Life Inside Jabba the Hutt

While you may think the huge Jabba the Hutt was computer animated, in 1983 this wasn’t possible. In order to make Jabba the Hutt in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, the team had to build an incredible full size puppet which weighed in at one ton, cost almost $500,000 and was operated by three puppeteers, all of whom were crammed inside Jabba’s body.

Puppeteers David Alan Barclay (who narrates the video below), Toby Philpott and Mike Edmonds (who all worked on the Muppets) were inside the enormous puppet, each with a separate task. One of them operated Jabba’s right arm and mouth, another controlled the left arm, head and tongue – and a final puppeteer was responsible for the movement of the tail. Jabba’s eyes and facial expressions were controlled by radio control.

As you can see from the following documentary by Jamie Benning (give him a tip for his amazing work making ‘filmumentaries’:, coordinating Jabba the Hutt’s movements proved especially difficult, as all the puppeteers could see from inside was a small monitor showing a feed from a single camera outside Jabba’s body.

Of course, in the very early days of Star Wars, Jabba the Hutt was portrayed as a man. In this original cut of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, you can see Jabba being played by Declan Mulholland. If you’re familar with the newer special edit of this scene, you’ll remember that a CGI Jabba the Hutt was added in.

Here’s another video narrated by Mark Hamill, which explains in more detail the story of Jabba the Hutt.

Hopefully these videos gave you a rare insight into the interesting story behind the incredible Jabba the Hutt puppet.

The Ultimate CSS Vertical Align Tip

The Ultimate CSS Vertical Align Tip

It often seems like a lot more effort than necessary when aligning things vertically in CSS, especially when using responsive designs. This CSS vertical align tip shows you a quick solution, using just three lines of CSS (excluding vendor prefixes).

Unless using CSS tables and vertical-align: center; – aligning things centrally usually involves setting a fixed height, then using top: 50%; – then you have to give it a negative margin-top of half the fixed height. This is a lot of code to do something simple – and what happens if the thing you’re aligning vertically doesn’t have a fixed height? The answer, as usual, is a jQuery workaround – more effort.

Everything above is what I used to use for aligning text on a ‘splash screen’ if you like, and it did work well – but now I’ve updated my existing code using this new method, due to its ease of use. It even works in IE9!

The Ultimate CSS Vertical Align Tip

So, enough with the chat – here’s the code:

.element {
position: relative;
top: 50%;
-webkit-transform: translateY(-50%);
-ms-transform: translateY(-50%);
transform: translateY(-50%);

As with the old method, we still need top: 50%; but we no longer require a fixed height. No matter what the height of your element, even if it’s a percentage, the transform: translateY(-50%) will move the element back up by half of its height – aligning it centrally.

All of the vendor prefixes are included, so this trick should work in nearly all browsers, including IE9! It works for text, images, multiple lines of text – almost anything can now be vertically aligned easily.