By IAN FAILES
When Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett first sat down with Special Effects Supervisor Dominic Tuohy and director J.J. Abrams to discuss the centerpiece Rey and Kylo Ren lightsaber duel in the film – which happens on a section of the fallen Death Star in the middle of a raging ocean – they all had one common goal in mind.
This was, relates Tuohy, “trying to find something that lets the actors act as if they were in that environment,” with an added goal, says Guyett, of “convincing the audience that there is an integrity to whatever they’re seeing on the screen.”
The idea for the duel then was to supply as much ‘live’ effects interaction as possible during filming, covering the actors in sprays of water to replicate the waves that would be hitting the section they were on. That practical water was down to Tuohy, who won a VFX Academy Award this year for 1917 and has also been Oscar-nominated for two other films. Visual effects artists from Industrial Light & Magic (overseen by Guyett, himself a six-time Oscar nominee) then used that in-camera water as a starting point for their digital simulations.
It was just one of the many times during the making of Rise of Skywalker in which the duo had to closely collaborate, and where they were part of relying upon multiple effects methods for various final shots in the film – others included the dramatic Pasaana desert speeder chase and the moment the heroes sink into black desert sand.