RIP John Mollo: Creator of the Iconic Costumes of “Star Wars”

#RIP: Academy Award winning costume designer John Mollo has died at 86. He won the 1978 Oscar for his work in #StarWars and based his costume designs on the iconic artwork done for the movie by Ralph McQuarrie.

When the original “Star Wars” (now, “Star Wars IV: A New Hope”) was released in theaters in 1977, audiences had never seen anything like it before and one of the things that made it stand out was its iconic costumes.

The impact that costumes used in a science fiction or fantasy movie can vary widely with audiences. In a hard science fiction movie like “The Martian”, an astronaut wearing a spacesuit isn’t necessarily that impactful aside from the obvious fact that an astronaut would need to wear a spacesuit in order to survive in an environment that is hostile to terrestrial life.

But in a movie like “Star Wars”, costumes were a powerful tool that helped to transport the imaginations of audiences to a galaxy far, far away. Stormtroopers in their glistening white armor and intimidating helmets helped to create fear, as did Darth Vader in his black-caped & imposing helmeted costume. They were part of the faceless empire ruling the galaxy with an iron hand and powerful weapons. Then there was Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi in his aging Jedi robes helping to instill his position as mentor. All of these were the creations of John Mollo.

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Below is John Mollo’s acceptance speech at the 1978 Academy Awards, which includes views of all of the other nominees’ works that were also nominated:

We extend our condolences to the family, fiends & fans of John Mollo. His work will never be forgotten. May he rest in peace.

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“Star Wars” Video Game “Ragtag” & Video Game Studio Visceral Shut Down

Similar to when #Disney shut down #LucasArts & its #StarWars #1313 video game in 2013, #EA has now shut down #Visceral & its video game #Ragtag, which they were developing to be a single-player “Star Wars” video game focused on the villainy of the “Star Wars” universe.

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Key art for Visceral’s Ragtag with key Han Solo-esque character Dodger in the center.

Plagued by a variety of problems, EA shut down Visceral on Oct. 17, 2017 as well as development of the Ragtag video game. While one former unnamed Visceral employees have characterized this as a “mercy killing”, it’s yet another sad chapter in what might have been a very exciting Star Wars video game for fans of the franchise. Ragtag, which was focused on a Han Solo-esque character named Dodger, was going to include a team of other similar playable characters in what was going to be a single-player video game.

While there’s no single reason that anyone can point to why this happened, it’s safe to say that EA simply didn’t see any profit coming from this single-player video game after having spent a lot of time & money on it already. Visceral had a higher operating cost because it was located in San Francisco. It also never had enough staff to develop Ragtag. A decision to “flatten” the management structure at Visceral may have prompted more innovation by the staff that was there, but many key positions that were needed for direction were left unfilled until EA got its Vancouver studio involved, which had a more normal management structure. Not surprisingly, not only did these two management styles come to clash, developers at Visceral came to see decisions and appointments coming from Vancouver as taking over development of the video game from them.

Other contributing factors, such as long delays from #LucasFilm to approve things that Visceral wanted to do, EA managers asking where better known Star Wars characters were, the person in charge (Amy Henning) taking on too much responsibility, etc. (these are listed very well on Kotaku’s article about which we have referenced), were all part of the demise of both the studio and video game.

Unfortunately, we’ll never know who Dodger & his compatriots may have been.

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RIP Roy Dotrice

#RIP: actor Roy Dotrice has died at age 94. He played Hallyne in #GameOfThrones, Commissioner Simmonds in #Space1999, Benson (voice) in #Saturn3, the Elder in #Earth2, Frederick Lantz in #Babylon5, & much more, including a lot of voice work in animated TV series. His non-sci-fi & non-fantasy work included playing Leopold Mozart in #Amadeus and he was also a well known stage actor & won a Tony Award for his work in the revival of “A Moon for the Misbegotten”. May he rest in peace.

Roy Dotrice

Roy Dotrice (1923 – 2017)

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