Luke Skywalker looks on in Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017)

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The Star Wars franchise is known for its action, humor and spectacle on the screen, but it’s also known for its innovations behind the camera. This includes both visual and practical effects, which have been used since the franchise’s first film debuted back in 1977. While fans still get a kick out of the look of a lightsaber blade or the CG landscape of a planet, the practical effects are still impressive as well. This is more than evident in an epic video shared by Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson.

Rian Johnson was among the many Star Wars alums to celebrate this year’s May the Fourth. While many stars found great ways to mark the occasion, Johnson’s is definitely one of the best. The clip the director shared to Twitter shows special effects supervisor Chris Corbould standing in for Mark Hamill during a practical effects test for one of The Last Jedi’s key moments. Check out the amazing footage for yourself down below:

I already had plenty of respect for the use of practical effects in the Star Wars franchise, but this only boosts my love for it. For those who may not remember, the scene Chris Corbould is testing is the one in which Luke Skywalker discovers Rey communicating with Kylo Ren through the Force. The moment is thrilling enough in the film, but knowing that the stone building set was actually blown up in real time makes it all the more impressive.

As much as Star Wars creator George Lucas has enjoyed pushing the boundaries of visual effects, he set a new standard for practical effects when shooting A New Hope. This tradition continued into the prequels and, when Disney took the reins of the franchises, that mantra remained. Ahead of The Force Awakens’ release, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy actually stressed the importance of maintaining the use of practical effects alongside digital effects. Needless to say, Rian Johnson’s film is a testament to that philosophy.

You still have to give Johnson credit for what he accomplished in terms of visual effects and cinematography. The Last Jedi may be a controversial film due to its story choices, but it’s arguably the most technologically sound installment in the entire Skywalker Saga. That throne room scene alone is worth the price of admission. You can revisit the film by streaming it on Disney+, which you can sign up for by using this link.

Even though Star Wars is still making strides when it comes to visual effects, it’s good to know the creatives are still staying true to the franchise’s practical roots. Let’s hope this is a trend that continues within the galaxy far, far away for years to come!

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