The actor lobbied for the beloved character to remain a puppet over a CGI version
The battle between the use of CGI over practical effects has waged in the galaxy far, far away since the release of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace back in 1999. Geroge Lucas’ space spectacular built upon the foundations laid down by Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park and unleashed a visual spectacle, unlike anything we had ever seen before.
Although the movie was visually breathtaking, many believed the use of CGI over contemporary effects detracted from the overall splendour of the finished product, and in the years that followed, the subject became a heated topic amongst the fans. In 2015, even J.J Abrams weighed in on the debate when he declared that The Force Awakens would revert back to the “good old days” of practical effects and move away from the over-reliance on CGI which is now commonplace in multiplexes all over the world.
Fast forward to 2019, and with the Star Wars universe enjoying a harmonious balance between the two mediums when it came time for Jon Favreau and his team to focus on a certain little green alien for The Mandalorian, the debate returned to the fore. “Baby Yoda” as he has affectionately become known was originally sculpted as a puppet, but when it came to bringing the adorable little creature to life, showrunners were concerned that the puppet might not look convincing enough in postproduction and wanted to hedge their bets by doing some CGI takes.
Enter Werner Herzog.
The actor is currently playing “The Client” in the stellar Star Wars series and after discovering what the crew were planning, he responded with contempt and rushed to Baby Yoda’s defence. By all accounts, Herzog is reported to have said “You are cowards. Leave it.” This story, recounted by Dave Filoni during his introduction of The Mandalorian at its Hollywood premiere, got a massive laugh from the audience. Who would have thought that the steely German actor would become Baby Yoda’s greatest cheerleader and protectorate extraordinaire?
In fairness, the character has become an instant hit in every corner of Star Wars fandom. That in itself is a minor miracle considering the division that has manifested since Disney took ownership of the franchise. Baby Yoda transcends the division and has united fans in a way never thought possible. In fact, the little creatures overwhelming popularity has seen fans young and old pleading with toy manufacturers to release some highly sought after merchandise in time for Christmas. However, Jon Favreau put the blockers on merchandising in order to prevent any spoilers from leaking out and ruining the surprise.
Thankfully, his gamble paid off and the world will wait desperately for some Baby Yoda themed collectables in 2020. In the meantime, we can all look forward to the next chapter of The Mandalorian starring BABY YODA this coming Friday. And thanks to Werner Herzog, he’s still a puppet!
The Force is strong with that one!
The Mandalorian is currently streaming on Disney+.
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Phil Roberts is the Owner, Daily Content Manager and Editor of Future of the Force. He is passionate about Star Wars, Batman, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, King Kong, and the Ray Harryhausen movies. Follow him on Twitter @philthecool where he uses the force frequently!
Source: Vanity Fair