If you had any doubt about the titanic epic proportions of Star Wars Episode 7, then prepare to have those doubts blown away. Lucasfilm has just announced they'll be opening another Industrial Light and Magic facility in London.
This means Lucasfilm has visual effect departments in over five cities, four countries and three continents. London seems like the natural choice to plant a new facility as Star Wars 7 will be primarily shot at the city's Pinewood Studios. The new outpost, which will be in the heart of London's trendy Soho district, has reportedly been dubbed the 'Sandcrawler' due to the buildings similarity to the iconic Star Wars vehicle.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the new department, which will employ 200 staff, will be at the center of the visual and special effect production for Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens. An ILM spokesman told THR:
It will be a full service studio. We'll have an art department, previsualization, and an entire end-to-end visual effects and computer graphics pipeline.
ILM will be handling the lion's share of Star Wars 7's pre- and post-production, with a small amount of work being outsourced to their strategic partner in Beijing, Base FX. However, although the new London facility will be working extensive on Star Wars 7, it will also be taking a role in other Disney projects as part of their (rather sinister sounding) "global expansion plan".
It is expected the London branch will also be heavily involved in the special effects work for Marvel's projects, including The Avengers: Age Of Ultron, which will also shoot extensively at Pinewood studios.
If everything goes to plan, the studio will be operational from late March, just in time for the commencement of filming for Star Wars Episode 7 in May.
The development of the new department means London is now added to the list of locations housing ILM outposts, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver and Singapore.
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What do you think? Does it sound like Star Wars 7 will be too dependent on digital special effects? Let us know below?