One of the most prominent setpieces in Solo: A Star Wars Story is a big mountainside train heist. In this scene, Han Solo, Chewbacca and their ragtag group of thieves are embarking on a daring quest to steal cargo from an Imperial train.
According to a new interview from one of the filmmakers, this scene actually came together in part due to virtual reality. In a behind-the-scenes look at Solo on the official Star Wars website, Lucasfilm design supervisor James Clyne revealed that he used VR technology to help conceptualize what’s arguably the movie’s biggest action scene.
As the train scene carries on, the thieves must jump from car to car. According to Clyne, one of the other creators questioned if the gap between each train segment was too wide to work for the scene. Clyne, evidently not wanting to be told the odds, wanted to test this theory himself using Lucasfilm’s Virtual Scout technology to upload a model of the train and virtual climb aboard.
“You put the goggles on and you’re standing on a train car 60 feet up,” Clyne said to StarWars.com of the gear, which was set up in small office space. “Could I run and try to jump?” he recalled asking. “They were like, ‘Well, we’ve never done that. We usually just have people slowly walking around the room.’”
A crew member would then hold the cables coming off the back of Clyne’s VR headset, enabling him to run and make the jump physically and in the digital space. “I was able to do it!” Clyne said. “And I went back and reported back to production, the directors — I, normal Joe, can jump over that!”
Clyne’s full interview with StarWars.com can be found here.
Image credit: Lucasfilm