Friday, August 04, 2006

End of Week STAR WARS

Editor's Note: Given my determination to actually WORK at the office today, it is with great relief that I note that there is very little Star Wars news this week.

Thanks, Uncle G! Phew!

Thanks a Latte, Javva the Hutt
Look closely in the end credits of the Star Wars prequels and you might spot an unusual tribute.

Listed amongst the cast and crew is Javva the Hutt, the employee-adopted cafe that has been fueling artists at Industrial Light & Magic since May 23, 1997. Since relocating from the Marin County facility to the new San Francisco campus, Javva proprietor Michael Smith brews coffee not only for ILM, but for employees at LucasArts and Lucasfilm, as well as George Lucas himself.

"George's preferred coffee drink is a large mocha," Smith smiles. "But most people here live for their lattes."

While working at Skywalker Ranch 1989 to 1992, Smith became friends with corporate facility manager Ralph O'Rear who asked him if he'd like to officially caffeinate the visual effects artists responsible for the prequels. Smith jumped at the chance and has been the ILM barista ever since.

"My daughter Lily actually came up with the name Javva the Hutt," Smith recalls. "She was six years old at the time. It took about three months to get approval from Lucasfilm to use the name and image of Jabba." Editor's Note: Cause Uncle George LOVES you, and wants you to be caffeinated!

Since then, fictional Javva the Hutt cafes have popped up in comics, cartoons and even films. But Smith doesn't mind a bit.

"I don't care because I know there is only one real Javva the Hutt."

Having the cafe immortalized on the big screen wasn't too shabby either.

"Along with all the great support I received over the years from ILM employees, one of my biggest patrons is producer Rick McCallum," Smith says. "He was the one who pushed for me to be put in the end credits." Editor's Note: Yeah. Rickie DOES seem the high-test-caffeine sort of fellow.

When the company relocated to the Presidio, Lucas made sure Javva the Hutt was part of the move, much to the employees' delight.

Smith warns, however, that you probably shouldn't thank the filmmaker by insisting on a free cup of Joe.

"One time someone who had ordered a drink told me to put it on George's tab," Smith laughs. "The guy didn't realize that George was standing right behind him. I don't think I've ever seen anyone turn red so quickly."

Editor's Note: The Pics ----

Another gorgeous 2007 sneak pic: These location studies show unfamiliar angles of a familiar home world.

In this early production painting by Ralph McQuarrie, four humanoid figures march towards Princess Leia, because in this version of the story, Obi-Wan Kenobi lived to the end. Editor's Note: Tough luck, old dude! (pretty pic, though)!

Not sure WHAT this is all about, but I wonder if he does windows?

The cult of LOBOT?

Joe Johnston illustrates a wide-eyed alien design for Empire, which at one point was to be a denizen of Bespin. Editor's Note: Sort of reminds me of a cross between my dog and my dad. (Who has now written me out of what is LEFT of his will.....)


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