ILM Celebrates The Mandalorian Season 2’s Groundbreaking Visual Effects

Go behind the scenes in this sizzle reel of Lucasfilm's Emmy-winning Disney+ series.

The Mandalorian’s second season on Disney+ continued the story of Din Djarin and Grogu, as the gunfighter journeyed to return his young charge to the Jedi. But it also brought forth more technological innovations and breathtaking visuals, from a gigantic krayt dragon to the surprise of young Luke Skywalker coming to the rescue. Today, Industrial Light & Magic is celebrating the Emmy-winning, groundbreaking visual effects of The Mandalorian Season 2 with a special look behind the scenes. You can watch the video, narrated by visual effects supervisor Richard Bluff, below.

For the production of Season 2, ILM and its vendors utilized a mix of old and new techniques to bring each episode to life. With 5,000 visual effects shots across eight episodes, that’s no small feat. The iconic effects house increased the physical size of the StageCraft LED Volume, which would again be used for over half of all scenes, and this season also marked the debut of ILM’s state-of-the-art real-time cinema render engine Helios; the high-resolution, high-fidelity engine was used for all final pixel rendering displayed on the StageCraft LED Volume.

In addition to digital wizardry, practical effects played a huge role in realizing the world of The Mandalorian Season 2, as envisioned by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni. To populate the galactic cast of characters, Favreau and Filoni collaborated with production designer Doug Chiang and his team of artists in the Lucasfilm Art Department, who created all manner of designs. From there, John Rosegrant’s team at Legacy Effects constructed over 100 puppeteered creatures, droids, and animatronic masks, including a 10-foot-high rideable bantha puppet. Practical miniatures and motion-control photography made scale-model ships fly, and miniature set extensions brought ILM’s StageCraft LED Volume images into our world; the legendary Phil Tippett also returned to the galaxy far, far away, with Tippett Studio animating the haunting scrap walkers of the Karthon Chop Fields with stop motion — the same technique utilized for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’s AT-ATs.

Who knows what ILM will dream up next?

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