Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker recently arrived on digital, allowing fans to experience the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga. The epic film weaved in some of the franchise's most iconic characters, while creating some new fan-favorites in the process. One character that definitely fell into the latter category is Babu Frik (Shirley Henderson), a pint-sized droidsmith who stumbled into people's hearts with a simple "Hey hey!" While many would argue that there's nothing to be changed about Babu Frik, it sounds like the earliest iterations of the character were definitely different. In a recent interview with Collider, creature and makeup effects supervisor Neal Scanlan revealed that Babu initially fit into the story as a sort of medium.
"The real idea from J.J. was that little Babu would be a character very much like he is in the film, but not necessarily doing the job that he’s doing in the film," Scanlan explained. "He was much more of a kind of a medium almost. Originally, Rey went to see Babu in order to find some information and he almost would exist in an environment very specifically tailored to his own size, so almost scaled to him. So when we started to design Babu—Ivan Manzella designed him, and he was costumed very differently than what you see in the final movie. So as a character, he was there very, very early on in J.J.’s world, the role that he played changed several times."
"It was really more about re-costuming him and looking at what his performance might be," Scanlan continued. "So initially, we thought that we could do that almost without any digital removal by putting him in an environment that would have been built specifically to allow us to use the rods and to use the certain ways of puppeteering him by hiding those aspects. But as the story unfolded and we realized that now it was going to be much more involved, you obviously then turn to CG. So now we had a greater degree of freedom to be able to bring him to life and performing in a way that J.J. wanted for the particular sequence with C-3PO. So he was a character that stayed with us, but his size never changed. The methodology of how we were going to do him never really changed. So we always knew we were going to put a character of that size in that matter on the screen."
While that definitely sounds like a drastic change, Scanlan confirmed that there was enough time to reinvent the character before filming began.
"Yeah, pretty good heads up I think before filming started," Scanlan added. "We had several weeks at least. Certainly, enough time for us to make the changes that we needed to make. It was ample time."
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is available now on VOD.
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