We all know that shots of spaceships and giant AT-ST walkers from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (opens in new tab) are created using visual effects. But did you know that the film’s VFX team is so good, they convinced us a set that barely existed in the real world looked completely practical? Take a look at this:
That’s a shot of Admiral Raddus’s ship as it appears in the movie compared to a quick shot of what it really looked like on a soundstage at Pinewood Studios. Pretty impressive, huh? For anyone not completely immersed in Star Wars lore, Raddus is the Mon Calimari alien who looks a lot like Admiral Ackbar, and his ship hovered over the beach planet of Scarif and received Jyn Erso’s transmission of the Death Star plans during the film’s climactic battle.
John Knoll, the man who created the story for Rogue One, works for VFX company Industrial Light and Magic and doubled as the movie’s visual effects supervisor. In an interview with (opens in new tab), he revealed that Raddus’s ship was almost completely fake and largely created using CGI. “We had a couple of scenes on this bridge, but total screen time is probably less than 30 seconds, so it didn’t make a whole lot of economic sense to do a build as elaborate as this,” he explained. Instead, ILM used a new technique: they created the ‘proxy’ of a set that would allow the filmmakers to light their actors in a physical space, and then build out the details of the environment in post-production.
It’s an incredibly smart way to approach creating sets, and they actually employed this same tactic for the interiors of ships like the Tantive IV and the Hammerhead Corvette (seen in the photo above). I definitely noticed the CGI-enhanced versions of Grand Moff Tarkin and Princess Leia (opens in new tab), but I never once thought the lights, levers, and dashboards of the movie’s ships were fake, too. Mind = blown.
Directed by Gareth Edwards and starring Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Mads Mikkelsen, and more, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is available now on Blu-ray and Digital HD. Check out our list of every easter egg we found from Rogue One right here (opens in new tab).