Tom Spina Designs have restored the original Chewbacca/Malla mask used in Star Wars: A New Hope and The Star Wars Holiday Special.
While it may look like Chewie’s wife, Malla, this wookiee mask was originally a Star Wars Chewbacca mask (made by legendary makeup artist, Stuart Freeborn) which was converted by Stan Winston’s team for the infamous 1978 The Star Wars Holiday Special. Since Malla is not seen in any of the other Star Wars films, this is a very rare and unique piece. But since 1978, the Malla mask had begun to show signs of her age and came to us in need of some repair.
Our client asked for only minimal touchup, and we agreed that was that best approach for a piece as important as this one. After use in both the 1977 Star Wars and rework and reuse in 1978’s television special, the Malla mask had several areas along the lips and nose where the foam latex had become fragile or cracked. Tom stabilized and patched these areas, carefully matching the surrounding material. Once the damaged areas were all repaired they were meticulously spot painted to match the original material.
It’s always an honor to work with original props and masks used in your favorite films. We’ve been quite lucky to restore and conserve many original Star Wars props and costumes! From restoring a screen used Tauntaun head from the Empire Strikes Back, to conserving the original Muftak costume created by Rick Baker’s team for Star Wars, and even a subtle refurbishment of an original Endorian, an Ewok mask from Return of the Jedi, we’ve gotten to help preserve a bit of the legacy of these films we all love, and can’t wait for our next opportunity to do so again!
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