Secretive mixed reality startup Magic Leap has hired ILMxLab co-founder and executive creative director John Gaeta as its new SVP creative strategy. Gaeta told Variety that he will continue to reside in San Francisco, and said that his work for Magic Leap is in many ways a continuation of what he had been doing at ILMxLab across augmented and virtual reality (VR):
“I’ve been pushing folks to think about the notion of unifying universes for some time. What I mean by that is that all of these XR platforms could at some point be considered as different windows and doors into a common origin for a world. A world that enables the full spectrum of experiences.”
Gaeta joined Lucasfilm’s ILM in 2013, and co-founded the studio’s immersive entertainment unit ILMxLab in 2015. “We created ILMxLAB to honor George Lucas and Mr. Walt Disney’s unbounded spirit to explore imagination and innovation,” he wrote on his Linkedin page this week. ILMxLab has long worked on VR and immersive media experiences related to the “Star Wars” franchise, including the VR experience “Trials on Tatooine.”
Before entering the “Star Wars” universe, Gaeta worked as VFX supervisor on “The Matrix” trilogy, and also built early immersive experiences for Microsoft’s augmented reality efforts.
Chances are that Gaeta will still frequently work with his former colleagues at ILMxLab. Magic Leap struck a deal with the lab to co-produce “Star Wars” mixed reality experiences last year, and has been maintaining a joint lab on the Lucasfilm campus in San Francisco ever since.