Monday, June 15, 2015

Lost Piece of Star Wars Heritage Rediscovered & Restored

Short films running before the feature presentation at movie theaters have been a marketing niche for Disney & Pixar films in recent years so it is an interesting tie-in that as Star Wars joins the Walt Disney Studios family that a short tied to that franchise which was though lost has just recently been found and restored.  While filming scenes for Empire Strikes Back in England, the movie's art director Roger Christian pitched a script he had written to George Lucas.  Lucas was impressed enough with the script that he provided a budget for Christian to produce a 25 minute short film called Black Angel and committed to have it play in select European movie theaters (including 400 theaters in the United Kingdom) in front of the Empire Strikes Back.  Black Angel accompanied the original release of Empire Strikes Back and then it disappeared not to be seen again for nearly 35 years when the original production audio and video were recently discovered in storage at Universal Studios and restored.  For years because the short was never seen in U.S. theaters or re-released many Star Wars fans though Black Angel was just a legend or hoax.

It's real though and here is Roger Christian telling the story about the short film followed by Black Angel in its entirety:

At the time it was created Black Angel received kudos from the movie making community with director John Boorman motivating the cast and crew of his 1981 movie Excalibur by having them watch Black Angel and people who saw the short in theaters keeping its memory alive over the years until it was rediscovered.  Roger Christian also notes that George Lucas after watching Black Angel modified the light saber duel between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader on Dagobah in Empire Strikes Back to be in slow motion because he was impressed by a similar style used during a fight scene in the short film.

Christian is now attempting to create a film based upon the full script he originally presented to George Lucas to review and has launched an Indiegogo campaign to get production off the ground which has already raised more than $100,000.  CLICK HERE if you are interested in contributing or for more information on the Black Angel feature film.

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