You might not know the name Timothy Rose off the top of your head, but the Star Wars puppeteer brought to life many of the series’ best alien characters, from Admiral Ackbar to Sy Snootles. However, it was Rose’s snappy portrayal of Jabba’s sidekick Salacious Crumb that nearly cost him his job.
In a new video interview with YouTuber Jamie Stangroom, Rose revealed that tensions were high while shooting scenes set in Jabba’s Palace for Return of the Jedi. Dozens of puppeteers were forced into every nook and cranny on the soundstage, out of sight and with hardly any room to move, so of course they spent time cracking jokes to release stress at every given opportunity. This included horsing around during takes, even singing “We saw you kissing” in a mocking manner at Harrison Ford while shooting the scene of Princess Leia freeing Han Solo from his carbonite prison.
This led Ford to approach director Richard Marquand, requesting that the puppet characters stay silent while filming, which they obeyed for the following take. Yet afterward, Rose remained in character to joke to Marquand about Ford’s demand, which he didn’t know would be broadcast through a hot mic for the whole set to hear:
“This Harrison guy, is he going to talk over our laugh cause it’s really putting me off.”
The Han Solo actor apparently stormed off set and vowed that he wouldn’t return until the puppeteer who said it was fired from the production. Rose wound up staying on for the rest of the shoot, pretending to be his own replacement as Ford was told the jokester was fired, but he revealed that he always regretted never taking the chance to say sorry:
“I’ve always wanted to apologize to him for telling the story because Harrison Ford is a great guy and I just happened to misread the sense of humor and do the wrong thing at the wrong time.”
The two would later return in The Force Awakens, but Rose never got to meet Ford without wearing his Ackbar costume, which, ironically, made it impossible to talk on set. The actor revealed that he hasn’t been too keen on the latest Star Wars trilogy, since the iconic Mon Calamari character was so unceremoniously killed off in The Last Jedi. Yet, one has to wonder if the Admiral would’ve made an impact at all if Harrison Ford had actually gotten his way.