top of page
Neal Scanlan amongst all of the creatures and droids built for Star Wars EP VII: The Force Awakens

British-born Neal Scanlan began his career at the age of nineteen as a Stop Motion Designer for Cosgrove Hall, on their production of 'Wind in the Willows' (1981). Three years later he moved to London and began working in animatronics on Walt Disney's 'Return to Oz' (1984). Forming a working relationship with designer Lyle Conway, he freelanced as the Chief Mechanical Designer on films such as Dennis Potter's 'Dream Child' (1984), Jim Henson's 'Labyrinth' (1985) and the Visual Effects Academy Award nominated film version of 'Little Shop of Horrors’ (1986).


Neal became one of the founder members of the Jim Henson Creature Shop with whom he enjoyed a successful eight year relationship, first as an Animatronics Supervisor, then as Creative Supervisor. Some of the projects that Neal was directly involved with include, 'The Storyteller' (1987), 'Witches' (1988), 'Greek Myths' (1989) 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1 & 2' (1988 & 90) and 'Dinosaurs' (1991). 


The success of these projects resulted in Neal and his 'Henson Creature Shop' team producing the animatronic effects for Walt Disney's '101 Dalmatians' (1995), the Special Make-Up Effects for Anthony Minghella's Academy Award Winner, 'The English Patient' (1994) and numerous television commercials.


With the success of Kennedy Miller’s ‘Babe’ for which Neal won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and a BAFTA nomination, Neal left the Jim Henson Organisation to form the Neal Scanlan Studio in 1996. The first major project was Babe: Pig in the City (1998), which was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Visual Effects. The studio went on to build a reputation for design and innovation and enjoyed 10 very successful years working on amazing feature films, tv shows and commercials, including Tim Burton’s ‘Charlie And The Chocolate Factory’ (2005) and ‘Sweeney Todd,’ (2007), Steven Spielberg’s ‘Munich’ (2005) and Ridley Scott’s ‘Prometheus’ (2012).


In 2011 Neal closed the Studio in order to pursue a wider range of interests outside of the film industry, but this all changed when Neal was asked to head up the Creature and Make Up FX Department for the new series of the Star Wars films. 


The first in the new trilogy, The Force Awakens, was released in 2015 to record breaking success, winning Neal another BAFTA for Visual Effects along with an Academy nomination. Neal went on to complete the Skywalker Saga, as well as spin off films Rogue One & Solo, earning him another 6 nominations from the Academy and BAFTAs along the way. Between the Star Wars films, Neal worked on ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ (2018). With the upsurge of TV Productions, Neal has more recently been working on the Disney+ shows: Andor, Willow and The Acolyte. 


Neal was also consulted during pre-production for season one of Tim Burton’s ‘Wednesday’ for the character Thing, and the design of the Enid and Tyler transformations. Having finished working with Tim Burton again on ‘Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice,' Neal is now involved with bringing to life the alien character Rocky for the upcoming film adaptation of ‘Project Hail Mary,’ directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. 

bottom of page