A force awakens: Magic Leap and Lucasfilm launch collaborative mixed reality lab

A force awakens: Magic Leap and Lucasfilm launch collaborative mixed reality lab
Matthew Jarvis

By Matthew Jarvis

June 17th 2016 at 10:24AM

‘Semi-secret’ research outlet will work on experiences themed around Star Wars for tech firm’s AR tech

One of Hollywood’s most powerful studios and technology’s most-discussed start-ups have joined forces.

Lucasfilm’s ILMxLab has teamed up with AR and VR firm Magic Leap to form a joint research lab based at the former’s San Francisco HQ.

Staffed by coder and researchers from both companies, plus Lucasfilm’s Story Group, which works to build and maintain consistency in the Star Wars universe, the ‘semi-secret’ division will reportedly develop experiences based on the Star Wars licence for Magic Leap’s much-anticipated but enigmatic technology.

The core focus will be on storytelling using the mixed reality platform, with users placed into the middle of virtual environments starring iconic characters such as C-3PO and R2-D2.

“From the beginning, they impressed us with their approach,” xLab CTO Rob Bredow told Wired. “Their whole pitch about ‘adding magic’ was something that was very consistent with what John and I were looking to do with xLab, which is to put you in the middle of the spectacular worlds we create.”

“You’re not being delivered a narrative in the same way as in a movie theatre. The kind of experiences we can deliver in immersive entertainment will be somewhere between the two.”

“We want to be a medium how to tell stories – and ultimately, maybe the medium,” added Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz.

The collaboration marks the second big partnership with a Hollywood firm for Magic Leap, following its long-running co-operation with Lord of the Rings effects outlet Weta.