'Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian' Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Practical effects and the making of Baby Yoda

The episode focuses on the practical effects used in 'The Mandalorian' including the making and performance of the Baby Yoda puppet


                            'Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian' Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Practical effects and the making of Baby Yoda
Baby Yoda concept art (Disney+)

Last week's episode on the technology used in 'The Mandalorian' emphasized how important the practical effects of 'Star Wars' were — 'The Mandalorian' Season 1 was dedicated to making the sets feel just as real in person as they appear to be on screen. Puppeteers, remote-controlled animatronics, miniatures, models and more all work to make the worlds of 'Star Wars' as real as possible. It's Warner Herzog who perhaps puts it best: "Technology becomes invisible." 

The episode is lighter on specific details as to how practical effects are operated, and more a discussion on the importance of having practical effects in the first place. Director Bryce Dallas Howard points out how much it meant to her that, despite the forward march of technology, practical effects continue to be prioritized. It's pointed out how much help this is to the actors themselves, for the actors to be able to react to something that's real, in front of them, without having to spend as much effort pretending a lump of green is the impressive image that it will be once fixed in post. 

As expected, this episode dedicates a full segment to Baby Yoda, referred to as just "the baby." From the very first concept sketches by Dave Filoni to the final animatronic puppet that had a team of four dedicated puppeteers dedicated to bringing it to life, everything you wanted to know about how Baby Yoda came to be is there. What's interesting is that Jon Favreau points out that even when CGI is used for the baby, none of it ever exceeds the capabilities of the puppet.

There are many franchises that you can be a deeply dedicated fan of without thinking too much about the production side of things, but that's impossible for 'Star Wars'. To be a fan of the franchise is to be a fan of its history and of filmmaking itself. It's impossible to love the franchise without picking up on it — the legacy of films comes up time and time again. Minor references become major plot points, and practical effects are reused and updated for today's technology. For fans who have always admired everything that made 'Star Wars' feel real, this is the episode to watch. 

The next episode of 'Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian' airs on June 5 on Disney+.

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