It's one of the most iconic scenes in movie history: Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in a metal bikini, held hostage by a huge, hideous slug -- Jabba the Hutt -- in 'Return of the Jedi.'. But as horrible as Jabba may have been on the outside, being inside the Hutt was even worse.

Most people assume the pre-CGI Jabba was animatronic; actually, a team of puppeteers, led by Dave Barclay and Toby Philpott, operated the beast from within. The pair worked on a host of other films, starting with 'Dark Crystal' and including ''Labyrinth', 'Little Shop of Horrors' and 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit.' But it was the lecherous Jabba the Hutt from 'Jedi' that guaranteed their place in film history.

It's one of the most iconic scenes in movie history: Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in a metal bikini, held hostage by a huge, hideous slug -- Jabba the Hutt -- in 'Return of the Jedi.'. But as horrible as Jabba may have been on the outside, being inside the Hutt was even worse.

Most people assume the pre-CGI Jabba was animatronic; but actually, a team of puppeteers, led by Dave Barclay and Toby Philpott, operated the beast from within. The pair worked on a host of other films, starting with 'Dark Crystal' and including ''Labyrinth', 'Little Shop of Horrors' and 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit.' But it was the lecherous Jabba the Hutt from 'Jedi' that guaranteed their place in film history.

Toby Philpott Talks About Being Jabba and Licking Princess Leia


Philpott, who operated Jabba's left arm, head and that infamous tongue, grew up a theatrical jack-of-all-trades who counted juggling, fire-eating and unicycling among his talents. He worked at circuses, fairs, archeological digs, theater groups and on the streets before landing an audition for -- and a role in -- 'The Dark Crystal,' as one of the UrSkeks. Through the film and Jim Henson's Creature Shop, Philpott met Dave Barclay, who was selected to operate Jabba in 'Return of the Jedi' and recruited Philpott to partner with him. And thus a slimeball was born.

Moviefone caught up with Philpott at Star Wars Celebration V in Orlando, Florida. Philpott, who is retired from puppeteering and is currently a library technician in Wales, gave us an inside (really inside) look at life inside the Hutt -- including a great story about the slimy lick that Princess Leia never saw coming.
CATEGORIES Interviews, Features