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Peek behind 'The Force Awakens' special-effects veil

Industrial Light & Magic spills some of the secrets behind making "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" such a visually compelling sci-fi film.

Stormtrooper transport ships touch down. CGI sparks fly. Rey, the heroine of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," drops down on a rope into a dark and cavernous space. The background melts away to show green screens draped behind her.

Special-effects company Industrial Light & Magic posted a "Force Awakens" behind-the-scenes visual effects video to its ILMVisualFX YouTube channel on Tuesday.

The video hints at the sheer amount of work that went into creating the look of "The Force Awakens." Rey's rusty red flying speeder is actually on wheels, but those wheels are erased in the final film. We see the computer models behind the aliens and starships, each rendered in painstaking detail.

The video lasts for four fascinating minutes, showing how buildings, armies and droids are connected together and set into their scenes. It's like watching a cinematic special-effects version of Lego blocks. While the footage reveals some of the mysteries behind the production, it only adds to the sense of wonder.

For a different look at the complicated special effects for "The Force Awakens," check out this earlier making-of video.