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Empire at 40 | 6 Things We Learned from ILM’s Livestream Celebration of Empire at 40

On May 21, 1980, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back made its theatrical debut. To celebrate the classic film’s landmark 40th anniversary, presents Empire at 40,” a special series of interviews, editorial features, and listicles.

With the success of the original Star Wars film, production on the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, was an opportunity for creator George Lucas to grow his own special effects Empire, Industrial Light & Magic.

On Thursday, ILM icons Dennis Muren, Joe Johnston, Phil Tippett, and Lorne Peterson got together for a special online panel hosted by ILM model maker and Visual Effects Supervisor Bill George. In over an hour spent reminiscing, the special effects luminaries shared a number of fascinating stories, anecdotes, and memories.

Here are six things we learned while watching.

1. At first, suits

The FIRST Robotics Community Embodies the Mission of Star Wars: Force for Change

Last year, as part of our commitment to providing inspiration and opportunity to the next generation of heroes and innovators, Lucasfilm and Disney teamed up with the global PreK-12 nonprofit organization FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).

Now, FIRST teams and alumni are inspiring us. With the suspension of the 2019-2020 FIRST RISE robotics competition season, FIRST teams are using their STEM and robotics skills to find innovative ways to support their communities during this uncertain time.

Teams like the Thunderbots, from Sacramento, California, are collecting donations for local food banks and creating face shields and masks to distribute to homeless shelters and health care workers.

The Iron Mosquitoes from Babbitt, Minnesota devised a plan to create a robot to deliver groceries directly to vehicles — eliminating all

Announcing Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge, a New VR Experience Coming Later This Year

Get ready for an adventure on the planet of Batuu — in stunning virtual reality.

Today, ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm’s award-winning immersive entertainment studio, announced that it is developing Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge, a new action-adventure virtual reality experience, in collaboration with Oculus Studios. Coming later this year, the experience connects to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the epic new land at Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

“We are so excited for fans to step into Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge later this year,” said Vicki Dobbs Beck, ILMxLAB executive-in-charge. “This action-packed adventure not only speaks to the promise of connected and complementary experiences by extending the lore around Black Spire Outpost, it represents another meaningful step in ILMxLAB’s quest to transition 

The Clone Wars Rewatch: Humble Droids or “Secret Weapons”?

To celebrate the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Disney+, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us for the weekly #CloneWarsRewatch — you can watch this week’s episode on Disney+ now — and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

97: “Secret Weapons” (Season Five, Episode 10)

“Humility is the only defense against humiliation.”


R2-D2 is part of a team of Republic droids chosen for an important mission led by the diminutive Colonel Gascon to obtain an encryption module from a Separatist dreadnought.


The wisdom that one should never underestimate a droid is somehow lost on Colonel Gascon.

As the leader of D-Squad, Gascon is dismissive of the droids he’s been

Teaching with Star Wars: Qui-Gon Jinn’s Lasting Impact

Looking for an activity that’s fun, engaging, and educational? Each week, Teaching with Star Wars will offer unique lessons for you and your younglings that promise to foster opportunities for discovery and learning, all through the lens of a galaxy far, far away. And it sounds like the bell just rang, so let’s head to the classroom now. Punch it, Chewie!

Star Wars: The Phantom Menace provides a window into a key aspect of teaching with Star Wars: the mentor/student relationship. Anakin Skywalker is only nine-year-old when he meets Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace, but the two instantly share a bond. While the moments they share are brief (the Trade Federation keeps everyone fairly occupied), the lessons learned have far reaching implications across any galaxy.

Qui-Gon is an

Empire at 40 | The Stories Behind 5 Amazing Matte Paintings from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

On May 21, 1980, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back made its theatrical debut. To celebrate the classic film’s landmark 40th anniversary, presents Empire at 40,” a special series of interviews, editorial features, and listicles.

Seventy matte paintings were created for The Empire Strikes Back by three artists from Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). Two of them, Ralph McQuarrie and Michael Pangrazio, were relatively new to the art form. The other, Harrison Ellenshaw, had practically been raised for the task as the son of Walt Disney’s chosen matte painter, Peter Ellenshaw.

Using acrylic and oil paints, some mattes were fragments to complete an existing shot, others were full windows into a galaxy, and quite appropriately, all of them were painted on framed, rectangular glass (a favorite ILM story recounts that shower doors purchased from

Star Wars: The High Republic Sees Revised Release Dates

Lucasfilm has confirmed new dates for the launch of Star Wars: The High Republic, due to general marketplace delays.

Both Charles Soule’s adult novel Star Wars: The High Republic: Light of the Jedi and Justina Ireland’s middle grade novel Star Wars: The High Republic: A Test of Courage will both now release on January 5, 2021. Claudia Gray’s young adult novel Star Wars: The High Republic: Into the Dark has moved to a new release date of February 2, 2021.

New release dates for Marvel’s Star Wars: The High Republic series and IDW Publishing’s Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures series will be announced at a later time.

Star Wars: The High Republic is set in an era when the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order are at their zenith,