appear to be inspired by cultures from around our globe. There are statues scattered around and huge mirrors decorate the walls. There is a massive sculpture of a nude woman in her room as well, which I found especially intriguing. Filming in a room full of mirrors is very difficult, as one can almost always see the camera.

Thanks Bothan! A very interesting report! We hope to post further updates as shooting continues!


5:42 am EST - Update 2:00 pm EST

Our new contact, "The Lonely Little Gungan", reported back in today with some more up to the minute news from Leavesden Studio, where final pick-ups for Episode I are underway.

The atmosphere around the studio is being described as extremely hectic. The work load has been tremendous for everyone involved. Because if this, some of the Wednesday shooting (previously reported to be the busiest day) has reportedly been moved to Thursday. However, some of the scheduled reshoots may have been scrapped and the decision made to go with previously shot footage. Friday's schedule will consist mostly of blue screen work. Watch this space for further updates!


2:00 pm EST

Well folks, this week is the final week of "pick-ups" at Leavesden Studios! We've heard from a new source calling himself, "The Lonely Little Gungan". Apparently, everyday this week will be very busy, but Wednesday will be the day with the most activity. Sadly, most of the sets have been dismantled. There is nothing left in the main stage area. The Naboo Fighters are now on the floor with their wings removed. All that remains is a section of the Palace Courtyard (the outdoor set), Anakin's House, and another mysterious set that the source "couldn't talk about". We're guessing it could be the (highlight to reveal spoilers) "Palace Generator Room" where some key climatic scenes, that have yet to be shot, reportedly take place . Stay tuned to TFN for further reports, as Episode I shooting comes to a close!

In a related note, Jason Godwin (and others) let us know that the Scottish Sun (a major Scottish Newspaper) is reporting that...

Ewan McGregor is one of the actors who have been asked by George Lucas to return to the studio today (10th August) for the reshooting of scenes that "The director is unhappy with"... the original sets at the studio were destroyed so they will have to be rebuilt... An insider said last night, 'George is a perfectionist, Star Wars is his entire life, so he makes sure he gets it right. If he's not happy with the result, for whatever reason, he will do it again regardless of the cost'


3:00 pm EST

The official site news confirms that one last round of reshoots are underway to fill in additional shot or angles needed for the film. The new shots will fill in for animatics and drawings used as placeholders as Lucas and Smith edited the film. McCallum has scheduled one week for these pick-ups.

Also announced is that Episode I will officially hit theaters in the United States and Canada on May 21st, 1999. Fox will place the film on the industry release schedule on Monday. Almost more interesting is the stated release strategy of quality theatres versus quantity. It looks like it might be just that much harder for all of us to see the film opening day.

Check out the full stories here.


4:00 pm PST

Finally, someone called Lucasfilm about the fuzzy footage rumor instead of writing the report without checking the news out as they should have learned in journalism school. Hunter sent us the following report from a radio show. The radio program was The Kevin & Bean Morning Show on KROQ 106.7fm.:

A local Los Angeles radio station (KROQfm) contacted Lucasfilm to ask about the "fuzzy footage" rumor that has be going around. The contact at LF called herself Karen, and this is basically what she had to say. The rumor is "absolutely not true" she claims to have sat in on a meeting with GL and personally asked him about it. Mr. Lucas called it a "viscous rumor" most likely based on the production cost exceeding what he had mentioned in an earlier interview. Apparently Lucas' take on the rumor is, let them talk about it, in the least it gets word out about the film. She also said Lucas actually likes the rumors, but she didn't give a reason. Probably because it diverts attention from actual facts about the film.

Other interesting points she mentioned were that, aside from the effects work, Episode 1 is finished, and Lucas has started writing Episode 2. She claims all filming for Ep. 1 is done, no mention of pick-ups though. She says she has seen posters and clips from the film that are awesome, some with completed special effects (trailer bait?). She also described the "bad guy" as having horns and red eyes... Darth Maul?

Some of this stuff sounded new to me so I thought I would drop you a line. If nothing else, I hope it at least backs up some of the other reports you've heard about the film. In any event, keep up the good work!


5:00 pm PST

We have more pictures from the Insider. Roderick Vonhogen did us a huge favor and took our scan of the Naboo Fighter painting and removed the crease. It looks great! Also in the issue were these pictures. In the article about Doug Chiang, there were numerous pictures from his personal collection mixed in with Epsiode 1 art. They did a pretty good job saying which is which, but there are a few that weren't clear, such as the ship, the "spaceport", the puffer, the guard, and the work robot. Are these from the prequel or his personal collection? We'll find out soon enough. Anyway, here are the pics:

Doug Chiang on Mos Espa set, Leavesden
Doug Chiang personal painting
Doug Chiang Guard
Doug Chiang Puffer

These are all excellent shots from the Insider. Definitely worth getting a subscription.


11:30 pm MST

For those who have managed to watch the official site's Lynn's Diary #2, today's Entertainment Tonight story revealed nothing. In fact, it revealed close to nothing for anyone showing just a few of the sketches for prequel ships. Leonard Maltin did take a brief tour through the Lucasfilm prop archives, but it wasn't exactly news. If you missed the story and really want to see it, we have a 1.5Mb Quicktime 3 version of the story available for download in our multimedia videos section (where you can also find three previous Entertainment Tonight stories on the prequels). Or, click here to download it.


We now have a complete set of screen captures from Lynne's Diary 2 from the official site. They are located in our Multimedia Section under pictures, prequels, and Lynne's Diary 2. You'll see the actual model of the fighter and the other ship (reportedly a Coruscant Taxi). It also has the full storyboarded sequences. We're interested in finding out if those were the actual sound effects for the ship. Hmmm! Special thanks to Anthony Evans who also sent us some high quality vid caps. Oh, and if our pics aren't big enough, the Official Site has a few large, very nice pics from the video. Not all of the interesting parts of the video, but many of the highlights.


12:30 am PDT

A reader named "Paul" who was travelling in Europe also had the opportunity to visit Hever Castle, a shooting site for Episode 1, and scout it out. Here's his report:

"When I was in London, I took a train down to Kent to visit Hever castle. When I was there I asked people what specifically was filmed there for the new Star Wars movie. From what I could gather they mainly filmed at the lakefront at the back of the Italian gardens. I have seen the picture of the set that looks quite similar to the "landing" or whatever it's called at the back of the gardens. One man there repeatedly used the word "took casts". I think they took casts of pillars and stuff to recreate the look of that "landing". I couln't confirm what exactly was filmed, if anything, though, because they said the crew was there early in the morning before any castle employees arrived."


6:15 pm PST

Get ready to add another page to the Australia filming speculation. SJ sent us the following:

"I'm a fan from Melbourne Australia and have been following your fantastic page for some months. The rumor that some of episode 2 may be filmed in my home town left me a little excited. However, there are some problems with that rumor and let me tell you of some other news that I've heard."

"For a start, Melbourne does not have any significant Lucasfilm size studio's as yet. There was talk of converting an old airport into a studio complex but that is yet to happen. Sydney is a more likely place for any filming as Fox have opened a new complex there a couple of months ago."

"After reading this rumor about Ep. 2 and the subsequent opening of Fox studios Sydney, I've kept an eye out in the media and newsgroups for any references. Just one I picked up last week from a newsgroup is that talks have taken place between Fox studios and a "large international production" company for use of the facilities early next year. However, it goes on to say that it is the production company for the next James Bond film."

"So there you go. Big production, probably in Sydney and perhaps is the Bond film, not Ep. 2. I hope this isn't true and Lucasfilm is coming to Melbourne (I'd love to be an extra that gets blown up in front of a bluescreen to a CG Imperial assault!)"


6:30 pm PST

The Official Star Wars sites has posted out-takes from Lynne's Diary. It's got more scenes cut from the original. Check it out here!

"The fact that it is so anticipated allows me to be creative. I like to be creative the way I'd like to be and not have to worry about what other people think"

"When I write a scene, I write a scene that moves me or I care about"


12:00 pm PST (updated 4:15pm PST)

Sebastian Niedlich sent us these new pictures from the German Star Wars Magazine.

Trevor Coop and George Lucas while filming in a plaza set in Leavesden.

Thanks to Roderick Vonhogen for touching up a couple of the pictures for us.


8:17 am PST

We received this bit this morning....

"I've been reading your site for the last year and I think you guys are doing a really top job. I'm an English fan, with my parents living in Kent, and as such have some interesting confirming news about one of the locations...

The reason for my email is as follows. This weekend my parents went to visit Hever Castle in Kent. On the way out, my father asked the woman on the information desk about the rumour of the filming at Hever. She said that the film crew came from 5am in the morning to 11am, just before the official opening time, and filming went on at the LARGE LAKE AT THE BACK OF THE CASTLE GROUNDS. I have been here myself a number of times and I know the details of the lake quite well.

