According to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, without a good story Episode VII's special effects "mean nothing."
In a weekend with several bits of exciting Star Wars news, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy perhaps provided the cherry on top of fans' Force-flavored cake. Speaking at a panel hosted by Warwick Davis, Kennedy told franchise devotees that the focus of the film's creative team was set firmly on developing a good story.
"The story and characters are all we're talking about right now," she said. "We have an amazing team at [Industrial Light & Magic], who can create fantastic effects, but if we don't have a great story and characters, the effects mean nothing." Kennedy would continue by expressing the production's desire to balance the use of CGI with the implementation of physical sets and practical effects. "It's a conversation we're having all the time in the development of Episode VII. Looking at all the Star Wars movies and getting a feel for what even some of the early films did, combining real locations and special effects - that's something we're looking very seriously at."
This led to an extended applause from the assembled audience, something that should come as no surprise to fans of the film series. The arguable over-use of CGI was one of the biggest gripes many had with Star Wars prequel trilogy. Continuing her comments on the subject Kennedy said, "We're probably going to end up using every single tool in the toolbox to create the look of these movies." Asked to elaborate on what the "toolbox" might contain she added, "It's using model makers; it's using real droids; it's taking advantage of artwork that you actually can touch and feel. And we want to do that in combination with CG effects. We figure that's what will make it real."