Star Wars: The Last Jedi Canto Bight aliens

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has double the practical effects of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Not only that, but Star Wars creature designer Neal Scanlan reveals that there has never been a Star Wars movie with more practically created effects. While speaking with Scanlan, I learned more about how the Last Jedi practical creatures, droids, and visual effects came into being.

neal scanlan

John Boyega said at the press conference that this film has more practical effects, double the practical effects of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

It does, yeah. Absolutely.  There are more practical effects in this film than any Star Wars film.  And I think there’s over 180 to maybe 200 elements of practical creatures, characters or Droids.  Whether they all make it to the cut, I’m not sure.  There’s inevitably going to be some losses.  The runtime would be about seven hours otherwise.  But yeah, so far, we’ve never made this many different things.  And in a sense, there are a lot of what I would call vignette moments in this film which are beautifully designed for practical moments in a sense.  Rian’s very clever in his scriptwriting to kind of visualize this as a moment. He was very keen that we take the practical effects to live real locations, for instance.  So we’re not just studio-based all the time.  So it opened up a huge scope of possibilities and opportunities.  It’s a big film.  It’s a great story.  And it demanded that we stretch ourselves.

canto bight alien

So those 180 to 200 practical creatures…does the scene in Canto Bight outdo Maz’s Castle?

Yeah.  I think there were 80 to 85 characters in that scene.  Yeah, it was a very, very big set.  In fact it was shot on the Bond stage.  Which is an enormous stage.  And I don’t know how many total.  There must be…Rian would be able to tell more maybe than me.  There must be 500, 600 extras in that sequence in order to be able to fill that environment.  So you can imagine that you quite quickly lose 80 or so aliens.  So it’s a yes, it was a big choreographed creative moment, really.  Yeah, the characters were all individually designed and chosen by Rian.  He assembled this sort of creatures cast or alien cast for that moment.  And yeah, whether they are a hand puppet or a person in a suit, stilt walkers, small people, every single trick in the book was used to try and create a huge varied world, this sort of social world we haven’t seen so far, really.

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