Tag Archives: Luke Skywalker

The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars: The Last Jedi – UPDATED

The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department
The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department

StarWars.com take a look inside the Lucasfilm Archive, for a closer look at Jedi Texts used in Star Wars: The Last Jedi and the stories behind their design, and the tangible links to connect the characters from a galaxy far, far away and the stories they inhabit.

The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department
The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department

Extract from StarWars.com

There’s a feeling of reverence surrounding the ancient Jedi texts. Secreted away on Ahch-To in a sacred place built a thousand generations ago to keep the knowledge of the Jedi Order safe for future disciples, the venerable tomes represent the last remnants of the Jedi religion, the last echoes of wisdom from an order on the verge of extinction.

The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department
The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department

In-world, the library is a symbol of Luke Skywalker’s lost faith — in himself, the Force, and the teachings of his masters, — realised as simple, incendiary paper volumes that he tries but fails to torch in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Printed books are a rare find in a modern galaxy that prefers data-pads and holograms as primary forms of communication. But stashed away in a drawer aboard the Millennium Falcon, the scriptures survive for another day in Rey’s care.

The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department
The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department

To create the hero Jedi Order book, pulled from the petite row and opened to reveal the Jedi emblem for mere seconds on screen, prop makers and artisans designed and printed painstakingly detailed vellum-like sheets then bound them in the cast of a hand-carved cover.

The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department
The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department

The final effect is mesmerising in person. “This is a pretty prized piece,” says Lucasfilm Archivist Madlyn Burkert. Beyond that first page are a host of individual pages, designed and lettered as if they truly held the knowledge of those first Jedi practitioners. There’s incredible attention to detail on each page, layers of gold leaf mixed with blue pigments and an unidentified script, perhaps inspired but some of the earliest scrolls and scribbles from our own human history.

The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department
The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department

Originally, the props team conceptualised about 40 different volumes, of varying sizes and finishes, which director Rian Johnson narrowed down to a slim 10 finalists for the sacred shelf.

The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department Luke
The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department Luke

Burkert says the prop makers were given free rein with their own personal inspiration, provided that the final series looked like a set of ancient volumes when they were finished. As part of the process, the team researched old book-binding methods, so that each book would be unique in its fabrication.

The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department
The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department

For the hero book, the only volume that gets pulled from the stacks and cracked open on-screen, Burkert says the prop makers created the cover by hand, with lettering cut from leather and applied to the front before being covered in layers of vellum-type paper for texture. Then the entire thing was cast and moulded from resin before being tied back together. “For the cover, there’s leather strapping that holds it together,” Burkert says.

The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department
The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department

Meanwhile, Lucasfilm’s graphics department created about 80 unique interior pages on handmade paper, taking great care beyond the single page glimpsed in the film. Look closely and you can see the way the ream of paper has some give beneath Luke’s gloved hand.

The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department
The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department

To complete the work, the props department aged and weathered the pages, rebound the book, and added the gold leaf accents. According to Prop-maker Martyn Doust, it took the props team two weeks to complete a single volume from start to finish.

The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department
The Jedi Texts and Books from Star Wars The Last Jedi Prop Department

The finished prop volume has a substantial weight to it, although the bindings make it difficult to flip through like a contemporary printed text. It’s now kept sequestered in a special slip cover and carefully boxed away in the Lucasfilm Archives, a testament to the precision of the prop makers who imbued such an important piece of Jedi history with its own awe-inspiring mystique.

Prop photos taken at Lucasfilm headquarters by Kyle Kao.

UPDATED – The Sacred Jedi Texts Pages for Star Wars awesomely recreated by Lee Harris

The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
The Sacred Jedi Texts from Star Wars The Last Jedi Lucasfilm Prop Department
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There has been an awakening… on Instagram

A new teaser has debuted for Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Instagram featuring John Boyega’s character, Finn, wielding what looks like Luke Skywalker’s ‘lost’ blue lightsaber as he appears to face off with Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren of the Knights of Ren in a continuation of the much-discussed ‘crossguard lightsaber’ scene from the first Force Awakens trailer, although Finn looks more ‘badass’ angry than Kylo.

The video dropped on Instagram as a demonstration of the platform’s newly introduced landscape and portrait orientation options for photos and videos.

The Ann Skinner Collection

If you’re not living in a Star Wars fandom world (like me) you’ll be saying who the blimey is Ann Skinner?  …well in the geeky photography circles she had one of the most enviable jobs in geekologie history, that was as the continuity supervisor for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. She had her own personal ‘The Star War‘ script along with a Polaroid camera and endless amounts of film to record/capture all the scenes in the film for continuity errors. These rare ‘never seen before’ Star Wars photos have such a raw beauty and quality to them, which only instant Polaroid film produces, they even include the lovely little side notes she adds around the borders.

To celebrate the British Film Institute’s amazing new exhibition ‘On-Set – Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope’ they have been given her exclusive script pages and the Polaroids from the film which include scenes that were never filmed and snapshots of the cast behind the scenes on this immortal sci-fi classic of so love.

