The minds behind Star Wars: The Mandalorian took a big risk with "Baby Yoda" in the live-action series, as their use of practical effects to bring the character to life in certain sequences could have led to disappointing results, though star Werner Herzog called the filmmakers "cowards" for shooting scenes without the puppet to allow for CGI to bring the character to life. Herzog is an accomplished filmmaker in his own right, thanks to films like Fitzcarraldo and Grizzly Man, with his comments likely meant to inspire filmmakers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni to stick by their decision to use a puppet for the character instead of allowing for alternate effects.
At a screening event for the film, per Vanity Fair, Filoni recalled that when he attempted to remove the baby from a shot to allow for CGI, Herzog declared, “You are cowards,” and demanded, “Leave it.”
Another one of the series' directors, Deborah Chow, recalled an encounter where she was directing Herzog in a scene with the puppet where he seemingly interacted with the prop as if it was a real creature.
“I was directing Werner with the puppet, and Werner had just fallen in love with the baby. Werner, I think, had forgotten it wasn’t actually a live creature, and started sort of… directing the baby,” the filmmaker revealed with the outlet. "Werner is talking to the baby as if it was a real thing. And I’m trying to direct Werner."
She added, "And I’m just like, 'How did I get here? How did my life end up like this?'”
These comments echo remarks Chow had previously made, explaining the connection she witnessed between Herzog and the puppet.
"Normally, you just approach them as actors, but Werner is special," Chow revealed to The New York Times. "One of the weirdest moments I had on set, in my life, was trying to direct Werner with the baby. How did I end up with Werner Herzog and Baby Yoda? That was amazing. Werner had absolutely fallen in love with the puppet. He, at some point, had literally forgotten that it wasn’t a real being and was talking to the child as though it was a real, existing creature."
After the stories of Jango and Boba Fett, another warrior emerges in the Star Wars universe. The Mandalorian is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.1comments
New episodes of Star Wars: The Mandalorian debut on Disney+ on Fridays.
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