Since Industrial Light & Magic’s inception in 1975, every idea dreamt into existence found its genesis within the ILM Art Department. Forty years ago, legendary concept designers like Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston brought George Lucas’s brainchild of an asymmetrical Star Wars “used universe” to life, imagining fantastic worlds bursting with iconic heroes, villains, spaceships and aliens. The ILM Art Department continues to revolutionize film design today, coupling classical technique with the very bleeding edge of technology. J.J. Abrams worked hand-in-hand with the best art directors and artists in the film industry, exploring ideas and iterating on those ideas until the Force Awakens vision was realized, making the unreal real and the impossible possible.
“Each artist began to explore his individual response, and collectively, we began to answer, with our words and art. Out of our brainstorming sessions emerged visual imagery of where we might want to go and what it would look like when we got there. We were not merely illustrating scenes that already existed: we were initiating storytelling concepts through the visual images themselves.”
– Rick Carter, co-production designer, Star Wars: The Force Awakens