There has been much ado made about the presence of practical effects in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. J.J. Abrams was passionate about using CGI to supplement the effects they could do in the real world, not replace it. That meant real sculpts and puppetry for aliens and creatures, building all the vehicles in full size (often with many operable parts), and even a life-size working, rolling BB-8 droid, who has quickly become a fan-favorite. They even made a featurette centered largely on these practical effects, showing how they brought the world of Star Wars to life:
Well, it seems that's now the standard for Star Wars films under Disney and their new yearly movie model for the franchise. In a talk with THR, Alan Tudyk, one of the stars of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, talked a bit about being on set, and revealed that they'll also be using a lot of practical effects.
"You are amazed at what you can look at, because it is a physical world," he said to THR. "If there are creatures, then there are creatures; if there are spaceships, then there are spaceships. It's not huge swaths of green hung from the rafters. You have it all there, and if you don't have it there then you go fly some place that does."
Rogue One is the first of the new standalone live-action movies that will sit outside of the "Episode" or "Saga" films. The plan for Disney/Lucasfilm is to have a Saga film - one of the ones with "Episode #" in front of it - every other year, with "A Star Wars Story" movie in the years between Rogue One tells the story of the elite unit of the Rebel Alliance on a mission to steal the plans to the Empire's new mega-weapon, the Death Star. It takes place shortly before the original Star Wars, now also known as Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope, and shortly after the events of the animated series Star Wars Rebels.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is directed by Gareth Edwards, and scheduled for a December 16, 2016 debut. See where it and other Star Wars films sit on our full franchise movie release schedule.