Today we received an interesting email from someone connected to Phil Tippett. Supposedly Tippett has returned to Star Wars with Star Wars: Episode VII and he’s been doing work exactly like the work he did back in the day:
Falcon chess board – stop motion done by Tippett. How cool is that? Could have been done so easily and quickly by CGI and its not.
Tippett famously did the chess board sequence with Jon Berg on the fly for the original Star Wars film. Fun fact: “Originally, they had planned to use little people in costumes placed on a giant chessboard” before deciding to go stop motion because a film called Futureworld (1976) used the concept (Rinzler, Making of Star Wars Kindle location 7685). Now today, we learn they’re eschewing digital visual effects for the same method once again.
This tipster could not confirm that Hutts are in the film, but there was some implication Tippett is either working on a Hutt or something as complex and interesting as the original Jabba the Hutt puppet. I found that interesting after the rumor we heard about concept art of Leia meeting with some Hutts and troopers looking similar to the ones from the Rebel Base set with the black X-wing and Falcon.
You’ll recall Tippett made a tweet some time ago implying he was in Abu Dhabi, saying the heat was as bad as it was out in Buttercup Valley in 1982, but we weren’t entirely sure if he was working on Jurassic World or Star Wars when he made that comment. Shortly afterward he made a joke about J.J. Abram’s note cards which depicted an AT-AT model next to Tippett’s note card. That said, having seen a giant AT-AT foot in Abu Dhabi, wouldn’t it be insane if Tippett was doing the chess board, AT-ATs and new complex puppetry all in the same film?
Unlike many rumors, I really want this one to be true. Tippett seriously rocks it. I’m a fan of classic effects and CGI. I loved the prequels but I also missed Tippett’s flavor in the last three films. I look forward to seeing our generation’s Ray Harryhausen back on the saddle again, not only in Jurassic World, but the next Star Wars film, man!