'Star Wars Episode 7' May Be Partly Shot Using IMAX Cameras

JJ Abrams shooting 'Star Trek Into Darkness' with IMAX camera

The casting process for Star Wars: Episode 7 is reportedly well underway, which means that we are predictably awash in a sea of rumors as to which bright-eyed youngsters will form the next generation of space heroes. Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill are all returning to reprise their roles and provide a strong link between the original trilogy and the upcoming Star Wars, but despite names like Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Gosling getting dropped into the mix the official cast list consists almost entirely of blank spaces.

Star Wars Episode 7's producers have said that they're in two minds about whether or not to throw a deliberate veil of secrecy over the film, or whether leaked details can actually help to build hype. Given director J.J. Abrams' penchant for keeping details under wraps, the former seems more likely, but the latest piece of information about Star Wars Episode 7 to enter the public eye isn't related to either the plot or the casting of the film.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs conference recently, IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond dropped references to a number of upcoming films that have or will see scenes shot natively in IMAX, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Christopher Nolan's Interstellar among them. Amidst the lengthy transcript, AICN picked up a comment that suggests our view of Star Episode Episode 7 could be pretty expansive:

"We are talking to J.J. Abrams team now about the next Star Wars being used with partly IMAX cameras."

The statement is a little ambiguous, as it could mean anything from IMAX and Abrams entering initial negotiations to possibly shoot scenes with IMAX, to the decision to shoot in IMAX already having being made, leaving just the logistics to be hashed out. Whatever stage the talks are at, however, the prospect of Star Wars Episode 7 being shot with IMAX cameras seems pretty likely.

'Star Trek Into Darkness' filming with native IMAX cameras

Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones was one of the first films ever to be digitally remastered for screening in IMAX theaters, but it's not just the franchise that has a history with the format. Abrams' most recent release, Star Trek Into Darkness, had certain scenes that were shot using IMAX cameras - including the opening sequence with Kirk and Bones making their escape and the subsequent scene with Spock in the volcano - and in a featurette the director commented on how much he loved what the IMAX cameras could allow him to do:

"I've never seen a space adventure filmed or presented in IMAX... IMAX, I realized, was going to benefit in a huge way a number of our sets that had real height. You know, intellectually, that it's going to be huge and crazy-looking. When you get to the screening room and you're watching in IMAX what you've shot... it's insane."

Given how enamored Abrams was with the experience of using IMAX cameras on Star Trek Into Darkness it wouldn't be at all surprising to see him using the same method for certain scene in his next space adventure. Though Star Wars Episode 7 is still some way off from shooting, it's understandable that negotiations for IMAX filming would have begun already, since the cameras are heavy, noisy and expensive to use and their implementation would need to be figured into the budget and planning well ahead of time.

Here's a question for the Star Wars fans out there: if you could pick only three scenes from the original trilogy to see filmed and screened in IMAX, which ones would you choose? Alternatively, are you not at all bothered about watching movies in IMAX?


Star Wars: Episode VII is tentatively slated to reach theaters by Summer 2015.

Source: Earnings Impact (via AICN)

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