A 6-part documentary series about the true special effects wizardry and influence of Industrial Light & Magic is coming to Disney+. “Light & Magic” will go into the beginnings of the studio responsible for the eye popping effects for “Star Wars” and beyond. Working out of a warehouse in Van Nuys, the scrappy team was able cobble together a visual look that has lasted for over 40 years, and influenced decades of filmmakers. Since those early days, ILM have been the pioneers in effects for countless films.
ILM’s work evolved as computer effects became the norm, pioneering the technology that made dinosaurs and killer Terminators a reality. Along the way, companies like Pixar were built from techniques established at ILM, and created a whole new genre of animation. They have continued to lead the way in the look and feel of almost every Hollywood blockbuster.
[Editor’s note: There is also the ILM documentary from 2010, “Creating the Impossible,” which is a fantastic watch.]
From Underdogs To Giants
The trailer for “Light & Magic” promises a wealth of behind the scenes footage for aficionados to drool over. Along with “Star Wars,” expect tons of archival footage for franchises like “Indiana Jones” and “Jurassic Park.” What is really intriguing about the series is it offers a window into the studio’s early days. ILM started as a group of nerds who improvised almost every aspect of how special effects and model work was done. They had no blueprint about how to do camera effects, and had to make up things on the fly. The fact that “A New Hope” looks the way it does is practically a miracle of ingenuity. Seeing that story told by the people who worked in those days will provide a illuminating window that all fans should appreciate.
The series spares no expense in telling the full story of ILM. Director Lawrence Kasdan worked on the series, which is executive produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. Other notable persons featured include George Lucas, Robert Zemeckis, Barry Jenkins, Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron. The trailer promises this will offer stories that have never been told before and how difficult making these movies truly were.
Check out the trailer and see for yourself how cool this promises to be.
“Light & Magic” premieres on Disney+ July 27th, 2022.