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Making (and Killing) A Monster In ‘Solo’: Designing Star Wars “Space-o-pus”

Old friend Clayton Sandell is back on the case.

This morning, he and ABC News posted, “The making, and killing, of the Solo: A Star Wars Story space monster.”

“Not long ago, in cities not too far away, a group of filmmakers on a tight deadline gathered to discuss how to kill a monster, wrote Sandell – who is a must follow on Twitter. “Inside the San Francisco headquarters of Industrial Light & Magic last September, members of the Solo: A Star Wars Story visual effects team were brainstorming ideas.

“Director Ron Howard, busy editing the film in Los Angeles, joined a conference call.”

This morning, I asked Clayton to tell me about the special look behind the scenes, and what might viewers expect. He was happy to oblige.

“As you’ve probably heard me say before, I am such a geek for any story where we get to pull back the curtain on the making of visual effects for Star Wars,” he said. “It’s something that’s fascinated me since I was a kid watching clips of Phil Tippett animate AT-AT’s or X-Wings getting blown up on the set. So any time ILM is kind enough to open up the place to us, we jump at the opportunity.

Star Wars
Disney/Lucasfilm

“This is one of my favorite sequences in ‘Solo.’ The tension just ratchets up over several minutes, and when the Falcon finally jumps to hyperspace, I finally felt like I could breathe again. And the summa-verminoth, or ‘space-o-pus,’ as James Clyne dubbed it, is a big part of that great sequence.

“But the real treat here for me is the moment in the meeting between ILM and Ron Howard when James Clyne suggests that the gravity well tear all the flesh off the monster, revealing it’s skull,” added Clayton. “Some people in the room clearly thought the idea was too gross, but then Ron comes around and decides it’s perfect.

“And it’s really fun to get a rare look at the creative process in this way and to see how ideas begin and evolve to the final version we see up on screen.”

I suggest reading the entire piece, and watching the video:

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John Bishop

A graduate of Boston and Northeastern universities, John Bishop became the beat reporter for BostonBruins.com prior to the B’s 2006-07 hockey season. While with the Bruins, “Bish” traveled North America and Europe to cover the Black & Gold’s every move via laptop, blog, and smart phone. The co-author of two books, Bygone Boston and Full 60 to History: The Inside Story of the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, John covered the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010 and the B’s 2011 championship run and banner raising before taking a faculty/communications position at a prep school outside Boston in 2013. He lives with his wife Andrea and sons Jack, Scott, and Luke in central Massachusetts.