- A 30-year-old former employee of “Star Wars” creator George Lucas’ northern California facility has been arrested for allegedly stealing images, storyboards and video files from “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones,” including, according to the Marin Independent Journal, the near-completed copy of the film that was clandestinely screened for Aintitcool.com critic Harry Knowles a full two months before the picture’s bow back in May.
Shea O’Brien Foley, employed at NBC’s facilities department in Burbank, was taken into custody Oct. 8 after the ever-secretive Lucasfilm staff tracked the March leak of the film to a screen name “Shay” used in Star Wars chat rooms. Foley worked at the Marin county-based Lucasfilm as a production assistant when the “Clones” copy made its way to Knowles.
Foley was reportedly released Monday from Los Angeles County jail, after posting $200,000 in bail.
Knowles, the online curmudgeon who built his name leaking advance spoilers and commentary on pictures in the works, is reportedly not being targeted by the investigation.
Harry, who is a big scary hairy fat guy, has this to say about that:
- Hey folks, Harry here… Ya gotta love the way the press works. On the front page of AICN for the past two weeks I’ve had the location and phone number of where I would be should anyone needed to reach me while I was in SPAIN. Of course, none of these finally atuned news reporters actually bothered to click on the story HARRY IN SITGES for a clue how to get a hold of me about this recent Lucasfilm Arrest story.
Now at last perhaps some of you folks will realize I was telling you the truth when I told y’all that LucasFilm had no clue I had seen the film that weekend, now you know that a very serious investigation began afterwards. I’ve heard tabs on this investigation from sources in and around LucasFilm for the past… well ever since March 17th, 2002 when my review went up. Now this guy that they arrested, Shea O’Brien Foley, is somebody that was apparently caught in the investigation as having a great deal of materials ranging it seems from Storyboards to Audio to clips to score… all sorts of stuff. Apparently though, he did not have the film. Shea O’Brien Foley is someone I’ve never met, heard from or been contacted by. In some articles they talk about him having frequented Star Wars Chatrooms under the alias of ‘Shay’. Well, I know this may shock you folks, but I’ve never been to a Star Wars chatroom, though at times, AICN’s own chatroom seems to resemble one. AICN’s own chatroom is the only room I ever visit online.
The person(s) that showed up at my booksigning on March 11th, 2002 and that showed me the film in that infamous hotel room on March 16th in Austin have not been caught. They told me that they had covered their tracks perfectly and when I asked what was to become of the tape they showed me, they said it would be returned to “the archive” whatever the hell that means. As for this Shea O’Brien Foley – if you want to know who he was a source for, if he was a source for anyone… Look at the sites that ran storyboards, that provided early links to the score and had astounding behind the scenes early photos from Episode 2. If you search our archive… We didn’t have one of those things. Not one.
This doesn’t mean Shea O’Brien Foley is innocent of the charges LucasFilm has brought against him, only that he is most certainly innocent of showing me anything.
I knew the second that I posted my review last March that a major investigation was going to commence in regards to how I saw the film. And I’m sure LucasFilm will continue their investigation as soon as they see this. The biggest difference between this guy and most of the behind-the-scenes sources (spies, whatnots) is that most of our spies show us things that they’ve borrowed or have permission to show us. This guy was allegedly stealing a great deal of material from LucasFilm to the tune of around $450,000 according to the articles. I am extremely confident that the source(s) that came to Austin all those months ago will never be caught. They were extremely smart, cautious and knew exactly what they were doing. As always, I will protect their identities til my dying breath. And that’s AICN’s side of the story.
And the reel turns.