The Rise of Skywalker originally featured a cool little tribute to Jim Henson. However, it was later cut from the movie. Star Wars creature master Neal Scanlan revealed the news in a recent interview, promoting the digital and upcoming Blu-ray edition of the final installment in the Skywalker Saga. Henson never made creatures for the Star Wars franchise, but he did work with George Lucas on 1986’s Labyrinth, along with Scanlan.
Neal Scanlan recalls, “I worked on Sir Didymus during Labyrinth, and I remember watching the character, Ludo, being built.” Ludo is the massive, but kind-hearted furry giant that becomes the friend of Jennifer Connelly’s character in the movie. So, that had Scanlan thinking when he was working on The Rise of Skywalker. “I remember Ludo coming together, and Jim seeing him. When it came time to do The Rise of Skywalker, I said, ‘Why don’t we do a version of that?'” Scanlan had this to say about the character not making it in the movie.
“To my knowledge, he didn’t make the movie. He may be in the Kijimi bar momentarily. If he is, some fan might pick up on it, and say, ‘Oh, that looks like Ludo.’ And they’d be right! He was envisaged the same way and performed in exactly the same way, because that technology was amazing in its day and still is, in my opinion.”
However, all is not lost on The Rise of Skywalker version of Ludo. He has been created and could easily be thrown into a future Star Wars project that Neal Scanlan is working on. Plus, Scanlan reveals that a lot more goes in to making one of these creatures than one would normally assume. He explains.
“We always have a little backstory of our own for every character we make – it gives us a bit of a giggle. So it would be wonderful for my crew’s work to be seen, because everyone puts so much of their life into it. My hope is that in the worlds we go to visit and the stories we hope to cover, some of these characters that we haven’t seen, or have seen only a small amount, will have a legitimate role in the storytelling process. It won’t just be a case of bringing them back for the sake of bringing them back; it also happens that it’s the right timeline, and the right location.”
It’s a shame that a Jim Henson and Labyrinth tribute did not make it into The Rise of Skywalker. Henson passed away nearly 30 years ago, but his spirit lives on through the amazing characters he introduced the world to. The Muppets, along with some of the Sesame Street and Fraggle Rock characters, are what he is probably best-known for, but Labyrinth, which starred the late great David Bowie, is right up there.
The Rise of Skywalker is currently available to purchase digitally and will be released on Blu-ray March 31st. The movie was divisive amongst fans when it hit theaters late last year, but it seems that some of the criticism has largely died down now that the digital release is out. There are far more troubling things to worry about these days than a Star Wars movie. You can check out the rest of the interview with Neal Scanlan over at Yahoo. You can check out the creature that was created as a tribute to Ludo below.