The classic models of the X-Wing and Millennium Falcon wouldn’t cut in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One. That’s why a few great minds gave our favorite spaceships a much-needed facelift.
When you saw The Force Awakens and Rogue One, you might have noticed that our favorite spaceships got an upgrade, of sorts. One of the great minds behind this endeavor was Russell Paul, a model supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic, Lucasfilm’s visual effects studio (via ABC News). According to Paul, the Millennium Falcon has parts from “a Ferrari 312.” Cool, right?
In order for Paul, and others, to bring our favorite spaceships to life digitally, they had to go back a few decades. Russell Paul talked about going back to the original models from the 70s and 80s:
"The traditional model shop did some amazing, amazing work, and I think we really tried to respect that style of model making, and I really tried to tell a story with details on our models as well."
The process of bringing our favorite ships back to life wasn’t easy. Many of the spaceships from the original Star Wars trilogy were extremely detailed and had many pieces that came from “off-the shelf” models. The ILM artists had to turn over many stones to find some of the original parts to the original models.
Image Credit: Lucasfilm
Russell Paul went on to explain the details of some of the ships:
"The Y-Wing is actually a Saturn V rocket kit, this is the main fuselage of the rocket kit, but it actually was used directly to make the engines of a Y-Wing.”"
On the bridge of the First Order Star Destroyer, Paul says, you’ll find some German World War II-era parts.
"I love the Star Destroyer. it’s just such an iconic design, and being able to take it to the next level and add some of that detail respectfully and really make it as I remember, it was a real pleasure."
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They added some space battles scenes once the new models were finished. ILM layout supervisor, John Levin talked about his work during this process:
"Gareth [Rogue One director] has a cinema verite style. He likes to treat the film as if he’s a documentarian walking around the scene. We put the camera in his hands, and he walks around. It’s constantly recording. He finds a cool shot. He does it over and over until he perfects it. Next thing you know, we’ve got something in the movie."
It truly amazes me how much work goes into making movies awesome. I really appreciate the care and attention a director (and others) put into a movie.