You’ve probably watched Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Mandalorian by now (or read our post about the coolest things we learned from it), but there’s always more story to tell. Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker cameo in the finale of The Mandalorian season two wasn’t just a surprise, it was a triumph after a whole lot of work.
The latest Disney+ behind-the-scenes episode explained a lot but Industrial Light & Magic VFX supervisor, Richard Bluff, spoke to IndieWire about a few more details that went into the process. Though the team was aiming for Luke to look like he did around the time of the third Star Wars film, Return of the Jedi, Bluff said showrunner Jon Favreau and executive producer Dave Filoni wanted Hamill there to use “him in every way possible — not only to help advise on the performance, but also to use his physicality and his actual face whenever possible.”
But because Hamill is older now, they also used Max Lloyd-Jones as a body double, and to make both performances come to life as one, they hired Lola Visual Effects (already in use by Marvel Studios). While the company used deepfake technology, Bluff said they didn’t rely too heavily on it because the resolution wasn’t high enough. (You may recall Lucasfilm recently hired a deepfake creator to work for Industrial Light and Magic after he “improved” the Luke scene they’d worked so hard on.)
Speaking of resolution: “People’s memory of Luke Skywalker isn’t in 4K sharp resolution,” Bluff said. “[The softness] was a choice to match some of the imagery that we’ve seen in the past.” He added, “It was all based upon steering the audience toward an image they remember seeing rather than putting the character in a completely new situation.”
The Disney Gallery episode is currently streaming on Disney+ and we’re waiting to hear exactly when The Mandalorian season three will grace us with its presence.
In the meantime, we’ve got The Book of Boba Fett to look forward to and, I suppose, Disney Gallery: Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett.