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Director Rian Johnson says upcoming 'Star Wars' films will feature more practical effects and less CGI

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As if it wasn't clear already, it sounds like the next trilogy of Star Wars films is going to do its best to distance itself from the derided prequel trilogy of the last decade. We already knew that director J.J. Abrams planned to shoot Episode VII on film (both 35mm and IMAX) rather than in digital, and it sounds like he's also planning to use more practical effects in the next film in addition to the inevitable CGI effects that will surely be necessary for a film of this scale.

Speaking on Grantland's "Girls in Hoodies" podcast, director Rian Johnson (who will helm Episode VIII) said that Abrams' film will be more grounded in real world effects than its predecessors:

"They're doing so much practical building for this one. It’s awesome. I think people are coming back around to [practical effects]. It feels like there is sort of that gravity pulling us back toward it. I think that more and more people are hitting kind of a critical mass in terms of the CG-driven action scene lending itself to a very specific type of action scene, where physics go out the window and it becomes so big so quick."

This isn't the first hint we've gotten that the new trilogy will pull back a bit from the CGI overload in the prequels — last year, details emerged that the film would feature plenty of on-location shoots and models from Lucasfilm's Industrial Light and Magic. More recently, Abrams has posted several on-set videos — one of which showed off some live-action alien costuming. Still, these are high-budget fantastical blockbuster films, so we're not expecting them to be entirely free of CGI. But if it can be tastefully mixed with more real-world effects, fans may warm to the new trilogy's aesthetic more than they did of the prequels.