Home Entertainment News Behind-The-Scenes: The Improvised Wampa Scene in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’

Behind-The-Scenes: The Improvised Wampa Scene in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’

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ToKyo, Japan - Feb 19 2017, Darth Vader from Star wars with Stormtroopers army figures in background (AKKHARAT JARUSILAWONG / Shutterstock.com)

Key Takeaways:
* 's Wampa in The Empire Strikes Back had to be improvised.
* The original costume of the Wampa was impractical for filming.
* wanted an expanded Wampa scene in The Empire Strikes Back's special edition.
* The scene was filmed utilizing practical effects, not CGI.
* The special edition of The Empire Strikes Back will be available to watch on Day, May 4, 2024.

For avid Star Wars admirers, The Empire Strikes Back reigns as a staple in the iconic franchise. As Star Wars Day approaches, will undoubtedly revisit notable scenes, including the memorable encounter between Luke Skywalker and the deadly creature, Wampa. However, creating this scene from George Lucas's masterpiece required more improvisation than might imagine.

The Making of the Infamous Wampa Scene

In this standout scene, Luke Skywalker, portrayed by Mark Hamill, is abducted by a Wampa on the icy planet Hoth. The creature drags a passed-out Luke through the snow to its cave. Here, Luke eventually clinches victory over the beast.

Sources cite a Star Wars Insider article that reveals the original method employed to film the scene. The plan involved a life-sized Wampa costume, worn by the Des Webb perched on stilts. Nonetheless, the filming did not go as smoothly as expected. The costume was burdensome and the stilts weren't to manoeuvre in snow, leading to a change in plan.

The of Filming with a Life-Sized Wampa Costume

The theme of practicality sprung up more than once during the filming. Howie Weed, a CG modeller who portrayed the Wampa in the special edition, voiced concerns over the costume's impracticality. He drew attention to difficulties such as dragging while on stilts and the scale of the suit compared to the actor. Given these challenges, the replaced the idea with a solution that ultimately left the Wampa largely unseen in the final cut.

Lucas's Vision: A More Elaborate Wampa Scene

Lucas wasn't satisfied with the outcome. In his pursuit of perfection, Lucas aimed to build upon the Wampa scene for The Empire Strikes Back's special edition. He decided that the creature would be recreated through practical effects rather than CGI, leading to an intricately detailed and gorier version of the Wampa.

Detailed Storyboards and Minor Adjustments Lead to an Enhanced Scene

In line with Lucas's vision, the ILM art department constructed numerous storyboards for the revamped scene. The crew decided to use an actor in a suit again, but without stilts and in decreased proportions.

These minor tweaks resulted in significant transformation. The costume was tightly wrapped around Weed and the size of the cave was reduced to make the creature seem larger. Lucas even incorporated blood and goo spurting from the Wampa's mouth for a grotesque and monstrous visual.

The Result: A Revised Wampa Scene for the Special Edition

Perseverance and creativity paid off. These simple yet effective changes directed by Lucas ameliorated the scene in the special edition release of The Empire Strikes Back. Fans will have an opportunity to watch this enhanced version on May 4, 2024, to commemorate Star Wars Day. Currently, Star Wars fans can view The Empire Strikes Back on Disney+.

In summary, creating The Empire Strikes Back was an epic journey. From the freezing desolation of Hoth to Luke Skywalker's confrontation with the Wampa, the production called for ingenuity and determination. The final film is a testament to the team's imagination and tireless efforts to bring George Lucas's vision to life.

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