It’s kind of ironic, really. Perhaps much as in Star Wars itself, George Lucas’s legacy as a filmmaker exists as someone who aggressively pushed the industry forward technologically. Even in blue/green screen laden disasters that were the prequels, Lucas’s adoption of digital filmmaking on Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith helped usher in the technology as a viable alternative to film. But here we are on the advent of production on Episode VII, and Star Wars will once again be captured through the film medium.
As reported by Boba Fett Fan Club, cinematographer Dan Mindel is now among the crew members J.J. Abrams is bringing across from Star Trek to Star Wars, and the new Star Wars movie will be shot on 35mm film. This will be Mindel’s fourth project with Abrams, following Mission: Impossible III and both of Abrams’s Star Trek movies. And on that count, we’re both cautiously optimistic and scared as hell about the implications of this development on Star Wars.
Optimism first: aside from significant story woes (and, by the way, if you’re at all a Star Wars fan and you haven’t yet seen Belated Media’s re-imaginings of Episode I and Episode II you should go watch those) one of the major problems with the prequels was that the world felt fake. Shooting in digital adds a certain glossiness to the image. Whereas a major focus of the production design on the original films was to make a world that felt lived in, the prequels felt too pristine. Shooting on film could help recapture that feeling.
Then again, Star Trek was shot on film, and it looked pretty glossy. Not to mention lens-flare-y. We’ve got to figure that Abrams has heard all the concern and is putting a lot of effort into making Star Wars look and feel different from Star Trek, but what if his love affair with lens flares doesn’t go away? It’s a worry that’s been voiced since Abrams was announced as director, we know, but this news can’t help but reinvigorate that conversation a little.
Star Wars: Episode VII (or should we say Kensinton SW7?)is still expected to begin production sometime early next year.