George Lucas has so many legacies that he either directly created or some sub-division of his creative teams started. George always had an independent streak and always liked to control his own projects – not Hollywood. Once he found his success, he encouraged young filmmakers to do the same. Lucas long supported the creation of fan films. He loved fan creativity and supported it.
One of the early greats was the fan film Troops, based on the TV show COPS. Amongst many others we have gotten greats like Pink Five and Darth Maul: Apprentice. Just a few weeks ago a new fan film dropped – Vader Episode 1: Shards of the Past. This fan film was directed by Danny Ramirez, and written by Danny Rimirez, Star Wars Theory, and Nikolaj Wejp-Olsen.
Here is the synopsis of the video from the creators:
Anakin Skywalker is DEAD. For eight months, the mysterious Darth Vader has enforced the Emperor’s commands. Fighting between the loss of Padme, and the new cursed life he now leads, Vader must do what must be done when a surviving Jedi Master from Order 66 has lured him to the home planet of his late Wife’s tomb…
So, this takes place a mere 8 months into Vader’s newfound life and existence. The whole point to this video is that Anakin is very much NOT dead. Vader is having major issues ridding himself of his Jedi counter-identity. Does this video add much to the story? Oh Hell YES!
A Broken Apprentice
This video is absolutely brilliant. It fits perfectly into what would be happening during this time frame in the mind of Darth Vader. It took Vader quite awhile to silence the voice of Anakin and turn fully to the dark side. This fan film does a wonderful job of visualizing all the hate and rage within the Sith Lord, but he is unable to harness nor act upon.
At this point Vader has killed hundreds without mercy. We see him feeling the pain on Mustafar, but with this being 8 months later, you would think he was becoming more Sith, but as much as he hates, he cannot shake Padme. They do a wonderful job showing Anakin and Padme with the Japor snippet. Despite everything Anakin cannot let go of Padme. Through everything he still loves her and feels her loss.
A Master’s Decision
The other heavy role in this short is Sidious, and again the creators did a near perfect job of capturing Sidious’ point of view. He knows his apprentice wants to kill him, but instead of acting on his Sith impulses, Vader is hiding them. Sidious, being Sith, encourages his apprentice to kill him and scolds him for no doing so. The interactions and the philosophies between the Sith lord and apprentice demonstrate everything we have ever been told about the Sith.
The fighting and choreography in this fan film are done very well. The moves are not over embellished, and they have the finesse and reality of that used in Rouge One’s infamous “Vader Scene” at the end. The clone trooper armor looked great, and most of the sets were done very well. My one complaint was the make-up on Sidious. I think it could have done better, but the voice work of the Emperor was well done.
A Lesson To Be Learned
After the back and forth between Master and Apprentice, Sidious sends Vader on a mission to Naboo. Reports are a Jedi is causing issues on Naboo, a Jedi with an amethyst blade. Vader is meant to face down none other than Mace Windu, who apparently survived the fall from the window.
I love how Sidious sends Vader on his way, but then immediately readies his own shuttle to follow. Sidious knows this confrontation will make Lord Vader choose his side once and for all. He gives into the anger and overcomes the loss of Padme, or he dies.
I cannot praise the story telling and imagery of this fan film enough. It fits so perfectly, it really should be a canon piece. The only issue I have is what was written in the description.
“…and I hope to one day make episode 2 a reality.”
You hope? You hope?! You don’t drop a quality piece of film making like this and then “hope” to follow it up. I still have nightmares and PTSD over the way later chapters of Pink Five were released! Episode two better be coming, or I’ll go Kathy Bates on your ass until you do!
I encourage all to watch this fan short, and if you are interested in more information or some behind the scenes information, join Joe and Ro this Sunday on Star Wars Fanatics around 8:15pm Pacific as they will have on director Danny Ramirez and Darth Vader, Dupree Jones.