J.J. Abrams Reveals the Crazy CG Effect You Didn't Know Was in The Force Awakens

Illustration for article titled J.J. Abrams Reveals the Crazy CG Effect You Didnt Know Was in iThe Force Awakens/i

There was a lot of amazing visual setpieces in The Force Awakens, made possibly by the incredible wizardry of ILM and many other VFX studios. But sometimes the best use of CGI is one where you had no idea its even used, as J.J. Abrams points out in this exclusive clip from his new Force Awakens commentary track.

The clip below, making its debut here on io9, comes from one of the first encounters we see between Snoke and Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens, and Abrams discusses how he decided to bring Andy Serkis on to perform the motion capture for the First Order’s Supreme Leader.

But the most interesting tidbit Abrams reveals that this scene was almost the very first moment we saw the young man underneath Kylo Ren’s mask—a moment saved in the film for later, during his interrogation of Rey, which becomes a pivotal moment in Kylo Ren’s emotional journey. After Abrams decided to save the reveal, instead of reshooting Adam Driver’s part of the sequence, ILM simply inserted a CG replica of Ren’s mask to layer over Driver’s performance. It’s a small thing, but it’s incredibly effective, because it’s completely impossible to tell—and it makes Kylo Ren’s eventual unmasking much more powerful.


Abrams’ commentary track, alongside a host of new deleted scenes, will be made available on The Force Awakens’ 3D re-release when it hits shelves November 15th.

James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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Funny, I loved the movie, but I thought the unmasking was the least effective part. I guess it played differently to younger viewers. But my reaction was like Winston Wolf and Jimmy in Pulp Fiction; I thought he looked like a dork.