Almost three years ago, Disney announced the purchase of Lucasfilm and the development of Star Wars: Episode 7. Cut to now when we’re only four months away from the film’s theatrical release. Given all the hype and anticipation surrounding this, it’s time to start thinking about the format in which you want to experience The Force Awakens. According to many there’s only one answer: IMAX. And here’s why.
According to Vahn from MakingStarWars.net, he received an invite from his local theater to install Star Wars: The Force Awakens into their IMAX projector a week before the release. As such, he was given the complete specs for this release. Though J.J. Abrams revealed that he used an IMAX camera on the film, he later stated that it’s only one sequence, “but it’s a good sequence.” MSW states that it’s most likely the escape from the desert planet Jakku, and this scene will show in 70MM. The “true” eight-story IMAX theaters, as he calls them, will present the full 70MM sequence, while the “shrunk” IMAX theaters will play the Digital IMAX converted format.
First of all, Vahn’s speculation about the scene seems right on the money. J.J. Abrams Instagramed a photo way back during the first weeks of production showing an IMAX camera overlooking the Abu Dhabi desert, in which they filmed the scenes on Jakku. The trailers, behind-the-scenes video, and official images revealed a bit more, including a speeder racing past a crashed Star Destroyer, Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega) running to avoid TIE Fighter attacks, and the Millennium Falcon whizzing by in a battle with said TIE Fighters. Furthermore, Disney and Lucasfilm released a collection of publicity photos from the film, which include two sets of photos for images that play out in this setting. Here is an example of the smaller format…
And here’s what the IMAX 70MM format will look like in comparison...
While it’s not the worst thing in the world to go down to the Digital IMAX converted format, it won’t give you the full experience of this scene. So for all you diehard cinephiles and Star Wars fans, you might want to consider making your first experience of The Force Awakens even more memorable.
The seventh installment in the Star Wars franchise hits theaters on December 18, featuring a cast of returning players — like Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford — and franchise newbies — like Boyega, Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Dohmnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, and Max von Sydow.