It's been 47 years in the making, but Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) is finally getting its story told thanks to Disney+. George Lucas created the studio in 1975 originally in Van Nuys, California out of necessity to help bring Star Wars to the big screen in 1977. ILM, now currently in San Francisco, pioneered special visual effects and animation as the virtual production division of Lucasfilm. Director Lawrence Kasdan, who's been a part of the company's biggest success creatively in the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, serves as executive producer with Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Justin Wilkes, Kathleen Kennedy, and Michelle Rejwan. Light & Magic comes courtesy of Imagine Documentaries.
As the trailer starts, we hear Lucas' narration, "Visual effects create the magic that makes people want to go to the movies. Movies are special effects." The films we highlighted are Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1980), Robert Downey, Jr. in Iron Man (2008), Warwick Davis om Willow (1988), A New Hope, Bob Hoskins in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Robert Patrick in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Transformers (2007), Bill Nighy in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006), and E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982). We also hear from Howard, Kennedy, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Deborah Chow, and Jon Favreau among those interviewed. Also among the highlights is the original footage from the 1977 film with various behind-the-scenes footage shot with miniatures featuring dogfights between X-Wings and TIE fighters, the Millennium Falcon, crew shots, and prep work.
They also scratched the surface of the creation of its animation studio Pixar, which Disney acquired from Lucasfilm and Steve Jobs in 2006 for $7.4 billion. Disney also acquired ILM as part of its deal to purchase Lucasfilm in 2012 from Lucas for $4.05 billion. In a final bit of irony, the company also absorbed Star Wars' original distributor in 21st Century Fox in 2019 for $71.3 billion. Light & Magic premieres on July 27 on Disney+.