One of the things we’re most excited about when it comes to Star Wars: Episode VII is all the visual confirmations of director J.J. Abrams’ commitment to making extensive use of practical effects, costumes, and models. We love the amazing things CGI can accomplish as much as the next guy, but we’ve reached a stage where it all starts to look the same, and there’s just something nostalgic and viscerally thrilling about knowing that they actually built the Millennium Falcon, as opposed to just sticking the Episode VII cast in an empty warehouse where everything is painted green. The legacy Episode VII hopes to honor is on beautiful display in a massive gallery of behind-the-scenes photographs focusing on ILM’s incredible Star Wars work from 1977 – 1983.
The Imgur gallery packs in over 100 photos showcasing Imperial Star Destroyers, X-wings, snowspeeders, and the Falcon herself, among many others. Anyone who grew up loving the original trilogy has already been in love with these vehicles for years now, but what’s amazing is the sheer level of detail on display, especially given these movies were made in an age when HD wasn’t something we all take for granted.
Knowing all this stuff existed in tactile reality makes my inner eight-year-old swell with glee. Never mind killing Hitler or watching the signing of the Declaration of Independence; if I had a time machine, I think I’d just travel back and sneak into 1980 ILM after hours and have my run of the place. And for some reason I can’t get enough of the little action figure dudes in the cockpits.
And look! A closeup of a speeder bike control panel! What does what? I must know what does what!
We’re only including a few of our favorites here; there are tons more in the Imgur gallery, courtesy of somebody calling themselves joinyouinthesun. Their Imgur account is worth exploring overall, actually, as they’ve got some other interesting goodies to peruse.