Star Wars, The Muppets, Dark Crystal
Dave Barclay is a Master Puppeteer, Animatronic Designer and Supervisor, a CG key frame Animator, and Director and Producer of animatronic and animation projects for film and television.
Dave Barclay has been at the cutting edge of animatronic puppetry since 1979. He has worked in the making of The Empire Strikes Back, The Dark Crystal, Return of the Jedi, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Labyrinth, Little Shop of Horrors, The Muppets, Fraggle Rock, Lost In Space, and many more television shows and motion pictures.
A second generation puppeteer, Dave was hired by Lucasfilm to work on The Empire Strikes Back as part of the Yoda build crew. While on set, Frank Oz, the chief puppeteer for Yoda, selected Dave to assist in the portrayal of the Jedi Master. In doing so, he started a career as one of the most sought after puppeteers in both Hollywood and England. Not only did Dave get to assist Frank Oz on Yoda, but he also received the opportunity to fully operate the Yoda puppet for a week when Frank was forced to return to his work on Sesame Street and Frank nominated David to take over as chief puppeteer.
For the last week of filming of The Empire Strikes Back, Frank handed Dave the responsibility of Yoda for the remaining days of filming. Dave performed Yoda for many wide and vista vision shots, and parts of the training sequence including where Luke is doing a handstand, with Yoda standing on his feet. For the wide shots, Dave puppeteered the radio controlled Yoda, and he puppeteered the hero hand puppet for the close up – “concentraaaate..!”
His many accomplishments on The Empire Strikes Back were not forgotten as he was chosen to be chief puppeteer for the most disgusting creature in the Star Wars universe, the galactic gangster Jabba the Hutt, in Return of the Jedi. Jabba is portrayed by a one-ton puppet that took three months to construct and required seven puppeteers to operate, making it one of the largest ever used in a motion picture. For the death scene on the barge, Dave was joined inside by Mike Quinn who operated Jabba’s eye bulge.