If this info is true (and I have no reason to disbelieve the woman on the information desk at the castle itself (and my father, of course)), it means that the old castle and its mote won't feature in the film per se. However, backing onto the lake is a more recently built (last couple of hundred years) summer "temple", with steps down to the lake on either side of an oval, walled terrace. The design is very neo-classical/renaissance Italian. In fact, Hever Castle boasts reconstructed very large Italian gardens which also back onto the lake. So....this all fits in with the filming at Caserta palace for the interior and a renaissance feel to the Palace itself on Theed. Also, the information woman said that Liam Neeson was there, and that the scene was the last of the film. She also added, of course, that everything was very top secret on the day, with a "need-to-know" policy operating; hardly any of the staff themselves knew about the filming.

Finally I looked at the official site today and noticed that they have confirmed that Boba Fett will extensively feature in Episode II, but not in Episode I. This is from the horse's mouth itself, ie Lucas. He refrained from giving anything else away.

I hope this information is interesting to you other fans out there."

- Andrew Boxall


12:30 pm PST

In other news, is Episode 2 going to film partially in Australia? No word yet, but we were able to discover that Fox Studios Australia recently applied for city permission to expand the studio. Also, the a rep from the South Australian Film Corporation said that they are expecting large overseas productions. Hmmm. Oddly enough, just as we found that out, Vicci Ho sent in the following report. Please keep in mind this is unconfirmed:

"Hello I'm writing from Sydney and my friend that does part time at the new Fox Studios told me these news..she cannot confirm it either, but here it comes:

The Fox Studios will be used to do some reshoots in the new Fox studios in Sydney. They are mainly the "blue screen" special effects shots, and the team working on the science fiction film Matrix will be their main "local" team. Apparently it's a test on the studio and the locations, equipment, etc...and that will lead to the decision of possibly making of Episode 2 and 3 later. There has not been much circulation about who will be here, but maybe one or two of the principle cast will be coming down. Another reason is that Australia has not been touched by the Prequels yet ( I was the only one out of my friends [die hard SW fans] that knows when the film will be coming out. They don't even know who will be in the cast, nor have any idea who Jake Lloyd and Natalie Portman are) and that there'll be less disturbances and negative rumors.

My friend said she'll keep me informed, but she said that it seemed like the Prequels crew are aiming for absolute secrecy, so she might not have access to those studios when they do get down here.

One of our other sources also says that Lucas and company are filming right now the pick ups we've been hearing about. No word on where. We have no confirmation from other sources on that, but it is definitely soon if not now. Warwick Davis mentioned that he's due for more filming in August. One article also said that Liam Neeson would be doing pick-ups at the end of the summer.



3:05 pm EST

This week's issue of Entertainment Weekly contains an article entitled "1998 Studio Scorecard". In it's report on the status of the studios, they had this to say about 20th Century Fox:


Fox has snagged George Lucas's three Star Wars prequels, but its not going to get much money from the deal, since Lucasfilm is financing the films. This leaves the studio franchise-impaired.

Also in the article, an unidentified person states:

"Bill Mechanic is smiling a lot these days. They're (Fox) flush with cash. And from the new Star Wars trilogy (they) get market share and excellent relationships with theatre owners for providing a hit."


5:00 pm PDT (updated 6:30 pm PST)

Lots of stuff has come in the last few days, but we've been a bit busy around here with real world stuff. Anyway, here goes:

First off, as many of you likely saw on Prequel Watch, John Williams said that he would begin work on the Episode 1 score in two months. Don't confuse that with recording the music, though. By that he means writing, I believe. Thanks to John Campbell, Steve Ash, and MegadethDC for the reports. (UPDATE!!! - Eliot Fish corrected us, and Williams was in fact quoted by Campbell as saying he will be RECORDING the music in two months! Oops! My bad. Thanks for keeping us honest, Eliot!

Next, Steve Head found the following article addressing the fuzzy footage rumor. Yeah, we said we wouldn't talk about it anymore, but these next couple of reports have other interesting bits in them worth mentioning.:

San Diego Union Tribune 26-Jun-1998 Friday
Lucas denies rumors of production woes by George Rush and Joanna Molloy
George Lucas' public-relations Jedi are striking back at rumors that his upcoming "Star Wars" trilogy is in trouble.
Hollywood is buzzing that the budget for the first of Lucas' three prequels to the original films has risen to $115 million because much of his footage was out of focus. Insiders claim that his actors ended up looking as fuzzy as an ewok because the cost-conscious Lucas reviewed their work on video instead of seeing "dailies" on film.
But Lucas publicist Lynne Hale tells us the director did rely on dailies and that "nothing is being reshot."
"We completed the majority of principal photography last year -- mostly shot in studios in London and on location in Italy and Tunisia," says Hale. "One scene still needs to be done and that's it."
The first episode from the trilogy is due from Fox in May 1999, with the others landing at two-year intervals. Although his technical wizards have created an assortment of "synthetic actors," Lucas has not been able to dispense completely with humans. Liam Neeson, who plays a Jedi master named Bosh, leads a cast that includes Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and Samuel L. Jackson.
Let's hope they live to have better memories of their intergalactic adventure than does Sir Alec Guinness, who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original "Star Wars."
The venerable actor reflects in July's Harper's magazine that, 20 years ago, the film "had a freshness." But having seen so many young "Star Wars" fans get lost "in a fantasy world of secondhand, childish banalities," Guinness said, "I shrivel inside each time (the new trilogy) is mentioned."

The irony of this article is that in the process of shooting down a rumor that appeared on Ain't It Cool News, they are furthering another bogus report that appeared there. They stated that Liam Neeson's character is named "Bosh", which came from an old and inaccurate spy report from that site. Lucasfilm can't win fer losin'.

Next up, we were recently contacted by a very ticked off individual associated with Lucasfilm. They were mad about the fuzzy footage rumor floating around. Yes, they passed our screening. This person is legit. But we asked them why the heck they contacted us in the first place. Seems against company policy. Here's what they had to say:

If some jerk at ILM can leak preposterous fiction about the film being out of focus, then I can "leak" the truth in response. The film is so NOT out of focus that the planned shooting later this year has been cut from almost a month to just 8 days at this point. And it irks me that I hear the pick-ups called re-shoots, because almost none of them are. Some are new scenes, some are additional close-ups or angles of existing scenes, and I don't think I've seen anything that is actually a re-shoot (and I was there). If we do any, it will only be because George has changed his mind about how a scene should work.

This supports what Lynne Hale also said above.

Along these lines, we also had the good fortune to meet Warwick Davis this weekend in Houston. (See the main page for a full report later tonight, maybe tomorrow.) Warwick could not say much about the prequels, but he did tell us a few things. He said he is going back for filming in August. Warwick said that all this other filming activity is new footage, not reshoots. They develop the film for shots the night it is taken and review it, then they know if they need to do a reshoot before the set gets messed up. That kind of blows another hole in the whole "fuzzy shots" rumor. As we figured, they view the shots right there, right then and if anything needs fixing they fix it then. Fuzzy shots never could have gotten back to the ranch...


3:00 pm EST

We've just received word that the new Official UK Star Wars magazine contains some previous unpublished Episode I photos.  Thanks to Ian Lambeth and KevB for the descriptions:

The crew, including GL, sat around watching video monitors in front of a fighter in the hanger set.  The shot is taken from a raised position which gives a previously unseen angle on the fighter.  Plus there is a service vehicle parked next to the fighter.   Think of the old Kenner Stormtrooper  transport vehicle add a dash of the classic Flash Gordon serials styling and paint the whole thing gun metal grey and you won't be too far off the mark.

A shot of Nathan Hamill with his arm around R2.  Hamill is confirmed as an extra but is out of costume.

Two shots from the Italian shot showing the conversion of an existing doorway into a control panel / view screen.

Two extras from the Italian shot in costume.  One is of a guy who can best be described as looking like Rasputin - bark blue/black robes and a flowing beard.  Next to him is a women in a golden renaissance
type costume ,wearing pretty heavy make up, with her hair piled up on either side of her head.

Thanks to everyone that sent over the pics! They hit the 'Net first at T'Bone's Star Wars Universe.


2:30 pm EST

The ever-attentive Andy Keller contacted us with some interesting observations about some of the script footage in Lynne Hale's video:

"In the next scene more notepad paper:

A vast sea of

backdrop for the
by a roll-up
into infinity

Well this sounded mighty familiar to me so I dug up the script for A New Hope and what do you know?

A vast sea of stars serves as the backdrop for the main title. War drums echo through the heavens as a rollup slowly crawls into infinity. "

It appears Episode I will begin as we've all hoped it would.

