Empire Strikes Back’s Deleted Wampa Scene: A Ridiculous Cut with a Good Reason

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The making of “The Empire Strikes Back” indeed had its share of challenges and abandoned ideas, one of which involved a memorable scene featuring a Wampa that never quite made it to the screen.

The Wampas, known for their menacing presence in the Star Wars universe, notably appeared in “The Empire Strikes Back,” where Luke Skywalker encounters one on the icy planet of Hoth. However, there was an additional scene planned that, according to Anthony Daniels from the Star Wars cast, encountered significant difficulties during production.

The envisioned sequence involved a monstrous moment featuring a Wampa breaking through an ice wall, portrayed by someone referred to as “Eric” wearing the demanding and hot Wampa costume. This scene was intended to be captured in a single take due to the extensive destruction planned for the set.

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Set designers crafted the wall to appear sturdy but be intentionally designed to collapse upon impact. However, despite three attempts to execute the shot, each time resulted in failure. The initial plan of the Wampa smashing through the ice wall didn’t materialize as anticipated, causing setbacks and time constraints on set.

With time running out and only that day allocated for the shot, the crew adjusted the approach for a third attempt. Instead of relying on the Wampa’s force to break the wall, the crew manually pulled it down. Unfortunately, even this alteration didn’t lead to the desired outcome.

In the end, the scene had to be abandoned, leaving the impressive visual of a massive Wampa ready to emerge from the shattered wall with Eric, the actor inside the suit, visibly overheated and facing the cameras.

Despite the scene not making it into the final cut, the vivid imagery of a colossal Wampa storming through Hoth remains a fascinating “what-if” moment for fans exploring the Star Wars series. Such behind-the-scenes anecdotes offer a glimpse into the complexities and challenges of filmmaking, even within iconic franchises like Star Wars.