Peek inside the most expensive puppet ever created: Jabba the Hutt

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It took two to three people to work the monstrous Star Wars character. Photo: Lucasfilm
It took two to three people to work the monstrous Star Wars character. Photo: Lucasfilm

Galactic crime lord Jabba the Hutt may just be the most costly puppet ever made.

“I knew that he was expensive in that with the full crew involved,” says puppeteer Toby Philpott in a new video, “it would be about a dozen people.”

In this new documentary from London-based Jamie Benning, you’ll get a literal inside look at how this immense, multi-person operated puppet was put together and performed by the two to three men inside the Hutt, as well as the various people controlling the eyes via radio control outside.

Take a look at the video below to peek inside the creature.

1983’s Return of the Jedi, directed by Richard Marquand, features the first appearance of Jabba, though he’s mentioned in the earlier two films. He’s a brilliant, sadistic slug of a creature who sees through both Luke’s Jedi persona as well as Leia’s ruse to get into Jabba’s palace and free Han Solo.

He was also extremely delicate and cobbled together, says Philpott, who — along with Henson regulars Dave Barclay on the right arm and mouth and Mike Edmonds in the tail — moved the head from side to side and managed the tongue that slimed Carrie Fisher in one scene.

This short film started as even shorter conversations between the filmmaker Benning and Philpott, but grew into the longer piece you can see today. It’s a striking look at one of the most enduring film stories of all time, and one you’ll want to take time out of your day for.

Source: Vimeo