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Research on legged locomotion has encountered its limits in human-made actuation technology. Building a structure and an actuation system capable of performing like a biological muscle for the dynamic locomotion of a mid- to large-sized machine is prohibitive. Novel technologies are being explored with the aim of improving actuator performance. This paper describes the development of a robotic leg for agile locomotion. The main aim is to imitate the multidisciplinary performance of the natural muscle by means of hybridizing conventional and new technologies for the development of large power, large force, lightweight, force-controlled, compliant robotic legs. A preliminary leg prototype has been developed. The actuation system is based on the hybrid use of series elasticity and magneto-rheological dampers which provides variable compliance for natural-looking motion and improved interaction with the ground. Experiments with the real leg prototype provide a positive assessment of the target leg features.