Jim Henson's Creature Shop Is Not Working On Star Wars: Episode VII

By Sean O'Connell 2 years agodiscussion comments
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Jim Henson's Creature Shop Is Not Working On Star Wars: Episode VII image
Star Wars fans possibly looked at the puppet creature trudging along behind director J.J. Abrams on the set of Star Wars: Episode VII in the photo above and got their hopes up that the legendary Jim Hensonís Creature Shop finally was collaborating with the sci-fi universe on a story set in a galaxy far, far away. Well, letís bring you back down to Earth.

Representatives for The Jim Henson Company denied to SlashFilm that the Creature Shop Ė which keeps its creative fingers in many Hollywood pots Ė has any involvement in Star Wars: Episode VII. There was reason to believe this was possible. J.J. Abrams has been saying on record that itís his intention to rely on practical effects whenever possible, putting his first Star Wars film closer in line to A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back than to the digital chill of, say, Attack of the Clones.

In other words, characters that look like this:

Yoda Empire

As opposed to ones that move like this:

Not that Jim Hensonís Creature Shop had anything to do with Star Wars: Episode VII in the first placeÖ or any past Star Wars film, for that matter. While itís true George Lucas approached Jim Henson back in the day to design the Yoda puppet for Star Wars: Episode V Ė The Empire Strikes Back, Henson was too bogged down with running his own company, and passed. He did recommend Stuart Freeborn, though, who ended up completing the task, and later told IGN in an interview:
I was the one who kind of put all the elements of Yoda together, and although Jim [Henson] didnít make Yoda, George [Lucas] and he had an understanding that they would exchange technology information. George would give to Jim and Jim would give some of his people to George to help. Wendy Froud helped out a little bit with the character and two other people from Jimís company worked the cables for me."

So thereís history between the two creative houses, just not enough to establish a partnership for Star Wars: Episode VII. Which might depress die-hards who were anxious for J.J. Abrams to get the best in the business as creature creation and manipulation when returning to the Star Wars universe. The companyís most recent credits include The Muppets movie, The Hitchhikerís Guide to the Galaxy, and Where the Wild Things Are. On television, they have worked on Sesame Street, The Sunny Side Up Show and BBCís Me and My Monsters. They just arenít working on Star Wars: Episode VII. I wonder who is?
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