force awakens expanding bread

The Secret of the Expanding Bread in Force Awakens

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The seconds long scene with Rey’s expanding bread rations was a completely practical effect that took three months to get right.

There’s no denying that JJ Abrams pulled out all the stops with The Force Awakens. As an obvious Star Wars fans, the director knew the ingredients of the original trilogy that would make his contribution an instant classic. One such ingredient was the use of practical effects instead of relying on pure CGI. Throughout Force Awakens we get a plethora of puppets, plaster casts and practical costumes to capture that authenticity that was such a big part of the original trilogy. In fact, there were more practical effects than you might have guessed, in particular Rey’s mysterious expanding bread. The peculiar ration has been a sticking point for a lot of filmgoers, and now it turns out it was all done for real!

The news from Screenrant.com is that the expanding bread scene – which is only a few seconds long – didn’t have a smidge of CGI to its name. The secret was blown by Chris Corbound, special effects supervisor for Force Awakens in an MTV interview:

“Surprisingly that was done practically, although so many people have said to me, we thought that was a digital effect!‘”

The mystery around the expanding bread isn’t just limited to how it was filmed. Fans have been hotly debating what the ration was supposed to be in the context of the Star Wars galaxy. An answer finally came from none other than Daisy Ridley herself. The actor who plays Rey in Force Awakens tweeted an explanation of the bread’s origins as a Republic/Imperial ration.

But how did they make it expand in the first place? Was it molecular gastronomy, or some kind of water-based wizardry? Turns out neither. Corbound was in chagre of making the practical effects as good as they were in Force Awakens. In interview with MTV, Corbound was kind enough to explain the work that went into the expanding bread:

“You wouldn’t believe how long it took to actually perfect that one, that little tiny gag in the film… It started off with the mechanics of getting the bread to rise and the liquid to disappear, but then there was the ongoing problem of what color should the bread be? What consistency should it be? Should it have cracks in it? Should it not have cracks in it?… It took about three months. The actual mechanics of it was fairly simple, but the actual cosmetic side took a lot longer.”

If you didn’t fully appreciate the practical effects of Force Awakens already, you certainly should now. That level of time, research and craft is a rare commitment in films today. It’s also yet another reason why Force Awakens‘ Oscar nomination for visual effects is so well deserved.

Star Wars The Force Awakens is still out on theatres, so why not check it out again? If only for that sweet bread scene.

Watch this space for a the latest Star Wars movie news.

One thought on “The Secret of the Expanding Bread in Force Awakens”

  1. Wow , I didn’t know that it took three months to make that bread for the movie. I thought it was a very cool effect, I was expecting the dehydrated food to turn into soup when Rey poured water over it.

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