FOX LOGO & FANFARE TITLE CARD: A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away... STAR WARS TITLE & "rollup slowly crawls into infinity."


2:20 am EST

By now many of you have noticed the fantastic update of the official Star Wars site, feature Lynne Hale's diary.  We now comes the inevitable speculation on the part of the fans, based on the information presented. :)  Many of our readers have pointed out, there were portions of Lucas' handwritten synopsis that were legible.    We've included a transcript of the text below.  Thanks to everyone who sent it in.  Also some of you might want to note the comments on the official site stating that "The Beginning" is not the official title of the film. It was simply George's working title at the time, and that's why it appears on the video as it does.  With out further ado....

One important screen shot: (TFN comments in parenthesis)

A disheveled boy, Anakin Skywalker, runs in from the junkyard.  He is about 9 years old, very dirty, and dressed in rags.
(Could this be Anakin's first appearance in the trilogy? Watto's Junkyard perhaps?)

Here's a little info from the shot of Lucas' handwritten page about Anakin:

Anakin Skywalker (age 9-20)

A boy who builds droids and races power...
(the rest is cut off but could this be...powerpods?)

Ernest and Hardworking

Who dreams of becoming a starpilot and a je...(probably jedi)

good at heart. 

Blue eyes

When ever he gets near a machine, he gets an intuition...
and he knows what makes it work.

Is he a mutation? Who was his father?
his mother out cast?

This is all very interesting stuff!  Especially the bit about "Is he a mutation?".  Could we see an individuals Force powers attributed to some sort of physical abnormality?  Some have said that they've heard information that supports this from other reliable sources.  I suppose we will know soon enough, but I'd hate to see something mystical like the Force explained away as a genetic mutation or something.  These type things are George's prerogative of course, and I'm sure he's crafted a fantastic story.  Stay tuned!


Ghent, 12:20 am MST

Imagine for a minute that it was your JOB to follow George Lucas around nearly every day and assist him in his creation of Star Wars Episode I. Then imagine that Mr Lucas allowed you to bring a video camera to work and capture exclusive footage of this process. Well, that's the life of Lynne Hale and she's going to be sharing this video diary (the Lucasfilm approved bits) a chapter at a time. Chapter one, titled "All I Need is an Idea", is up now at The text is fine, but make sure you watch the 5 minute RealVideo segment. I've dreamed 1000 times about seeing Lucas' legendary binder, and now I have. I've never been more excited about the prequels.

Earlier this week, there was a production update featuring John Knoll, a Visual Effects Supervisor at ILM. Many of us know John better as the legendary creator of Photoshop.


Brian Linder, 12:02am EST

Word comes tonight from "The Littlest Nerf" that Episode I effects work is proceeding ahead of schedule and everything is looking fantastic!  "Ummm.....things Rick McCallum would say!??", ...well, probably, but we've heard from "The Littlest Nerf" before and can vouch for his credibility.  In fact, some time ago he reported in after seeing a few early creature effects.  At that time he was disappointed with the footage he saw, and so were a few of the others with him. times have changed....he's seen some more recent shots and described most of them as, "Unbelievably great!".  The effects team is running ahead of schedule, giving them plenty of time to tweak some of the creature effects, especially Jar Jar and the Gungans.  Their movement is said to look great on film!  Advance word on the space sequences is that they look on par with the cool SE X-Wing sequences if not better.  Most of the visual effects time right now is being spent rendering backgrounds, and work is just getting started on the under-sea city of the Gungans.  We all wish them the best, and keep working 'round the clock fellas! Geeks around the world are watching, and waiting....only 347 more days to go!


Tinman, 10:20am PDT

Reader Gordon Hollman had some interesting things to point out about the Episode 1 storyboard we posted the other day. He pointed out some similarities between the storyboard and a picture of Anakin's pod that Delta-Source took a while back. Click here to see a comparison of the two.

Gordon also pointed out that the styles of the clothing and machines are very reminiscent of the French artist Moebius' work. In fact, Lucas is a fan of Moebius and even wrote the forward for one of his books!


Dave, 11:05am CST

Today we received a picture in the mail from a new source who wants to be called "The Bat". The Bat tells us that the picture he sent is a storyboard from Episode 1 and is of the Pod Race Announcer's booth. We can't confirm or deny if it's the real thing, but in any case it's pretty cool.


Dave, 1:48pm CST

OK, finally we have our last post on the focus problem rumor posted by AICN. This is it. The end. No more wasting bandwidth on discussion of the problem. We finally got official word from Marc Hedlund, spokesmodel for the Official Star Wars Web Site. The end all comment from Lucasfilm. Drumroll please:

"Okay: "The rumor is not true." And you can quote me on that. ;)"


Scott, 6:45pm CST

Ain't It Cool News is talking about the supposed "problems" again with the prequel production, however, Lucasfilm has yet to comment. But the fact is, Lucasfilm's official policy is not to comment one way or the other on rumors posted on the Internet. All well and good, but somebody back at the Ranch better get off of their butt and address this before you start seeing it picked up by a major publication. And believe me, it's not too far from happening. So if you'd rather have Lucasfilm's version posted rather than Harry's, I'd recommend firing up the old PC and posting something on the Official site.

I'm referring to a report from another publication that AICN pointed out. Harry calls it "Main Stream Media", but it's actually known as JAM! Movies. Huh? Main stream? Yeah, I've never heard of it either. But it appears to me, as a relatively well informed outsider, that this reporter for this web site saw Harry's post, then wrote an article on it. Whomever he was talking to apparently backed up this highly dubious reports. Then Harry pointed it out on his web site. Kind of self-fulfilling reporting, I guess, but what the hey. JAM and Harry have both stated that Lucasfilm found out they had a problem when they put together a rough cut for Fox Executives. Hmmmm. Well, we can say for sure that some footage was shown to Lucasfilm's licensees several months ago and no problem was caught then. Take that as you will.

I appreciate Lucasfilm not acknowledging rumors. If they addressed everything, that's all they'd be doing. However, these things have a tendency to snowball. Remember a little thing called TROOPS? First article on it appeared in Film Threat Weekly, an e-mail newsletter. Within a few months, it was featured in almost every major publication (except the Insider, no offense :) , better known as real main stream media. My point is that reporters will pick up on this, and if it's garbage it's going to quickly spread. Better to head it off early than let it grow. On the other hand, if it's true, it's still better to address it early than let rumors twist what really happened around. Just my 2 cents. Move along. Move along.


Tinman, 12:30am PDT
The Bothan Spy dropped a few details regarding the Leavesden sets. First off, he mentioned that the outdoor Naboo sets there are so battered by weather and whatnot that there's no way they will be used for further reshoots.

"The sets that are [right now] up at Leavesden are for a Russian film which is currently in production. They're nothing to do with Thunderbirds or Star Wars. I can confirm that the [indoor] Star Wars sets are still up for FINAL (so I've heard) pick-ups in Summer.

"Also, there are rumours that a trailer of Star Wars will appear before Godzilla when it opens in London. These are just rumours, but I thought I'd pass them along."


Harry Knowles at AICN reported that it was just discovered that 40% of the First Unit's prequel footage is unsalvageable due to the fact that it is out of focus (!).  This sounds somewhat out of wack, so we asked contributor Steve Head (who is a professional cameraman) what he thought:

I find it hard to believe that any of this could have happened. I've had some experience where the developed footage came out too dark, and we had to reshoot, but nothing like this. If there is a problem, it has to be in the processing. An error by the camera crew would be caught quickly. As far as focus is concerned, its the life-blood of the first assistant's job. The shots are printed ASAP and delivered to the studio. There is no quicker way to get fired than to have a series of shots turn out to be incorrectly focused.

There are too many fail-safes for the production to advance to this point and then to discover this. Today, the cameras (Arriflex, Panavision, Movicam, whatever., Episode 1 used Arriflex cameras) are fitted with video adapters (wireless and otherwise) that are affixed to the camera's viewfinder. They don't bypass the lens. Any of numerous video monitors on the stage and in the production offices would be able to detect a focus problem.

Also, I would have to believe that dailies were shown and that the takes were printed. I've never worked on a film where they held the film (the purpose of everyone's labor) in a can for more than a day. The second camera assistant always makes notations as to which takes are to be printed. The director and script supervisor clearly specify this. The takes have to be printed before it can be transferred to video. The video playback supervisor may record every take for immediate playback, but the actual film is the main product for video editing. There is no way that Lucasfilm would keep undeveloped film in a can for six months. No way. The film is subject to degradation in color if it is not developed within a reasonable amount of time.

If the problem does exist on the film master, then I don't think there is a quick and easy solution, at least one that I'm aware of. That would be frightening. I can't think of a film that has had to reshoot 40% (well…. Back to the Future, but that was a casting problem)

I've had nightmares about making errors as a camera assistant. Every assistant experiences them. Even yesterday I had some problems developing some film. One of the main rules as an camera assistant is, if you make a mistake, fess up to it immediately. The camera department couldn't be at fault here. It's been months.

