One of the things that the 21st century brought to science fiction and fantasy movies, among other genres, was that much of what we see on screen is computer generated. It was thought that the best way to generate scenarios that do not exist in this world was just inventing some from scratch using CGI. 300 is an example of this and so is the Star Wars prequel trilogy. For the actors this is not optimal because it implies acting in empty spaces with green and blue screens.
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In the same way, many non-existent creatures were created by computer creating the same feeling that you are acting with the invisible man or with a person in a strange motion capture suit. For many people this is not optimal, especially if we compare it with the alternatives of yesteryear. It must be remembered that in past decades monsters, aliens and any other entity that does not exist in our reality could be interpreted by a puppet made with great skill. A classic example of this is Yoda.
Fortunately in The Mandalorian – 91% had this in mind and used a puppet to bring Grogu to life as opposed to simply doing it on the computer. It’s the kind of elements that have made fans love the show. Ewan McGregor talked about this with Pedro Pascal in the Variety video series Actors on Actors. There the actor who gave life to Obi Wan told Pascal that he is very lucky to be able to act with a puppet and that it is something he should appreciate.
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For those who do not know in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace – 55% Yoda was still a puppet, but that changed in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones – 66% and Star Wars: Episode III – The Revenge of the Sith – 79%. The Scottish actor revealed that it was wonderful to act with Yoda’s puppet, but he can’t say the same for the CGI version. For him, that was no longer Yoda:
In the first movie that I made [de Star Wars] I was lucky to be able to do my scenes with Yoda’s puppet. And that was extraordinary, because she acted with him. He couldn’t believe he was acting with Yoda. There were a lot of people driving it and the stage was raised so that they were under the floor and then we walked side by side and he was alive. So every time George said short, Yoda died because everyone just stopped. It was somewhat disturbing every time the end of the scene came.
Then, as we already said, they opted to use a CGI version that, as everyone will remember, looked much less shocking than a puppet and that for the actor was a real disappointment:
So they replaced it with a digital version for the second and third movies, and it wasn’t as endearing anymore. Also, we knew Yoda as a puppet. We knew him from the first movies as a puppet. So when all of a sudden it was CGI, it didn’t feel like Yoda to me anymore. It’s interesting that they decided to use a real puppet again for your series.
In fact, it must be remembered that the actor recently revealed that he is a fan of The Mandalorian And that, in fact, the series reminded him of how much he loves the Star Wars universe:
For me, now that I started doing the Kenobi series, which is similar in the technology they used, the Mandalorian series brought me back into the world of Star Wars and in a way that I did not expect. I had my own experience with this one in the nineties, but I was amazed at how much I liked it.
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