What an amazing story by Alex French and Howie Kahn for Wired, with photography by Dan Winters. Industrial Light & Magic is one of the most iconic companies in movie-making history, and it all started because George Lucas wanted to make a space movie:
As the young director had conceived it, Star Wars was a film that literally couldn’t be made; the technology required to bring the movie’s universe to visual life simply didn’t exist. Eventually 20th Century Fox gave Lucas $25,000 to finish his screenplay—and then, after he garnered a Best Picture Oscar nomination for American Graffiti, green-lit the production of Adventures of Luke Starkiller, as Taken From the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars. However, the studio no longer had a special effects department, so Lucas was on his own. He would adapt, and handily: He not only helped invent a new generation of special effects but launched a legendary company that would change the course of the movie business.
Come to think of it, there’s probably no better origin story than that. Take your time to savor this piece, along with the accompanying images. It is epic in every way.