Making Magic With Star Wars: Secrets Of The Empire

For so long, Star Wars storytelling has been primarily driven through film, TV, books, comics, and games. But there’s a new form that’s been added to the mix, and it is revolutionary: hyper reality, or virtual-reality-driven experiences that incorporate touch, smell, temperature, and social play.

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, by ILMxLAB and The VOID, now open in Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort in California, Disney Springs at Walt Disney World in Florida, and at London’s Westfield, is the first such Star Wars hyper-reality experience (read our review here). sat down with the creative team behind the new experience to find out more….

“This is something people have dreamed about for a long time,” says Ian Bowie, lead designer of Secrets of the Empire at Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB. “Stepping into the Star Wars universe. This fandom, especially, likes to not just watch it but be a part of it. To try to live it. You have fan films, you have fan fiction, you have people dressing in costumes. So being able to lean into that fantasy of what people have, what a Star Wars mission like this could be, what they would do… Going into that and figuring out ways that we could remain authentic was tantamount to each beat of it.”

The marriage of The VOID’s tech with Star Wars is both a no-brainer and a minor miracle of timing. Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB division was founded in June 2015 with an eye toward emerging immersive technologies: virtual reality, augmented reality, real-time rendering, you name it. Early experiments led to experiences like Trials on Tatooine, a VR release that put fans into the role of a Jedi Padawan and had them wield a lightsaber, and Rogue One: Recon, a 360-degree video allowing the viewer to control an X-wing pilot’s POV. Secrets of the Empire is the most ambitious project for ILMxLAB yet, and The VOID – with its gear, centers, and own multi-sensory VR expertise — turned out to be the perfect partner.

“The VOID’s been working on the technology of this for a number of years,” says Cliff Plumer, CEO of The VOID. “But really, it was then finding partners to help drive the creative that would then advance what we could do.”

Read the full interview at the link below.