All Image Credits: BFI National Archive/© & TM Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

Transcript from the BFI

In the spring of 1976, shooting began on Star Wars, a film described by its writer and director George Lucas as a modern fairytale set “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away”. Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) dreams of becoming a space pilot and escaping his mundane life as a farm boy on the desert planet of Tatooine. His wish becomes reality when he’s plunged into the civil war between the evil Galactic Empire and a band of daring rebels, led by the beautiful Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher).

Star Wars was filmed on location in Tunisia and at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire. Its innovative special effects were created in California by Lucas’s company, Industrial Light &Magic. Artist Ralph McQuarrie produced early visual concepts which were developed by the film’s American and British crews. Joe Johnston led a team of artists and designers in the US, while British personnel in key visual roles included production designer John Barry, costume designer John Mollo and cinematographer Gil Taylor.

As continuity supervisor on Star Wars, Skinner needed to have a thorough understanding of every part of the script. It was her job to ensure that scenes shot days or weeks apart would seamlessly come together in the editing room. Skinner describes her role as being that of “the editor’s agent on the studio floor; the intermediary between the director and the editor”. She kept a detailed record of the film as shot, so her copy of the script – now held as part of the Special Collections of the BFI National Archive – is crammed full of detailed annotations as well as unique Polaroid photographs taken on set.

Continuity was by Ann Skinner whose impressive CV also includes Far from the Madding Crowd (1967), Darling (1965) and Oh! What a Lovely War (1969). Continuity (also known as script supervision) is a hugely important role but is often overlooked when writing about filmmaking. Continuity supervisors have an extremely demanding job which necessitates a sophisticated understanding of all aspects of film production and film grammar. They also need to have a strong eye for detail and be able to notice and record any changes or discrepancies that would stop a film cutting together. Historically it’s been a role that has frequently been taken on by women (although this is now becoming more gender balanced) and for many years the continuity supervisor was known as a ‘script girl’ or ‘continuity girl’.

Skinner’s first job upon receiving the script in pre-production was to go through it to time the expected running length (to keep producer and director informed of the film’s expected overall duration); to check the running order of scenes to ensure days and times of day were consistent and followed a logical progression (continuity mistakes can often be introduced during rewrites); and to make notes on particular props that would need to be used across particular scenes.

The pages below are from the opening scene of the film, as Princess Leia’s ship is attacked by an Imperial Star Destroyer. The evil Dark Lord Darth Vader believes the rebels have stolen the plans for the Death Star, a new space station designed to become the Empire’s most deadly weapon. You can see the first notes Ann made to her script in pre-production in red and green pen. The note “U.S.A.” means that this scene consists of special effects and is being created at Industrial Light & Magic in California. Other notes highlight more localised effects (the explosion and smoke) and the props that are needed (Luke’s utility belt, electrobinoculars and rifle).

Because films are rarely shot in sequence, the slate number also enables an understanding of when during production a particular shot was taken. The lower the number, the closer to the beginning of the shoot. This page contains both studio and location scenes. Shooting on Star Wars began in Tunisia (representing the desert planet Tatooine) so scenes taken there have lower slate numbers than those done later at Elstree (83/84/85 as opposed to 735-747).

An enormous amount of information has to be captured within a short amount of time, so Polaroid photos provided a quick visual reference for details such as the positions of characters and props, and intricacies of costume. These were stapled into the script alongside the relevant scenes, and are generally accompanied by copious notes adding more information.

Capturing information about different takes and dialogue changes is a central part of the continuity supervisor’s on-set work. The images below show rehearsal and different take positions for the scene in which Luke goes in search of the droid Artoo and is attacked by Sandpeople (aka Tusken Raiders). At the end of each day, Ann would type up continuity sheets, using her script as reference. This would include information for the editor including which takes director George Lucas wanted to use.

Some scenes presented particular challenges in continuity terms. After Luke, Han Solo and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) rescue Princess Leia from her Death Star prison cell, they attempt to escape via their only possible escape route, down a garbage chute. They land at the bottom and the walls of the garbage masher begin to close in, threatening to crush our heroes.

Skinner took a large number of Polaroids in both colour and black and white to record the position of the walls and debris at different stages in the scene, often linking these stages to lines of dialogue (such as Han’s sarcastic response to Leia’s orders: “yes your worship”).

Skinner’s script also includes scenes that were shot but which didn’t make it into the finished film. The shooting script has more action on Tatooine as we see Luke meeting up with his friends The Fixer, Camie and Biggs (who we meet again later in the film as one of the rebel fighters who joins the assault on the Death Star).

Skinner’s script was an essential tool of the production of Star Wars, created to aid the immensely complicated task of shooting a film. Viewed now though, it serves as an incredible visual record of the making of a legendary film. Through its notes and images, we get a sense of what was happening on set, and how location, studio and special effects work meshed together in post-production.

We even get to see actors relaxed and out of character and/or (partly) out of costume. Two of my favourite such images show Darth Vader (David Prowse) sans helmet, and Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin (described in the script as a “thin evil man”) breaking into a decidedly out-of-character smile.

The exhibition On-Set: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope runs in the Atrium, BFI Southbank until 4 January 2015.