In 2009 a group of Star Wars fans split Episode IV into 473 15-second segments and decided to remake it, shot-for-shot – with every 15 second segment filmed by different filmmakers, in completely different styles. Now, in 2014, the same group just finished Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back.
The film uses a variety of amateur filmmaking techniques – from terrible real-world acting to stop-motion LEGO, cardboard cut-out R2D2s to scenes constructed primarily using Microsoft Paint – to recreate the George Lucas classic, and serve as inspiration for a generation of filmmakers.
Not So Long Ago, On The Internet…
Fans have attempted to remake films in the past, but nothing matched the scope and runtime of Star Wars Uncut until Our Robocop Remake came along earlier this year. Star Wars Uncut began life in 2009 when filmmaker Casey Pugh asked the Internet to remake Episode IV, A New Hope (trailer, below).
The film was carved up into 15-second chunks and posted online, allowing fans to claim a chunk, film it, and submit it for inclusion in the finished product. Under this system some of the more famous scenes proved very popular, leaving many final versions for consideration and bumping up the overall quality.
The original project thrived on purposefully low-budget scenes involving crude costumes, bad acting and family pets in place of mythical creatures. LEGO proved popular for its use in stop-motion filmmaking and animation of varying quality also makes an appearance – techniques which have been used again in The Empire Strikes Back. Once again, this is a film that oozes a certain homemade charm.
Four years after Star Wars Uncut was released and we’ve got a brand new fan-made remake in the form of The Empire Strikes Back. Not only that, but Lucasfilm has taken note and they absolutely love it – to the point where the film carries the Lucasfilm seal of approval, and opens with an address from Senior Events and Fan Relations lead Mary Franklin:
“One of the best examples of fan creativity I’ve seen for a long time is The Empire Strikes Back Uncut. It is so many pieces of great movie-making, all done by fans, all put together to tell the story of The Empire Strikes back.” – Mary Franklin, Senior Events Lucasfilm
Watch For Free
You can watch the 480 15-second scenes that make up Star Wars Uncut: The Empire Strikes back by clicking play on the YouTube embed, below. You can also head over to StarWarsUncut.com to watch original and re-made scenes side-by-side, and explore the project in greater detail.
In case you missed the original Star Wars Uncut, it’s been embedded below as well. You also really should check out Our Robocop Remake if this sort of thing brings a smile to your face – it’s scene-for-scene remake (as opposed to shot-for-shot) and that makes it less jarring to watch.
Make Your Own
Lucasfilm isn’t just recognising the success that the Star Wars Uncut project has had, they’re further encouraging you to have a go with the return of the Star Wars Fan Film Awards. The competition previously ran from 2003 until 2012, and the buzz generated by this Episode V remake seems to have kicked it into gear again.
This is your chance to officially “have a go” if you’re itching to set your short film in the Star Wars universe, with a chance to have it recognised by the company still holds the trademark. For an idea of what works, check out the embedded YouTube playlist below honouring the best entrants over the years.
This year’s categories include: Filmmaker Select, Best Animation, Best Non-Fiction, Spirit of Fandom, Best Comedy, Best Visual effects and the coveted Audience Choice award. If you want to create a film, you should run your eyes over the official rules before starting.
You can even download a filmmakers sound pack in case you need blaster fire, R2D2 beeps or Chewbacca noises (or a sweet new SMS tone).
Do you enjoy remakes like Star Wars Uncut? Let us know, and maybe we’ll try to track down some more for you.