Take a Look Back at ILMxLAB’s Star Wars Celebration Panels

Missed us in Anaheim? Learn about everything that was said during our two panels at the galactic fan event.

For Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, members of ILMxLAB traveled from all over to share their stories during two new panels. Now back in our own homes and offices, we’re excited to share some highlights.

Our first panel on Friday, “Go Beyond the Spires in Virtual Reality: Making of ILMxLAB’s Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge,” gave fans a behind-the-scenes look at how our two-part VR experience was created. Moderated by Holly Frey, panelists Matthew Wood (Mubo), Mark S. Miller (Executive Producer), Alyssa Finley (Producer), Ross Beeley (Writer), and Marissa Martinez-Hoadley (Manager of Quality Assurance) took the stage to share their creative process, the roles that they played during development, and how they were able to bring the beloved stories and characters featured in Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge and Last Call to life.

From left to right: Mark S. Miller, Holly Frey, Alyssa Finley, Matthew Wood, Ross Beeley, and Marissa Martinez-Hoadley.

While on the stage, Miller noted that the concept of Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge came from Director Jose Perez III, who posed the question “What if we could build an experience where you could start in a central place and through [there] you could tell stories all across the Star Wars galaxy – and all across the timeline?” To that, Miller said “let’s do it,” and they decided that a dive bar-style cantina was the perfect setting.

Looking back at developing the voice of Mubo, Wood remembered how he wanted the character to complement the voice that Bobby Moynihan had given Seezelslak. “When I heard his voice and what he had done, I thought that it would be a great juxtaposition. Seezelslak is so imposing that I wanted Mubo to kind of hover around that in a higher register voice, which is always fun to do.”

You can view the panel on YouTube below, as well as jump into Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge and Last Call on Meta Quest. Fans in attendance were also treated to a special first look beyond the spires with a new behind-the-scenes video, which you can also check out at the bottom of this post.

Following the panel, we joined Andi Gutierrez on the StarWars.com Main Stage to answer her burning questions about Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge. You can check that out during the Star Wars Celebration Day 2 livestream here.

From left to right: Ross Beeley, Marissa Martinez-Hoadley, Alyssa Finley, Matthew Wood, and Andi Gutierrez.

On Saturday, we brought together a few of the ILMxLAB team members for a panel discussion titled “Step Inside Our Stories: Careers & Journeys of the Women at ILMxLAB.” Moderated by Jenny Ely (Production Manager), panelists Marissa Martinez-Hoadley (Manager of Quality Assurance), Emily Burch (Senior Development Operations Engineer), Karessa Bowens (Experience Designer), and Rachel Radeztsky (Gameplay Engineer) gave fans and aspiring VR experience creators their advice on how to break into the industry.

From left to right: Jenny Ely, Rachel Radeztsky, Karessa Bowens, Emily Burch, and Marissa Martinez-Hoadley.

As Manager of Quality Assurance, Martinez-Hoadley says that she is “very passionate about making sure everything works, it works right, it’s true to Star Wars, and that it’s standing up to the quality standards set by all of us. I work really closely with everyone, including the producers, to keep playing through…and give feedback, all while making my suggestions.”

Burch says her role as Senior Development Operations Engineer, is a “smashing together of development and operations. I am an engineer who writes tools for engineers… So, I try to make their lives easier so that they can make – at least in Rachel’s case – the Experience Designers’ lives easier, so that Karessa can make an awesome experience.”

Bowens said that working as an Experience Designer allows her to “create the worlds that you get to play in. So, for my job, I get to actually fill [story beats] in within the digital world, and make sure that when you go through the experience you are getting all of the story elements…”

As Gameplay Engineer, Radeztsky’s role is to “basically make the whole thing playable. I touch almost every section of a video game in some capacity. From animation to audio to interactive stuff, you name it, I touch it.” When working with designers, she added “it’s part of my job to make things simple for the designers. I try to simplify things into yes/no buttons, or select from a list of options, which are all hidden to make a nice user interface for the designers.”

When asked by a fan what advice they would give for a recent college graduate interested in working at ILMxLAB, Ely shared that the one thing she would emphasize is “don’t give up.” She also added that “I had applied for like a hundred jobs at Lucasfilm and I didn’t feel that I was qualified for any of them, but it did turn out that I had some translatable skills.”

Radeztsky also added, “if your skills match up even a little bit, just apply anyway. What’s the worst they can say? No? Take a chance and it might be you.”

To check out open roles at ILMxLAB, head to our current job listings.

Or, if you are interested in learning more about careers at Lucasfilm, be sure to check out the Get in the Door project at getinthedoorproject.com.

Special thanks to our panelists and everyone who worked to make it possible for us to share these stories with you, our fans.