As The Mandalorian became a pop culture phenomenon and a smash hit for Disney+, Jon Favreau has talked about collaborating with Epic Games and using the Unreal Engine — the secret sauce that powers Fortnite — to allow the bounty hunting series to effortlessly traipse around new corners of the Star Wars universe. But talking about the process is one thing, seeing it in action is another thing altogether.
In a newly released behind-the-scenes video, Favreau and the effects wizards at Industrial Light & Magic showcase the revolutionary new technique called StageCraft, which took filming in front of LED screens to a whole new level. By using the Unreal Engine and a semi-circle set covered wall-to-wall in LED screens, The Mandalorian‘s first season was able to be filmed without ever leaving Los Angeles.
Here’s how it works. Thanks to the Fortnite engine pumping out 28 million pixels to surrounded the actors and filmmakers, production was able to do things like switch from Iceland to a desert in just a few hours. More importantly, the creative team no longer had to interact with floating tennis balls or completely empty green screen rooms like in previous Star Wars films. For the most part, the actors were the closest it comes to being on location without actually being on location. The technology allowed them to more seamlessly immerse themselves in the fictional world of The Mandalorian.
While the video features mind-blowing examples of how Favreau overcame justifiable skepticism about basically testing an experimental process Disney+’s flagship series, he also teased at the implications for season two of The Mandalorian. Now that the team at ILM got their feet with StageCraft and have a better grasp of what the technology can do, the creative energy is through the roof. Exciting new locations can be made even quicker than before, and thanks to a healthy amount of tinkering, Favreau has some tricks up his sleeve that will easily take the hit Star Wars series to the next level.
Watch the ILM video showing the process below.