Bad prints do happen. That had to be what this is.

Interesting. Anyway, the situation seems unlikely, so hopefully we'll have definite word soon.


A friend of recently had the opportunity to speak with an associate of Frank Oz.  This individual communicated that Mr. Oz has completed all of his work on Episode I.  This would include his duties as puppeteer, and his voice over work for Yoda.  Another sign that the production process is moving right along, as has been reported officially.  In the latest issue of the Star Wars Insider, Rick McCallum, everyone's favorite producer, stated that they're currently hard at work on the 3rd rough cut of the film.  It's also been stated recently that roughly a weeks worth of shooting remains to be done on Episode I. has learned that final pick-ups will be shot at Leavesden in late July/early August, and while our UK sources confirm the dismantling of some sets it appears that certain ones remain.  The Naboo Hangar, the Palace Corridor, the Queen's Throne, and Anakin's Home are all still standing.   The two ship cockpits, the Naboo Queen's Spacecraft, and the Freighter Ship, also remain intact, as they are reportedly mounted on wheels and will not be dismantled.   Interestingly enough our sources also indicate that the building of new sets has begun. is aware that the live-action Thunderbirds film was slated to being filming at Leavesden around the time of these final Episode I pick-ups, but Thunderbirds has reportedly been delayed due to budgetary constraints.  It isn't likely that these new sets are being built simply for several days of pick-up shooting.  On a related note, Star Wars collecting expert, Gus Lopez recently traveled to Tunisia where he had the opportunity to visit the Episode I shooting locations.  While visiting, Gus spoke with a citizen of a nearby town that indicated new set construction was to begin in June of this year, and shooting would occur shortly thereafter.  I wonder if has any Tunisian readers?  What could be happening here? We're not exactly sure, but it's possible that these preparations are being made for Episode II, or maybe Mr. Lucas has refined his vision of the Episode I story, and that this new vision requires the building of new sets.  Closing on a lighter note, in a recent issue of the UK Star Wars Magazine, Producer Rick McCallum said, when complimenting his personal assistant, "....she has all the skills of a formidable producer: she is sneaky, duplicitous, lies well and is a master of manipulation.".  Where have I seen this description before? : )  Stay tuned to folks!


We got the following report from Bill Thomas:

"I was looking through the new IN SYNC magazine today (its an industry Buy- Sell-Trade kinda thing for motion picture equipment) and I ran a cross an ad for Powerscope anamorphic lenses. The cinematographer spokesperson is a guy named Mike Valentine B.S.C. and he does underwater photography. He talked at first about working on the last Bond flick, but then, he talks about EPISODE 1: "On Star Wars we were also shooting wide open with the 32mm capturing scenes of Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor shot against my backlit underwater green screen. Again the Powerscope lenses passed the optical hurdle with flying colors. Both the producer Rick McCallum and the director George Lucas were delighted with my results" So, to me it at least answers one question I had (and I'm sure others had) which was "Is Lucas shooting in Anamorphic, like the first trilogy, or is he shooting Super35mm?" With anamorphic the special effects are traditionally done in a completely different format (with ILM probably Vistavision which has a large negative area) and then anamorphic negatives are made from that. In Super35mm you can do your special effects in Super35mm also, since it sports a large negative area anyways. For example, "The Fifth Element" had all its effects work done with the same type camera the principle photography was shot with. That way your fx work can look more like the rest of your film. Of course this may be an old ad I saw and I'm giving you old news,but since I haven't see any info on technical stuff like that I thought I would pass it along. It also confirms that both Liam and Ewan did underwater stuff together."


Reader Tom deGray does video work for the Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, and other productions. Being quite knowledgeable on the subject, he made some observations regarding the Naboo fighters I thought were interesting.

"There is something to think about the Naboo fighters. Remember in Toy Story, where we saw the toy soldiers image reflected back at him in the Christmas ball? Well, the chrome parts of the Naboo fighters will have the same effect. You will see the background reflected in the chrome. The amazing parts about this is that the impression that I got is that the Naboo fighters will be doing a lot of in atmosphere fighting....I don't believe I have seen anything to indicate a space battle really (which would be unique for a Star Wars movie....Am I wrong about lack of space battles in what we have seen so far?) Anyway, because of being on the planet, there are going to be a lot more things reflected in the chrome, such as trees and clouds and building, plus enemy fighters will be reflected in the chrome, and the explosions the enemy ships make when they go 'boom'. This is going to be an amazing amount of image mapping. Now, consider that these ships will probably be going really, really fast. The work that must go into getting the image mapping realistic-looking must be incredible. One of the limits on the special effects for the first trilogy was that the spaceships could not have anything that was reflective or it would show the blue-screen. In this movie, it seems that George is either showing off or sort of thumbing his nose at the old special effects [limitations] by putting mirrors on the spaceships...overcompensating for the first movies.

"You are right, the ships are going to look incredible, but the amount of work going into that effect is mind-boggling."

4/06/98: PREQUEL ANIMATOR INTERVIEW has an interview up with one of the ILM'ers heading up animation work on the prequels. Nothing huge, but interesting nonetheless. Click here to go read it.


This comes from a new source, the Hutt Spy, but we've checked it out and it seems sound. Many of you have been asking what's happening with the Episode 1 score. Well, it seems that in about a month, John Williams will begin the long process of scoring the first prequel. No news yet on any specifics, but we'll pass more news along to you as we hear it.


El Guerdo sent us a few pics from the latest Star Wars Insider, along with some of his personal speculation. He noted that in the drawings on the wall we can see the body of an alien with a platypus tail. In the other, Artoo's umbrella has "SIBY PROPS" written on it. (We later found out this stood for Stand By and it was actually S/BY.)

We'll have a much more detailed report on the new Insider in the next few days.

Alien on wall Artoo Umbrella


Adam Leach just sent us some scans from the newest British Star Wars magazine. Adam also summarized some of the more interesting parts of the magazine.

"Lucas was interviewed for the magazine too. He said a few things of interest, not least the time when the first trailers will be seen. He specifies December 1998, which sounds about right for a film of this size! He also says that about a third of the film takes place on Tatooine and talks about how this is the first time we'll see fully trained jedi doing the stuff that fully trained jedi should be doing. The last thing he says is that the whole story only has SIX episodes, so he has no idea at all of what will happen after ROTJ officially.


There's been all sorts of wishy washy news regarding the exact release date of Episode 1. The exact date has been all over the board, but Lucasfilm has publicly stated that May 25, 1999 was their target date. Now word is coming out from Lucasfilm that the exact date is again being debated. However, this time around, the debate is on whether or not it will be pushed back a couple of weeks or a month or stay on the 25th. They are still saying the summer of 1999, but some within Lucasfilm are doubting whether it will be exactly on the 25th. Personally, I'm not going to put stock in anything I hear about the release date. Nothing is going to be concrete until several months down the road anyway. It sounds like it's going to be too early to tell at this point. However, Kenner and all the other licensees are going to need to know the date so they can plan their merchandising on it. That date better be nailed down soon!


First off, there were Episode 1 reshoots last week, which ended Saturday. The Bothan Spy snuck in and got us some new info about characters and names. Whether this stuff was recently added to the movie, or just previously unreported, is unclear at this time.


The Bothan Spy sent in something that most of you will be interested in, but would rarely get to see otherwise. They are Call Sheets from the Leavesden set. What are call sheets? They tell what will be filmed that day, who will be there, what part the actors play, the times everyone should be in place, what props are needed, and more.

On the call sheets you'll see some things blacked out. Those are the phone and fax numbers to Leavesden. Bothan didn't want loonies calling harassing the folks there! We're not giving out the numbers, so don't ask. : )

You'll notice the names we've been telling you about all along like "Nimoudians", "Nute Gunray", "Darth Maul", among others. There's a cool mention of a "Yoda Rehearsal" with Frank Oz. Also, there are a couple of items we haven't heard much about. "Theed" is mentioned and appears to be a central city on the world of Naboo. I believe it might have been mentioned on Ain't It Cool News before. Also, a ship, The Naboo Spacecraft, appears to be named the "Marie Celeste". We believe that might be the ship belonging to the Queen.

These call sheets are from, what we believe to be, the last quarter of the film. While most of the information found on them has previously appeared on, some of it might be taken as spoilers. View at your own risk!

This is really the first concrete evidence that these names were used on the set. But as many have pointed out ("Blue Harvest! Blue Harvest!"), they could always be changed during production.

Click here to see the first page of the call sheet.

Click here to see the second page.


