Attack of the Clones,  Prequel Trilogy,  Revenge of the Sith,  The Mandalorian,  The Phantom Menace

Jon Favreau: “The Star Wars Prequels are the bedrock on which digital production is built”


From The Hollywood Reporter:

“The future of filmmaking is unfolding in a drab office park near a Whole Foods in Playa Vista. It’s where Jon Favreau assembled this summer’s $1.5 billion-grossing The Lion King using a gaming engine and a warehouse of cutting-edge artists and technicians, and it’s where the actor-writer-director-producer is sketching out season two of The Mandalorian, a Star Wars TV series set to debut Nov. 12 on the new Disney+ streaming service (and to be teased with a trailer at the D23 conference Aug. 23). Favreau, 52, invited Hollywood Reporter editorial director Matthew Belloni to a conference room lined with pictures of Tatooine’s finest to talk about his crazy summer (in addition to Lion King, he co-starred in the $1 billion-grossing Spider-Man: Far From Home and dropped The Chef Show on Netflix) and to unveil his new endeavor, Golem Creations, named for the man-made creature from folklore that represents an artistic creation brought to life by magic. […]

Let’s start with is the focus of the new venture. What’s Golem Creations?

Favreau: My fascination is with where technology and storytelling overlap. Méliès, the Lumière brothers, Walt Disney, Jim Cameron. It comes from the tradition of stage magic. When you have a tech breakthrough like Star Wars, like Avatar, like Jurassic Park, people’s minds go into a fugue state where they just accept this illusion as reality. What’s also enjoyable about it for me is that you’re not being tricked by it, you’re complicit in that you are agreeing to suspend your disbelief if the spectacle is sufficiently enjoyable. That’s why Star Wars is so enduring and why we’re surrounded [here] by artwork for Star Wars, why that’s a world I want to play in because it’s tech and myth coming together in a perfect way.

So what are your next steps?

A lot of it is focusing on the opportunities that new production technologies have to offer, and then also what technology offers in the form of platforms, distribution. It could be anything from The Mandalorian, where we’re using game engine technology, virtual camera work and virtual production that we developed on Lion King, applying those learnings to designing a project where you could use virtual sets and virtual set extensions using real-time rendering, which is something that people talk about but we’re the first people to actually apply it to a production. Getting that thing on its feet, from an idea through the screaming toddler phase into a place where you can actually have a responsible production that delivers quality is a very interesting part of the learning curve, so that’s something that I’m fascinated with.

There will be people who hear “digital production” on The Mandalorian and think “Great, we saw digital production on the Star Wars prequels and it didn’t look very good.” How is this different?

Well, I would argue that the prequels are — and [George] Lucas in general is — the bedrock that all of this is built on. He is the first person that had digital photography, he was the first person to do completely CG characters. The whole notion of not having even a print [version of the film], of having everything be 0’s and 1’s, was all George. Not to mention EditDroid, which turned into Avid, Pixar was spawned out of their laboratories at LucasFilm, so he is arguably the center of the Big Bang for everything that I’m doing. It’s building on the shoulders of what he was able to innovate.

So the answer is this is 20 years later than the prequels?

This is 20 years later, and also there’s been a democratization of the skill set too. It’s no longer a few vendors innovating in ivory towers, that information has been expanded and disseminated and democratized so that effects that would cost you millions of dollars, you can do it on a PC now, with consumer-facing filmmaking tools. When George came to our set and visited The Mandalorian, he said, “Oh, we did this,” and what he meant was, “We had green screen and we were building small sets and expanding upon it.” Now, we have video walls, NVIDIA video cards that allow a refresh rate that allows you to do in-camera effects, we’re in there taking advantage of the cutting-edge stuff.” […]”


  • Liam Orb

    Jon Favreau speaking the truth about The Prequels really having a mix of green screen and real sets, not only CGI. And, also showing respect and love for notorious George Lucas.

    Praise the Fave.

    Now, I’m equally excited for The Mandalorian as I am for The Clone Wars Season 7 when they debut on Disney Plus.

  • archdukeofnaboo

    ” There will be people who hear “digital production”. ”

    Yes – the same idiots who feel very happy using a digital computer, a digital mobile phone and a digital television. Every single day of the year.

    If you don’t want to give digital electronics any seat at the filmmaking process, then I’m afraid you can go back to the analogue versions of the above too.

    Hypocritical fanboys.

