While watching Star Wars, in particular The Mandalorian, you may find yourself wondering one very big question about that galaxy far, far away. That question of course: If Boba Fett's ship lands and takes off horizontally, but flies vertically, how do all of the passengers on the inside not flip around and fall out of their seats? It's a big question, and one that was answered very, very subtly in the second season of the hit series, you just didn't know it. The super-sized episode of Disney Gallery for The Mandalorian season two showed not only how this effect was achieved but explained in the larger context of Star Wars like one of those classic ship books from DK.
In episode seven of The Mandalorian season two, Din Djarin and company are flying with Boba Fett to a former Imperial base where they can find the location of Moff Gideon's cruiser, and thus Baby Yoda himself, Grogu. While Boba Fett is busy piloting Slave I, the rest of the group must sit in the navigation room, but as the episode reveals it's not like they're all just sitting on their backs like astronauts, they're in regular seats and in a regular room. This is because the design teams at Lucasfilm decided that this interior room sits in a rotating axis and turns as the ship itself turns as seen below.
"Nobody's ever seen what goes on inside that ship when it rotates," creator Jon Favreau said in the Disney Gallery episode about the making of The Mandalorian season two. "We've only seen the outside, so that was one of the inspirations for doing it on the stage, taking advantage of what the stage can do."
Executive producer Dave Filoni added, "Spinning's a good trick."
As explained by production designer Andrew L. Jones, the effect was achieved in camera through the clever combination of a practical set and Lucasfilm's patented StageCraft technology. "It was a bit of a challenge to see if this would work on the screens, but to do that with traditional special effects you can imagine would be this huge complicated rig," Jones said. "So we built an elevated deck with some seats on it and there's a console as well, but that's the set. All the rest of the vehicle is on the screens)."
"Instantly I knew that was going to be something we were going to try in The Volume and it got me incredibly excited because I think it's something that kids back in the day would have played with that ship and wondered what it would be like on the inside when it rotates through," Visual Effects Supervisor Richard Bluff added. "We got to ultimately shoot it on the stage against the LEDs and boy oh boy was everybody excited, i think that was the moment on season two that mimicked the hyper space being turned on in season one, in other words, it got everybody excited, everybody knew where we were and everybody felt like a child again.
Boba Fett and his ship will appear in their own spin-off series, The Book of Boba Fett which premieres in December of 2021.