The Film is Strong with This One: Star Wars Episode VII Film and Tech

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, George Lucas created a film franchise that revolutionized and redefined the entire science fiction genre as we know it. Star Wars introduced a new level of technology and special effects integration never seen before in film. With the acquisition of the franchise by Disney, there is even more innovation to be made, and that will start with Episode VII, due out in December, 2015.

starwarsDirector J.J Abrams (Star Trek, Mission Impossible III) has recently revealed that he is shooting the movie with 35mm film instead of the latest industry standard of digital.

This is not surprising of Abrams, who has yet to produce a film digitally, and believes that film is a valuable art that produces images that no digital rendering can replicate. Along with the 35mm film, leaked photos have shown the use of IMAX cameras, which would demonstrate the true versatility of Episode VII.

starwars2One can only imagine the amount of special effects and green screen action that will be present as well, so maybe a breath of fresh air from the digital world would be a tasteful addition to the film. One of the things that the Star Wars franchise has always been proud of is the eclectic sense of costuming and prop design that is most certainly extensive by nature of the science fiction genre. Taking it back to the original 1977 method of models and elaborate set designs, information and pictures have shown that Episode VII will not rely on strictly green screen, which while most certainly will be used, will not be the prime motivator to many movies that have been produced in the last decade.

With very little information released about the 2015 sci-fi epic, fans are left to only speculate the details of story and the overall quality of the Disney project. It is hard to believe many fans are even left after the very negatively criticized prequel trilogy came out, leaving many hardcore fans left to feel betrayed in a sense with characters like the CGI-monstrosity that is Jar-Jar Binks. (Wired.com has a great article looking at the technology and disappointments to this particular subject.)

When the series ended in 2005 with Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the fans that remained felt closure. A short lived closure that was interrupted when Disney acquired the series in 2012. But fans have always complained about any minor change, such as the digital re-releases of the films in 1996. If anything, the creators are most likely looking towards a new generation of Star Wars to take the reins. A forgiving new generation who is open to loose interpretation and varying special effects. This being said, J.J. Abrams and everybody involved will do everything within their reach not to mess up this film as well.

So with Star Wars Episode VII set for a December 2015 release, will the film stay true to the original trilogy ideas? Do you agree with J.J. Abrams’ choice of filming in 35mm film as opposed to digital? These are the questions that we can’t help but ask ourselves as such a sacred film franchise is put into new hands into a new generation of filmmakers.

Mike Lieb

6 thoughts on “The Film is Strong with This One: Star Wars Episode VII Film and Tech

  1. As someone who hasn’t seen any of the Star Wars movies (scandalous, I know) this new movie may be incentive to watch all the other movies. At least I have over a year to catch up! Anyways, I am curious to see if filming in a more traditional style will help to tie this new film together with the older films. I think it is refreshing to take this movie back to its roots and tie old production methods and new production methods together. If they are looking for a new generation with this new film, that may be a challenge as that generation was raised with the original movies. But, December 2015 will tell all.

  2. I absolutely agree with J.J. Abram’s decision. Cutting down on the CG will really be a “breath of fresh air”. I think it was too much CG that really ruined the last three films. Going back to the traditional style should be a real success with true Star Wars fans but I guess we won’t find out until next December.

  3. I cannot wait for this! I’m really pleased to see that their going back to using original props and actual sets (as opposed to tons of green/blue screens and all that). The choice to shoot on film I think is neat, but unfortunately I think most of us are gonna see it on a digital projector anyway which makes it really hard to distinguish if it was shot on film or digitally. But it’s the old school spirit that counts and makes it cool I think.

  4. As, what I consider to be a die-hard, Star Wars fan. This article definitely grabbed my attention. I have been very uninterested with the newest movie though. I did, in fact, feel betrayed after the “episode one” it was like I was no longer a functioning member of the movie experience. It was so childlike, albeit that I was in fact a child when it came out, but none the less. I really hope J.J. Does his best to not screw us over with first movie in the series. Otherwise the series will be dead in the water.

  5. In the time between this article’s posting and now, the title of the new film has been released: The Force Awakens. After a split-second of sheer giddiness from news that one of my favorite franchises has released a major component of its new project, I took a step back and really examined the future of the franchise. What could Abrams possibly bring to the table that can garner a better response than the last three films? How can they break this new storyline into ultimately three NEW movies? Also, the more I think about it, why does it sound like a 14-year-old came up with that title?

    I personally believe that the original trilogy is sacred. Once the new series provided an unnecessary tampering to the franchise, I thoroughly berated Lucas’ decision during that 6 year period. However, since I also dump a lot of stock and trust into JJ Abrams’ work so far, I’ll be a little eager to see where he heads with this new direction.

  6. As far as digital vs. film is concerned, I’m not picky what is used as long as it is used effectively and to the best ends of the story. CGI, however, is a little different. I am extremely happy with Abrams’s approach to effects in Episode VII, combining practical and digital effects.

    It makes me instantly think of director Christopher Nolan when I think of the CGI vs practical debate. In a movie landscape over-saturated by computer graphics (Peter Jackson, I’m looking at you) it is refreshing and much more real to see stunts pulled off practically. I just viewed Interstellar, Nolan’s latest, and I think it may be one of the most perfect marriages of practical and digital effects to date. Truly stunning effects work.

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