The Empire Strikes Back without music

It’s hard to imagine what Star Wars would be like without the incredible music of composer John Williams. The themes created by the master of movie music are just as iconic as the movie itself, and more recognizable than 95% of the scores we hear for movies. But how does Williams prepare to write music for films?

Some vintage footage from 1980 shows Williams sitting down with producer George Lucas, director Irvin Kershner and producer Gary Kurtz to watch a cut of The Empire Strikes Back without music in order to figure out what he wants to do with the score for these scenes. In the clip, you actually get to see footage from the Star Wars sequel with a temporary soundtrack, and it’s absolutely fascinating. Read More »

Alec Guinness Obi-Wan Kenobi

Besides Thursday’s really big Star Wars Episode VII news, there are some very interesting bits on that film, the casting call, J.J. Abrams and even a change to the original trilogy in today’s Star Wars Bits. Read about the following after the jump:

  • J.J. Abrams discusses fan reactions on the Internet.
  • Saoirse Ronan confirms she didn’t get the role in Star Wars Episode VII.
  • A single line, omitted from Return of the Jedi, changes the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Producer Gary Kurtz and Darth Vader actor David Prowse discuss the Episode VII open casting call.
  • One of the original Jabba The Hutt puppeteers is now a librarian.
  • Watch Adam Savage build Han Solo’s blaster.

Read More »


We’ve seen a few splashes of concept art for Panzer 88, the film to be directed by Peter Briggs with Gary Kurtz producing and effects by WETA. It’s great-looking stuff, showing the intersection of detailed WWII recreation and what appears to be some supernatural element.

Now Peter Briggs is allowing more concept art out into the wild, and he’s talking about the film in much greater detail. Read More »


Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back producer Gary Kurtz is going back to big effects films with Panzer 88. We first heard about the film very briefly last year, when Hellboy co-writer Peter Briggs was said to be directing “a supernatural horror film set in a German tank during WW2.”

At the time, Briggs said he’d been having meetings with Kurtz, and the producer is now completely on board, along with the effects gurus at WETA, who will bring the $20m indie to life. Read More »


scott-pilgrim-international-posterThis week, David Chen, Devindra Hardawar, and Adam Quigley wonder about the other ways that Return of the Jedi might have ended and compare The Expendables unfavorably to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Special guest Jeff Cannata joins us from The Totally Rad Show.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next week on Monday night at 9 PM EST on Slashfilm’s live page as we review Piranha 3D or The Good The Bad and The Weird (one of those, probably).

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There’s nothing quite like a bit of conflict between former creative partners to make a film’s backstory more interesting. George Lucas and Gary Kurtz famously split many years ago after The Empire Strikes Back, when the direction of the Star Wars movies took a turn that Kurtz didn’t like.

Some stories have been told of the split, and of what Kurtz saw as flaws of the Star Wars series. But now, in honor (might use that word lightly) of this weekend’s Star Wars Celebration V, Kurtz has said quite a lot about what he thinks of the Star Wars saga. Read More »