Star Wars has always been home to visually stunning special effects and memorable practical effects. From Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back to Unkar Plutt in The Force Awakens, there hasn't been any shortage of functional puppets throughout the saga, and it looks like The Last Jedi will also be following this tradition. Although the internet was set ablaze when the trailer for The Last Jedi dropped, there still hasn't been any significant revelations about the plot. However, we do know that Rey (Daisy Ridley) will be spending time with Luke (Mark Hamill) on Ahch-To - and an update regarding the mysterious island has recently come to light that will please fans of practical effects.
Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Last Jedi
As Ahch-To seems to be unoccupied by humans (except Luke), it looks like the secretive destination is a shelter for terrestrial and semi-aquatic creatures instead, much like Yoda's resident swamp planet, Dagobah. This aspect of the movie has been confirmed by the emergence of set-photos, obtained by Star Wars News Net, which hinted at an odd, bulbous creature living at the edge of the island.
Although blurred images can be found online, a more detailed version of the monster was drafted by Star Wars News Net's artist, Eli Hyder, in order to show fans what to expect.
Although there is no reference to the creature's size in the illustration, the site has confirmed that it's as large as the giant pig-like Happabore featured in The Force Awakens on Jakku.
"To put its size in perspective, based on the two pieces, body and head, we estimate it to be around nine feet tall (around 3 meters), and rounded/wide enough to fit a couple of full sized crafty human puppeteers inside if needed! Now there is no way to determine whether or not the puppet will be size-scaled differently in post-production, but the puppet itself is that large."
As the creature doesn't resemble anything fans have seen before, wild speculations have ranged from calling the creature a relative of Bor Gullet (the tentacled creature in Rogue One) to this film's equivalent to the Wampa. Considering the ongoing complaint from fans that The Force Awakens is a re-hash of A New Hope, it seems unlikely that The Last Jedi will bear any similarities to The Empire Strikes Back. In fact, director Rian Johnson even joked with fans that he'd "spent the last three years just copying Empire".
How Is The New Star Wars Trilogy Implementing Practical Effects?
Since the main focus of the new trilogy is to emulate the aspects that had made the original trilogy feel authentic, SFX artists Chris Corbould and Neal Scanlan were told to concentrate on practical effects right from the get-go. While explaining the process of creating the world of The Force Awakens to DP/30, Neal Scanlan cited the real-life creatures and interactive surroundings in Maz Kanata's castle that had helped in building an atmosphere for the actors and J.J. Abrams to work around,
"We created a back-story for all the characters, why are they there, what do they do, from a creature perspective and a drawing perspective. Whether our back-story was actually correct didn't really matter because we knew the basic feeling of what Maz's world was."
"So, in order for us to bring the characters to life, [the creature-actors] would act out their own back-stories. They were money dealers, cosmetic surgeons and low-lifes. In a sense, J.J.[Abrams] was free to work with the cast and move around this environment freely."
Despite being criticized for using visual effects to bring back Grand Moff Tarkin and a rubbery Princess Leia, Rogue One has also contributed to the legacy of practical effects with the help of Neal Scanlan. Even though a major portion of their screen-time was cut short due to the reshoots, fans can take a look at what underwent during the climactic battle of Scarif in this Star Wars featurette.
The details for The Last Jedi has been kept under the wraps, but the newly acquired sketch suggests there will be at least one practically puppeteered monster for fans to enjoy.
Although these details aren't a definitive indication towards the plot of The Last Jedi, fans will certainly be glad that director Rian Johnson has continued the ritual of using practical effects. The Last Jedi is slated for a December 15 release, so fans still have to wait a few months before seeing what this tentacled creature is doing on Ahch-To.
Are there any creatures from Star Wars that you want to see return to the big-screen? Let me know in the comments!
(Source: Star Wars News Net)