Ewan on ET There wasn't much new on Entertainment Tonight's prequel report that regular readers don't already know. Other than an incomplete set from a previous report, no prequel images were revealed. Basically, it was a list of the main cast members along with who they play, what they're working on now and some very short comments from Ewan, Samuel and Terrance.

Some notable quotes include "The prequel takes place 32 years before Star Wars" (a very precise number), from Ewan: "I remember when I saw the first one myself, I was six years old. My uncle's in them all, he played one of the X-Wing fighters." (that is, Denis Lawson as Wedge), from Samuel: "There's one guy we thought looked like Calamari, there was another guy who looked like a picanese" (sp?), from Terrance Stamp: "It's the first time that I've never been sent a script. You know, I was just faxed my pages." and "You'll have to wait until May 1999 for the prequel Star Wars: Episode I."

We've posted a 3.4Mb Quicktime movie of the report for you to download. In order to get it to you as quickly as possible while keeping the file size as small as possible, it's not as clean as the Troops segments... but it's good enough for those who missed the report. If you have a copy on videotape, there's no need to download this one. (The site remains slow from high traffic.)


One of our informants told us that nobody knows the title of the new film, including many at Lucasfilm. The way it was described, Lucas is the only one who knows the title. They likened it to Lucas having it written in a single sheet of paper in an envelope under his mattress. Maybe it's there with the billions I paid him for action figures.

We have also been told by sources close to the production that reshoots at Leavesden Studios in England are starting up next week, for at least several days. No word yet on which actors will be involved.


We asked some of our sources if they've heard anything about advertising for the prequel film. They said that they have heard one thing. Lucasfilm is not too worried about advertising for the prequel in the US. There's very little they have to do to push this film. It's going to be very successful no matter when they release a trailer. That's why you may not see the early, early push this summer like you have in the past with other films (like Godzilla). However, the Star Wars movies have traditionally fared poorer in other countries like Norway, Sweden, etc. It turns out that this is where Lucasfilm is rumored to focus it's advertising efforts. It is very possible that they might see the first advertising for Episode 1, or more in the way of ads, etc. At this point this is all rumor, but it does make sense. Stay Tuned.


Yesterday, reported on rumors, from Toy Fair '98 in NYC, regarding the possible delay of Episode I from May 1999, to Winter of '99.  These rumors surfaced on the Tomart's Action Figure Digest Web Site.  We've not heard from anyone at Lucasfilm, but word is that folks there are 100% certain that the film will be released in May of 1999, as originally planned.  We don't know how these rumors got started, but as you might recall we reported several days ago that parts of Episode I were changing on a daily basis.  As designs change for the film, Kenner would have to alter their designs for toys as well. This would cause delays for them in the toy production process.  This very fluid style of flimmaking could possibly be sparking rumors of a release date delay.  


Tomart's Action Figure Digest Web Site is reporting that rumors around Toy Fair indicate the film may be moved back from May until November or December due to extremely complicated post-production work.  Some of us have heard these rumors before, but this certainly shows that they aren't limited to the Internet!   Stay tuned!  Thanks to Bill Daly, James McFadden, and Michael Sullivan for pointing this out!


It's been a while since we heard from Mode, but he checked in with some interesting news snuck out of ILM:

"Two cool things did happen right at the end of January, however... Most of the major stars of the movie (Liam, Ewan, Natalie, Jake, and I'm assuming Ahmed Best) were given a guided tour of the work-in-progress at ILM by Rick McCallum and Dennis Muren. Also, there have been several ILM video crews running around in the Studio for the last several weeks. Apparently, ILM is making a documentary to air on the SHOWTIME cable network sometime around the release of the film."

Hmmm! Interesting! We've had no word on this from our other informants, but we'll keep checking on it.


Our informants have told us that filming of reshoots in Tunisia have been held up because Ewan McGregor got a case of tonsilitis. No other word, but we hope he gets better soon!

Prequel Watch and some other sites have been reporting that parts of the prequel have been changing. Our sources back that up and go farther to say that parts of the prequel are literally changing on a daily basis. Lucas apparently will have them change colors, backgrounds, scenes, and other CG elements to suit what he has in mind. And, yes, that could even include the names of some of the characters, though we're told the ones we've seen for the core characters are going to stick. This freedom is due to the flexible nature of CG filmmaking. In fact, a large number of scenes in this film are totally CG. The film is going to be so visually complex that fans will have to go back several times just to catch everything.


Reports have been drifting in from Industrial Light and Magic, who are busy as ever with the prequel special effects. Although the schedule there has been changed a number of times, they are still on target. A good number of scenes and shots for Episode 1 have already been completed, in fact. This information was heard by Mode, and should encourage those of you who heard AICN's report a while back that ILM was falling behind.


We've been told from one extremely reliable source that filming on the re-shoots in Tunisia begins Monday. Our source didn't know if it was going to go on for one week or two, though.


True Fan had the following to say:

"First.........a new "draft" for Ep. 3 was resubmitted for copyright on December 1st. I was told that Lucas made a decision on many of the ideas he was throwing around. The new "draft" included an extra scene added with 3PO and R2 and a brand new scene with Mrs. Skywalker and Ben Kenobi. I have no idea what the scenes are about or why the changes were made. Second............Yes, Ewan is going to shoot some scenes in Tunisia, but I was told that they are "about 80% reshoots". According to my source at Lucasfilm, Ewan, Portman?, and Neeson will all be returning in Mid-January for some reshoots and that Neeson will be shooting new scenes as well.........Since McGregor was sick with tonsillitis at the beginning of shooting he will be reshooting some scenes since Lucas thought he looked "...too ill" after seeing the dailies."

We've heard different reason's why they went back, but it's not really relevant.

- A Prequel Action figure will be available before the end of 1998.
- Reshoots are also scheduled at Leavesden.


Steve Head sent us this article from Business Week. As you know, we already reported that 20th Century Fox apparently had it in the bag. This would seem to indicate we were wrong. It's always possible! :) However, all of our sources say that Fox already has it. Hmmm.... Well, here's the article:


"The force is still with George Lucas. Hollywood studios will vie early in 1998 for rights to distribute the long-anticipated ''prequels'' to his Star Wars films. In the works: a trio of features, starting with the story of Anakin Skywalker, which begins when the future Darth Vader is 8 and ends after he marries and fathers twins Luke and Leia.

Lucas already has cashed in with a multimillion-dollar promotional deal with PepsiCo for the first installment. And he is selling the merchandise rights to Hasbro and Galoob Toys for $235 million in stock--giving him an estimated 5% of Hasbro and 20% of Galoob.

Twentieth Century Fox Film has collected an estimated $636 million from the movies since the 1977 release of Star Wars. It's expected to get first crack at the new series, due to hit theaters in May, 1999. ''This will not be a difficult decision to make,'' says Fox studio chief Bill Mechanic. Disney, which has rides based on Star Wars at its theme parks, is a long shot to get the flicks. Lucas pal Steven Spielberg also may bid on behalf of his DreamWorks SKG studio."

12/31/97: EPISODE 2 AND 3 NEWS

Bothan Spy gave us the following report: "Also, I am led to believe that Episodes II and III will be filmed mainly at Leavesden in Great Britain. The set for Episode I will stay up until the release of the film, and will then be torn down to make way for new sets. JAK Productions have an option in their contract with Leavesden to film Episodes II and III there, and I've heard that they were more than happy with Leavesden so far."


We have received a report from several of our more reliable sources. They told us that Ewan McGregor will be heading to Tunisia to do some filming for the prequel in 2 weeks. We don't know if they are reshoots or if it is new footage. This is interesting because previously we weren't aware that he had actually done any filming in Tunisia before now. This would confirm that Ben shows up on Tatooine at some point, as you would expect. More information to come.


Our friend Erik Freudenreich from The Star Wars Diorama Page was kind enough to send us more pictures from the French Lucasfilm Magazine. While they are not spectacular, they are rather historic. They are shots of George Lucas directing in the deserts of Tunisia. George looks pretty good in all the shots. He seems to be holding up well and still has all his hair. Heh heh. Anyway, take a look at the links below.

Lucas and McCallum
Lucas with Cameraman


One of our sources provided a little more info on the weapons on the Tunisia sets. Extras were seen carrying Walther .22 pistols and Calico submachine-guns:

This picture is a Calico 960A, scanned from "The Gun Digest Book of Assault Weapons, 3rd. Edition", edited by Jack Lewis. For all you fellow "gun nuts" :), here are some stats:

CALIBER: 9x19mm
MAGAZINE: 50- or 100-round (!), top-feed; it's the cylindrical item atop the gun in the picture. It uses a unique helical feed system, and ejects the casings out the bottom instead of the side.
OPERATION: Recoil-operated (closed bolt)
CYCLIC RATE = approx. 700 rounds per minute
LENGTH: Telescoping stock out, 26 inches; in, 21 inches.
WEIGHT (w/ 50-round magazine): 6.25 pounds

There are several different variants, the 960A being a general-purpose type. You can see the similar Calico 950 machine-pistol type being used by some of the bad guys in "Tomorrow Never Dies". According to the article, the Calico is a very durable, reliable, and accurate weapon used by numerous law enforcement, military, and protective services around the world. Price is estimated at about 700 U.S. Dollars.

