the documentary series Light & Magic, which debuts on Disney+ on July 27, will feature never-before-seen footage and behind-the-scenes stories from Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), the division founded by George Lucas that revolutionized the visual effects industry.
“This is a very important documentary,” Phil Tippet, who won multiple Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects, said Friday during a panel on the new series at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, Calif.
Tippet said the work reveals “paleontological bubbles” in visual effects history and gave some curious details about how the team assembled by George Lucas came up with races and names for star wars.
For example, the name of the alien race Mon Calamari came about because the figure they drew looked like a squid man, and General Ackbar was randomly named right there.
Joe Johnston also shared how he designed the famous Star Wars logo overnight, using a black ink pen and ruler.
“This documentary isn’t about how it’s made, it’s about why it’s made,” said Dennis Muren, multiple Academy Award winner for visual effects for his work on star wars, IndianaJones and others.
“It’s an incredible series that captures the essence of what it was like back then,” said Rose Duignan, who served as ILM’s first chief marketing officer. “We used to call ourselves country club,” the manager recalled, because of some incidents with refrigerators, hot tubs and the environment that lived in the company.
The six-part documentary, created and directed by filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan – who co-wrote several films in the saga star wars – include behind-the-scenes footage and stories, as well as interviews with ILM pioneers who this Saturday are involved in the industry and have participated in Star Wars Celebration.
Ron Howard, director of Han Solo: A Star Wars Story and who is now behind the series willowwhich arrives Nov. 30 as a sequel to the 1988 film of the same name, explained the reason for the documentary series.
“The idea was to put faces above active creation, to understand the genesis of the revolution of an art form,” he said, during a press conference that followed. the panel.
“If the magic works properly, we don’t have to believe it’s real, it becomes real and fascinates us,” he said. “It’s gratifying for anyone who loves movies and cinema to know how it works.”
Lynwen Brennan, chief executive of Lucasfilm, pointed out that the documentary series focuses on the people rather than the technical details of how certain feats were achieved.
“We’ve done amazing things, but it’s about people’s souls,” the exec said. “There was never the idea that anything was impossible and that’s why it runs in our blood,” he said.
Brennan also said that ILM retains some of the characteristics of those early years, during which the team’s creativity made the films’ huge success possible. star wars.
“What’s amazing with this company is that, 45, 46 years later, the spirit of innovation and invention is still there,” the Lucasfilm director said.
In an excerpt from the series presented at Star Wars Celebration, George Lucas explains how fundamental visual effects are to making films, 47 years after the founding of Industrial Light & Magic and 45 years after the debut of the first film in the space saga, “A new hope”.
“Visual effects create the magic that makes people want to go to the movies,” Lucas explains in the documentary.
At a press conference, Rose Duignan explained how the visionary contributed to a family atmosphere in the company and accepted the creation of a daycare center for employees, for the deep value he places on children and families.
“He wrote all of this for 12-year-olds,” Duignan said. “It was their deal. I wanted to teach them selfishness versus altruism,” he continued. “There wasn’t much of your own ego in there.”
The ILM pioneer also said a new generation of visual effects professionals is needed as the industry has exploded. “We were the original Rebel Alliance.”