Star Wars: The Force Awakens obviously had its share of special effects, but it wasn’t the total green screen-fest that, say, the Star Wars prequels were. The makers of The Force Awakens boasted about the fact that they used real sets and practical effects where they could, and the film definitely felt more grounded than your typical modern-day blockbuster. So, what was real and what was CGI? Well, Industrial Light and Magic has just released a new visual effects reel for The Force Awakens, and it answers a lot of questions.
Of course, some aspects of the film, like the space battles and the movie’s updated version of the trench run, are entirely CGI, and the amount of detail and work that went into them is truly impressive. Other parts, like Rey’s janky scavenger speeder bike and the snowy landscape from the end of the film are, surprisingly, mostly practical. You also get a sense of how much work goes into even the little things – a simple shot of the Millennium Falcon flying low and kicking up a wave on Ahch-To required a huge amount of work and artistry.
We all like to grumble about excessive or poorly-done VFX, but they’re certainly impressive when done right. It will be exciting to see what digital (and not-so-digital) wonders Lucasfilm has cooked up for Rogue One and Star Wars: Episode VIII.