Written By: Mathew ‘JJ’ Simoes
When Disney bought Lucasfilm back in 2012 and commissioned a new Star Wars trilogy, one of the driving factors behind it was the commitment to the use of practical effects. This means that the days of George Lucas’ blue and green screens for every shot were gone and now, we have an actual working BB-8 robot and filming on location. Star Wars: The Force Awakens made sure to film in real locations such as Abu Dhabi and its sequel, The Last Jedi, will continue this tradition.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, director Rian Johnson sat down to explain why The Last Jedi opted to bring filming back to Ireland’s Skellig Michael, which is the location used to film pivotal scenes involving Luke Skywalker training Rey on the planet of Ahch-To:
“I’m sure it would have been more economical, but it was so worth it to do it the way we did it. We got a feel, we got a vibe, we got a grounded kind of look that we never could have gotten on the green screen. I guess I should add that I was just trolloping up the stairs without a pack on my back. All of our great Irish crew, who acted as sherpas carting our equipment up the stairs, it was much more difficult for them. I don’t want to be cavalier about the stairs.”
At the end of The Force Awakens, fans will remember that Rey arrived on the mysterious planet of Ahch-To, where she found Luke Skywalker living in a deserted Jedi temple. The planet is lush with ocean water and greenery, something Rey clearly holds dear to her heart. Johnson admits that while it would have much easier to film in front of a green screen, it just wouldn’t have the same aura that practical filming has.
Anything for the perfect shot right?
Star Wars: The Last Jedi flies into our galaxy on December 15, 2017.