12/09/97 - Jean-Pierre Aubagnac found some pics and news from a French Lucasfilm Magazine. Here's his report:

"Harry's pics and yours come from issue 11 of the french "Lucasfilm Magazine", the equivalent of your starwars insider. They are taken from a 4 page paper by Jon Bresman entitled "Tunisia: far off galaxy...". Other than pictures also published on the star wars official site, only 3 pics I have not seen on the web: one showing the actors tents protected by a wooden structure (for temperatures above 50 deg. Celsius according to the caption), one showing 2 jawas hanging out and one showing a moisture vaporator. More interesting is the description of the storm devastating the tunisian set:

"The Tatooine set looked like a trailer park hit by a tornado... Hundreds of costumes scattered across the desert, half buried in the wet sand. Dressing room tents were torn to shreds. Metal scaffoldings were unbelievably bent. Prop trucks were damaged by flying debris. Robots were lying everywhere, broken and rusted as if on a battlefield. Fallen plaster sets were broken to pieces. Landspeeders had been lift up and trhown against each other... Simply put, the set was devastated."

That concludes his report. OK, folks! We want those extra pics! Can anyone deliver! Let us Know!

12/05/97 - Steve Head sent us the following news items. The one from the Arizona Republic is a bit old, but it is still interesting.

(re:new Star Wars film)

Fox, controlled by News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch, has first bid on the new trilogy. Additional reshoots for "Episode One" are expected to take place next year.

Hmmm. Does this confirm Fox has it?

Brian Linder 12/05/97 10:30AM

The ever-resourceful Steve Head reported in this AM with some corrections and additions to yesterday's news article concerning prequel weapons (see below). Steve pointed out that his hands were covered in black ink from all that newsprint, and that he had made a slight error in his previous report. He also makes some observations on the article that clarify the models of firearm purchased. Here is his correction...

I made a mistake. The Newspaper is The Blackpool Citizen. Not Blackburn. Sorry! I guess I was thinking "4,000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire".

After reading the weapons article, I originally thought that the production purchased 162 models, meaning 162 individual guns. But Framar Hammerli makes a gun: "Model 162". Interpreted this way, the article then "verifies" that this was one of the models purchased. It's the gun with the dark-wood stock and silver barrel.

As I said earlier, the article doesn't give a date. But here's the article's URL:

It appears from this that it was written March 13, 1997. This would give the props department plenty of time to modify the weapons. would like to point out that if you read the article carefully, you'll see that the good guys are armed with the Hammerli Model 30, of which we have no photograph, and the baddies carry the Hammerli Model 162 pictured below. We'd love some more information on the Model 30 if any one has it.

162.jpg (8666 bytes)


Latest News for 12/04/97

Brian Linder 12/04/97 12:05PM

Newshound Steve Head reported in with the following news bit from The Blackburn Citizen, Lancashire, England.


BLACKBURN businessman Frank Kay is feeling the force of Hollywood's spending power after securing a lucrative deal to supply guns for a new Star Wars movie. The 43-year-old, who runs a gun shop on King Street, Blackburn, has made a fast buck from a film props company believed to be working on behalf of legendary Star Wars producer, George Lucas. London-based Baptie Stage Productions contacted Frank last month enquiring about his space-age Framar Hammerli Guns and have just snapped up 30 models in a deal worth thousands of pounds. As the sole UK supplier of the Swiss-made weapons, the self-confessed R2D2 fan was over the moon about his part in the sci-fi blockbuster. "Supplying the guns is the next best thing to having a part in the movie," said Frank. "I even prompted the company to buy more 162 models because the bad guys always have more guns than the good guys. "It would cost the company a lot more to make the guns than buy them from me. There is simply nothing which comes near to Framar for its space-age look." The .22 calibre guns are made from carbon graphite and would be ideal for firing laser rays similar to that of the famous light sabre. The movie is still under wraps but Frank believes it will be released before the end of the millenium. He added: "I've been told the new movie will be completely new and could feature new characters. "I'm lead to believe it's not a sequel (Editor's note: Frank is obviously in need of a visit to to be brought up to date on the prequels.) to the trilogy and will be as revolutionary as the original Star Wars."

We're not exactly sure what the Framer Hammerli looks like but Steve came through for us by pointing out the pictures of Hammerli's product offerings at the Hammerli site. Here are a few of their more space-age firearms...

450.jpg (11303 bytes)

162.jpg (8666 bytes)

h480k.jpg (6822 bytes)

12/03/97 - MCCALLUM SPEAKS TO GALAXY MAG - Kivlehan - The new Star Wars Galaxy Magazine (#13) has hit the stands and on page 12 you'll find an exclusive interview with Rick McCallum. Rick also discussed Episodes II and III briefly, mentioning that Robin Gurland has begun her pre-liminary casting for the two films and they expect to shoot the second and third chapters "back-to-back and simultaniously" starting in January of 2000 until September 2000.


posted by Scott at 6:45 pm CST

I just got my copy of the Star Wars Insider in the mail today. I definitely think it's their best issue so far. It's got a lot of great pictures, beautiful original artwork, and more. If you're not a subscriber, you really should kick yourself in the bohiney. Call 1-800-TRUE FAN for a subscription. (And no, they did not put us up to placing an ad for them. It really is cool!) Anyway, here's a few little bits of prequel news from it:

- Liam Neeson's character name will not be revealed for a while.
- Ian McDiarmid WILL be playing Palpatine.
- A title for Episode 1 won't be chosen till production is completed.
- Terence Stamp plays 'Chancellor of the Galactic Senate'.
- The Insider confirmed that a lot of the styles are 'art nouveau' and 'Victorian versions of Italian Renaissance'.
- Ahmed Best DOES play a CG character.
- John Williams WILL be doing the score.
- A third of the movie takes place on Tatooine.
- Pre-Production on Episodes 2 & 3 have not started.
- Probably expect a trailer in December 1998.

That about covers it. Oh, and be sure to look for the two cover variations: one newsstand and one subscription version.

10/25/97 - 20th CENTURY FOX MYSTERY

posted by Tinman at 12:00 a.m. PST

Yesterday we reported that 20th Century Fox got the rights to distribute the prequels. In an e-mail from Garindan at Prequel Watch, he told us that TrueFan had given him similar information. Today, Harry Knowles made a similar report with information from his 'spies'.

But in a bizarre twist, our original informant took back their story, saying that they had made up the info and that they had not intended for us to post it. So it seems that our original informant might have changed his mind about wanting us to know. Either that, or there was an amazing coincidence.

At any rate, it doesn't really matter. It looks like Fox's contract signing IS a go. This, interestingly enough, coincides with the week that the major book and toy deals were signed.

Now it's time to start watching for a trailer!

10/21/97 - Who's David Lean?

I was thumbing through the February 10, 1997 issue of Time magazine. In it is an old article about the prequels. Here's a quote that caught my eye: "Lucas says he's aiming for a more epic, David Lean-like look in the new movies."

So I wondered who David Lean was. Well, check out what the Internet Movie Database has on him. You may not know his name, but you definitely know his work. Visit the link above to get the big picture (pun intended).

JAK Productions

Well, we asked you guys to find George's son's name and you came through. His name is Jett! So, the kids names are Jhett, Amanda, and Katie. So a logical guess is that's where JAK Productions gets it's name from...though we could be wrong. :) Anyway, thanks to Erik Freuden who found it in the German Magazine "Stern", Bjorn Wahlberg who found it in the Feb. 2, 1997 L.A. Times, and Mark Jeffries who found it in the Playboy with Farrah Fawcett. He said he was only looking at the articles. Yeah.


It's been a pretty slow prequel news day, but here's something for you to ponder. It is common knowledge that Lucasfilm has filmed the prequels under the name 'JAK Productions'. So what does JAK stand for? There has been a lot of speculation. The most outrageous I (Scott) have seen is in Cinescape Magazine. They speculated that it stood for 'Jedi Are Killed'. I thought that was pretty stupid.

But then Nova off of the AICN Star Wars Forum nailed it, I believe. Lucas has three kids. Two girls and a young boy. The girl's names are Amanda and Katie. Hence the 'AK'. So it seems reasonable that JAK stands for his kids names. But we've been unable to find the boy's name! We've searched all of our books and magazines and there is no mention of the boy's name. If it starts with a 'J', then Nova's theory is proved!

