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Podcast: J.J. Abrams and the 'Star Wars' visual effects team

How to blow up a droid, real good.

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Industrial Light & Magic/Lucasfilm

It’s still Star Wars: The Force Awakens Blu-ray week. (Last Thursday’s Rogue One trailer threw a monkey wrench into the hyperdrive compressor, so we held the final two installments for this week.) With the disc set now on sale, Entertainment Weekly is featuring five days of new behind-the-scenes stories from director J.J. Abrams. Here’s the fourth installment…

EPISODE IV: Voices From the Force

Real machines. Real explosions. Real people in alien costumes. 

In the build-up to the release of The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams and his team went to great lengths to stress that they were crafting this new Star Wars movie using a lot of old-fashioned techniques.

For today’s Blu-ray story we’re presenting a Soundcloud podcast of our Behind the Scenes radio hour with Abrams and his two teams of visual effects artists: the practical side (who manufactured vehicles and creatures and set off fiery detonations), and the digital side (who created planets, starships, and erased the wheels and wires that the practical effects so impressive).

Along the way, they reveal hidden references, Easter eggs, and surprising little touches to watch for on repeat viewings.

If you thought you knew what was real and what was fake … you were probably wrong.

Plus, Abrams himself talks about how he assembled the Blu-ray release documentaries and deleted scenes, and reveals some new details and interpretations of the story. He also tells the heartbreaking story of showing the unfinished film to dozens of terminally ill Star Wars fans who weren’t expected to survive until the debut.

Listen to the show below, and You can hear more stories of the storytellers by subscribing to Sirius XM, Channel 105. Behind the Scenes airs every Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.

For more Star Wars news, follow @Breznican.