SWCA 2022: 6 things we learned from the Light & Magic panel

SWCA 2022: 6 things we learned from the Light & Magic panel

Today they are movie legends, but in the late 1970s they were special effects innovators simply trying to make George Lucas’ vision a reality. Friday at star wars Party Anaheim 2022, Executive Producer Ron Howard took the stage alongside VFX titans Dennis Muren, Phil Tippett, Joe Johnston, Rose Duignan and Lucasfilm Vice President and General Manager Lynwen Brennan for a special panel introducing the new documentary series, Light & Magic, premiering on Disney+ on July 27. With Lawrence Kasdan appearing virtually and ABC’s Chris Connelly, panelists shared personal insights and revealed clips from the evocative new series that explores the early days of Industrial Light, & Magic like never before. Here are six things we learned.

1. Being interviewed by Kasdan on camera for the series was an interesting experience for the VFX veterans who had worked on some of the originals star wars movies alongside him. Kasdan asked Muren questions that had never been asked before in an interview setting like “Who are you?” Why were you here? Muren called back. As a result, the stories the series captures are more personal, highlighting not “this is how it’s done, but why”. It was a sentiment seemingly shared by everyone on stage who appeared on camera for the documentary. Or as Johnston put it, “The ILM story…inside.”

Crew with a table full of X-Wing models

2. Inspiration for early ships came from everything from hot rods to the kitchen sink. Johnston, who worked to evolve Colin Cantwell’s initial designs for Empire and Rebel Alliance ships, said it was Lucas’ love of street racing and specialty cars that drove led to the idea that inflated X-wings could take on the Imperial fleet. and win. But when it came to perfecting the design of the Millennium Falcona pile of dirty dishes in Johnston’s sink helped bring to light the idea for the now-iconic freighter’s saucer-shaped center.

George Lucas and his crew watching a movie

3. Some of our favorite characters were named as off-the-cuff remarks. By working on Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Tippett said Lucas will review the latest info from the creature’s designer at the end of the week and start assigning importance to it. He recalled a visit where Lucas decided on Sy Snootles’ role as lead singer and “the blue guy with flipper ears is going to play the organ,” Tippett said. Then Lucas came across a fish-like creature. “What is this?” He asked. “Well, he’s a squid man,” Tippett told him. “Okay,” Lucas replied, “it’s Admiral Ackbar.” Comparing Lucas’ style to that of a documentary filmmaker, Tippett said Lucas “just wanted to go explore”.

An AT-AT Walking Model

4. Many of the moments the panelists talked about are in the documentary, depicted in real-time in behind-the-scenes footage, but not all of them. Duignan recalled one particular day when several employees, including Johnston, relaxed in a hot tub, laughing as John Dykstra dropped a refrigerator with a forklift “just like a limo carrying George Lucas, Gary Kurtz and a big wig of 20e Century Fox [ arrived.] They get out of their limo, they watch what’s going on, and they get back in their limo and go,” she said as the crowd laughed. “I knew we were in a very difficult situation. And that’s when they started calling us the Country Club. But appearances can be deceiving. “We have worked so hard. We worked from morning till night,’ she added before Johnston revealed he wasn’t just in the hot tub because his work was done, but Dykstra’s antics were being recorded. by legendary sound effects engineer Ben Burtt.

Crew and model of the Millennium Falcon

5. The spirit of the company and the legacy explored in the series are still very much alive today. As the series explores the birth of ILM nearly 50 years later, Brennan remains in awe of the spirit of collaboration, innovation, and pure joy that current VFX artists still bring to the work today. “Yes, we’ve done some spectacular things,” she says, but it comes down to one thing: “it’s about people.”

Howard, executive producer of the series, first worked with Lucas while starring in American Graffitti, and more recently at the helm Solo: A Star Wars Story, in close collaboration with ILM. “The spirit that was so important to Larry when he just summoned this…his instinct is to talk about the characters, the heartbeat of it. The technology is there and it’s all about what the idea is. What is the dream?

George Lucas with an Astromech droid

6. All roads lead to George Lucas. Kasdan praised ILM’s generosity and skill from his time as a writer on the original trilogy and interviewing some of his former colleagues for the series. “There was a patience for the process…for me, it’s a miracle,” Kasdan said, noting that the response to any new request or challenge was often basically, “Well, I don’t know how we going to do it, but we will… They want to share these ideas. They want to succeed for George, for themselves and for their teammates,” he said. “I find this generosity very moving… and it’s there for all these years at ILM.”

Of course, that also goes to Lucas. After creating a modern mythology for 12-year-olds that explored the power of selflessness for the greater good, Duignan said Lucas embodied the same values ​​every day. “He set the tone for ILM. He was quite selfless. There wasn’t a lot of ego.

Watch all six episodes of Light & Magic on Disney+ from July 27.

Associate Editor Kristin Baver authored the book Skywalker: A Family at Warhost of This week! In Star Wars, and an all-around sci-fi nerd who always has one more question in an endless list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap! even when it is not. Follow her on Twitter @KristinBaver.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #ThisWeek, #SWCA22

KEYWORDS: Light & Magic, star wars celebration, star wars celebration anaheim

#SWCA #learned #Light #Magic #panel

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