I saw Star Wars for the first time in 1993. My father joyfully showed us the trilogy and bless him he shielded us from any spoilers so we were able to enjoy every twist and reveal all to ourselves! Almost 20 years later, I still spend more nerd brain cells on Star Wars than any other franchise: I analyze the choreography of lightsaber duels; I make up drinking games to use on May the Fourth Be With You; I have a Star Wars lunchbox and show off my limited edition Star Wars bobblehead collection on a regular basis.
While I went literary on Star Wars, there are many people who took one hundred looks at the Galaxy Far Far Away and decided to make their own movies, sometimes to “fix” and sometimes to flatter. George Lucas even sponsored an official contest for these projects with the grand prize of the George Lucas Selects award going to the outright winner. With all due respect to George, we’ve known since the writing of The Empire Strikes Back that some of the best work on Star Wars is by those who took what George created and just ran with it, and here are three fanfilms that rise above the rest! I am of course excluding any of the offerings from popular franchises such as Robot Chicken, Family Guy or the Simpsons.
Star Wars Help Desk
First up is this little gem! It seems simple compared to a lot of the intense fan films out there but its simplicity and humor that make it such a seller. This was on of the first times I saw a spin on the mundane roles of the empire that lent itself to comedy. You can even see maybe how Robot Chicken took inspiration from this in order to craft Gary himself!
Star Wars Gangster Rap
This one is a great spin on 90’s rap music videos. The animation isn’t anything amazing but the concept of spinning the series into a bunch of rap clips was innovative and they manage to take quite a few funny shots at the lead characters of the franchise. While today there are many fantastic Star Wars videos out there the reality was this video was the beginning of it all!
George Lucas In Love
Paying homage to the 90’s romantic dramedy this one pulls us out of the literal Star Wars universe into the life of its creator George Lucas. As we follow Lucas around his campus we see as inspiration for the series comes upon him through a series of chance encounters. This one actually won the Pioneer Award at the first Lucasfilm fanfilms contest. The way the story was told to me, Joe Nussbaum has a friend who worked with/for Spielberg, and that friend showed the funny little Star Wars homage to her boss and Spielberg featured it at a birthday party for Lucas. Or that could be urban legend – it’s hard to tell, either way enjoy!