There’s been plenty of advancements in CGI, but, unless you’re Luc Besson—Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets is underrated!—all that digital trickery will eventually guide audiences into the uncanny valley. As such, there’s no shortage of film buffs who, sometimes very loudly, yearn for the days of puppets and practical effects. Well, that’s what Solo: A Star Wars Story gave us, whether we realized it or not.
A new Thrillist interview with Solo visual effects supervisor Rob Bredow delves into how committed the production was to honoring the Star Wars flicks of yore by using CGI to accent, not create, a few of its key robots and creatures.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, for example, did much more than just provide the voice for feminist droid L3-37 (a.k.a. the Millennium Falcon). On set, she interacted with the performers while donning the creature’s bulky exterior and a green-screen stocking. Contrast this with Rogue One’s K2-S0, a fully CG creation voiced by Alan Tudyk.
Waller-Bridge even helped develop the droid’s eccentric gait via a pair of “special shoes” designed by the film’s costumers. Bredow explains:
Even L3's slightly unusual walk came from a practical origin, in that the costume department built Waller-Bridge some tailor-made shoes to make the character taller. “Rather than doing that via tricks with digital animation,” notes Bredow, “we thought, ‘What if we could get Phoebe to do this?’ We built special shoes so that she was actually standing on risers that were rounded on the bottom, and then she developed this walk that we did together.”
Bredow also touches on the hybrid of practical and CGI effects that helped create multi-armed pilot Rio Durant and, believe it or not, the literal worm that is Lady Proxima. Read it in full here.