The Star Wars movies (for better or worse) have become a huge part of film fans lives. For the most part, we have all grown up with these movies and so it is with no great surprise that people would want to create their own homages to the films that meant so much to them.
A quick look on YouTube reveals a mass of Star Wars related shorts and fan films, all created because of that person’s love of the universe George Lucas created so many years ago. With the news of the new Star Wars movies the hot topic on the internet, it seemed high time to look at some of the more overlooked creations that have come out about the franchise. Now there is plenty of choice out there, with hundreds if not thousands of films based on the Star Wars saga. But as good (or bad) as some of those are, a lot get lost in the shuffle. The Internet is a big place and sometimes you just need to know where to look. We have compiled a selection of some of the fan films which may not have grabbed your attention the first time around.
This is a small glimpse into a world of mashup movies and homemade affairs, where Star Wars is happily crossed with whatever comes into the creator’s imagination. This is certainly not a complete list by any means and other excellent fan films can be found all over the internet on sites like The Force.Net or YouTube channels like Blame Society, which has the excellent show Chad Vader: Day Shift Manager on it . Hopefully this collection will give you something to watch while waiting in anticipation for the new movies to arrive on our screens.
Super Power Beat Down – Gandalf vs Darth Vader (2012)
Coming out from the Bat In The Sun studio (more commonly known for making great Batman films like City of Scars and Legends) is a number of shorts where various fandom characters fight to the death, while we, the online audience, vote on the winner. In this short Darth Vader takes a trip to Middle Earth to secure the one ring from Frodo. Lucky for Frodo then that Gandalf is ready to defend him and the ring at all costs. Though the winner of this duel has created quite the verbal battle on YouTube, you cannot deny that the short is made extremely well and with a love for both characters clearly evident.
The Troll Hunter Strikes Back (2011)
The next chapter in the Ringlefinch Saga. Finally, all the secrets are revealed! See how the Troll Hunter fought in his prime!
How can you refuse a tagline like that? This thought no doubt crossed the minds of numerous YouTube viewers minds as they watched this incredibly well-crafted short, which mashes up both Empire and Troll Hunter to create an interesting look into a film that will never be. The transferring of characters and voices is done expertly, and there is a surreal joy out of seeing this strange creation grace the computer screen. It is a very short piece, but the attention to detail makes it all the more entertaining.
Black Star Warrior (2010)
When The Empire Strikes Back had its 30th anniversary people celebrated in different ways. Matthew Haley, David Walker and Tim Whitcomb got together $4,000 and decided the best way to honor Star Wars memory was to create a Blaxploitation version of the movie, which focused solely on the relationship between Han Solo and his fellow smuggler friend (enemy) Lando Calrissian. Blackstar Warrior is a love letter to the films of a bygone era. With Shaft influences popping up throughout its 15 minute run time, and a focus on voice over work and the soundtrack, you do feel like you have stepped back into the 1970s. It also shows respect to the Star Wars franchise by weaving together plot structures from Empire, but giving it a flavor all of its own. The acting is of a very high quality for such a low budget creation, and by the shorts end you will be left wanting more. Mixing Black Dynamite and Star Wars does indeed give you an interesting viewing experience.
TIE Fighter Anime Animation (2012)
Paul Johnson has taken the 80s anime style and created an intense and gripping outer space dogfight. Using the conventions of the anime genre certainly adds a different element to this scene, with some clever camera tricks to give us slightly more character development. Even in this short scene we have the camera frequently zooming into the TIE Fighters HUD, giving us an inside look into how they are coping with the intense battle they are engaged with. It is also refreshing to see a short animated piece focusing entirely on the bad guys, with the Rebel Alliance only popping up in a few key scenes to be shot down shortly after. It looks like some Rotoscoping may have taken place, with the characters movements reflecting the fight scene in the Death Star in A New Hope. Paul himself says this is a work in progress, but it would be interesting to see what he could come up with in the near future.
Super Smash Wars (2013)
James Farr merges Nintendo’s history with a wide range of popular fandom films and features. Want to know what would happen if Mario and Co. became Ghostbusters? Then why not start watching Super Mario Busters. How about Thomas the Tank Engine as a Transformer? Then look no further than his series of shorts entitled Trains-Formers. But it is James’ series of animated Star Wars shorts that really grab your attention. Here James takes the core elements of the Nintendo gaming universe and puts them in a Star Wars setting. With Phantom Lord Ganon-Darth up to his old tricks, it is up to Link Skywalker to learn the ways of the TRIFORCE and save the day. Aside from the childlike fun that is had when watching this collection of shorts, you also get the added bonus of trying to figure out where all the numerous characters have come from. Cameos from Donkey Kong, Mario, Zelda and Star Fox are the easiest to spot, but also Nintendo’s first interactive robot (which came with the original NES gaming system) R.O.B pops up as well.
Droids: The Jawa Adventure (2013)
Created by the Digital Animation & Visual Effects (DAVE) School ,this short is one of many CGI creations that the School has put out. This animated adventure is the creation of Brad Murphy and shows the Jawa’s taking R2-D2 and C-3P0 on a joy ride they would have rather have not gone on! Rather surprisingly this tale has a backstory to it, which fleshes out the reasoning for the robotic duo to be on the ship with the Jawas in the first place.
