Why 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' Deserves the VFX Oscar

This breakdown of special effects used to create Jedha and Scarif proves that ILM should once again prevail at the Academy Awards.

Let's be honest: there were more than a few moments in Rogue One where the use of CGI was more than evident. The decisions to bring Moff Tarkin back from the dead and reproduce a young Leia were divisive, to say the least, among Star Wars fans.

But for all the times you notice the VFX, the reel Industrial Light & Magic compiled below will show you just how many times you may have missed it.

It's clear that there was only so much that Gareth Edwards could do with practical effects for his epic war story. That's where ILM comes in. What's most impressive about their work is not the massive explosions or stalking imperial marchers, but the subtle details they used to create the environments of the planets Jedha and Scarif.

World-building is, for many sci-fi enthusiasts, the most exciting part of the Star Wars entries. And as the video above shows, animators spared no expense when creating the two planets. They used layer upon layer of renders to put together worlds that look like they could actually exist. From the palm trees dotting the islands on Scarif to the dust hovering above the city of Jedha, the details imagined by the VFX artist are brought to life in exquisite fashion.

Do you think ILM will walk away with yet another Oscar? Let us know in the comments below.     

Your Comment


Jungle Book is by far the most challenging and remarkable vfx of the year, it dominated the Visual Effects Society (VES) awards this year with 5 trophies, Rogue One had none. The VES award is the most serious and reliable award in tge vfx industry, judges are notable artists and vfx veterans, if VFX Oscars was anything to be taken seriously, they should just second the VES results each year. But after Hugo won over Rise of the planet of the Apes and Ex Machina (great movie) won over Star Wars and The Martian, everything is possible. Unfortunately the content of this article provides no serious argument to justify its tittle.

February 17, 2017 at 5:44PM


These breakdowns are nothing new. The work on the Jungle book work was simply astounding in its scope and detail. It also pushed the bounds without alerting the audience to the techniques. The digital human work in Rogue One was both unnecessary and unconvincing.

February 18, 2017 at 12:31AM, Edited February 18, 12:31AM

Matt Drummond