The hit Star Wars franchise is more popular than ever, thanks to the blockbuster release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in December which took in over $2 billion at the box office thus far. LucasFilm is expanding the world even further today, with the announcement of a partnership with Magic Leap, an augmented-reality startup company that has raised nearly $1.4 billion in funding through companies like Google. The companies will join forces to create a research lab at LucasFilm's San Francisco facility to craft stories in a Mixed Reality universe.
Variety reports that this partnership was announced at the Conde Nast's Wired Business Conference in New York, where they released a proof of concept video featuring Star Wars icons R2-D2 and C-3PO. This video showed the droids beaming holograms into an Earthbound room using Magic Leap's Mixed Reality technology, which is reminiscent to the iconic scene in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, where R2-D2 plays a hologram message from Princess Leia to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Here's what LucasFilm's Kathleen Kennedy had to say in a statement.
"The future of mixed reality and immersive entertainment holds incredible promise, and we are honored to work with Magic Leap to shape that future. At Lucasfilm and ILM, innovation has always been in our DNA; through this collaboration, ILMxLAB further propels our legacy of exploration and leadership on this new platform for experiential storytelling."
It isn't exactly known what kind of content will emerge from this partnership at this time. Magic Leap's investors include Alibaba Group, Warner Bros. and Google. Peter Jackson's New Zealand-based VFX company Weta is also producing content for Magic Leap's platform, and Jackson serves on its advisory board. Here's what ILMxLAB executive creative director John Gaeta had to say in his statement.
"We are pushing into an era of experiential, persistent and perceptual storytelling. We want people to step inside our stories, and we want those stories to react back to people in deeply compelling ways. However, before magical realism becomes a seamless part of everyday life, it needs some advanced prototyping."
Lucasfilm formed ILMxLAB last year to explore forms of storytelling on new media platforms. Earlier this spring, the division launched its first virtual-reality experience for Star Wars on the HTC Vive headset. The video below includes a disclaimer that no visual effects or compositing were used in the creation of this video. Take a look at this Star Wars video below, and stay tuned for more on LucasFilm's partnership with Magic Leap.