Following the success of The Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lawrence Kasdan also co-wrote Return of the Jedi and launched a writing and directing career that has seen such gems as The Big Chill. comprised. “Body Heat”, “The Accidental Tourist” and “Grand Canyon”. He also returned to the world of Star Wars by working on The Force Awakens and Solo: A Star Wars Story.
He has now directed a six-part documentary, Light and Magic, which chronicles the history of Industrial Light and Magic, the visual effects company George Lucas founded to make Star Wars. ILM has since grown into the most famous, innovative and sought-after VFX shop in the world, with the company and its all-star artists creating some of the most groundbreaking effects of all time.
Seeing ILM bring his script for The Empire Strikes Back to life on screen cemented Kasdan’s respect for what the company could accomplish. “It’s wonderful, it’s amazing,” he tells Looper upon seeing the film for the first time. “You feel like you’ve wandered into a magical land you never knew existed.”
Kasdan’s documentary is a loving tribute to the spirit, energy and talent that have driven ILM for decades, the same elements that brought his first produced screenplay to amazing life on screen. “One of the things I think comes across in the [series] That was a surprise to me, how much people like Steven Spielberg and George and [Robert] Zemeckis and [James] Cameron relied on ILM,” he says. “They said, ‘This is what I want. Can you do it?’ And ILM didn’t always know how to do it, but they were absolutely committed to helping these directors achieve those things.”
Light and Magic is now streaming on Disney+.