This original foam latex face face and accompanying plastic formed eye elements were made for the full-size Jabba the Hutt prop puppet during production of the film, Return of the Jedi in 1983. Perhaps the biggest and baddest of Star Wars, Return of the Jedi’s many amazing creatures, Jabba the Hutt was one of the largest and most complex puppets ever made for a movie (at the time). The face casting is thought to be the only surviving casting of Jabba’s face skin, as most of the original puppet was scrapped after filming. This particular skin was cast in a batch of foam latex that cured too densely, which caused Stuart Freeborn’s makeup effects crew to set it aside. Ultimately, these components eventually found their way toThe Prop Store of London who approached us about finding the right way to display the rare movie props!
The foam face’s massive size (nearly five feet long) and flexible nature made it incredibly difficult to display. Also, being foam latex, it was very important to get the piece properly supported to help preserve its shape and detail over time. The display is presented museum-style: unpainted, with the raw plastic eye forms helping hold shape and add visual completion, without distracting from the face skin.
TSD artist Brian Lewis was tasked with the challenge of reverse engineering Jabba’s “skull” and creating a full size sculpture that would support the giant foam skin. Literally hundreds of pounds of clay went into that sculpture, which was carefully wrapped with plastic for each test-fit. From there, the giant clay sculpture of Jabba’s “insides” was then molded and cast into a beautiful black fiberglass form that would hold the skin and eyes. A clever mechanism in the rear of the mount allows the display to be set at the proper angle to balance both a great look for display and one that will support the skin well over time.
The final display was showcased in Prop Store’s booth at Star Wars Celebration VI, where fans from around the world got a glimpse at the foam latex movie prop visage of the galaxy’s most vile gangster! Special thanks to Prop Store’s Marcelles Murdok for the stunning photography of the completed prop display!
Want to turn your original movie prop into a themed or museum style display? Email or call today and let’s discuss your project!