A great fan film is a thing of beauty, especially one that can bring a fresh perspective to a beloved property. Star Wars has inspired a bevvy of tributes and homages, from comedy web series to feature films inspired by the trilogies. With so much official Star Wars content (movies, books, series, comics, etc.), there is a seemingly endless supply of characters, worlds, and conflicts to explore.
The latest entry in this subgenre is horror short film Alone: Stormtrooper on the Run, from writer/director Kevin T. Custer. The short follows a lone stormtrooper who wakes up in a forest on Endor after the second Death Star has been destroyed and Darth Vader has died. The stormtrooper, called TK-1138 (a reference to George Lucas’s feature film debut THX 1138), tries to make contact with his squad, and is informed that not only has the rebel uprising won, but the native Ewoks are hungry for revenge.
Custer said in an interview with Syfy Wire that he was inspired by the ending of Return of the Jedi. Custer said, “The celebration scene at the end of RoTJ is what helped ignite the idea that this isn’t a celebration for everyone, … What happened to the Imperials whose helmets are now being used as drums? I got excited about the idea of diving into the bad guys’ point of view with that idea in mind.”
The Force Awakens did an excellent job of shifting the narrative through Finn, a stormtrooper who defects from the First Order after witnessing its brutality firsthand. In The Rise of Skywalker, we meet Jannah, a fellow deserter. While we never got the mass stormtrooper rebellion we wanted (or was that just me?), both characters serve to humanize the monolithic enemy that is the First Order.
Custer’s short dives deep into what we know of the Ewoks for a horror-tinged take on the cuddly critters, saying “I think we’ve all seen these movies so many times, that we sort of gloss over some beats and jokes in the films. But don’t forget, they were gonna roast Han, Luke and Chewy! The chieftain is wearing bones! Threepio says they’re going to be the main course in a banquet in his honor,” says Custer. “It’s this deliciously dark joke that gets a little ignored because we’re looking at a Baby Ewok and we know our heroes won’t get eaten.”
Alone is an effective short that manages to instill a solid horror sensibility into the aftermath of RoTJ. It’s also a solid example of the fun to be had with fan films, and the creative satisfaction of celebrating your favorite franchise.
(via Syfy Wire)
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