“George Lucas may not have dreamt up the story for Rogue One, but the characters inhabiting the standalone Star Wars tale are ones that live in his ongoing universe.
“The playground is still George’s,” says Doug Chiang, who serves as vice president and executive creative director at Lucasfilm, the Disney-owned company that creates Star Wars movies.
Lucas, who sold his Star Wars empire to Disney in 2012 for more than $4 billion, doesn’t contribute directly to the new movies, but Chiang says his influence lives on.
“We’re grounding everything in the universe and worlds that George built,” he says in an interview to promote the release of Rogue One on Blu-ray. “But, we’re pushing the boundaries of how far we can go. In the previous years, when I worked with George, he was the guide. He could tell us. Now, we’re trying to figure that out ourselves. I love working on the edge like that.”
After working on the effects for Forrest Gump and Terminator 2, just to name a few, Chiang joined Lucasfilm in 1995 and helped lead the art department on some of the prequel films, beginning with 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.
Now, he’s the driving force behind the visual design in the upcoming Skywalker Saga films (a.k.a. Episode VIII and IX) as well as the standalone anthology films, which include Rogue One and next year’s young Han Solo entry.
“Our path now, in the absence of George’s input, is knowing that he built this very elaborate universe over decades. So the questions we ask ourselves are: How do we protect that and how do we push the boundaries of (the new films) so that it fits in the Star Wars universe and adds something new? […]”
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