It’s not exactly controversial to say The Rise of Skywalker proved divisive among Star Wars fans. Some loved the movie. Others definitely did not. But that split reaction shouldn’t have surprised anybody. It doesn’t seem like admirers of the galaxy far, far away can ever agree about anything these days. (Unless we’re talking about Baby Yoda.) But no matter how you felt about Episode IX, you’ll love this new VFX reel for the film. It shows the incredible work that went into bringing the movie to the big screen. And that includes how they were able to make Carrie Fisher a big part of the Skywalker Family Saga’s farewell.
Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic put together this incredible short compilation of how they made director J.J. Abrams’ vision a reality. It features behind-the-scene footage from the entire film. It’s a chance to see how practical effects, green screen, and computer animation combined to create characters, ships, actions sequences, entire planets, and settings. There are also some great Pop-Up Video style tidbits throughout.
It also offers the best glimpse yet at how The Rise of Skywalker was able to have Carrie Fisher appear. This reel shows exactly how footage from The Force Awakens was used to let the late actress star in the film. However, it’s the movie’s use of old footage of that stands out here. We already knew Carrie Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd filled in for her mom in the flashback to Leia’s Jedi training with Luke. But actually seeing Lourd’s face in that scene might be the first time a VFX reel has made us emotional.
We also love watching puppeteers bring the movie’s MVP, Babu Frik, to life. Practical effect creatures are always special. And this reel also shows how both the Vexis snake and Maz Kanata were created with a combo of practical effects and CGI. These characters celebrate the best of both approaches.
But most of the special effects highlighted here focus on how J.J. Abrams used both real locations and massive practical sets and augmented with computer generated actors and effects. It’s how the film transformed a real site in Jordan into a massive festival, which was then followed by a high speed chase filmed mostly in blue screen.
This compilation also includes inside looks at some of the most iconic scenes from the movie. Rey’s leap over Kylo Ren’s ship was a mixture of a real stunt and computer animation. As was the pair’s fight amid the raging sea on the Death Star’s remnants. CGI brought much of that scene alive, as Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver fought on a movie set. But look at how big that set piece still was. It’s incredible. The movie used everything at its disposal to make it look as real as possible.
The crazy amount of layering that went into many of the big action sequences from the end of the film is also amazing to see. More unbelievable though is the 8.4 million hours of rendering that was needed to create the more than 16,000 ships that made up the Galaxy fleet. That’s insane.
It’s all insane. That’s why you don’t have to love the movie to appreciate the work that went into it. We can all agree on that.
Featured Image: Lucasfilm