    • jpieper668

      Exactly Movies Have Changed in the last 100+ Years Silent to Sound Black and White to Color Full Screen to Widescreen 2-D to 3-D Animation Practical To Digital

    • archdukeofnaboo


      To be fair, the interviewer does go on to pose a question to Favreau I’m sure you’d also like to ask:

      “Do you think companies like Disney are getting too big and too powerful?”


      “Compared to where it was 10, 15 years ago. There’s leverage and a balance of power that impacts creative people”

      I was pretty pleased see an interviewer call out the truth here.

      • Alexrd

        I guess… But it’s not really something I would ask to Favreau. It’s a reality hard to deny, irrespective of what he or anyone else would say.

        Although I do think Disney is getting too big and powerful, it’s a result of the money that people give them willingly (although most are ignorant about the full extent of their tentacles). So it’s up to all of us to vote with our wallets and not give them money.

        Personally, I don’t recall the last time I bought a Disney product (and by Disney, I’m including all of its subsidiaries). Maybe one or two Buena Vista catalogue Blu-rays 3 or 4 years ago.

      • archdukeofnaboo


        It’s also a result of their misbehaviour, swallowing up competition like 20th Century Fox that should still be an important rival.

        I’m afraid if they keep on seeking to become larger and more bloated, they’ll soon have a monopoly on the world of entertainment, and it won’t be so easy for John Smith to keep all his money to himself.

      • Cryogenic

        It’s still something of a mystery, despite obvious factors compelling him to be “rid” of Star Wars, as to why Lucas would sell to Disney, given both his maverick, anti-Hollywood values, and his deeming the omnipresent entertainment conglomerate “white slavers” a few years ago, almost libelling himself in the process.

        In that regard, he actually has something in common with the famous social critic Theodor Adorno, who wrote lucidly on the totalising effects of The Culture Industry: a term which he coined with colleague Max Horkheimer, which first appeared in their seminal essay on contemporary mass media called “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception”, inside the book “Dialectic Of Enlightenment” (written around the end of the Second World War and shaped by the two authors’ experiences living in California and as witnesses to the rise of fascism in Europe — they fled Germany and were effectively exiled after Hitler came to power, and like many intellectuals of the time, sort refuge in the United States).

        Adorno and Horkheimer proposed that popular culture is akin to a factory producing standardized cultural goods — films, radio programmes, magazines, etc., — that are used to manipulate mass society into passivity: tools for rendering people oblivious and inert, directing their time, energy, and gaze away from radical political action and an authentic sense of human fellowship. Adorno died in the middle of the counter-culture revolution in 1969 (just as one George Walton Lucas was gearing up to begin filming on his first independent feature: the dystopic “THX-1138”), but he would likely consider social media and the rise of the Internet as an insidious new form of cultural control.

        Already, if you’ve seen “THX-1138” and properly paid attention to the prequels, you should see that Lucas and Adorno have certain overlapping concerns (though the whole of Star Wars would probably have horrified Adorno). And even though there is no particular source for the remark, Adorno is also said to have called Walt Disney the most dangerous man in America. Here’s a crash-course introduction on that same man:

      • Alexrd


        But that’s the thing. Sadly people are fine funding and celebrating their misbehaviour. But not to worry, you can see their desperation and creative bankrupcy. I really think all of this will change (read: crumble) within the next decade. More and more people are seeing through it all.

      • Stefan K

        “Personally, I don’t recall the last time I bought a Disney product (and by Disney, I’m including all of its subsidiaries). Maybe one or two Buena Vista catalogue Blu-rays 3 or 4 years ago.”
        Oh my, Disney comics are really popular here in Europe, so I regularly buy Disney stuff. (I really spent 575 € on the complete collection of Don Rosa, for instance. Interestingly, Don Rosa loved to draw his Uncle Scrooge stories, but he could not stand the Disney comic system, see -> scroll to reason #1)

        As for GL selling Lucasfilm to Disney… Well, the two companies already had collaborated on a large number of projects. Moreover, GL seems to have always been a fan (I think that he went to Disneyland on one of the first days it opened!)
        And who knows – he probably still saw Walt’s mantra in the company, at least on its good days (“I do not make movies to make money. I make money to make movies.”)

  • Bob Jones

    I misread this for a second as “Favreau: The Star Wars Prequels are Horseshit” and I was about to lose MY shit

  • Star Wars Hexalogy

    “Great, we saw digital production on the Star Wars prequels and it didn’t look very good.”

    LOL, some people just need to go to ophthalmologist to have their eyes checked.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.