The extraordinary lengths director Rian Johnson went to in order to film Luke Skywalker’s stand-out ‘milking scene’ from Star Wars: The Last Jedi have been revealed.
Neal Scanlan, Oscar-winning special effects artist and ‘creature designer’ for the movie, has told Collider what the brief – but doubtless one day iconic – moment entailed.
It found Mark Hamill’s hermit Jedi extracting green liquid direct from the teat of a Thala-Siren, a seal-esque beast with a seemingly bounteous volume of milk, and necking it like it was Irn Bru.
Having the dual effect of grossing out both Daisy Ridley’s Rey and a worldwide audience, it involved feats of logistics and planning on behalf of the special effects team, thanks to Johnson’s dedication to using practical effects.
“It was something that Rian wanted to shoot in the location, for real,” Scanlan told Collider, that location being Skelling Michael, an island off the south-west coast of Ireland, the backdrop for Skywalker’s adopted home planet of Ahch-To.
Happy Thala-siren day! May the Milk be Plentiful pic.twitter.com/1WB2o1abjP
— Mia Macy (@MiaMarieMacy) December 25, 2017
“We actually built that animatronic puppet, back at Pinewood, we transported it to ILM (Industrial Light and Magic), and we flew it into that location with a helicopter. Once it was in the location, we locked two puppeteers inside there. The head opened a little bit, two puppeteers got inside, we put the head back up, and we sealed it with a prosthetic band that went around the side.
“And then, there were two puppeteers that operated the flippers on the outside, and a couple of other puppets in the background.
“We were set and ready for the arrival of the film crew, and we had a window that we knew we had to meet. It was designed to be able to breathe and there was a milk delivery system, on the inside.
I think the Thala-siren scene on Ahch-To was hilarious and I won’t apologize for it pic.twitter.com/tQDjwvHI5d
— Luke Davis (@AlphaPlank77) December 31, 2017
“The guys on the inside could see what was happening on the outside, through monitors and a walkie system that we had, and Mark literally walked up, bent down, and milked his sea-sow.
“It made a lovely tasting drink, by the way. It wasn’t as disgusting as it looked. They CG-ed a tint on it, in the end, to make it look even more disgusting. It was wonderful to be there and to do it for real, amongst the elements.”
We’ve not touched the Nesquik since.