Star Wars: Episode IX is several years away from hitting movie screens, yet director Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) has announced his intention to shoot the film on film. For film purists, this is a pretty big deal. Trevorrow made the reveal at the continuing 2016 Sundance Film Festival as part of the “Power of Story: The Art Of Film” where Trevorrow was joined by director Christopher Nolan (a longtime proponent on shooting on film) and Rachel Morrison, a cinematographer whose credits include Fruitvale Station, Dope and Cake.
Trevorrow says this decision came out of creative means. “If we’re going to have any kind of conversation about film versus digital, the only place where I tend to not be able to attach myself to something shot digitally is when that’s a period film,” he said. “There’s something in my brain that says ‘well they didn’t have video cameras then, they couldn’t do that.” Trevorrow recently shot The Book of Henry, his tightly-lipped latest film starring Naomi Watts (21 Grams), Lee Pace (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Jacob Tremblay (Room) in 35mm. Trevorrow emphasized, “Star Wars gets back to my issue about shooting digital for period films,” stated Trevorrow. “I could never shoot Star Wars on anything but Scope 35 and 65, because it’s a period film, it happened a long time ago.”
The proliferation of digital filmmaking has been a fairly contentious one in recent years. Distributors have pushed for films to be shot digitally (most due to an expense issue) and more so for exhibitors to invest in digital projectors. At the same time, filmmakers of the likes of Nolan (whose Interstellar was presented in 70mm), Quentin Tarantino (likewise for his current The Hateful Eight) and Paul Thomas Anderson (Inherent Vice) have continued shooting on film with the hope of presenting their films that way. Recent films including Carol and Steve Jobs were shot (or at least partially) using film stock. Ironically, it was George Lucas’ Star Wars prequel trilogy which help push digital filmmaking and projection into the limelight.
Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to hit theaters on May 24, 2019.