Colin Trevorrow Confirms Shooting ‘Star Wars Episode IX’ on Film Instead of Digital

By January 28, 2016

This is why I love Colin Trevorrow. Say what you will about his choices as a director, criticize his Jurassic World until the Velociraptors come home (I personally loved it) but the one thing you can’t say about the Safety Not Guaranteed director, is that he isn’t a lover of film in the purest sense of the word.

Because he is… He loves film more than most and, as he just stated in a press conference at the Sundance Film Festival,

“There’s something in my brain that says, ‘well they didn’t have video cameras then.”

My sentiments are in complete agreement. There’s something magical about the medium and after reading this quote, it occurred to me that he is exactly right. Call it a feeling, something buried in your subconscious that connects you to a time long ago – or far, far away – but when you are watching a film – on film – you get a sense that what you are watching something filmed in a far off land, or sometime in the past. It’s magic. And what better way to capture magic, in a Star Wars film, then to shoot the movie on film stock? The only way to shoot, in my opinion.

Thanks to the report from Variety on the matter, this latest news of Trevorrow’s affirmation that he will shoot his Episode IX of the Star Wars Saga on film comes after director Christopher Nolan just recently started banging the drum for that very movement. Some think film is dead and so when Oscar nominated DP Roger Deakins (Sicario) recently said shooting on film would be ‘over,’ many lovers of the medium, including Nolan, came out defending it. Not that it’s anything against Deakins – he didn’t say he didn’t love film or shooting on it either; just that he knows the medium has changed.

That’s why it is refreshing to see Colin Trevorrow standing by the use of film. I also have to give it to Disney and Lucasfilm for standing by their director.

Not that it’s anything new for Star Wars. JJ Abrams shot Episode VII on film and Rian Johnson has also confirmed he will be using film for Episode VIII. So it’s not earth shattering news.

As I said, it’s just refreshing that all these seasoned directors, along with the new generation represented by Trevorrow are holding the candle together.

For as he alluded to up top – when on film, you feel like you are watching something from another time. This led to Trevorrow referencing Episode IX as:

“It’s a period film. It happened a long time ago.”

Kudos, Trevorrow.

During the conference, the panel on the merits of film come during the switch from film to digital video that all theatre chains are doing now. And as Variety notes, studios are pushing directors to give up shooting on film; saying the process is “cumbersome and expensive.”

Something Nolan (also in attendance) refutes.

Nolan seized the moment to hit back at claims that shooting on digital is cheaper and the way of the future, decrying a “corporate conspiracy” and “a culture around wanting to kill film.” He noted that the media pounced on reports of technical glitches during an early 70MM screening of Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight.” The revisionist western embarked on an elaborate roadshow, dusting off projectors that had been retired in the recent digital overhaul of the country’s cinemas, and investing time and millions of dollars to screen the picture in the way Tarantino intended.

Nolan argued digital projectors break down all the time and in those instances, they are never reported. Basically saying it was only looked at because of the high profile way in which Tarantino marketed his film. At the end of the day, Nolan (and Trevorrow) are asking for a “choice.”

“There needs to be a choice,” he said. “As a medium it will continue to exist. It has to continue to exist. It’s pointless to pretend it has to go away.”

For the rest of the report and the varying sides to the argument, head on over to Variety to read the full report.

Because this really isn’t about film vs digital – that’s an article for another day. This is just a refreshing validation that Star Wars will go out using the medium in which it was created. And I for one love that, for now, it’s here for a bit longer.

For all your Star Wars news, make sure you check back for more — right here on GeekNation.

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Mark Reilly
Born a geek a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away - Tustin, CA - Reilly is a seasoned writer and producer with over twenty years experience in the film industry. He is the co-host of 'Far, Far Away' here on GeekNation as well as 'Meet the Movie Press' on the Popcorn Talk Network; which airs live every Friday morning at 9am pst. Tweet him at @Reillyaround