‘Star Wars: Episode 7: Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Not Involved; Early Filming Details

Published 11 months ago by

star wars episode 7 charity contest Star Wars: Episode 7: Jim Hensons Creature Shop Not Involved; Early Filming Details

This week gave us our first real look at the set of Star Wars: Episode VII as director J.J. Abrams shot a short video on the Abu Dhabi set that showed what appeared to be a Tatooine marketplace and included an interruption from one of the planet’s non-human residents. Abrams was promoting a competition for fans to win a background role in the movie, but the details in the video have ended up garnerning even more interest than the competition itself.

Last year, Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy promised that Disney would use “every tool in the toolbox” when making the new trilogy, including a mixture of practical effects and puppets with CG animation. After seeing one of Tatooine’s new residents in action, some fans noted similarities to the Junk Lady from Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, which in turn led to speculation that Jim Henson’s Creature Shop might be involved in the making of Star Wars: Episode VII.

Henson himself was consulted during the making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, specifically working with Stuart Freeborn on the design of Yoda. While the puppeteers working on Star Wars: Episode VII may have taken inspiration from some of Henson’s designs, /Film has confirmed that Jim Henson’s Creature Shop is not involved with the making of the movie. LucasFilm has not yet responded to queries of who exactly is making the alien puppets, but the fact that most of the production will take place in London makes it likely that’s it’s a UK company or a group of local independent contractors.

star wars epiosde 7 cast image 1024x581 Star Wars: Episode 7: Jim Hensons Creature Shop Not Involved; Early Filming Details

The ‘Episode VII’ Cast with J.J. Abrams

Star Wars has now been filming for about a week, but Abrams has said that more casting announcements are still to be expected, and the latest rumors point to British actresses Katie Jarvis and Maisie Richardson-Sellers taking on supporting female roles. Over in Abu Dhabi, local band Healer Twins revealed on Twitter that they had spent four days filming, and later clarified that it was for Star Wars: Episode VII.

The band’s twins are Thea and Liana Shengelaya, and their music is described as “Indo-Jazz fusion,” though they dabble in other genres. The fact that they seem to only have briefly met Abrams suggests that they will most likely be background performers helping to flesh out the bustling Tatooine culture, but it’s gratifying to see Disney making use of local talent.

As a final tidbit, Star Wars star John Boyega has been having an enthusiastic Instagramming session since he and co-star Daisy Ridley arrived in Abu Dhabi, including photos of him cooling off in a pool, cooling off a bit too much in an ice bath, and a short video showing Ridley and himself travelling to set.

If Boyega and Ridley’s characters are the same ones that Disney held open casting sessions for some time ago, a likely backstory for them would be that they are both street-smart teens that grew up on Tatooine. That planet is starting to get a real reputation for producing people of note in the Star Wars universe.


Star Wars: Episode VII opens in U.S. theaters on December 18th, 2015.

Source: /Film, Healer Twins & John Boyega.

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
TAGS: Star wars
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    • *grabs popcorn*

  1. Episode 7 will beat the pants off episodes 1, 2, and 3! That much is FACT.

    • Episode III is the best of the six.

      • Troll on sir.

    • Not much of a challenge is it. Better than the prequels. I have no hope for this movie though. I’m sure it will be worse than the prequels. Much worse. Let’s face it. Nothing will ever be as good as the original Star Wars films. If they’re trying to kid themselves it will be then they are going to be very disappointed.

  2. Could still be Henson since they have a UK arm of their company and have helped make TV shows and films for British viewers over the last few decades.

    I could also see more CGI than practical puppets in use for Episode VII, much like Episode IV didn’t have as many as the next two films did.

  3. I know they will expand on the Jar-Jar-verse, At the minimal the Jar Jar spinoff should be franchised into a trilogy. I thing Abrams see’s that as well and won’t disapoint.

  4. Great we got good enough speculation on the main movie storylines right in the topic sentences of the story. This will be as easy as predicting the winner of the World Cup.

  5. “Last year, Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy promised that Disney would use “every tool in the toolbox” when making the new trilogy, including a mixture of practical effects and puppets with CG animation.”

    LOL! So exactly the same as the PT then! On top of which when they get backlash from how lousy the puppets are they’ll be replaced with CG.

    “Episode 7 will beat the pants off episodes 1, 2, and 3! That much is FACT.”

    If it’s anywhere near as good as any of them I’ll be pleasantly surprised. Then again I think it’s entirely possible maybe even likely that too many people are setting themselves up for the same kind of fall they had with the PT.

    What they want and what they will get will be 2 different things. This “It’s going to be the OT again.” Is just not going to happen. It just isn’t. It’s going to look and feel like a current Star Wars movie would which means it’s visually going to match up to and hopefully exceed the PT just like each SW movie has been bigger than the last.

    As for JJ let’s not forget that he doesn’t exactly have a midas touch. He’s done well but MI3 was BY FAR the least successful of that series. The Treks did very well but only that and the backlash by some fans for ID seems to be pretty high. People shouldn’t forget the turn on The Matrix after one film.

    I hope it all works out but what if just what if people make the same mistake and want it to be something it can’t and then turn on it and what if on top of that (and more importantly) it doesn’t own the box office even when it’s released which looks to be a weak time. What if GASP! it only makes 7 to 8 hundred million?

    Then what?

    • Using the word good in association with episodes 1,2 and 3 is downright irresponsible.

  6. Why is anyone excited about the thought of hensons being involved in this movie. They’ve never had anything to do with Star Wars apart from frank oz puppeteering Yoda. The creatures were always built by other people. Besides, the fact that people say it looks like a Henson’s creature is a bad thing. Although they produced great work. It was always in a cartoon style. Not right for Star Wars. Unfortunately this creature does look very cartoonish. Big eyes, big nose, daft beard. It doesn’t look very real. Apart from the awful Ewoks, Star Wars creatures were much better than this thing. Shame.

  7. @papsi an octopus did it….

  8. I’ve been trying to work it out. This creature looks all wrong for Star Wars. I think it would look more at home in Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy. Of course, it’s not good enough for foreground. More of a background thing…. Deep background. The style is all wrong for star wars. Who is designing this stuff? Because I think they are missing something very important. Character doesn’t mean… Cartoon.

  9. Can your expectations be so low now of Star Wars that you actually think this thing is acceptable in a movie. Really? It’s terrible. Poor quality alien. I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw it. Soooooooo disappointed.

  10. Who is sculpting the creatures on this film. That is awful. Looks like it was done by a very inexperienced trainee. Very poor work.