ilm 40th anniversary

2015 marks the 40th anniversary of Industrial Light and Magic, the most revered special effects company in the world. It was famously created by George Lucas in 1975 to help make his movie, Star Wars, and has since gone on to basically create almost every single big special effects movie or moment you can remember or imagine. (With a few exceptions.)

Below, you can see a jaw-dropping, one-minute montage of their 40 year history, up to and including Star Wars: The Force Awakens later this year. Check out the ILM 40th anniversary video below. Read More »


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Special Effects in the 80s

Earlier this week, we featured a little infographic counting down the biggest movie sets in the history of cinema. This look into the practical sets from decades past shows both how impressive and large some physical sets used to be, and also just how few giant film sets are built today, in favor of digital effects. But even the world of special effects wasn’t so technologically advanced. And much like extensive practical set building, the use of less-sophisticated but still impressive special effects is something that seems to be missing from today’s movies.

So if you need to escape the present day for awhile, check out this vintage one-hour NOVA special that takes a look at the magic of special effects in the 80s, focusing on films such as Return of the Jedi and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Watch the NOVA segment on special effects below! Read More »

Wired ILM Cover

Star Wars Bits is back with a good hodgepodge of the past, present and future. Below, read about the following:

  • The Star Wars Episode VIII script makes the cover of Wired, along with George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson.
  • See a new photo of Oscar Isaac dressed as Poe Dameron.
  • Hasbro officially announced a Star Wars panel for San Diego Comic-Con.
  • More of the Michael Arndt controversy is described in the Vanity Fair Star Wars article.
  • You’ll see Star Wars Battlefront gameplay at E3, but you can see Disney Infinity gameplay now.
  • The costume designer of The Force Awakens talks redesigning Stormtroopers and dressing Luke, Leia and Han.

Read More »

The Making of Star Wars Return of the Jedi - Ewoks header

Today’s Star Wars Bits looks back to Return of the Jedi, and forward to Episode VII. After the jump:

  • See rare photos from the Jedi set
  • Ian McDiarmid has fond memories of playing the Emperor
  • J.J. Abrams was afraid of becoming the reboot guy
  • ILM eyes a new location in London
  • The Clone Wars gets Emmy recognition

Read More »

Boba Fett 1313 2

When Disney shut down the Lucasfilm gaming division Lucasarts, the fans wondered about the fate of Star Wars 1313. The third person game, for which we’d seen gorgeous trailers, has been indefinitely postponed thanks to the corporate decision. If that wasn’t bad enough, turns out that in recent months it had been altered to star not a random character, but Boba Fett himself. Star Wars 1313 was going to be a Boba Fett game.

Below, read more about that as well as the following Star Wars Bits:

  • Disney’s axe at Lucasfilm continues to swing, this time affecting many jobs at Industrial Light and Magic.
  • Dave Filoni, former director of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, has been asked to develop a new Star Wars animated series.
  • Read a bunch of additional details about The Star Wars, George Lucasoriginal script that will soon be a Dark Horse Comic.
  • The source codes to two popular Star Wars games are now available online.

Read More »

Though three different actors have played Bruce Banner on the big screen in the past decade, only one can really say he also played the Hulk. When Mark Ruffalo appeared as the iconic character in last summer’s The Avengers, he was the first actor to actually portray the Hulk half of the character in motion-capture. (His predecessors Edward Norton and Eric Bana let the CG artists take over that part.)

The decision paid off, as fans enthused that Ruffalo’s Hulk was the best they’d seen in recent memory. Now a new video shows just how Industrial Light & Magic pulled off the trick. Hit the jump to check it out.

Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

In The Avengers, the audience never questions where the action is taking place. That’s just New York City on screen, obviously. The fact that almost none of the film was actually shot in New York City is a testament to the quality of the effects work by Industrial Light and Magic.

ILM has just released a new video detailing how they were able to digitally recreate New York for Joss Whedon‘s mega-blockbuster. In it you’ll find out exactly how much of the film was shot in New York, see a lot of green screen work, all the tiny details that have to be added to each frame and even learn a few cool pieces of trivia. For either Avengers or filmmaking fans, it’s a must see. Read More »

As we anxiously wait to hear who’ll get to helm the next Star Wars, it seems there’s at least one name we can definitively rule out. Man of Steel helmer Zack Snyder says that he, for one, doesn’t want the coveted gig. The (understandable) reason? It’s just a lot to take on.

“I don’t think I’d be interested in [directing it],” he said in an interview with the LAT. “I’m a huge Star Wars fanatic. I just think doing seven, eight, and nine is just a slippery slope. It’s a whole other mythological experiment I’m excited to see, but it’s a lot of effort.”

After the jump, Jimmy Smits might be open to returning, while Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light & Magic saves Disney a ton of money.

Read More »


I doubt I need to tell you much about Industrial Light & Magic, at least with respect to the basics. The venerable effects company has been around for thirty-five years now, after being started by George Lucas to create effects for Star Wars. The company quickly became the premiere effects company in the world, and has set the standard for the transition from practical to digital effects, and every manner of blending the two.

Now there is to be a documentary about the company, directed by Leslie Iwerks, the filmmaker who made The Pixar Story. Tom Cruise narrates the doc, which will also feature interviews with  George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Ron HowardJ.J. Abrams and Jon Favreau as well as producers and actors. (What, was James Cameron busy?) No word on whether this will be a broad, glossy overview or a nuts and bolts history lesson. I’d expect the former, but maybe we’ll get lucky.

Industrial Light & Magic: Creating the Impossible airs November 14th on Encore. The full press release is after the break. Read More »