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 his animatronics career 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 1986 Oscar nominated, film version of 'Little Shop of Horrors'.

 

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).

 

Neal's achievements and the success of Kennedy Miller's 'Babe' (1993) 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.

 

In 1996, Neal left the Jim Henson Organisation to form the Neal Scanlan Studio. The first major project was Babe: Pig in the City, which was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Visual Effect. 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.

 

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 Force Awakens was released on the 18th December 2015 to record breaking success.

 

 Having finished Rogue One, Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi, and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Neal is now busy making ready the practical effects for the next story in the Star Wars franchise.