The Mandalorian‘s season two premiere gave us one of the biggest creature battles in Star Wars history. Show creator and writer, Jon Favreau, turned a skeleton first seen in A New Hope into a living, breathing, terrifying gigantic monster. Fans got to see firsthand just how ferocious a krayt dragon really is. Now Favreau has provided viewers an inside look at how the entire sequence came to life. And as long as you’re not Anakin Skywalker, you’re probably going to love it. Because he says the scene wouldn’t have worked if not for digital sand.
In a short video from American Film Institute (which we first learned about at io9), Favreau talked about the process that went into making the krayt dragon battle sequence in “The Marshal.” It was the only season two episode he directed himself.
The massive monster fight relied on a whole lot of modern filmmaking tools. The sequence contains many digitized shots, and characters. A lot of it was also filmed with a green screen outdoors in Los Angeles. The CGI elements were seamlessly combined with live-action plates filmed around the world. Every shot has something “real” in it to ground it, though. And you’d be hard-pressed to differentiate which parts are live footage and real actors and which parts are not.
Favreau says making a sequence of this magnitude is the result of heavy pre-production work that includes all departments from the beginning of the process. But what might surprise viewers is the importance of sand on making the scene come together. A lot of the sand in this desert scene was rendered by Industrial Light & Magic, which also created the krayt dragon. Favreau says that kind of realistic digital sand wasn’t possible even a couple of years ago. Watching the episode, though, it didn’t even occur to us the sand wasn’t real.
Even Anakin Skywalker might find rendered sand most impressive.
Featured Image: Lucasfilm