Graduating has put me in the mood for a trip down memory lane. These are... well, exactly what it says on the tin. A couple of fan films that still are and always will be dear to my heart. Both take place between "Revenge of the Sith" and "A New Hope" and follow Jedi trying to evade the Empire. Not the most original premise, and they may not have phenomenal acting or effects, but their good qualities and the obvious passion behind them continue to make them more entertaining than cringeworthy even now. I mean, that's just my opinion. I may be blinded by nostalgia and a toxic need for as much Star Wars as possible. But give them a chance.
I somehow stumbled upon the "Revelations" website by accident circa 2007, and was awestruck as I read through the behind-the-scenes words and pictures. Here a group of amateurs had made their own mini Star Wars movie with props and costumes and everything, and if that wasn't incredible enough, several volunteers around the world had taken several hours to fill it with CGI. The CGI showed its limitations even back then, but its inclusion at all was mind-blowing to me. The score by Chris Bouchard, which can still be downloaded here, is perhaps the best original music I've ever heard in a fan film. It's very vocal-heavy by Star Wars standards and has a sort of haunting, melancholy sound. Even the opening crawl fanfare is redone. When it was released shortly before "Revenge of the Sith", this film's ambition and scope drew media attention and favorable comparisons to the original Star Wars.
At one time a couple of high school friends and I seriously talked about making our own movie, and I emailed director/actor Shane Felux asking for tips. He gave me a lengthy and thoughtful response that I posted on my website without permission here. He's since more or less disappeared from the internet, along with the "Revelations" website that blew me away so long ago. An archived version can be found here. The saddest thing about it is that nobody seems to have ever seen or know where to find his subsequent sci-fi series "Trenches", and I'm really really curious about it.
I don't remember how I found this either, but it wasn't long after "Revelations". For a long time these were the only two fan films I knew existed, as it didn't occur to me that they were an actual genre, which at that stage of their evolution was probably for the best. This one doesn't have an original score, and the CG is even worse, and, yes, it mostly takes place in a forest, but the lightsaber choreography is better than anything in the original trilogy and some of the cinematography is brilliant. Though not Academy Awards material by any means, it holds up incredibly well considering that it's one of the first fan films ever made and was followed by a lot of inferior crap. A remastered version would with updated effects would be epic. And we're coming up on its twentieth anniversary, so... jussayin.
Okay, so, when I see things like this that are relatively not that old but pretty old in terms of how much the actors must have aged since then, I get all curious about where they are now. So on a whim I searched for one of the actresses, Michelle O'Keefe. And that's how I found out that a young actress named Michelle O'Keefe was murdered in February 2000, after "Knightquest" was filmed but before it was released. Um. I... don't... think she's the same Michelle O'Keefe. But I'm not entirely sure. They look kind of similar. I certainly hope that the filmmakers would have added a tribute to the credits if that were the case. Anyway, that put me off searching for any of the others. I assume Forrest G. Wood, the old guy, is dead anyway.
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.