unused star wars creatures

The future of movie theaters seems tenuous at the moment, but the prevailing wisdom right now seems to be that when the coronavirus crisis ends, (some) theaters will still be around, even if they’re only used for mega-blockbuster comic book and Star Wars movies. While we wait to learn more about what will happen to the theater industry, let’s turn our attention to Lucasfilm’s future on the small screen – specifically, the Cassian Andor Disney+ series which acts as a prequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. According to a new interview, this show will serve as a “second chance” for Star Wars creatures who may have only gotten a brief moment of screen time, or a place for previously-made but unused creatures to finally make their mark in a galaxy far, far away. Read More »

Creature and Special Make-up Effects Creative Supervisor Neal Scanlan began his career working on films such as Walt Disney’s Return to Oz, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and the 1986 Oscar-nominated Little Shop of Horrors. A founding member of the Jim Henson Creature Shop, Neal was involved in projects such as WitchesBabe (for which he won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects), 101 DalmatiansThe English Patient, and more.

In 2011, Scanlan was asked to head up the Creature and Make-Up FX department for the new series of Star Wars movies. He has worked on every film of the Disney era: The Force Awakens, Rogue One, The Last Jedi, Solo, and the final episode of the nine-part Skywalker Saga, The Rise of Skywalker.

With The Rise of Skywalker now available on Digital HD and hitting 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on March 31st, I recently got the chance to speak to Scanlan about his work on the film. He discussed the process of creating creatures for the saga, the origins of Babu Frik, and some tantalizing details on a character we didn’t see: The Eye of Webbish Bog.

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the rise of skywalker deleted scene

Based on various reports – and the official novelization – it’s clear that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker underwent some big changes before it ever hit the big screen. One such change was the removal of a sequence where Kylo Ren visits a creature to learn the location of Darth Vader’s Sith wayfinder. According to Star Wars creature designer Neal Scanlan, the creature – dubbed The Eye of Webbish Bog – was actually built, and the scene was shot.

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Creating Babu Frik

If you loved or hated Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, chances are pretty high that you walked out of the theater loving Babu Frik, the pint-sized alien technician who helped out heroes in a time of great need. /Film recently spoke with creature and special make-up effects creative supervisor Neal Scanlan about the origins of the goofy little droidsmith, building the character model, collaborating with actress Shirley Henderson on the final product, and more. Read More »

Star Wars Labyrinth tribute

Though The Muppets creator Jim Henson never officially worked on a Star Wars movie, he did work with George Lucas on the 1986 fantasy film Labyrinth. And it turns out that Neal Scanlan, the creature and special make-up effects creative supervisor for the five most recent Star Wars films, also worked on Labyrinth in the early days of his career as an effects artist.

With that cinematic connection in mind, Scanlan reveals that he and his team embedded a Labyrinth tribute in last year’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, paying homage to Henson and the movie’s big furry creature Ludo. Read More »

solo concept art

Solo: A Star Wars Story is now playing in theaters everywhere. Also available: The Art of Solo: A Star Wars Story, a book loaded with great concept art that tracks the creation of the film’s many worlds and characters.

Below, check out some exclusive Solo concept art from The Art of Solo.

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BB-8 Car Charger

An incredible amount of work and thought are put into each creature in the Star Wars galaxy. But what about the lovable droids who stand alongside the human heroes of the franchise? That includes BB-8, who was introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Poe Dameron’s best friend and, once he’s found by Rey, the impetus for the plot of Episode 7.

But it turns out that adorable galaxy-saving droid that everyone affectionately calls BB-8 could have had a totally different name.

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Yoda in The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is filled with surprises and one of them is the appearance of a character few of us expected to show up in this particular Skywalker saga episode. While talking with writer/director Rian Johnson, I learned the story behind this special moment.

Major spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi follow.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi Canto Bight aliens

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has double the practical effects of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Not only that, but Star Wars creature designer Neal Scanlan reveals that there has never been a Star Wars movie with more practically created effects. While speaking with Scanlan, I learned more about how the Last Jedi practical creatures, droids, and visual effects came into being.

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porgs

When you get the oppurtunity to sit down and talk with Star Wars creature designer Neal Scanlan, you’re obligated to spend the majority of the interview talking about possibly the most important artistic creation from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Of course, I’m talking about the Porgs.

In our conversation, I learned how the porgs came into being, how many were created for the film, how they are related to the Caretakers on Ach-to, and most importantly, whether or not Porgs fly. Here is everything you wanted to know about the Porgs, revealed by Neal Scanlan.

Note: this review was conducted before I had seen the film and there are no spoilers.

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