The first season of The Mandalorian was a big deal for fans because plenty of reasons like the ever adorable Baby Yoda. For television and film productions though the series marked a major leap forward due to its game changing virtual set system. Developed by Lucasfilm's visual effects arm Industrial Light and Magic the system, called StageCraft, allowed for high-res environments to be created for the series allowing it to film in exotic locals and new locations, all while being shot on a soundstage. In a new interview, the visual effects supervisor for the series says that the "magic tricks" they've done with StageCraft in the new season go "above and beyond anything" from the first season.
"I can say for Season Two we went above and beyond anything we did for Season One with this technologically," VFX supervisor Richard Bluff revealed in a story on StarWars.com. "It has even left the crew open-mouthed with some of the magic tricks that we were able to perform with the video wall technology."
Bluff also spoke about the lessons learned by the production on the first season, including which episodes taught them the most about what they can do and how that influenced the effects work on the new season.
"We learned an enormous amount from Season One," Bluff added. "Chapter 6 was one of the last episodes that we shot. The Roost hangar was probably the most complicated environment that we did because it was so vast. And in that environment we not only had the Razor Crest in the virtual environment, we also had people walking around the virtual environments. We had sparks dropping, we had steam rising, and cranes moving. So you could tell that by the time we got towards the end of the show, we got quite comfortable with the technology and were excited to just continue to push the boundaries of what was possible."
StageCraft will not only be the anchor of The Mandalorian's second season, but the head of ILM Rob Bredow previously confirmed they're preparing to let productions that aren't The Mandalorian use the technology and that it could be a big step forward in making sure movies and television get back to filming in the near future.
The second season of Star Wars: The Mandalorian is expected to premiere in October on Disney+, with Disney CEO Bob Chapek confirming that its release has not been delayed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.