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Industrial Light & Magic opens TV division just in time for Disney’s new Star Wars show

ILM TV will focus on episodic and streaming TV programs

Photo: Disney

Industrial Light & Magic, the company that invented modern cinematic visual effects with its work on the original Star Wars trilogy, is embracing television with a new division it is naming ILM TV. According to a press release, the new group’s focus will be on episodic and streaming television series, and it already has two projects lined up: the second season of Syfy’s Krypton, and Jon Favreau’s upcoming live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian.

“We are seeing a real convergence in our creative approach used on films and in our immersive entertainment division ILMxLAB,” ILM head Rob Bredow said in a press release, “and now we’re proud to be able to offer these ILM innovations in a way that’s suitable for streaming and television work to creatives around the world.”

The television arm of ILM will be headquartered in the company’s new London studio, with a particular focus on the compressed production schedule and turnaround times that are required in television. Industrial Light & Magic isn’t entirely new to TV: the company received awards for its work on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles back in the 1990s, where it used digital effects techniques that have now become common in films and bigger-budgeted television productions.

The news shows just how big a part of the entertainment landscape television has become. Feature film work may be ILM’s bread and butter, but with television shows becoming increasingly more complex and expensive, moving into that space will allow the company to add an additional revenue stream to its business. It’s also timed perfectly for the pending arrival of Disney’s television streaming service. One of the main differentiators of that service is going to be original television programming based on Star Wars, Marvel, and the rest of Disney’s intellectual properties. ILM TV will allow Disney to address the visual effects needs of that kind of programming — using the same assets and techniques it pioneered in film — without ever stepping outside the fold of the company.