Docuseries About George Lucas And ILM Coming From Director Lawrence Kasdan

Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas go back a long way. Kasdan made his auspicious screenwriting debut with "The Empire Strikes Back," which we've scientifically proven to be the best "Star Wars" movie. He then went on to write "Raiders of the Lost Ark," write and direct "Body Heat," and co-write "Return of the Jedi." And that was just the beginning of his illustrious film career. Kasdan and Lucas have known each other for over 40 years, and now comes word that he'll be directing a documentary series about Lucas and ILM (Industrial Light & Magic).

Composer James Newton Howard, a frequent collaborator of Kasdan's, recently appeared on Score: The Podcast (by way of Collider), where he revealed that he had just completed work on the score for a six-part docuseries, directed by Kasdan, on Lucas and ILM. According to Collider, Howard also let slip "that he might be involved with the upcoming Disney+ sequel to Lucasfilm's 1988 film 'Willow.'"

We heard back in January 2020 that work had begun on a "Willow" sequel, but nothing was official yet and this was before the pandemic changed everything. November 2020 brought the update that Lucasfilm was eyeing Erin Kellyman, Cailee Spaeny, and Ellie Bamber for three leading roles. Kellyman appeared in "Solo: A Star Wars Story," which Kasdan co-wrote with his son, Jon.

Jon is overseeing the "Willow" sequel, and now it sounds like Howard could be boarding it as well. In the meantime, there's no title or distributor yet for Kasdan's ILM/Lucas docuseries, but it's something that might be of interest even to non-"Star Wars" fans.

Through the Years with ILM

Lucas founded ILM in 1975, between making two classics: "American Graffiti" and the original "Star Wars" movie. The company's pioneering visual effects extend well beyond the "Star Wars" franchise. Just this week, we looked back at the real-life inspiration behind "Forrest Gump," a film that was noteworthy for its digital compositing and other effects, which made Gary Sinise look like a double leg amputee and enabled Tom Hanks to shake hands with President Lyndon B. Johnson, among other things.

ILM's website notes that it "has played a key role in 7 of the top 10 worldwide box office hits of all time and has contributed to twenty-five of the top fifty." Altogether, it has "created visual effects for over 350 feature films." Chances are, it's responsible for the CGI in some of your favorite movie moments, whether it be the dinosaurs in "Jurassic Park" or the liquid-metal T-1000 in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day."

As the creator of "Star Wars," Lucas has self-mythologized, and the fandom has both mythologized and demonized him. Yet because of their existing relationship, a Kasdan-helmed documentary about him has the potential to offer new insights and unprecedented access. 

Either way, a documentary taking us through the years with ILM, beginning with its inception in the '70s, could be a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a company that has made some invaluable contributions to film history.