What do you get when you combine action figures, low-budget visual effects, and people dressed up as droids? Easy — you get the epic fan-made Star Wars film The Empire Strikes Back Uncut, which just debuted on StarWars.com on October 10, 2014.
The flick is the first sequel to the successful 2010 Star Wars Uncut that recreated shot-for-shot the 2004 Special Edition of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. The project was conceived by developer and VHX co-founder Casey Pugh, who created a website way back in 2009 and asked fans to select any given 15-second scene from the sci-fi classic, recreate it by any means desired, and submit it to the site for voting and possible inclusion in the final cut. The final edit strung together these 15-second bits and pieces into a full-length New Hope remake and was very popular among fans and critics alike. So popular, in fact, that Star Wars Uncut ended up winning the 2010 Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Interactive Media.
Empire Uncut does the same thing as its predecessor. Directed by Pugh and produced by the other VHX co-founder Jamie Wilkinson, the film uses 480 scenes taken from over 1500 fan submissions, compiling them together to create one amazing, eclectic version of The Empire Strikes Back. Viewers are exposed to a variety of film styles ranging from 3D shots to live-action to stop-motion animation. They’ll also see a plethora of hand-made costumes and first-time acting talent, all of which makes the film an appealing and heartfelt passion project from hundreds of participants.
The release of the mashup coincides with Lucasfilm’s announcement of its Star Wars Fan Film Awards. Now open for submissions, the film contest will award two tickets for admission to Anaheim’s Star Wars Celebration to the best films in seven different categories, such as Spirit of Fandom or Best Non-Fiction. Entries must be submitted by January 16, 2015; for a full list of submission requirements and guidelines, visit the Film Awards site.
Empire Uncut embodies everything that’s unique and authentic about the dedication of Star Wars fans. We already can’t wait for the Return of the Jedi iteration.