The Battle of Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back is one of the most incredible scenes in all of Star Wars. The Rebels were in danger, and it’s so intense that I still get nervous about whether Han and Leia will escape Darth Vader. The image of the Imperial Walkers/AT-ATs striding into the picture is burned into my brain, and I always cheer when the X-wing darts around the legs of one of the AT-ATs and takes it down. It took an incredible amount of painstaking work to get the AT-ATs across the battlefield, and Joe Johnston recently shared a behind the scenes look at the stop-motion animation for the Walkers.
Johnston served as the art director of visual effects for the film and captured super 8mm footage of Phil Tippett, Jon Berg and Doug Beswick animating the Walkers for Empire. It’s been digitized, and it’s fascinating to see all the minute changes that went into creating the memorable moment. The video also includes a brief look at Mike Pangrazio painting the landscape backgrounds.
Stop-motion animation should always be a part of filmmaking. It definitely has a place in Johnston’s heart. In the video description he states:
“As I watch this for the first time in thirty-five years I am truly amazed at the amount of work that went into the creation of just one shot in this iconic sequence. I love stop motion with all it’s archaic flaws and charm. This is a great example of what will hopefully not become a lost art form.”
I hope we see it used in the making of Episode VII.
HT: Jedi News