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SWTNZ Creature Review - Behind the scenes of ESB, The Wampa

Behind the scenes of,The Wampa

Standing over two meters in height the Wampa is a stealthy predator, its white
fur is the perfect camouflage and is strong enough to snap the neck of any hardy
tauntaun. Wampas live in caves carved from the ice and they never hunt when
hungry preferring live meat whenever possible, as such they keep their victims
alive within their caves using their hot breath and saliva to suspend the prey
against the cave ceiling. Well adapted at conserving heat the Wampa do not show
up on most life form sensors and this is why they have escaped detection for so
long and they have recently become the favored target of big game hunters..

Behind the scenes,The Wampa Behind the scenes,The Wampa
Behind the scenes Images of ESB,
Des Webb in full Wampa Costume, (Click To Enlarge)

One of the most difficult creatures to bring to the screen in a realistic manner,
the first version of the wampa started off as an enormous costume designed by
Joe Johnston. Assigned to shooting in Finse Norway and already a tall man
himself, Actor Des Webb wore the large Wampa outfit with stilts to add even more
height to the creature, unfortunately stilts and snow do not mix well and a lot of film
was shot of him constantly falling over. A part of the original "Empire Strikes Back"
plot never made it to film which intended the Rebel's Echo Base to be the victim
of chronic Wampa attacks, supposedly sections of the ice caverns were infiltrated
by wampas attracted to the beeping of astromech droids. Eventually, the Rebels
would figure out the reason for the mysterious attacks and succeed in capturing
several Wampa's putting them in pens with clearly marked warning labels..

Behind the scenes,The Wampa Behind the scenes,The Wampa
Behind the scenes Images of ESB,
Inside the Wampas Ice Cave, (Click To Enlarge)

For the attacks a Wampa suit with eerie silver eyes was used and the actors inside
these heavy suits would suffer from heat exhaustion, though several of these scenes
were attempted none looked good enough to commit to the final film. The labeled
doors are still visible in the released version of ESB, in fact the trailer shows a scene
cut from the film, while Imperials are in pursuit of the fleeing Rebels, C3PO tears a
label from the door. Not seen in the trailer were the pursuing Snow troopers who
enter the pen and are killed by the captured Wampas. Failing to shoot the full body
wampa scenes, the film makers shot only little glimpses of the creature. For instance
the arm that knocks Luke off his tauntaun is just that, only an arm and the 12 frame
close up of the roaring wampa is just a puppet shot against the sky.

Behind the scenes,The Wampa
Above, Howie Weed in full Wampa Costume and an original Concept Drawing
which looks very different to what we know, (Click To Enlarge)

When ESB Special Edition was made the wampa was finally shown in all its gory,
no immensely tall actor or a suits incorporating stilts would be needed. Instead
ILM artist Howie Weed designed and wore the new the wampa suit and a special
set was scaled in such a way to make Howie look much larger than he really was.

Wampa Toys Wampa Toys
Above, Two various Kenner Wampa toys, Vintage Hoth Wampa 1981
(one of my favorites) and Wampa Cave Micro Collection play set.
(Click To Enlarge)

Wampa Toys
Above, POTF Wampa and Luke Skywalker..

SWTNZ Missing Scene Review, The ESB Wampa Attack Sequence Revealed

When "Empire Strikes Back" was originally edited back in 1980 a very special set
of scenes were left out of the final cut, these scenes depict an attack on the rebel
base from hungry Wampa's, these creatures are dominant predators that reside
on the planet Hoth and are a threat not only to Taun-tauns but to people also.

Below is a step by step account of these missing scenes and their descriptions,
we start inside the icy corridors of the rebel base where something strange has
happened to some unfortunate Taun-tauns..

#1 : Medic Droid 2-1B examines the body of a dead Taun-taun.
#2 : A trooper explains to Han Solo and the Sergeant that these Taun-tauns
were found with their necks mysteriously broken.

#3 : R2D2 is chased down a corridor by an advancing Wampa.
#4 : He leads the creature to a team of troopers waiting at the corridors end,
the troopers then let fire upon the raging Wampa.

#5 : Two of the troopers are brutally attacked by the Wampa.
#6 : Luke Skywalker fires at the Wampa with a powerful laser canon.

#7 : The surprised Wampa is struck down by the deadly blast.

#8 : R2D2 and C3PO discover more Wampa's behind a sealed door who
are attracted to R2's high pitched whistles and beeps.
#9 : The Rebels have began their escape from the base while imperial
troops draw closer.

#10 : As Han Solo and Princess Leia make their way to the Millenium
Falcon C3PO remembers the Wampa's behind the door.
#11 : He tears the danger sign away from the door and continues on his way.

#12 : Imperial Snow-Troopers finally discover the mysteriously sealed door.
#13 : They open the door and rush inside expecting to find Rebels within.

#14 : The Snow-Troopers are attacked by the unsuspecting angry Wampa's.
#15 : Vader arrives and asks if there was any rebels inside, one of the
troopers answers him by saying, "I don't think so, sir".

Star Wars Trader - New Zealand , 2005-2008 Copyright SWTNZ
Original photographs, graphics & text etc is the property of SWTNZ unless
otherwise stated, "Star Wars" related media including images, video and characters
etc are copyright to and owned by Lucasfilm Ltd. SWTNZ is neither sponsored or
endorsed by Lucasfilm nor does it affiliate with any other division thereof.

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