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Lucas, Spielberg, Abrams grace Wired cover to honor ILM at 40

Noted filmmakers pose with memorable movie characters like Yoda, E.T. and the Hulk on Wired's June cover to honor George Lucas' movie effects studio Industrial Light & Magic.

Can you name all the filmmakers and characters on Wired's June cover honoring 40 years of Industrial Light & Magic? Dan Winters/Wired

In honor of the 40th anniversary of George Lucas' movie effects studio Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), top filmmakers and their most memorable movie characters are featured on the cover of a special June edition of Wired magazine. The issue hits newsstands May 26.

Not only is "Star Wars" director and ILM founder George Lucas on the cover, but so is longtime friend, collaborator and director Steven Spielberg; current Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy; and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" director and co-writer J.J. Abrams.

Directors (and regular ILM clients) Michael Bay, Ron Howard and Guillermo Del Toro stand alongside noted ILM visionaries and the characters brought to life from the special-effects company.

For its cover article "Inside the Magic Factory," Wired interviewed 43 filmmakers and ILM employees including Lucas, ILM Creative Director Dennis Muren, Spielberg, VFX supervisor John Dykstra, Howard, ILM Chief Creative Officer John Knoll and more to tell the definitive oral history of ILM, which went from a small DIY shop to a cutting-edge effects company that made over 317 movies and paved the way for the kind of movie magic we expect to see on the big screen today.

"Someday, I hope, Marvel will make a new version of Howard the Duck, and you'll see it could be a good movie," Lucas told Wired. "A digital duck will make that thing work." Dan Winters/Wired

The article reveals quite a bit about the history of ILM, including how it got its name.

"We were working on the articles of incorporation and we said, 'What are we going to call this thing?'" Lucas told Wired. "We were in an industrial park. They were building these giant Dykstraflex machines to photograph stuff, so that's where the 'Light' came from. In the end I said, 'Forget the Industrial and the Light -- this is going to have to be Magic. Otherwise we're doomed, making a movie nobody wants.'"

Fans also get an oral history not only of ILM, but of the creation of Pixar, which has its roots at ILM. The article gives fans a firsthand look at the people who helped make ILM such a maverick company. Over the course of 40 years in the movie business, ILM has earned 15 Academy Awards for outstanding achievement in visual effects and 28 scientific and technical achievement awards from the Academy.