ILM has opened a television division (known as simply ILM TV) to provide the visual effects for the Star Wars live-action TV series, The Mandalorian. Though it's been known for awhile now that Iron Man and Jungle Book director Jon Favreau is developing the first non-animated Star Wars TV show for Disney, the project didn't get an official title until this past October. Lucasfilm released the first-look photo for The Mandalorian shortly thereafter, offering a sneak peek of the series' namesake - but, at the same time, keeping the identity of the actor who plays them a secret for the time being.
Set somewhere between the events of Star Wars: Episode VI (Return of the Jedi) and Episode VII (The Force Awakens), The Mandalorian's first run of episodes are being directed by an impressive lineup that includes Thor: Ragnarok helmer Taika Waititi, actor-turned filmmaker Bryce Dallas Howard, and Dave Filoni (co-creator of the shows Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars Resistance). In addition to featuring A-list creatives, The Mandalorian season 1 will span ten episodes and reportedly cost $100 million to produce. That includes the costs of effects provided by Lucasfilm's own VFX company, ILM.
Per ILM's official announcement, ILM TV will provide visual effects for "the streaming and episodic television market", and be based out of ILM's 47K square foot London studio, with support from the company's locations around the world. ILM Head and Executive Creative Director Rob Bredow has issued the following statement, explaining the logic behind the formation of the company's brand-new television division.
“It’s not often you get to create a new division at Industrial Light & Magic. We are seeing a real convergence in our creative approach used on films and in our immersive entertainment division ILMxLAB, and now we’re proud to be able to offer these ILM innovations in a way that’s suitable for streaming and television work to creatives around the world.”
While ILM TV's first two projects will be The Mandalorian season 1 and Syfy's upcoming Krypton season 2, this won't be the first time that ILM itself has worked in the area of television. The company previously provided the effects for George Lucas' The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, all the way back in the early 1990s. As ILM VFX Supervisor Hayden Jones noted in his own official statement about the ILM TV news:
“The television and streaming segments have grown exponentially in recent years and we are seeing substantial demand for high calibre visual effects that can be delivered on schedule and within budget, all of which lie at the core of our team's expertise and proven track record.”
Coupled with the previous report about The Mandalorian's budget, this news only further drives home the idea that Disney and Lucasfilm intend to offer a cinematic-caliber experience with their live-action Star Wars TV show. That seems to be plan with most of the Mouse House's developing TV series for its upcoming streaming service; including, The Mandalorian and Marvel Cinematic Universe limited series based around characters like Scarlet Witch, Loki, and Falcon and Winter Soldier. Suffice it to say, with ILM involved, the effects on The Mandalorian alone should certainly be able to match the quality of those featured in Disney's theatrical Star Wars films.
Star Wars: The Mandalorian is slated to premiere on Disney's streaming service after it launches next year.