Jabba The Hutt is a remarkable piece of puppetry.
We take realistic, relatable movie creatures for granted today, but when Return of the Jedi was released in 1983, Jabba was unlike anything that audiences had seen before. The mini-documentary, Slimy Piece of Worm-Ridden Filth: Life Inside Jabba the Hutt, provides the most in-depth look at the performance of Jabba I’ve ever seen. Using a mixture of clips from various Star Wars “making of” features, animation and an original audio interview with one of Jabba’s puppeteers, Tony Philpott, it explains how the great big space slug was brought to life.
This is the work of Jamie Benning, the creator of other outstanding “filmumentaries” like Star Wars Begins, Building Empire, Raiding the Lost Ark and Inside Jaws. More than one person has called him the ultimate movie fan documentary maker. Jamie coined the term “filmumentary” to describe the unique homemade love letters he makes to his favourite `80s films. They’re a unique form of documentary mash-up that combines the original film with interesting anecdotes and trivia, rare photos, behind-the-scenes clips and original interviews. In the process he often provides insights and history that you won’t discover in official documentaries sanctioned by Hollywood studios (I especially love his habit of interviewing the sorts of below-the-line crew members who are almost never interviewed by anyone).
This particular video is really timely. The creative team reviving Star Wars has already announced their attention to use more “old school” creatures and special effects in future movies. The internet has been filled with (unconfirmed) rumours that puppets of Jabba and/or some of his fellow Hutts were built for the upcoming Star Wars sequels and spinoffs. Will Jabba and his foam latex brethren slither across movie screens once more?
Only time will tell, but Hollywood loves it when an old movie star decides to make a comeback.