This year marks the arrival of the first spin-off anthology film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and director Gareth Edwards promises a darker, grittier, and more realistic look at the wonderful galaxy we know and love.
Neal Scanlan, who worked on the creatures on both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One, told MTV that the sense of realism will translate into how aliens appear in the prequel story.
"In the world of Force Awakens,'there was a real mixture of all different kinds, very much like the original Cantina sequence," said Scanlan, referring to the iconic scene on Mos Eisley in A New Hope." "Working with Gareth now on 'Rogue One,' he sees these aliens as being much more part of the human [world]. They co-habitate, they work together and so it's pushed us very much to create characters that are more realistic."
"They move more realistically, they're able to emote more than maybe the characters that we did for The Force Awakens. So they're a closer part of the storytelling. They're less of the world, and they're more of this group who have a mission, and play a part in that."
Scanlan went on to describe how they had to approach for creating the creatures was different in Rogue One compared to The Force Awakens. Although there were puppets and creatures that needed to emote believably, the rest of the 110 different practical aliens and droids in the film were more simplistic in design. Scanlan explains that the challenge isn't making them as expressive as they can be, but creating an infrastructure around them. "How do you get these people dressed in the creature costumes? How do you keep them cool? How do they see? And how do the people who are performing them on the outside, the operators, get to see in them as well?" he said.
"We didn't try to treat them as a special effect," Scanlan admitted. "We just wanted them to be part of the Star Wars world, and to feel natural in that world."
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will hit theaters on Dec. 16, 2016.