Having given the auspicious impression that they are finally retiring, the spunky astromech droid R2-D2 has convinced the worry-prone protocol droid C-3PO to join him in assisting an eccentric old scientist named Von Bruneus with an experimental vehicle crafted from a decommissioned and modified Mon Calamari sentry cutter called the Max. After the unanticipated incapacitation of the doctor, the Max crashes safely on the desert planet of Tatooine where the droids ironically find themselves once more at the mercy of scavenging Jawas. A precocious and curious little Jawa named Skeetie proceeds to take the droids on a wild adventure that ultimately ends with a provocative revelation.
Some great CGI animation voice acting combines with a funny (if slightly childish) story line. This short feels like a revamping of the 80′s Droids animated series, where the two would get themselves into similar scenarios and have to muddle their way out of it. The ending is quite a clever twist, but die hard Star Wars fans may not approve of its reshaping of a Star Wars alien!
AT-AT Afternoon (2010)
Patrick Boivin’s take on the snow walker from The Empire Strikes Back is slightly different from George Lucas’s original creation. His one minute short AT-AT Afternoon shows an AT-AT having the time of its life on a lazy afternoon. But it is not attacking rebel bases; no it is acting like man’s best friend! The AT-AT takes on the mannerisms of a dog perfectly, and throughout the short it enjoys a walk around the park, running, as well as pooping out a little Jabba the Hut! Using a mixture of stop motion, green screen, puppetry and camera tricks, Patrick creates a fully formed and very much alive AT-AT creation. Patrick has done other stop motion fight scenes using some of fandomS most famous characters, but may be more famous for his entertaining baby shorts Iron Baby and Dragon Baby which can be found on his YouTube channel.
Hardware Wars (1978)
You’ll laugh! You’ll cry! You’ll kiss three bucks goodbye!
This was the tagline for what could possibly be the first Star Wars parody. Shot in 1978, written and directed by Ernie Fosselius and only having a run time of 13 minutes, this short finds Fluke Starbucker learning the ways of the force from Auggie “Ben” Doggie. Along the way they meet Ham Salad and Chewchilla, who aid them in their attempt to rescue Princess Anne-Droid. Very crudely made and relying a little bit on the viewer’s knowledge of pop culture at the time, this is still a great little film to watch, which even now can raise a smile. With Chewchilla looks like an orange Cookie Monster and Fluke’s Lightsaber is a flashlight, the film reveals in its silliness and is all the more fun for it. People seem to approve of the daftness as well, with George Lucas himself a fan of the film.
Star Wars Uncut (2009)
Taken from the official YouTube page, this quote fully sums up the reasons behind Star Wars Uncut creation.
In 2009, Casey Pugh asked thousands of Internet users to remake “Star Wars: A New Hope” into a fan film, 15 seconds at a time. Contributors were allowed to recreate scenes from Star Wars however they wanted. Within just a few months SWU grew into a wild success.
A labour of love, this is a creation made by Star Wars fans for Star Wars fans. With most pieces only a few seconds long and varying in styles and quality of filming, this is like the mixed sweets of the Star Wars universe, because you never know what you are going to get from one section to the next. For casual fans of the franchise it may be a little hard going and if your tolerance for amateur filming is low then this may best be avoided. But for the most part it is a fascinating look at how different people see the movies and the fact that they took time out to contribute really shows the appeal this franchise still has after all these years. The Empire Strikes Back Uncut is currently underway and hopefully we will see that on YouTube very soon. [Editor's Note: Our very own Daniel Woizinski contributed a scene to this film!]
Star Wars Downunder (2013)
Star Wars Downunder is a short written by Bryan Meakin and Michael Cox, and at 30 minutes long gives us a great insight into what they dub “a galaxy down under.” Set firmly in the Star Wars universe, but epitomising everything that is Australian, it is a very tongue in cheek look at both Australian culture and the Star Wars world as a whole. In this tale we meet Merve Bushwhacker (not a relation to the 80′s WWE tag team wrestlers) who has a simple mission, he really wants some booze. However, it seems this becomes problematic when he finds out his home planet is completely dry of the stuff because of Darth Drongo. This leads Merve and a small band of rebels to band together to stop Darth’s evil schemes for good. As well as being an incredibly well shot piece, it also has a great sense of humor with some key scenes like the Australian attired Stormtrooper characters having killer lightsaber inspired boomerangs to throw at their enemies. It plays out in a way that shows respect to both Star Wars fans and Australians, and is well worth the time to view it.
TROOPS is a parody of the hand held police on patrol TV show COPS, and follows are selection of Stormtroopers as they go about their daily routines on Tatooine. Along the way they meet some rebellious Jawas, as well as break up a domestic dispute between two very familiar faces. Filmed by Kevin Rubio, this short has great fun deconstructing some of A New Hope‘s storyline, which will give fans of the movie a buzz to see how certain events played out differently than how they originally appeared on screen. Clocking in at ten minutes, it does not break character from its COPS roots, but it does manage to be incredibly funny along the way with the Stormtroopers somewhat unethical approach to certain aspects of their work adding some great humor scenes along the way.
YouTube is constantly getting new Star Wars videos uploaded, so that and other movie sites like Vimeo are the places to go to watch these kinds of movies. For more up to date Star Wars information, especially on the new movies, then be sure to regularly check Geek for up to date news on these and more Star Wars news.
Image: Disney, Lucasfilm, James Farr, Matthew Haley, DAVE School, Paul Johnson, Bat in the Sun, Patrick Boivin, Ernie Fosselius, Casey Pugh, Bryan Meakin, Michael Cox, Kevin Rubio, Filmkameratene, Rune Spaans, Brad Murphy