It’s pretty awesome to see how modern filmmaking technology is being used to shoot Lucasfilm’s The Mandalorian. Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni and their team are using what’s called Stagecraft, which is a giant high-resolution screen set up in a big sound stage called The Volume where the backgrounds of the scenes they are shooting can be displayed on that screen during production.
Before Favreau jumped in with Lucasfilm and ILM to set up The Volume, George Lucas wanted to use this same style of filmmaking tech about a decade ago when he was planning his own live-action Star Wars series, Star Wars: Underworld, and his sequel trilogy before he sold everything to Disney.
The most recent episode of The Mandalorian documentary series, Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, focuses on the technology that’s used to bring this series to life. In the episode, director Bryce Dallas Howard shared a memory she had of a conversation she had with George Lucas about 20 years ago, and in this discussion, Lucas told her that in the future, filmmakers would to make movies like Star Wars in their garage.
He had the vision all those years ago that film locations would be created digitally with visual effects that could look just as real and vibrant as shooting on location. Kathleen Kennedy went on to say that Lucas wanted to make this happen himself. He wanted to lead the charge on this tech and at one point he started the process of making it happen before it all fell apart.
/Film reminds us that back in 2010, George Lucas was looking to expand Skywalker Ranch with something he called The Grady Ranch, a 269,000-square-foot complex that would include a 51-foot-tall, mission-style compound with two 85-foot towers, two indoor sound stages, and a large outdoor stage. This expansion would have generated hundreds of high-paying jobs and tax revenue.
Lucas was looking to break ground on this in 2013, but unfortunately, the whole thing fell apart in 2012 when he pulled out after a bunch of local homeowners strongly opposed the project because of the increased traffic, noise, and claims of environmental damage that it might do to the area.
This is would have been the place where Lucas planned to shoot his live-action Star Wars: Underground series and the Star Wars sequel trilogy that he was planning!
Think about this… had the Grady Ranch actually been built, Lucas would have moved forward with these projects! It was only six months after these plans fell apart that he sold Lucasfilm to Disney! Had he pushed forward and continued his plans without caving to the pressure he was getting from the community, the future of Star Wars would have turned out a lot different! Lucas’s vision of Star Wars would have been realized.
There’s no way he would have spent all that money expanding his filmmaking studio to work on these projects just to end up selling it all to Disney. He would have followed through with it himself. Lucas would have also once again pioneered a whole new way of filmmaking, which has been such a huge aspect of his life’s work.
At least it’s happening now, and Lucas had the vision for it all those years ago. It’s kind of a shame, though, that he never pushed forward with it.