Necessity, as the saying goes, is the mother of invention, and no greater example of this maxim exists than Industrial Light And Magic — or, as it is better known, ILM*.

Light and Magic, a six part docuseries about ILM, will be premiering on Disney+ on July 27th, detailing the incredible founding, history, and evolution of this Hollywood production mainstay.

Trailer park

Directed by Lawrence Kasdan, who has deep connections to the subject matter through his involvement with the worlds of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, the series will tell the story of ILM through the voices of those who have been a part of it. Featuring an array of interviews from original and current members of the special effects house, as well as the directors & producers who birthed some of film’s greatest masterpieces from its creative minds, Light & Magic looks to be telling more than the story of Hollywood history via ILM — it chronicles the revolution that ILM represented.

Founded by George Lucas in 1975, ILM was the brainchild of necessity. Lucas was breaking ground with the Star Wars franchise. No effects house in the world could create the special effects that first iconic film would require. Thus ILM was born, and went on to forever change special effects as Hollywood knew it. From a group of people who knew nothing about the art form save that they loved movies and were on board with creating something entirely new, the early pioneers that staffed ILM at the onset would go on to lay the groundwork for the field of visual effects as we know it today.

Such is the verdict handed down by interview subjects Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, and Jon Favreau. Such is the word from George Lucas himself as the story of true movie magic is told, outlining how a bunch of immature young people who wanted to make a cool science fiction movie built equipment, defied convention, and quite literally invented an entire industry while toying with the rules of movie like children with new building blocks.

As Ron Howard says during the trailer, as the audience learns to see through the effects? The bar simply raises — and after 47 years, countless Oscar wins, and an amazing list of every film you could possibly think of, the full story will at last be told. From top to bottom, in a six episode block, the world will finally come to understand the enormity of what ILM is, its true legacy, and what the future may hold.

With its raw ingenuity and boundless creativity, Industrial Light and Magic is the true home of magic in Hollywood. And now we get to peek inside the magician’s hat and see what’s there.


* Or, to put it another way, “Necessity is a real mother.” – ed.

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