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Star Wars fans are almost unrivaled in their dedication to the universe they love. With the possible exception of Star Trek fans, ironically. Star Wars video games, websites, books, and podcasts abound — and so do Star Wars fan films. There are short films about the Sith, the Jedi, soldiers, families, pilots, smugglers, and every other member of the Star Wars universe you can possibly think of.
I spent many hours watching Star Wars short films made by the fans for the fans, and these 10 are my favorites available to watch on YouTube right now. It would take literally weeks to watch everything out there, so there are bound to be some great Star Wars shorts that I’ve missed. However, these fan films should help transport you to a galaxy far, far away…
1. Dark Legacy
A Sith apprentice’s training is only truly complete when either the apprentice or the master dies — this is the tenet that Dark Legacy explores. Fabien Garcia’s award-winning choreography skills are on full display here. Erin Wu, an experienced martial artist and dancer, is great as the Apprentice, and the cinematography and sound are both top-notch as well.
It’s hard to bring Darth Maul to life. He’s an enigmatic character, and Ray Park’s acrobatics in The Phantom Menace are hard to beat. Apprentice does a fantastic job, though, both in terms of the choreography and characterization of the silent killer. The camerawork and stunts really stand out in this one, and it tells an interesting side of Maul’s story you probably hadn’t thought about before.
The story of an impatient Padawan is contrasted with her more serene, mature self in this standout Star Wars fan film. Anna Akana provides a solid performance as Ko Hoshino, and her master Jaan-Xu’s somewhat cheesy lines evoke some of the platitudes from the prequel trilogy. This piece isn’t just about patience and learning — it’s about cost, as well.
Deborah Smith’s performance as the mysterious pursuer really drives this film. The intensity and anger in her face and outreached claw-like hand add a great deal of weight to her interactions with her Jedi prey. The videography in this one is phenomenal — despite one visual slip-up with a lightsaber — which makes this feel like a feature-quality piece. It’s easy to get caught up in this one, despite its short runtime.
Although there’s a dogfight in this film that includes some notably high-quality X-wings and TIE fighters, the focus here is on Kara and her father. Andra Nechita is fantastic as Kara, bringing emotional weight to her few lines. The pursuing stormtroopers are a little stiff, but Kara is so interesting that it doesn’t matter. I’d love to learn more about her journey after watching this short introduction.
6. TIE Fighter
This is Star Wars done in the style of 1980s anime. And it’s phenomenal. Paul Johnson spent four years’ worth of weekends creating this space battle, and it will bring fans of the classic computer game TIE Fighter straight back to 1994. The mashup of the Star Wars universe with the anime style and ’80s hard rock with no voice acting seems like it shouldn’t work — but it does. And it’s an absolute blast.
A Padawan, bereft of her mentor and her sight, must learn to live without sight on a strange planet. Mickey Macellen, despite having very few lines, gives an emotional performance that makes this film a must-watch. It’s almost too bad that another character shows up near the end. Had this only been about Alenna’s journey, I think it would have been better. Nonetheless, it’s definitely worth watching.
The visuals in this film aren’t as stellar as some of the others, but the writing makes for a crushingly heartbreaking story that will stick with you long after it’s over. The tale of a soldier who leaves his love to go to war is one we’ve heard before, but Samtubia and Samgoma Edwards give the tale an undeniably Star Wars spin in this masterpiece.
This is a short one, but it’s very stylishly done and creates a lot of tension. And while the titular amulet’s powers aren’t explained, it’s a compelling object in its own right. I wanted to find out more about this character the amulet when I was done watching — and that kind of lingering interest is always a good sign that you’ve enjoyed something.
Another rather short entry, this one lays the focus on two X-wing pilots who find themselves confronted with a rather difficult situation involving a Star Destroyer. Their banter is entertaining, and the idea is creative. While it’s not the best Star Wars fan film on our list, it’s well worth watching.
Bonus: The Weight of Forgiveness
This is only receiving an honorable mention because it’s not really a Star Wars fan film. It uses very well-choreographed lightsaber fight scenes, but that’s its only connection to the universe. It is, however, visually and aurally stunning, and it could be considered symbolic of the inner life of a Jedi. Prepare for a unique experience with this one.
What’s Your Favorite Star Wars Fan Film?
These 10 short fan films only scratch the surface of what Star Wars fans have created. There are dozens more out there, including some feature-length epics that took some serious dedication to make (and an almost equal level of dedication to watch).
As you may have noticed we focused on the more serious end of the spectrum here. However, there’s an entire world of parodies and comedies out there (like the famous Chad Vader, Day Shift Manager) worth watching as well.
If you enjoy Star Wars books, television series, and other stories from one of the greatest cinematic universes of all time, it’s worth exploring the vast collection of fan films out there. And YouTube is the best place to start.
What are your favorite Star Wars fan films? Is it one of the shorts we have listed above? Or one we’ve missed off of our list entirely? Please let us know in the comments below. Or why not share this article with other Star Wars fans on social media?
Image Credit: James Cohen via Shutterstock.com