Anatomy of a Dewback is a 5-part 26 minutes behind-the-scenes web documentary, released in 1997 on StarWars.com, about the restoration and expansion of the Tatooine Dune Sea sequence with the addition and re-design of dewbacks from immovable rubber puppets to digital living creatures for the Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope Special Edition. The documentary reveals the process of restoring the original footage by YCM Labs and the expansion of the sequence with the addition of new footage and includes interviews with George Lucas and ILM about the concept and purpose of the scene.
The Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition originally was conceived as a way to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the release of Star Wars. But as the process of restoring the original film negative started, it turned into much more. For one thing, the new release gave creator George Lucas a chance to "pull the old thorns out of his side" by fixing some shots that he felt didn't work, and by adding new sequences that just couldn't be done twenty years ago. In addition, it would give Industrial Light and Magic, Lucas' premier special effects house, a chance to stretch and to try out new techniques that would later be used in full force to make the new 'prequel' to Star Wars, Episode I.
One scene that was revised to better meet Lucas' expectations was a sequence in Star Wars out in the Dune Sea of Tatooine. It involves a detachment of stormtroopers searching for two missing droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO, who presumably carry the top-secret plans of the Death Star battle station. Lucas wanted an element of surprise, so he had the troopers ride giant lumbering beasts called Dewbacks instead of more advanced machinery. Due to budgetary and technical limitations, the original Dewbacks were little more than large, immobile rubber puppets.
This special five-part web documentary, which will be released one episode per week over a five-week period, shows how the Dewbacks became the seemingly living, breathing creatures in the Star Wars Special Edition.