Who would have thought Disney's Star Wars franchise would prove one of the last, major defenders of film stock?
Colin Trevorrow, director of Star Wars: Episode IX, intends to continue J.J. Abrams' own use of the format in The Force Awakens; a technique which certainly aided in creating the film's own gloriously retro feel. A warm familiarity which may have also been a likely contributors to why the film attained both massive critical and box office success.
"There’s something in my brain that says, ‘well they didn’t have video cameras then," he commented while attending a press conference at the Sundance Film Festival (via The Hollywood Reporter). "[Film] tends to remind us of our memories, of our childhoods, the way we used to see films."
Indeed, it's well known the Star Wars universe inhabits a place "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...."; so it's strong reasoning as to why Trevorrow will attempt to stick his principles when approaching Star Wars: Episode IX.
"I could never shoot Star Wars on anything but [film] because it's a period film," Trevorrow laughed. "It happened a long time ago." And there's no reason Disney won't (or haven't already) agreed to shoot on film; following The Force Awakens, Star Wars: Episode VIII will also be shot on film, though Rogue One is a digital shoot.
Trevorrow's ambitions don't appear to end there, however; "I asked the question, 'Is it possible for us to shoot IMAX film plates in actual space for Star Wars, and I haven't gotten an answer yet, but they've shot IMAX in space!"
The director's comments formed part of a panel discussion he attended specifically defending the continued use of film stock at a time when digital has such a perceptible grasp on the market, with many cinemas switching to only using digital projectors. Indeed, though many studios have pushed digital on the premise it's supposedly less cumbersome and expensive, there's still a core group of high-profile directors determined to keep the format alive.
Trevorrow, for example, was joined on the panel by Christopher Nolan, who shot the likes of Inception and Interstellar on film; Rachel Morrison, the cinematographer of Fruitvale Station; and Listen Up Philip's director Alex Ross Perry. Nolan took the opportunity to combat studio claims digital is cheaper, before accusing them of building "a culture around wanting to kill film"; citing the wide reporting of technical glitches during 70MM screenings of Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight as evidence.
Trevorrow arrives at Star Wars: Episode IX off the back of his box office success with Jurassic World, which proved a huge step up for the previous director of indie comedy Safety Not Guaranteed. Jurassic World was also shot on film as he claimed; "this can't look like two computers fighting, that's what we kept repeating to ourselves."
Star Wars: Episode IX has a US release date of 24 May 2019.
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