Rogue One: A Star Wars Story–Making the Creatures and Shooting


Neal Scanlan who won a BAFTA Award and was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, is once again responsible for creating the creatures that inhabit the world of “Rogue One.”

Gareth Edwards gave Scanlan and his team creative freedom and a chance to develop the characters in a new way. He wanted the characters to be spontaneous and that allowed the characters to evolve naturally. The end result is that the creatures are treated the same as the other actors on set, even to the extent that Scanlan asked the hair and make-up team to add dust, grime, sweat and grease to the creatures, just as they would any of the other cast.

The world’s leading authority on visual effects, executive producer John Knoll was able to introduce new and exciting technologies to the production of “Rogue One.” Knoll brought real-time visual effects to the set making it possible for Edwards to be able to gauge what the final world would like while he was actually shooting the film. The real-time visual effects would literally create the environment on the screen for Edwards to watch as the cast performed the scene.

Knoll also introduced new techniques when shooting the interiors of the ships as they battled through attacks by the Empire. Historically, although a craft may be placed on a gimbal to simulate movement, the exterior would often be blue or green screen but Knoll and his team built a giant wraparound LED screen that was 50 feet in diameter with a central band 20 feet high and had imagery play on the screens. By taking this approach they could add lasers that fly by in the space battle, creating a very realistic look.

The filming of ”Rogue One” primarily took place again at Pinewood Studios.

However, whenever possible, Edwards also built sets in actual locations both in England and as far afield as Iceland, Jordan and the Maldives.

The practical sets include the rebel base Yavin 4, an enormous set built to scale at 350 feet long by 200 feet wide, and the 58-foot wide, 21-foot high Death Star, painstakingly recreated from research and photographs.