Sure beats wrestling a Bantha costume onto a pissed-off elephant.
But shit got really real with the introduction of the droid BB-8 -- a combination of robotics, puppetry, and digital effects.
Insurance wouldn't cover the original idea of toddlers shoved in there, hamster-ball-style.
Depending on what the scene demanded, there was a BB-8 that would emote while held by actors, a BB-8 that could be thrown around and stay upright at all times, a BB-8 controlled by rod puppeteers, or hell, a totally functioning droid that could roll around like a haunted bowling ball. And for some goofball reason, they didn't stop at the obvious effects, and instead built stuff like Rey's insta-dinner: