When it comes to the Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series, Star Wars fandom more or less agrees on three things. One: it was great to see Ewan McGregor inhabit the title role again. Two: Young Leia is adorable, and has the same attitude of the woman she would grow to become. And three: there was something off about the way the show looked. This was most apparent in the landscapes renderings, which, while lush, lacked the depth and richness we know is possible in the modern Star Wars universe.
Many fans blamed this intangible flaw on a reliance on the cutting-edge “Volume” technology. But, with new Star Wars series The Acolyte in production and reportedly using the same tech, is it poised to make the same visual mistakes, or will it be aiming for a different look?
According to tweets by past leakers @Aesokass and @nuruodo1, production on the new series starts within the next few weeks. But, before the shoot goes on location, production will begin in The Volume, the name for the ILM studio containing a massive 360 degree LCD screen. The Stagecraft setup helped bring shows like The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett to life.
Will The Acolyte use The Volume as much as Obi-Wan Kenobi? It looks like there will be a good blend of Volume and, um, not-Volume production. According to the leak, filming locations are currently being scouted, including Caithness in Northern Scotland.
The leak also says The Acolyte would be partially set on a snow planet like Hoth, so filming in Scotland in autumn would make for a great natural setting for a Sith-focused story. Hopefully, The Acolyte will learn from the criticisms of past Star Wars works and seamlessly blend location and soundstage shooting to create an intergalactic environment that’s both immersive and cost-efficient.
The Acolyte has already set itself apart from other Star Wars series. It’s the first Star Wars TV show focused entirely around the Sith, so it would make sense for the series to have a completely different look from other series. In fact, it could create an entirely new norm in aesthetics and tone for Star Wars.
Star Wars has always pushed the limits of what is possible with location filming, whether it’s filming in the desert dunes of Tunisia or filming long takes in Redwoods State Park to make a speeder race on Endor. While The Volume makes for a quick and easy shortcut to these endeavors, is it time to return to the old playbook and see what’s possible in the real world? We’ll wait to see what The Acolyte tells us about the evolving visual philosophy of the Star Wars universe.