ILMxLAB Debuts ‘Tatooine’ VR, Develops Darth Vader Projects

Darth Vader is the star of an upcoming Lucasfilm virtual reality project centered on “Star Wars.” Although the project is largely undefined at this point — it has no name, genre, or release date — what we do know is that the story will both reveal new details about Darth Vader’s background and try out some innovative storytelling techniques. Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB, which accesses award-winning VFX facility Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound and the “Star Wars” story group, is developing the project.

According to Variety, David Goyer, who wrote “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” is writing the script for the Darth Vader project. He gave some details about it at the Star Wars Celebration in London, telling Entertainment Weekly the thinking behind choosing Darth Vader as the story’s focus.

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“What character is so iconic that we need to know more?” he asked. “[Where] we can’t sleep at night and want to experience things that can’t be experienced in film, or can’t be experienced in a novel… And we came up with… this person.”

Goyer teased how ILMxLAB will create the story, noting that “he wasn’t even sure if participants should be called ‘viewers’ or ‘players’,” finally settling on the descriptor “visitor.”

“You don’t play it. You be it. You’re in it. You’re part of the story,” he said. “[You’re] the visitor in this story that’s happening around you that you may have some effect on.”

The Verge reports that, also at the London event, Lucasfilm chief technology officer Rob Bredow revealed that ILMxLAB just unveiled its “first official lightsaber VR experience.” As of July 18, the free “Trials on Tatooine” became available on Steam VR, for use with HTC Vive.

The Verge’s Adi Robertson, who previewed it, called it a “cinematic virtual reality experience” that puts the player on Tatooine. R2-D2 hands the player a lightsaber to fight Stormtroopers. Although Sixense used lightsabers in virtual reality last year, this is Lucasfilm/ILM’s first experience doing so.