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Yoda and Jabba the Hutt Puppeteer Shares STAR WARS Stories

Yoda and Jabba the Hutt Puppeteer Shares STAR WARS Stories

In 1980, Star Wars fans were wowed by many things about The Empire Strikes Back, but perhaps most of all by the introduction of YodaFrank Oz has rightly earned praise for his performance as the Jedi Master, but it was also a combination of puppetry and animatronic technology that contributed to making the iconic character feel alive. In a new video from Great Big Story, the spotlight falls on Dave Barclay, Oz’s assistant puppeteer on Empire, who went on to much bigger things in Return of the Jedi and beyond.

Via io9, Barclay shared the story of how he got his big break in the industry at 19 years old, when Oz was forced to leave the set of Empire early to move onto another project. Oz personally nominated Barclay to take over the role, and Lucasfilm was so impressed by the results that it led to Barclay getting an invitation to return for the sequel. In Return of the Jedi, Barclay was one of several puppeteers behind Jabba the Hutt, and provided Jabba’s onstage voice as well.

Although the industry has largely moved toward CGI, Barclay expressed gratitude for his chance to explore his craft onscreen in the decades that followed. “As a puppeteer, and a puppet maker, and someone who loves the movies, it was always in the exactly the right place at the right time. And I’ve had a wonderful career doing what I adore. So I feel very lucky and privileged.”

What do you think about the new video from Great Big Story? Let us know in the comment section below!

Image: Lucasfilm

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