The Creator by Gareth Edwards is one of 2023’s most hotly anticipated sci-fi movies. As his first film since Rogue One, it’s already earning praise for its production values, which utilize practical effects, CGI, and guerilla filming techniques to create a realistic aesthetic.
However, some elements may be too close to reality. After watching the trailer, some viewers were disturbed to notice that one scene looks very similar to the Beirut Explosion—a devastating accident that killed more than 200 people in 2020.
The shot in question depicts an urban skyline in the midst of an explosion, appearing for a couple of seconds in the trailer. The similarities are unmistakable:
Caused by a fire at a warehouse full of ammonium nitrate, the Beirut Explosion killed 218 people, leaving 300,000 Beirut citizens homeless.
It seems extremely tone-deaf to use this kind of real-life event for an unrelated, fictionalized VFX shot. So how did footage from the Beirut Explosion wind up in an American blockbuster movie?
One possible explanation is that The Creator‘s VFX team used this footage as reference material without knowing the context. But whatever happened behind the scenes, this shot is earning some very understandable pushback on social media, as viewers accuse The Creator of exploiting a real tragedy for blockbuster thrills.
The Daily Dot has reached out to 20th Century Studios and Gareth Edwards’ representatives for comment.