So that's your homework assignment, class. Find out the boy's name, send us a note telling us where to confirm it, then you'll get a smiley face sticker to put in your report card. Snap to it!

10/2/97 - This comes from the Drudge Report. It seems to confirm the news we heard that 20th Century Fox has got the Prequels and that they are preparing for a X-Mas 1998 release.



HOLLYWOOD -- There are new indications that George Lucas is keeping his STAR WARS franchise at 20TH CENTURY FOX. Studios sources, while not able to confirm that a deal is in place, over the past few weeks have become convinced that Lucas is staying put. There is new talk on the lot that the STAR WARS-EPISODE I trailer has already been penciled in to be shown in front of X-FILES THE MOVIE next year in theaters. And according to one studio source, the new STAR WARS distribution deal could eventually give Lucas the first $1 billion payday for a movie in history. "If the new STAR WARS prequel sells as many tickets as the original film did, and with a Lucas-friendly deal in place here, he could set money records that may never be seen again," one FOX executive tells the DRUDGE REPORT. LUCASFILM is completely financing the new STAR WARS; George Lucas is writing, producing and directing. The first phase of Episode I's production wrapped over the weekend at England's Leavesden Studios. Over the past few months the movie's cast and crew have traveled from the Leavesden stages to film on locations in Italy and North Africa. To keep plot mystery, misleading scenes have reportedly been filmed. Lucas also reportedly spread around multiple versions of the shooting script -- with alternative names and scenes, etc. According to production notes, the crew will re-assemble early next year for phase II of shooting. Release is set for Summer '99. LUCASFILM has set up a website tease with news from the set, production notes and pictures, casting updates and a discussion of the new STAR WARS city of Coruscant.

10/1/97 - 'Sith' sent us a copy of a Lucasfilm memo on the wrap of Episode 1:

Subject: "It's a Wrap"

At 10:15 PM UK time - 1:00 PM PDT George Lucas said, "That's a wrap."

Principal photography on EPISODE I of the Star Wars saga wrapped today at Leavesden Studios.

The sound of popping champagne corks filled the air and this historic event was commemorated with a very sincere and heartfelt toast. George Lucas held his glass high and thanked, "the best cast and crew ever assembled".

We look forward to the return of all our friends and congratulate everybody on a successful shoot and wish them all the best in the months ahead as they face a very challenging post-production schedule.

9/30/97 - We just got this from the Official Star Wars Homepage. It verifies our info from our 'reliable source'. For the record, the same reliable source told us about the Christmas 1998 release of the prequel. Take that as you will.:

First Phase of Episode I Production Wraps at Leavesden Studios

LONDON, Sept. 26, 1997--The first phase of filming on Star Wars: Episode I has been completed. Following the story of young Anakin Skywalker and the origins of the Star Wars Trilogy, the movie's cast and crew have traveled from Leavesden Studios outside London to locations in Italy and North Africa, returning to the UK again for the important final scenes. The first phase of principal photography drew to a close on Friday, Sept. 26, and the cast and crew prepared to disperse after their filmmaking adventure together. Director George Lucas will see some of them again next year, however. Parts of the team will re-assemble at that time to carry out a planned phase II of shooting for Episode I. "

9/29/97 - We have heard from several reliable sources that the filming of live action footage of Episode 1 wrapped up on Friday, the 26th of September. This also jives with a report we got from Skiptraced:

"Today on the UK's Radio 1, DJ Jo Whiley announced that shooting on the Star Wars prequel wraps tomorrow. Irish pop group Ash are playing the exclusive wrap party at Leavesden. This info matches comments made by Ewan McGregor in Neon magazine, that he would be filming until the end of September. The score: Ash are an Irish band, whose music I don't really like. The fact that shooting ends tomorrow means they are on schedule."

All right ILM, get snappin'! We're ready to see the magic!

9/24/97 - Angus Hughes sent us these prequel pictures from the UK Star Wars Magazine. It shows wookiee masks and Tusken Raider masks in a crate, Lucas looking at some of the set plans, and someone trying on a helmet. I'm making a guess that since it is bright yellow, it might be the helmet that goes on the pilots that fly the yellow craft, but that's just my speculation.

9/22/97 - Chris Kivlehan (one of our new prequel correspondents) has heard a report that Lucas intends to leave the Tatooine set intact for Tunisia to use as a tourist attraction. Brian Linder is currently selling his car for airfare money. More details to come.

This report seems to be supported by the following article.

9/22/97 - Brent Lynch sent us this article. It confirms that Lucas will return to Tunisia for another one of his films (but that was pretty clear anyway):

By Abdelaziz Barrouhi

ONK EJMEL, Tunisia, Sept 21 (Reuter) - The tourist jeep was moving along an old camel caravan route through the Sahara Desert when it suddenly bumped across a dune and stopped. ``Here is Onk Ejmel (The Camel's Neck) -- 'The English Patient,''' shouted driver Hassan Jeridi. The site is named after a rock resembling the neck of a camel. Shaped by the winds, it overlooks the Chott al-Gharsa, a dried salt lake, on one side. On the other and to the horizon are dunes. Don't consult a map for Onk Ejmel. It doesn't appear on any of them. But millions of fans of ``The English Patient'' have seen it as the backdrop for some of the Oscar-winning film's scenes, including the dramatic plane crash that opens the picture. Thanks to the movie, the area -- where temperatures average 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in August -- is becoming an exotic destination for an increasing number of tourists. But ``The English Patient'' -- based on the novel by Canadian Michael Ondaatje -- was not the Tunisian desert's first star turn.


George Lucas, who 20 years ago filmed part of his ``Star Wars'' series in the region, finished work on his most recent movie there in last month. ``This is my third film in the Tunisian desert, which is an ideal location for filming, and I hope to come back for a fourth one,'' he told reporters. Working with him was Taieb Jallouli, a Tunisian assistant designer who worked on ``The English Patient'' and says he ``discovered'' the Onk Ejmel site. ``It was in 1995. 'The English Patient' producer and designer were looking for a desert site where they could land a plane. When I came (to) Onk Ejmel with designer Stuart Graig, he said it was fantastic,'' Jallouli said. It was fantastic for Tunisian tourism too. ``The success of 'The English Patient' was a godsend,'' Tunisian Tourism Minister Slahedine Maaoui told Reuters. ``The beauty of the desert sites where it was partly filmed has had a good effect on Saharan tourism in Tunisia and I expect this will continue.'' Onk Ejmel is about 30 km (19 miles) from the luxury hotels boarding the oasis of Tozeur. Bookings in the area from January to late August were 15 percent higher than in the same period last year. That is good news for a country that derives 16 percent, or 1.413 billion dinars ($1.3 billion) in 1996, of its foreign currency revenue from tourism. Trying to increase that total, the government has focused efforts over the last decade on developing Saharan tourism in addition to that in the traditional seaside resorts. ``The Sahara is full of surprises,'' said Maaoui. ``That's why it has a fascinating power. It is a must to our country's tourism.''

9/17/97 - Sources have said that production on Episode 1 has been rather slowly paced so they have the luxury of a lot of time. However, the next two films will be shot very quickly, so all of Lucasfilm will become VERY busy after Episode 1.

Also, Lucas, though he has the luxury of time on this one, is doing a LOT of 1 shot takes. He gets what he needs on the first try (like in the French Premiere) then moves on to the next scene. Aparently, he will be fixing a lot of the mistakes in post production. Word is the folks at ILM are going to be doing a lot of overtime in post production.

Lucasfilm also signed a contract with Leavesden that allows them to go back and re-shoot twice if they want to.

9/16/97 - Sam Davatchi's Prequel Page is displaying a blurry photo of what they say are prequel storyboards. You can make out a few details of stuff like a ships engines firing up. Anyway, Sam says it is from an official photo. He does not say where, though. I have heard rumors that the UK Official SW Magazine is out with prequel pictures. Maybe that's it?

9/3/97 - From the Prequel Watch Chat with True Fan:

Q: What's the budget for Ep1?

Garindan: Reportedly $60-80 million....but it could balloon. Then again, we are talking about Lucas here. The man is a genius and has a penchant for doing things as effectively as possible, including budgeting. Well, with the possible exception of ROTJ :)

9/3/97 - The Millenium Wars site has new pictures of Leavesden. They are shots taken from the security fence and show the large outdoor sets. Very interesting!

8/18/97 - Our friends at Prequel Watch pointed out Star Wars Millenium. It is run by a guy from England who went up to the gates at Leavesden and snapped some pics. It ain't much, but it is our first good glimpses of the outdoor sets!

8/12/97 - Yesterday the Official Star wars Homepage reported about the destruction of the sets in Tunisia by a sandstorm. They also reported that the crew was staying in a hotel in Tozeur. You can check out a web page on the city Here! I hope George remembered to pack his sunscreen.

