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StarWars.com have absolutely smashed it with their celebrations of the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, and they hit yet another home run as ILM legends as well as aural artist Ben Burtt and the Maker himself George Lucas remember the travails of pulling together the Battle of Hoth, a key effects sequence right at the start of the movie that would not only turn on its head the traditional format of ending a movie with the major battle but one that forged ahead with VFX technology.

Here, Dennis Muren describes animating the snow walker.

Dennis Muren: [The size of the miniatures is] really just based on how big someone’s hands are so you can get to the puppet to be able to move it. Jon and Phil were involved deeply in that. I think they figured out in the end, about 15 inches high. You got two leg joints in your hands maybe around four inches across, so that will give you eight inches, and you got a few more inches left for the body. Everything just kind of fits.

You’ve got to be able to animate that. With the quality we needed, it’s got to be really great animation. We’re going to have 70-millimeter prints out there, these shots are lingering, they’re not like fast action. There may be speeders flying but these things are moving slow. They’ve got to look real. And if there’s any little artifact, that’ll be okay. It will look kind of mechanical and that’s fine. So there’s no problem with that.

That’s really what it was based on. We had the sets that would open up and the animator could just [pop up]. There would be a part right in the middle, a little trap door. The guys would stand right up, Jon and them could just be right in front of it, easy access, not like hanging over something, but as comfortable as it could possibly be for the animators to get in to do their incredibly important job.

It’s an absolutely fascinating piece, a must-read, so click here and get the deep dive on a movie classic.

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Hasbro Games Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back Hoth Ice Planet Adventure Board Game; Based on The 1980 Board Game; Exclusive Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) Figure
  • BASED ON A CLASSIC STAR WARS GAME: This retro board game is based on the Star Wars the Empire Strikes Back Ice Planet Hoth game by Kenner, released in 1980
  • EXCLUSIVE LUKE SKYWALKER (SNOWSPEEDER) FIGURE: Attention Star Wars fans and collectors! The Star Wars Hoth Ice Planet Adventure board game comes with an exclusive Luke Skywalker (Snowspeeder) figure
  • DEFEAT DARTH VADER: Win battles against 4 Imperial enemies: Stormtrooper, Probot, AT-AT, and Boba Fett. Earn enough Force to defeat the final foe, Darth Vader to win the game
  • MILLENNIUM FALCON TOKENS: Move around the gameboard using one of the 4 Millennium Falcon tokens, or use the Snowspeeder token
  • GREAT GIFT FOR STAR WARS FANS: The retro Star Wars game makes a great gift for Star Wars fans and collectors of Star Wars memorabilia; This board game is for ages 8 and up, for 2-4 players