Here's Where Andor Actually Used Lucasfilm's StageCraft Technology [Exclusive]

One of the things that sets "Andor" apart from other streaming "Star Wars" shows is its extensive use of real locations and practical sets rather than CG backdrops. Whereas the three previous Disney+ shows, "The Mandalorian," "The Book of Boba Fett," and "Obi-Wan Kenobi," all relied heavily on StageCraft technology to bring their environments to life, "Andor" has opted to forego wrap-around video walls and soundstages and take a more traditional shooting route. Creator Tony Gilroy originally said that the series "didn't use StageCraft at all," but as it turns out, it was just a little more selective about how it implemented the technology.

/Film's Jeremy Mathai recently spoke with "Andor" VFX producer TJ Falls, who helped clarify the extent to which the series did employ StageCraft tech, saying:

"We melded a lot of technologies, really. There were a lot of sets that were practically built that we then augmented and extended upon and finding the best way to extend them, creatively shoot them to have the most fulfilling result, to our traditional all-CG approach for our spaceships and the way that we deal with things. And then still utilizing things like our StageCraft technology that [Industrial Light & Magic] uses. And for 'Andor,' we didn't use one of the standing StageCraft sets, but we still used the StageCraft technology."

A specific scene in Andor that uses StageCraft

The description Falls gives seems to indicate that "Andor" has used StageCraft as more of a supplement to help build out the visible world, as opposed to fully enclosing the actors within a perimeter of LED screens. As for where specifically you can see an example of it in the show, Falls said:

"We built a specific LED screen around the embassy where Mon Mothma works, and so they're having their party and you've got wonderful screens. And it's like, well, now we've got a wonderfully practically built set. We're immersed with our environment of people, we're utilizing new technology in terms of StageCraft and blending everything together."

The Chandrilan Embassy is where Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly) lives on Coruscant, the city-covered planet that first appeared 25 years ago, in the 1997 Special Edition of "Return of the Jedi," before taking on a larger role in the "Star Wars" prequels. In "Andor" episode 8, the embassy hosts a party, where Mon Mothma and her husband mingle with guests, two of whom take time to admire the view of Coruscant outside the windows.

You can see the lights of flying cars out the windows, and it gives the practical embassy set the illusion of more depth without being overbearing or dominating the scene and making it look fake. That's probably the best way to make use of this technology, not as a crutch, but as a tool.

"Andor" is now streaming on Disney+.