Disney’s D23 Expo 2019 was jam-packed this year with news and announcements, and the team from ILMxLAB was there to give an early sneak peak at the upcoming Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series – Episode II. Director Ben Snow, Senior Experience Designer Jose Perez III, and Lucasfilm Story Group Creative Executive Matt Martin took the stage for a conversation with film critic Todd Gilchrist, where they unveiled new creatures, footage, at a glimpse of what it’s like to use the Force in the wild new Lightsaber Dojo II.
The panel kicked off with a quick recap of Episode I, which launched this past May on the Oculus Quest and Rift family of headsets. Snow explained the core premise behind the series: you take on the role of a Force-sensitive smuggler that has been summoned by Darth Vader, and the Dark Lord needs your help to uncover the mysteries of Mustafar and the ancient Corvax Fortress that rests beneath the planet’s surface. Along the way, you have to stage an escape, explore Vader’s castle, and learn how to wield a lightsaber. Accurately recreating lightsaber combat in VR was key to Episode I’s sense of wish fulfillment, explained the team.
From there conversation quickly turned to Episode II, and it was clear right away that the new installment will be more action-oriented than its predecessor, allowing audiences to explore Corvax Fortress, discover new creatures, and learn how to use the Force from Darth Vader himself.
After showing the first few minutes of an Episode II training sequence — exclusive only to those in the room at D23 Expo — Snow explained that Vader is in many ways the polar opposite of Yoda, who taught Luke Skywalker the ways of the Force in The Empire Strikes Back. But the powers the Dark Lord teaches audiences in Episode II are key to you successfully completing your journey. Fans will be able to lift rocks, toss around enemies, and pull objects across the room towards themselves, adding another layer of Star Wars wish-fulfillment.