Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – Luke Skywalker “Force Jump” Puppet

Our UK Copywriter Peter Cooper talks about the incredible Luke Skywalker “force jump” puppet from Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back

One of the joys of working at the Prop Store is that it is a gateway to a whole world of secrets behind the film making process. Time and again, we are lucky enough to gain a rare insight into the making of the films we love, from cast, crew members and enthusiasts alike.

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And often, through these glimpses behind the curtain of Hollywood film making, we are able to unearth some very rare treasures and stories from some of cinemas greatest scenes. Luckily for us, one such find turned up last year, on a visit to a crew member who worked on the production of The Empire Strikes Back.

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Let’s set the scene: Bespin, Cloud City. Luke Skywalker has infiltrated the city, which is filled with Imperial Stormtroopers. At the heart of the city, the carbonite freezing chamber where Han Solo was cruelly frozen by Darth Vader. The Dark Lord of the Sith is there to meet him, and in the ensuing lightsaber duel Skywalker falls into the freezing apparatus. Using his newfound abilities in the Force, Skywalker Force Jumps to safety just in the nick of time.

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Movie magic made the scene happen. Instead of Mark Hamill performing the death-defying stunt, the technicians at Industrial Light and Magic instead used a puppet that was filmed on bluescreen. The piece is crafted from a 12” Star Wars action figure of Luke Skywalker that was modified to fit the desired pose for the sequence.

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To make his costume, the technicians used pieces of tape that were coloured to match the costume’s colouration for the scene. The piece was finished with an elaborately detailed belt. A hole mounted in the back allowed the piece to be suspended on a rig during filming.

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Watching the film in full motion, you would never have imagined that a puppet was used for the sequence, and were it not for a rare archive photo of the puppet in use on the production and our chance meeting with a crew member, this rare piece of Star Wars memorabilia may never have come to light!

To see our full collection of Star Wars props, costumes and production material, head to our website www.propstore.com

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