The high-speed space battles, lightsaber fights, and unique stories that make up the Star Wars galaxy far, far, away has transcended space and time to give us one of the most unique fictional worlds ever made.
That said, the Jim Henson-like puppeteering techniques used to bring the original trilogy space opera to life are pretty dated by today’s standards. Audience expectations for special effects have grown considerably over the years, and some characters have been replaced by digital counterparts to satisfy audiences and high-definition screen resolutions.
But there is at least still one person who believes in the art of puppeteering:
Special effects and make-up artist Nick Maley—one of the original creators of the Yoda puppet first seen in The Empire Strikes Back—has taken the original molds and used them to make an all-new Yoda with a number of upgrades for modern filmmaking:
Though Yoda’s outside appearance is largely unchanged aside from some better detailing, it’s the inside which really counts. The controls within the puppet are fabricated, mechanized, and are designed in such a way so it can be controlled by a single person rather than three (as was done during the production of The Empire Strikes Back).
Also unlike the original, this updated Yoda won’t be seen in future Star Wars films. While a digitally younger Yoda can easily be placed in the movies, this older Yoda puppet will be attending conventions and charities.
Nick plans on releasing a more in-depth video of the puppet’s creation on his YouTube channel eventually, so be sure to tune-in to see how Yoda was brought back to life!