The official recap show gives us new glimpses into how Solo was made
The news is flowing in fast as the home video release date for Solo: A Star Wars Story inches closer. Over at the official Star Wars YouTube channel hosts Andi Gutierrez and Anthony Carboni go in for a deep dive of the production, deleted scenes, and an interview with Maul himself!
Prime your hyperdrives and punch it.
Maul Speaks – Ray Park on returning to Star Wars:
Right off the jump the crew gets into interesting territory with an interview of Ray Park, the actor who first brought Maul to life on the silver screen in his imposing introduction for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. When asked how he felt upon learning of Lucasfilm’s interest on bringing Maul back Park had this to say:
"Honestly, mind blown…Lynne Hale from Lucasfilm was trying to reach me, but not in a million years did I think it had anything to do with Solo…I called Lynne and she said ‘So they want want you back, do you want to do it?’ …And I said ‘Of course I’ll do it! I’m there.’ So of course I started training like a madman; during the day, at nighttime. I didn’t train to get big I just wanted to be – ready – and plus, every time I worked out I was thinking of Darth Maul. He’s been part of my life for twenty years."
The entire interview provides further details on the process of filming the character of Maul for Solo and includes many of Park’s observations on being a part of the Star Wars community for the past twenty years. One gets a real sense of genuine joy and excitement from Park at having been a part of the Star Wars legacy and at his ability to pass it on to his children. The whole interview is well worth the watch.
Behind-the-scenes look at Solo:
Photo Credit: Solo: A Star Wars Story Lucasfilm
The video then moves on to one of the more fascinating production sneak peaks offered for Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Story Group maestro Pablo Hidalgo spoke with Industrial Light & Magic VFX Supervisor Patrick Tubach on some of the practical effects used in Solo and how the team innovated on the use of matte paintings in the background to create intricate effects.
Tubach details how the crew decided to create a small screen stage area with two screens projecting real location footage both behind and above a model of the speeder used for Han and Qi’ras’ getaway chase on Corellia.
The speeder model is in a fixed position between the two screens and the filmed images are played on both screens, while a camera is filming all the action on the staging area. This allows for the filming crew to collect real light movement across the surface of the stationary speeder and provides a deeper sense of depth than would otherwise be provided by a simple blue screen effect. Says Tubach of the technique:
"It’s sort of what we call process shots. When you’re out on location you can actually drive the stunt vehicles really, really fast. And then you have something like this [speeder model]which is the more broken down version where you’re just looking to get very specific angles. And so, we’ve created this little mini stage for ourselves, where instead of just putting them in front of a blue screen we said ‘What can we do to make it a little more like reality?’"
"And what we have here playing as content on our LED screens is all the stuff we shot out on location; so that we’re able to then, we when get back here, project that stuff on the car and so you really feel like you’re actually in the environment."
It shouldn’t be surprising to few long-term Star Wars fans to know the production teams are constantly looking to push and pull the techniques used to create immersive film experiences. As noted before, even the oft criticized Prequel Trilogy used a slew of practical effects. The remix of matte paintings and projector screens used for Solo shows a creative and non-linear approach to achieving that immersive goal.
Hidalgo and Tubach go further into the production process with a look at a truly magnificent 180-degree projector screen used for the hyperdrive effect. One can only imagine how breathtaking it would be to sit in the cockpit of the Falcon and experience the effect live.
A deleted scene shows Solo whimsy:
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm
The last –but by no means least engaging– portion of the video is a whimsical and nearly wordless deleted scene from Solo showing Han and Chewie engaging in some friendly snow-bound tomfoolery. The most noticeable aspect of it being that it strangely veers between an almost outtake style tonality back into a more traditionally filmic context. While there is no commentary or setup of any kind prior to being dropped into the scene, it can be easily inferred that this footage is from the Lord & Miller cut of the film. It bears many of the ad-libbed qualities that were used to describe their initial attempt. Though the scene does help to establish the easy camaraderie between Han and his Wookiee co-pilot, it mostly serves to slow things down and ultimately break the immersion.
There will likely be further such scenes on the home release to provide fans with a deeper look into the scrubbed cut of the film. The ability to compare and contrast both versions should help lend a more complete understanding of the choice to pivot away from the improvisational tone of Lord & Miller.
Are you excited for the home release of Solo: A Star Wars Story? Any thoughts on the production tricks new and old used for the film? Sound off in the comments below!