The restorative skills of Tom Spina are world-renowned in the creature effects industry, and his work here on the Chewbacca mask used in the legendary Star Wars Holiday Special is a testament to his skills and those of his team at Tom Spina Designs.
Team Spina described how the mask, which was originally a Chewbacca mask, was repurposed to become Chewbacca’s wife, Malla.
While it may look like Chewie’s wife, Malla, this Wookiee mask was originally a Star Wars Chewbacca mask (made by legendary makeup artist, Stuart Freeborn) which was converted by Stan Winston’s team for the infamous 1978 The Star Wars Holiday Special. Since Malla is not seen in any of the other Star Wars films, this is a very rare and unique piece. But since 1978, the Malla mask had begun to show signs of her age and came to us in need of some repair.
Our client asked for only minimal touch-up, and we agreed that was that best approach for a piece as important as this one. After use in both the 1977 Star Wars and rework and reuse in 1978’s television special, the Malla mask had several areas along the lips and nose where the foam latex had become fragile or cracked. Tom stabilized and patched these areas, carefully matching the surrounding material. Once the damaged areas were all repaired they were meticulously spot painted to match the original material.