Here’s the latest from: starwars.com
1. ILM was built from the ground up, including the cameras used for Star Wars.
“I realized I was going to have to start a company and put together a whole group of people that would just be specifically for making Star Wars,” said George Lucas in 1979. It started with John Dykstra, who had worked previously in effects for a sci-fi movie, and his network of effects aficionados became some of the first ILM crew. They crafted everything from the ship models to the motion-control camera system used to shoot them in a sweltering warehouse in Van Nuys, California.
2. The original Star Wars effects crew shared a common movie in their origin story: The 7th Voyage of Sinbad.
The 1958 adventure film by Ray Harryhausen featured mind-blowing stop motion animation. It quickly captured the boyhood imaginations of future ILMers Phil Tippett, Dennis Muren, and Ken Ralston. “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad just melted my brain,” says Ralston in Light & Magic.
3. George Lucas envisioned the rebel fleet as hotrods.
The original X-wing, Y-wing, and TIE fighter designs were incredible, but looked clean and manufactured. Lucas asked concept artist Joe Johnston to imagine the ships as pieced-together “hotrods” designed to outrun the stark Imperial fleet. Johnston gave the rebel ships their used, hodge-podge look.
4. Joe Johnston was inspired by dirty dishes when designing the Millennium Falcon.
Johnston was also tasked with redesigning the Falcon when the original design was deemed too similar to another ship on television. Under pressure and mentally blocked, Johnston was sitting in the kitchen when he spotted plates on the counter. He imagined sandwiching two together like hamburger buns to create a saucer-like ship. The Millennium Falcon started to take shape.
5. The first concept for Star Wars was a science fiction serial like Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers combined with the effects of 2001: A Space Odyssey.
After the success of American Graffiti, Lucas turned his attention to an entirely different idea. Mixing the advanced special effects facilitated by Stanley Kubrick and the adventure of classic sci-fi movie serials intrigued him. “That was about all I had,” Lucas recalls in Light & Magic. “I was just searching for a story.”…