Here’s what it took to make Rogue One: Recon 360
Set at a pivotal point in Rebel history, Rogue One: Recon 360 gives Star Wars fans a glimpse into the events leading up to the Rogue One movie.
So how was that experience crafted?
Built by ILMxLab, Recon was conceived, written and directed by John Knoll, a special effects vet who worked on the Star Wars prequels and the upcoming Rogue One film. The two Rebel pilots in the experience are voiced by Sam Witwer (voice of Darth Maul in The Clone Wars and Rebels, and Starkiller in the Force Unleashed games) and Emily O’Brien, a newcomer to the Star Wars franchise.
ILMxLab’s executive creative producer, Mark Miller, recently chatted with StarWars.com about what went into making Recon. Note: The following text contains spoilers for the experience, so watch the just-under-two-minute video below to get caught up before reading on (you can also try Facebook if that’s more your thing).
Miller first explained how the visual storytelling fit into the 360-degree experience.
“The first-person angle of the story and the active nature of piloting an X-wing are great for this format — even when you’re hovering in space, the character is monitoring screens in your cockpit, switching controls and staying active,” he said. “Sometimes it’s hard to know what will be successful in these relatively new art forms like 360 until you go ahead and try.”
The creative process also required testing things as they went along.
“Once you get going, it’s trial and error,” Miller said. “For example, we recorded quite a lot of alternate dialogue lines for a relatively short story, but that gave us a ton of options to play with and plug in as the animation came together.”
Miller also stressed that the 360 format allowed for the team to craft a more immersive story.
“To see a part of this continuing struggle through the eyes, from the literal POV, of one of these pilots, seemed like an effective new way to tell it,” he said. “This medium, especially if you’re able to view it in a headset, provides a unique, immersive view that I think more effectively conveys that one pilot’s experience.”
Finally, a lot of thought went into the ending, where the pilots meet their demise after running into the Imperial forces stationed around the Death Star.
“John Knoll and the Lucasfilm Story Group were adamant that, if our mission preceded the Rouge One timeframe and we saw the Death Star, we could not make it out alive,” Miller said. “There was a bit of worry about how the viewer would react as we put the whole thing together.”
However, response to the ending was mostly positive.
“When we started showing people, the overwhelming response of going down in flames at the end was ‘Cool!’,” Miller said. “I think people like it because they don’t expect it. There’s enough engagement with the character and the situation that most of us figure, ‘We’ll find a way out,’ so, it’s a bit of a surprise when we don’t. I think that also makes it more believable.”
You can head on over to StarWars.com to read the full interview.
I’ve really enjoyed messing around with Recon. The 360 experience adds an extra element because each time you hit play, the journey is a bit different. It was also neat to actually see the first time a group of Rebels encountered the Death Star.