Countless rumors have long been circulating about the new Star Wars Anthology Series, the standalone films being developed by Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm to follow the December release of Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens. But the rumor that most captured the imagination of director, filmmaker Eric Demeusys (Mulberry Woods, 3113) was that the second film in the anthology was going to be an origin story about bounty hunter Boba Fett. 

Mulberry Woods
3113

Like a lot of devoted fans, Demeusy would love to see more of Boba Fett. Only rather than finding out more about the mysterious character’s backstory, he his friends would rather see a film that explores what happened to Boba Fett after he tumbled into the Great Pit of Carkoon during a battle in Return of the Jedi. What if, rather than being eaten by the sarlacc creature dwelling in the pit, he survived? With that in mind, Demeusy recently used Cinema 4D to create a short teaser, Star Wars: The New Republic Anthology, in which Fett escapes from the pit 30 years after being trapped there.


“We came up with this whole premise where at the end of Return of the Jedi, the Jedi council was gone and so was the Republic,” he explains. “We thought the backstory could be the rise of a new Republic and how Boba Fett fights alongside the Rebellion to establish the New Republic.” Read on to learn more about the making of the teaser. 

Maynard: Why Boba Fett?

Demeusy: He has always been one of my favorite characters. The android’s design in 3113 was inspired by his character. He was the best bounty hunter in the galaxy. When I was talking with my friends, we all thought it would be so cool if he survived the pit. We want to see him kicking butt again, so that’s what inspired us. It’s not that there needs to be a whole Boba Fett movie, we’d just like to see him be a main character. If there’s any way to influence the direction of that second anthology film, we’d love to do that. 

Maynard: In Return of the Jedi, the Pit of Carkoon is in the middle of the desert. Talk about how you recreated that scene. 


Demeusy: I found out the pit scene was actually filmed in the Imperial Sand Dunes in Buttercup Valley, California. It’s a recreational area and once we saw it we knew we wanted to shoot there. I went out there at three o’clock in the morning with my friend Jason Mitcheltree, who helped with the writing and was director of photography; Melissa Kohler, our camera assistant; and Jose Diaz-Oldenburg, the jib operator. 


We tried to find places that weren’t covered with tire tracks from the ATVs people drive all over. We ended up getting really lucky. Jose set up the jib and left. We got some shots at dawn. We were using a Red Epic Dragon. The problem was we had to wait to shoot again at dusk. It was really hot and sunny and we sat out in the desert under just a little canopy. We didn’t have enough water for three people all day. By the time we left we were so dehydrated and exhausted, we had to leave some of our equipment behind and go get water before going back for it.  

Maynard: What was your process for putting everything together after you shot the footage?


Demeusy: I did an animatic before we shot anything and had already done previs in Cinema, so we had a rough edit before the shoot. I used the footage to cut a teaser together and Jason did a version too. We stuck pretty close to the previs and I refined the edit over a few days. I had already been working on some of the VFX. 

Evan Langley, who is also a huge Star Wars fan, did most of the compositing in NUKE. 

Maynard: Is the opening shot all CG?


Demeusy: Yes. I was thinking of building a giant miniature of the pit in my living room, but I realized it would take too much time so I sculpted it in C4D using a photo I had for reference. The view you see of the sand and the pit is through Octane. This was the first time I’ve used OctaneRender in C4D. I like the way it is interactive so you can see what you’re doing live. Octane was really helpful with details like the rocks in some places on the sand walls. We did that with displacement inside of Octane. I used a cloner object to create the sarlacc’s teeth on the edge of the pit. I cloned them around a circular spline. 

Maynard: How did you make Boba Fett’s ship, the Slave 1?



Demeusy: I was thinking I could just buy a miniature of the Slave 1, and I did find one on a site called Sci-Fi 3D. But when I opened it up, it was rough and didn’t have enough polygons. It was already UV, so there were some textures there. I blew the textures up to 5K and repainted all of them for half of the ship because I knew you’d only see one side of it. Octane helped because I painted in Photoshop and could hit save in Cinema and see the layered up textures. I could also spin the camera to see how the light was reflecting in real time. 

Maynard: I know you make a lot of the costumes for your films. What’s the story with Boba Fett’s suit?



Demeusy:  The suit we got was called a deluxe, large Boba Fett suit and the shoes were like size 14 or something. It looked okay from a distance, but up close it was loose and baggy and the paint looked really bad. It was difficult to find someone to play Boba because the suit was a tough fit; parts were too small or too big and some had to be tailored. We were scrambling and I asked Jason to just try it on and it fit him pretty well so he played Boba Fett for us. I made the suit look better by repainting it with an airbrush kit. (Check out the making of video here: http://ericdemeusy.com/starwars.)

Maynard: What’s the response to the teaser been like so far? 

Demeusy. The response has been incredible. We didn’t realize the kind of reach it would have. It’s definitely opened up some doors. I’ve been taking meetings and exploring the options to determine my next steps. One thing that is weighing pretty heavily is the fan response asking us to continue this story. We’ll see what happens in the future. 

Credits:
Director: Eric Demeusy
Producer: Demeusy Pictures
Writers: Eric Demeusy, Jason Mitcheltree
Director of Photography: Jason Mitcheltree
Assistant Camera: Melissa Kohler
Jib Operator: Jose Diaz-Oldenburg
Visual Effects: Eric Demeusy
Compositor: Evan Langley
Special Thanks: Skyward VFX