Star Wars Animator Reveals Psychedelic Secret

Remember December? It’s all a blur now, but Star Wars kind of took over the world for a few weeks there. Now that the smoke has cleared, fans finally have a chance to catch up on all the Star Wars anecdotes that drown each other out during the holiday movie season. One especially worthwhile example comes from an interview with legendary Star Wars animator Phil Tippett.


While discussing the highlights of his colourful filmography (which includes Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, and RoboCop), Tippett offered an unusually psychedelic anecdote about the early days of Star Wars. As you might guess from the beard in the image above, Tippett is a product of the hippie era—and this has clearly informed his creative process. “I took LSD when I was working on Return of the Jedi,” he explains. “I could communicate with my cat Brian, and Brian took me on a journey.”


As it turns out, Tippett and Brian went on a drug-induced odyssey far beyond anything in the Star Wars franchise. “I crawled into this cupboard with Brian the cat and we went to the centre of the Earth for like three billion years and I was just in this world of molecules,” he said, adding that it was a surprisingly “calming” experience. However, things soon turned ugly. “I decided to go back to work and I was at ILM and I walked into the blue screen stage and it’s huge—everything’s just super illuminated bright blue—and it was just like ‘Aaaah, I took like way too much.’”


While it’s hard to tell whether Tippett got any work done that day, his overall efforts resulted in his second Oscar nomination—and first win.