A Lost Gerry Anderson Treasure?
Sadly many of the productions Gerry Anderson developed never made it to completion. For some the holy grail of these is Five Star Five – a movie that would have been the successor to “Space 1999”.
The best way to describe the film is that it would have been the British “Star Wars”. The story is an epic sci-fi fantasy tale about an ex-soldier turned freighter captain recruited to help protect a planet about to be destroyed by an attacking Zargonian invasion force. The script features a plethora of exciting action sequences which would have looked amazing on the big screen.
Sadly despite 5 Star 5 being so close to actually going into production, we have precious little to show for it bar the script, a poster and a few concept study models, (2 space ships and a gun with little context on what they where designed to be).
Therefore as an artist I decided to give it a go, so for the past year, designing 5 Star 5 has been my pet project and I am very exited to give you a look into some of the designs i’ve come up with.
Zargonian Stealth Transport
“We are following an AEROSPACE VEHICLE. It is flying at zero feet and travelling at FIVE THOUSAND MILES PER HOUR !
It hugs the contours of the planet; one moment skimming over the sea ••• then climbing steeply to cross a 20,000 ft.
mountain range•••now diving almost vertically into the plain below•••pulling out to fly along a narrow valley, the hills either side accentuating the already sickening visual sense of speed.”
When this site was set up, Anderson Entertainment published the first few pages of what would have been the film’s opening sequence. We see a hypersonic stealth craft hurtle through the sky, this craft is our first look at Zargonian technology and it needs to look dark and aggressive.
For inspiration I looked at the lockheed Blackbird and gave it a sort of alien make over, it is variable geometry so smaller scissor like wings fold out and its midsection lowers to reveal the boarding ramp. Just imagine a model of this cruising along to a composited pre-filmed sky, (Ala “Firefox”).
The second image gives a glimpse into to the surface of the planet “Kestra”. While the script is a little vauge regarding the look of each vehicle, it does go into quite a bit of detail regarding it’s flora, the look, the animal life how many moons the planet has etc. It specifies particularly the bizarre color scheme the planet goes through. Day being red and night , purple.
“An old, very battered TRANSPORTER moves through space.
In preparing for this project I looked up a lot of films that would have been released in the post Star Wars sci-fi boom (post 1977, 5*5 being set to film in 79) The idea of the “Spaceship” had changed dramatically over the last few years and we where starting to see much blockier, more grungy asymmetrical designs. One of the most common shapes in this era was the “hammerhead” type style that the “Rebel Blockade runner” seemed to have inspired, this design seems to have popped up all over the place (Battle Beyond the Stars, Battlestar Galactica, Starcrash etc).
As a nod to the era, this became the main idea that became the ” B156 Transporter”, the unnamed rundown freighter ship that carries our protagonist “John Lovell” throughout the galaxy. The script compares her to an old Dakota aircraft which to me says she is an old reliable workhorse from a different age. This one is old and barely holding together but she sees quite a lot of action particularly during the climax.
The challenge was to create something that was ugly, but that people could grow to like as the story moved on, while at the same time not copying the “Millennium Falcon” or “Serenity”. I settled on what is essentially a brick with big massive engines that are powerful enough to make anything fly. She dosen’t look like much standing still but wait till she’s flying through the air like a giant sky punch screaming “SCREW GRAVITY” :).
“A Bl56? ••• I didn’t realise any of those heaps of scrap were still flying.”
Also Pictured above is the Kestran Intercepter, a light attack fighter used by the Kestran defence force.
“The picture appears. There are three SPACE INTERCEPTORS flying in tight formation moving towards the TRANSPORTER at a tremendous velocity. They flash past very close.”
As Brain Johnston was aboard the project I drew some inspiration from the Eagle transporter, a little nod in the engine bells and the panelling.
Hopefully that was a fun little taste of what Five Star Five has to offer, believe me theres a lot more, vast starships, an impregnable asteroid fortress a demolition robot that just wants to be loved and even a rather funky floating restaurant, had it been made it could have been one of the most visually spectacular films from the era.
I just hope one day we’ll all get to see it.