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Star Wars: Episode 9 is going to feel bigger, look sharper than The Force Awakens

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It’s 65mm versus 35mm film

Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens Lucasfilm/Disney

Unlike Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rian Johnson’s upcoming eighth installment in the franchise, director Colin Trevorrow will shoot the ninth Star Wars movie on 65mm film.

Kodak announced that Trevorrow made the decision to forego the industry standard 35mm, choosing to follow directors like Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino by upgrading to 65mm. Films that are shot on 65mm or 70mm films, like Inception and The Hateful Eight, present an IMAX level of quality and resolution. Essentially, because it’s a higher-resolution format, the film looks crisper when played through a projection and on larger screens.

While Abrams decided not to use it for The Force Awakens, opting instead for the traditional 35mm, the grainier details that appeared in the film won’t exist in Episode 9. Instead, by using 65mm, the film will look hyper-realistic.

Steve Overman, chief marketing officer and president of Kodak’s consumer and film division, said that as more directors take advantage of what technology is offering, better and higher quality films are being made. The result is that more epics, like Star Wars or Nolan’s upcoming Dunkirk, are taking advantage of the advancements in technology while sticking to traditional analogue film.

“The creative and aesthetic distinctiveness of 65mm film is still well beyond the capability of digital capture,” Overman said. “So when discerning filmmakers want to a create work of memorable grandeur and lasting visual quality, they know that only real film delivers.”

Tarantino has spoken at length about his preference for film, and the 70mm format specifically. According to the director, the format that was made popular in the ‘50s and ‘60s, captures a certain kind of warmth that digital can’t replicate. Tarantino has also said that simply having a larger frame to play around with when it comes to positioning actors in different scenes is extremely important to him. While shooting The Hateful Eight, he wanted to make the audience feel slightly claustrophobic, and being able to manipulate the framing while capturing high-quality images made all the difference.

What does all of this mean for the third and final installment in the new Star Wars trilogy? The movie, simply put, is going to look better, have richer colors and feel much bigger than The Force Awakens did and Episode 8 will.

The next film in the Star Wars franchise is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first stand-alone anthology movie. Director Gareth Edwards decided to step away from film altogether, however, and shot the film on the Alexa 65 large-format 6K digital camera. Audiences should expect an ultra-widescreen film when it’s released on Dec. 16.


The silly original opening to The Force Awakens