Star Wars Trilogy Production is Officially Coming to Vancouver

Photo credit: Scott Smith (SRisonS) | Flickr

Photo credit: Scott Smith (SRisonS) | Flickr

Grab your lightsabers. Star Wars is officially coming to Vancouver.

Industrial Light & Magic, the George Lucas-founded effects company that handles the Star Wars movies, has put down roots in Vancouver’s historic Gastown neighbourhood.  The company currently has some 130 employees and will be ramping up with up to 200 additional employees by this summer to handle the latest Star Wars trilogy.

The Gastown effects studio will be responsible, in part, for bringing the new Star Wars: Episode VII movie to life.  Scheduled for release in December 2015, the movie is part of the third trilogy of Star Wars movies.  It takes up where 1983’s epic Return of the Jedi leaves off.

The studio will occupy the 30,000-square-foot space on Water Street (not far from the iconic Gassy Jack statue) that formerly housed Pixar, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun.  While the initial focus of work will be on Star Wars: Episode VII, plans are for the studio to spend the next eight-10 years on Star Wars projects, including Episodes VIII and IX of the new trilogy.

Industrial Light & Magic is looking to build out the team in their new office immediately.  Star Wars fans with the right credentials might just end up with their dream jobs.  Particularly in demand are “creature technical directors.” These lucky technicians are responsible for making Star Wars’ new whimsical creatures look real – with skin and bones and lifelike movements.  Animators then use this base to produce the finished project.

So just what does the latest Star Wars trilogy have in store for us? Fanboys (and -girls) have been speculating for years about the long-anticipated sequel to the original 1977-1983 trilogy.  But the films remain a tightly kept secret.  The consensus is that Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher from the original Star Wars movies will reprise their roles as Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.  The trilogy is likely to address the rebuilding of the Republic and will almost certainly feature loveable R2-D2 and C-3PO.

Whether the new Industrial Light & Magic studio will become a mecca for diehard Star Wars fans – like the legendary Skywalker Ranch in California – remains to be seen.

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14 Responses to Star Wars Trilogy Production is Officially Coming to Vancouver

  1. jedi

    When is this?

  2. Anon

    We should thank canadas tax subsidies then.. Although how it affects the workers in the vfx department hmm

    • JJ

      Yes, only the VFX portion – 33% – although that money spend doesn’t go into hiring of crew, props, set building, construction, food for 1000’s of people every day, costumes, make-up, location fees, police, extras, etc, etc, etc…. there just isn’t the same spin off from VFX… I wish the government could see the benefits of better tax credits across the board, can you imagine how much this movie would bring to Vancouver if it was actually shot here? Not only the $$$ but the tourism from it? Gosh wouldn’t that save our environment from pipelines?

  3. Nope, it’s set 30 years after Return of the Jedi not right after it as you have suggested in this article.

    • J

      And it will focus more on the new generation rather than the old.

  4. Jay Gonzales

    Love to know if the group in van bc would be looking for a character creater for knew films

  5. Shaan


  6. Does this mean an entire movie shot in various sized green screen rooms? No Thanks.

  7. Concerned

    Hard to build Coruscant for real Yun Nub.

  8. Pingback: from the internets: Industrial Light and Magic Expanding in Vancouver | Canadian Animation Resources

  9. gerry

    What a inaccurate headline, the VFX are working here, the movie is being shot in England & Dubai employing 1000’s of people there. Great that the 33% tax credit is working for the 330 people they will be employing to sit by computers here, can you imagine how much money would come into this city if the tax credits were across the board? Think of the extras & the spin off of all of that money – Vancouver would be booming with feature films, making us very wealthy. Not this year folks, just low budget TV that won’t nearly hit the 2.2 billion $ profits we made when we had real feature films shot here. Extremely short sighted in my opinion.

  10. Saraphine Michell

    I so want to be there when it happens