There’s no denying Star Wars made a huge impact on movies, whether it’s John Williams’ iconic use of leitmotifs, cool toys, or even ill-advised TV tie-ins, but the largest impact might be in the field of special effects. It’s a tradition that has carried into the modern sequels, which The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson reminded us of Tuesday in a tweet celebrating special effects technicians.
The tweet includes a video of special effects supervisor Chris Corbould standing in for Mark Hamill in a test of a practical effect from the film. The video shows the stone building set behind Corbould blowing apart in slow motion. It’s a thrilling effect, even without the context of the rest of the film.
Eagle-eyed viewers may recognize the moment from when Luke Skywalker discovers Rey communing with Kylo Ren via the force. It’s a memorable moment, made all the more impactful by the practical nature of the effect. No bluescreen fatigue here, just some good old-fashioned planning and expert rigging.
Corbould’s commitment to practical effects can be seen throughout his career, which includes Inception, The Dark Knight, and numerous James Bond films, including the upcoming No Time to Die. Indeed, the explosion from 2015’s Spectre holds the world record for largest film stunt explosion, and the spinning hallway scene from Inception is considered one of the best action scenes of the 2010s.
I’m always a sucker for behind-the-scenes footage of how these types of effects are pulled off, but this is one of the rare instances where the reality is almost as baffling as the fiction. There’s a huge sheet of plexiglass protecting the cameras from all of the flying stone, but Corbould is on the stone side. It demonstrates impressive confidence in his team, and some Jedi-level control of his nerves.
Check out Rian Johnson’s tweet below.
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