Highlands & Islands

Chosen wans: Seven things linking Scotland to Star Wars

Yoda mask on a table in coffee shop

Auditions are being held for two lead roles in Star Wars: Episode VII. Glasgow's Science Centre will be the venue for casting sessions this weekend. Ahead of that event here are seven things linking Scotland with the films - as well as books, comics and the animated TV series

The chosen wans

Scots have secured starring roles in the films before.

Denis Lawson played rebel X-Wing fighter pilot Wedge Antilles in the original film trilogy.

Image caption Scots actor Denis Lawson played ace fighter pilot Wedge Antilles

Lawson's drama school class-mate, Carnoustie-born Ian McDiarmid, starred as the Empire's powerful emperor in 1983's Return of the Jedi and appeared in the most recent films: The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

And Lawson's nephew - Ewan McGregor played a young Obi Wan Kenobi in the last three movies to be made.

In The Phantom Menace, Glasgow-born Ray Park played Darth Maul, a fierce, horned warrior serving the evil Dark Side.

Star Wars fans have been posting messages on Twitter urging Darth Maul to make an appearance in the new movie.

Sonic screwdriver to light saber

Doctor Who actor David Tennant provided the voice for a robot in two episodes of the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars that were screened last year.

His character Prof Huyang is an ancient droid that oversees the construction of lightsabers for Jedi knights.

The role won Tennant the Outstanding Performer in an Animated Programme award at this year's Emmys.

Han Solo's a Skye walker

Han Solo has been to Skye, not the Scottish island, but the fictional planet Skye.

Image caption Harrison Ford as space smuggler and rebel fighter Han Solo

The smuggler narrowly escapes with his life from the war-ravaged world in the books, according to Wookieepedia: The Star Wars Wiki.

Han Solo is one of US actor Harrison Ford's best known roles.

Another is the whip-cracking, adventure seeking archaeologist Indiana Jones.

In the third movie in that franchise, The Last Crusade, Jones pretends to be a Scottish lord to gain access to a castle where his father - played by Sean Connery - is being held captive.

Always tunes, there are

Yoda, the small green Jedi master, has not been to Skye of the real or imaginary version, as far as we know.

But his namesake, musician DJ Yoda, has come pretty close on a number of occasions as a regular feature of the RockNess music festival at Dores on the shores of Loch Ness.

DJ Yoda played a set at this summer's festival.

I am your great-great grandfather

Illustrator and designer Ralph McQuarrie, who died last year, produced concept art for many of the original Star Wars' characters and space craft.

McQuarrie had Scottish ancestry, according to the Clan MacQuarrie Society in the US.

Image caption Darth Vader is one of Star Wars' best known villians

It says census documents show McQuarrie's great-great grandfather Archibald went to Cape Breton in Nova Scotia from the Hebridean island of Eigg.

The Eigg Heritage Trust, meanwhile, has census records listing a 10-year-old Archibald living on the isle with his sister Isabella, brother John and their parents Donald and Isabella in 1841.

The family does not appear in a census 10 years later, suggesting that they left Eigg some time during that period, possibly for Canada as other families in the Highlands and Islands were doing at that time.

Never underestimate the power of Clydeside?

For years Darth Vader, whose look was hugely influenced by Ralph McQuarrie's designs, has been linked to a story about the late British director Ken Annakin.

Image caption George Lucas and Jake Lloyd, who played a young Anakin Skywalker

Annakin made 50 films including It Began on Clydeside in 1946 which examined health problems afflicting war-time industrial workers in Scotland. The short film is in the Scottish Screen Archive.

He also directed Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, The Battle of the Bulge and some exterior scenes for The Longest Day.

Annakin was a friend of George Lucas and credited as being the inspiration for the name Anakin Skywalker, the young gifted Jedi who is seduced by the Dark Side and becomes Darth Vader.

This connection between the British director and the "Chosen One" is recounted by Star Wars historians Ryder Windham and Peter Vilmer's hefty tome, Star Wars: The Complete Vader.

However, following Annakin's death in 2009, Lucas' publicist told the LA Times that Annakin was not the inspiration for the Jedi.

In the films, young Anakin Skywalker is played by actors Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen.

Clone drawers

Scots have helped to bring to life Star Wars stories in the spin-off comic books.

Veteran Orkney-based artist Cam Kennedy illustrated Star Wars comic books Dark Empire One, Dark Empire Two and a 1995 comic about bounty hunter Boba Fett.

More recently, Edinburgh illustrator Tanya Roberts has provided art work for Star Wars: The Clone Wars comics.

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