Monday 22 February 2021

AN 'EMPIRE' AT 40: A PAST AND FUTURE DANGER!


We have a new enemy: Luke Skywalker, so the evil Emperor informs his servant Darth Vader, the latter soon turning the idea of converting Luke to the Dark Side, rather than killing him, to his Master's chilling favour, in this scene that would be ultimately replaced by 2004, with Ian McDiarmid's EPISODE III made-up visage replacing the original version, alongside new story expanding dialogue.

Interestingly, during a 2023 US documentary on the opening six films of the franchise, creature make-up veteran Rick Baker would debunk his contribution to The Empire Strikes Back linked to the Emperor. Fresh from the success of his additional Cantina aliens incorporated into the original Star Wars during early 1977, he recalled being asked by George Lucas to create the face of the Emperor. Though keen to work on the sequel and this important character, Baker and Lucas couldn't ultimately come to terms on an overall price for the work, and ILM instead took over the eventual final look.

Clive Revill, a stalwart New Zealand character actor then living in Hollywood, provided the subtly menacing voice of the original Emperor back in 1980, over a final grotesque onscreen image that was provided by Rick Baker/ILM comprising the made-up face of elderly character actress Marjorie Eaton (who spoke the original scripted dialogue dubbed over by Revill), overlaid with chimpanzee eyes to create an eerie and memorable final effect.


Portraying the Emperor in unused first test footage, Rick Baker's wife Elaine wears a mask created by her husband. 

The footage of the original Emperor was deemed unsuccessful and abandoned.



Accomplished elderly actress Marjorie Eaton would become the new 'face' of The Emperor for 1980. 




Chimpanzee eyes filmed by ILM would be superimposed over the make-up'd face of Eaton as The Emperor.

The combined effect.


Original forehead appliance from Phil Tippet's former ILM collection.

No comments: