FANDOM


Mardji (19531995) was an Asian elephant who portrayed two banthas in the original release of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.

BiographyEdit

Creating a bantha

Mardji being transformed into a bantha

Some on-line sources identify Mardji as an African bush elephant, rather than an Asian elephant, and describe her as being born wild in the African savanna.[1] However, pictures of Mardji appear to be of a female Asian elephant (among other differences, she was tuskless, like most Asian elephant cows).

Mardji was transported from Marine World Africa USA in Redwood City, California, to a Star Wars shooting location in Death Valley, California. There, she was outfitted with a bantha costume, made up of layers of fur and a lightweight horned headpiece. Though Mardji was a well-trained elephant, she had difficulty adjusting to her costume, often trying to remove it while the cameras were rolling.[3] Since the filmmakers could only afford a single dressed-up elephant, the scene where Luke Skywalker spotted two Banthas side by side was realized through optical compositing.[4]

During the production of Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, footage of Mardji was taken by a team including special effects artists Dennis Muren, Phil Tippett and Jon Berg. This footage was used as a reference for how the AT-ATs should move.[5]

Mardji spent the rest of her life as a Marine World attraction. She was euthanized in November 1995, after suffering from chronic bone inflammation.[1]

Several years after her death, she inspired the use of dog actors for the Corellian hounds of the 2018 Star Wars Anthology film Solo: A Star Wars Story, as revealed in The Art of Solo: A Star Wars Story.[6]

BibliographyEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

External linksEdit

In other languages
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Stream the best stories.

Fandom may earn an affiliate commission on sales made from links on this page.

Get Disney+