“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” the last portion of the space opera franchise’s “Sequel Trilogy,” as well as the reported final chapter in the film series to focus on the eponymous family of Jedi who are strong in the Force, is due to premiere in the last month of this year. Even as fans of the now Disney-owned franchise wait to find out if the evil Emperor from the Original Trilogy does return as the “Skywalker” trailer hints, Lucasfilm is finishing up SFX on the movie via its Industrial Light and Magic arm. On that note ILM is opening a studio in Australia, with “Skywalker” as its inaugural project.
The Hollywood Reporter tells us that a new visual effects studio for Industrial Light and Magic will be opened at Sydney, where Fox Studios Australia is located. Lucasfilm hopes to have the new studio operating before the years’ end, where the staff once settled in can optimally contribute a workload on the SFX for “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” before its release this December. It would be the fifth ILM studio in total, after their main headquarters in San Francisco and other satellite studios in Vancouver, London and Singapore.
ILM head and executive creative director Rob Bredow has pegged Syndey as an ideal location for another overseas studio on account of Australia having plenty of artistic and tech talent that the company needs. Furthermore, working in the area will allow them to avail of total tax rebates of up to 40%, both from the Australian federal government and the State government of New South Wales, where Sydney is located. Bredow hopes that the Australian workforce they will assemble would help in positively strengthening the “culture of innovation” in ILM.
While ILM Sydney will be a distinct studio on its own, Industrial Light and Magic is planning to have it to be executively managed by Luke Hetherington, current executive at ILM Singapore. This will entail Hetherington to shuttle between Singapore and Sydney studios to manage them both. Bredow notes that by the end of 2019 ILM Sydney will have anywhere from 50 to 100 employees, with room to growth further when the year 2020 comes.
As ILM is one of the leading visual effects studios in Hollywood, it has other SFX projects beyond that of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” They include 20th Century Fox’s “Terminator: Dark Fate,” Netflix’s “The Irishman” and Disney’s “Jungle Cruise.” All but “Jungle Cruise” will be premiering this year.
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