Regardless of whether you love or hate Star Wars: The Last Jedi (and it has certainly caused a disturbance in the Force at Film ‘89 Towers), it’s time we address “That Scene”.
“What scene in particular?” you may ask. Well for some of us, it’s a scene that’s pretty much burnt into our retinas, one where our childhood hero, Luke Skywalker, milks The swollen teets of a sea-lion/cow/ant-eater like alien creature (officially known as a Thala-Siren), then drinks its green milk, getting it all over his beard before then enthusiastically offering some of this freshly squeezed elixir to a rather dumbfounded Rey.
For what must surely be one of the strangest decisions in Star Wars history (including the one George Lucas made when he conceived of Jar, Jar Binks), Neal Scanlan, Oscar-winning special effects artist and creature designer for the movie, told Collider of the massive amount of preparation that was required to film the scene;
“It was something that Rian wanted to shoot in the location, for real, an island off the south-west coast of Ireland, the backdrop for Skywalker’s adopted home planet of Ahch-To. We actually built that animatronic puppet, back at Pinewood, we transported it to ILM [Industrial Light and Magic] and we flew it into that location with a helicopter. Once it was in the location, we locked two puppeteers inside there. The head opened a little bit, two puppeteers got inside, we put the head back up, and we sealed it with a prosthetic band that went around the side. And then there were two puppeteers that operated the flippers on the outside, and a couple of other puppets in the background. We were set and ready for the arrival of the film crew, and we had a window that we knew we had to meet. It was designed to be able to breathe and there was a milk delivery system, on the inside. The guys on the inside could see what was happening on the outside, through monitors and a walkie system that we had, and Mark literally walked up, bent down, and milked his sea-sow. It made a lovely tasting drink, by the way. It wasn’t as disgusting as it looked. They CG-ed a tint on it in the end, to make it look even more disgusting. It was wonderful to be there and to do it for real, amongst the elements.”
So there you go, the use of good old traditional practical effects, something that we usually applaud, but in this case, it’s kind of put us off milkshakes for life.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is on general theatrical release now.