The Final ‘Star Wars’ Episode Will Be Shot on 65mm Film
With TV becoming ever more cinematic, movies feel the need to do what they can to make going to the theater an experience that can’t be gotten anywhere else. That’s why many directors have been pushing for the advent of larger film stock that can be converted to formats like IMAX, to give blockbusters the all-encompassing scope they require for their grandiose stories. The Star Wars saga is the next series to get the treatment, as director Colin Trevorrow says he’s going to shoot Episode IX on 65mm film.
The announcement comes from Kodak, who say that they’ve added 65mm capabilities to their processing facility in the UK to make it possible for directors to have their dailies converted and sent back to them within a day. Apparently, Rian Johnson wanted to shoot Episode VIII on 65mm, but because the processing facility near Pinewood Studios couldn’t convert his stock, he would have had to ship it to a facility in the US, which would have delayed every day of production by a week. Because of this, Episode VIII was shot on 35mm, which is the theater standard and the most common gauge used aside from digital. Rogue One was shot using digital 6K resolution. 65mm is almost twice as large as the standard format, which will make Episode IX look much sharper on IMAX.
Larger film sizes like 65mm and 70mm are becoming more commonplace as directors experiment with different visual mediums. Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express will also be shot on 65mm, as will Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Christopher Nolan’s upcoming Dunkirk was also shot on 65mm. Directors like Paul Thomas Anderson and Quentin Tarantino have dipped their toes into 70mm film, with The Master and The Hateful Eight, respectively.
In Kodak’s statement, Kodak Consumer and Film Division Chief Marketing Officer and President Steven Overman says:
The film comeback is accelerating, and the epic, big-screen experience is well and truly back. The creative and aesthetic distinctiveness of 65mm film is still well beyond the capability of digital capture, so when discerning filmmakers want to a create work of memorable grandeur and lasting visual quality, they know that only real film delivers.
Star Wars: Episode IX hits theaters May 23, 2019.