7/27/97 - This Associated Press article was sent to us by Brent Lynch:

CASERTA, Italy (AP) - George Lucas has a flair for the futuristic in his ``Star Wars'' films. For his dream house, he'd look to the past.

An 18th-century palace here caught his eye.

The director came to this city 20 miles north of Naples to shoot the opening scene of a new ``Star Wars'' film against the backdrop of the Royal Palace. Lucas' fourth film in the series tells the story of the childhood of Anakin Skywalker, father of Luke Skywalker, before he turns to his dark side and becomes Darth Vader.

The palace, known as the Versailles of Naples for its splendor, was built by Charles III. It boasts a sumptuous staircase, four courtyards, marble decorations and fountain-studded gardens.

Asked what kind of place he would pick for his dream house, the director gave a heads-up to the palace.

``It's like being in paradise,'' Lucas said.

7/23/97 - Yet another report from Mazinga:

Today 7/23 a new article about the filming in Caserta can be read in the newspaper "La Repubblica". So let the news spread:

-Lucas is really delighted about the Caserta Palace, his word were yesterday when he first visited the location: "Fantastic location, the beauty of the Palace goes beyond any expectations".
-The JOLLY HOTEL, where Lucas is staying, is off-limits and there is Italian Police outside the Hotel if someone tries to penetrate inside the building.
-Lucas will film each day starting from 2 PM till night.
-There is a kind of high tech desk which is part of the set but no one knows its purpose.
-The security around the Palace has been reinforced: now the guys of the security goes around riding bikes and they are all connected via satellite.

7/22/97 - More news from Mazinga!

""La Repubblica", the same Italian newspaper that first reported about the filming in Caserta, today 7/22 has news about the filming. Lucas personal plane landed yesterday 7/21 at the military airport of "Capodichino". A lot of press and fans were present. Lucas is staying at the JOLLY HOTEL in Caserta.

7/8/97 - Mazinga wrote back again today with a report from Caserta:

-There is a first "shield" formed by Italian Police who discourages anyone who wants to enter the Palace. The Police is also in charge to redirect car traffic away of the Reggia.
-There is a second "shield" formed by Lucasfilm Security guys and they are really mean.
-200 people from Lucasfilm have arrived in Caserta. It sounds a little too much for only five day of filming.. so, as I already wrote you, it is very likely they will film in other locations around Naples.
-All these 200 persons are staying in Hotels in Naples and Caserta under false identity.

Looks like they really mean business! Well, I think that's good. As much as I like to hear what's going on, I want to be surprised in 1999 even more.

7/7/97 - We just got back in town and found this in the mailbox from our source known as 'Mazinga'. (He sent a copy of the exact same letter to Harry Knowles at Ain't it Cool News, so you may have seen this there, too.):

-In Caserta they will film a lot of little scenes that won't have a great importance.
-In the Caserta'Palace they have already build a set which is described as a "Throne Room".
-The filming in Naples will be used for a planet which is called "BODU".
-Even if Italian newpapers have announced that the filming will take palce from 22 to 27 July, people will start working the 7th of July till the beginning of August. What does this mean? Probably they won't film only in the Caserta'Palace but also in other locations in Italy.

Mazinga is a reliable source, so we've posted this info as fact.

6/25/97 - This comes from The Official Star Wars Homepage:

"June 25, 1997: Preliminary filming on Episode I of the Star Wars prequel trilogy will begin tomorrow, June 26, with principal photography getting under way later this summer."

6/13/97 - This comes from the Prequel Watch homepage on 6/10/97. It is a report from their source TrueFan:

"The Art Department was in overdrive while I was there....and this was a Saturday! They have been told by Lucas that the shooting schedule has been moved up 3 weeks and that didnt give them much time to complete drafts for the final sets being used in the films. I was told that out of the 50 or so sets that are being built in England, only about 75% of them have been finished and the Art Department is working overtime to get the rest of the plans for the sets finalized by the new shooting date......."

6/10/97 - This comes from the 6/13/97 issue of Entertainment Weekly:

""It's probably the most secretive film ever," says prequel cinematographer David Tattersall, who shot Radioland Murders and the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles TV series for Lucas and this summer's Con Air for producer Jerry Bruckheimer. "I've seen the script, but I can't say anything. I had to sign this [confidentiality] document. No telling what they'd do to me if I talked."

"So as Lucas and company set up shop, well aware the whole world is watching, it's sometimes hard to tell whether they're about to make a movie or launch a military strike. "There are guys patrolling the perimeter with dogs and big sticks, and they look mean," says Tattersall. "You need picture IDs and swipe cards to get in everywhere. It's like the Pentagon."

"Both at Leavesden and at Lucasfilm, based north of San Francisco, the top brass have gone to great lengths to classify as many details as possible. For months, Lucasfilm reps indicated that production wasn't likely to get under way until September; last week, they revealed that an initial 13-week live-action shoot on part 1 could in fact conclude by late September, with several rounds of follow-up filming to continue through the fall. "

6/8/97 - These pictures from the 6/6/97 Entertainment Tonight prequel segment showed work being done on the sets. Rick McCallum gave the tour at Leavesden. He stated that there would be 57 sets. 10 - 20 are already completed. This particular one is called the desert sea set. It appears to be the exterior of a Tatooine dwelling set. Not much, but what did you expect, eh?

5/20/97 - The Hollywood Reporter Article (sent by Brent Lynch) stated that rehearsals are set to begin next month in Leavesden, England. Principal Photography starts in the Summer (HR still lists August, but one would imagine if Rehearsals start in a month, July would be the start date). The stuff stated in the Reporter conflicts with what our sources have told us, so we'll have to see what's up.

5/19/97 - Our reliable source has told us that as of this date, the prequel actors have begun rehearsing for their parts in the film. He also stated that shooting is set to begin in 6-8 weeks, which is a lot sooner than we've heard so far. I asked why they are starting so early for a summer 1999 release. I was told that there are so many effects shots that need to be done, they need that much time to get it right.

5/7/97 - As of this date, at least four of the prequel sets have been completed. What they are is still unknown.

- As of the beginning of 1997, the building of sets began at Leavesden Studios in England. For more info on that Click Here!

- They are set to begin filming at the end of September 1997 (SW Insider, Houston Chronicle)

-Locations have been scouted in Morocco, Portugal, Australia, and Tunisia. Tunisia was the location that Tatooine was filmed, so it is safe to say we'll see Tatooine again.

The following articles were brought to our attention by Jay Majer and Harry Knowles on the RASSM Newsgroup. Thanks Guys!

This article was from the Hollywood Reporter:

Pre-'Star Wars' casting its lot with Leavesden

LONDON -- George Lucas' new "Star Wars" prequels, one of the highest-profile movie projects of the decade, will be filmed at Great Britain's Leavesden Studios. An agreement was signed Friday between Leavesden, Britain's newest film studios, and JAK Productions Ltd., the British production unit of the "Star Wars" prequels. Preproduction started Friday as well. Principal photography is expected to begin in fall 1997. The deal is a coup for Leavesden, which has not yet been fully converted but offers one of the world's largest studio facilities. "Star Wars," which will be 20 years old next year, set a film industry record when it grossed roughly $500 million worldwide. It has since been surpassed by "E.T. The Extraterrestrial," "Jurassic Park" and "Forrest Gump." Lucas also is spending millions to revamp the original series, which will be rereleased with new footage and digital effects. (Louise Bateman)

Harry Knowles also found the following article in the Sept. 10th Daily Variety.

"Lucas Starts Production On New 'Star Wars'

By Rex Weiner

HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - Production has started on the next ''Star Wars'' movie, with filming set to begin in late 1997 for a summer 1999 release of the film.

The movie is the first of a three-part prequel set before the events of "Star Wars", "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi."

Leavesden Studios, a former Rolls-Royce factory 25 miles northwest of London, will be the production site.

"Star Wars" creator George Lucas shot the original ``Star Wars'' not far from Leavesden at Elstree Studios. Since then, Elstree has fallen on hard times, but was recently purchased and slated for renovation by the local Hertsmere Council.

"Leavesden has all the things we need," Lucasfilm producer Rick McCallum told Daily Variety, including the largest outdoor backlot in the world.

The studio complex encompasses 100 acres of outdoor backlot in addition to half a million square feet of covered studio space. Its first production was the James Bond movie, "Goldeneye."

Leavesden will be linked to Lucas' headquarters at Skywalker Ranch and his visual effects department at Industrial Light & Magic in northern California via high-tech systems. "It's our concept of the virtual studio," McCallum said.


Harry Knowles is reporting that filming of the prequels will begin on Spetember 8, 1997.  Harry also reported that George Lucas has scrapped 70% of his script for Episode 3.