Happy Friday, Clone Wars fans! Today brought us the beginning of the end – the first episode of the final Clone Wars arc is here. With it comes the return of our favorite enemy.
Darth Maul is back for the Siege of Mandalore, but that’s not the best part. Disney managed to snag the original Maul himself, Ray Park, for motion capture work on these final four episodes. Park, in case you forgot, was the original physical actor for Maul in The Phantom Menace.
Animation supervisor Keith Kellogg opened up with Looper about incorporating Park’s physical motions into Clone Wars animations.
“Certain ways he’ll lift his leg, or he’ll do a double jump, or the foot plant that he’ll do… little things like that I certainly wouldn’t have thought of in terms of what we would do in animation. Even the way he stalks people when he’s Maul — he’d sort of become this kind of predator — to be able to take that and add it to what we already have was really a pretty epic pairing.”Keith Kellogg
Park certainly adds something to the character you can’t simply replicate in animation. But the process of implementing the motion capture into the episodes wasn’t that simple. Keith admitted that “Motion capture, for us, is not necessarily the easiest thing for us to incorporate into our pipeline.”
Because of the exaggerated animation style of The Clone Wars, “it felt very odd to see [the mo-cap] compared to everything else.” So, instead of using the exact data gathered, Kellogg and his team used it as a reference for their unique animation style.
This combination sounds incredible, and Kellogg has to agree. “The Maul-Ahsoka fight in Mandalore…. It’s up there. It’s really great. Hopefully that goes down as one of the best lightsaber fights that we’ve done.”
Don’t forget to check out today’s new episode, Old Friends, Not Forgotten, on Disney+!