Hardcore “Star Wars” fans are well aware of the legend of “Black Angel,” the short film that screened overseas before “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980 and disappeared for more than three decades. Just last month, many of those fans were able to see the lost film for the first time when director Roger Christian, the original “Star Wars” art director, uploaded a restored version to YouTube.
Originally commissioned by George Lucas, “Black Angel,” which some consider to be a crucial part of the “Star Wars” legacy, will be made into a feature film starring John Rhys-Davies (“The Lord of the Rings”) and Rutger Hauer (“Blade Runner”).
Production is slated for September 2015, with filming locations to include Hungary, Belgium, Morocco and Scotland. The film will be directed and written by Christian (“Nostradamus,” “Underworld,” “Masterminds”), who wrote and directed the original short. Christian won an Academy Award for set direction on “George Lucas’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” (1977) and Lucas handpicked him to direct the second unit on “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace “(1999). He also directed “Battleship Earth.”
Christian has turned to Indiegogo in order to raise $100,000 towards the film’s production. Campaign perks include an invite to the red-carpet premiere, an all-expenses paid one-week mentorship with the audio department during the post-production process and an actual film negative from the original “Star Wars: A New Hope.”
After only a brief time in theaters, “Black Angel” was lost until an archivist at Universal Studios found a negative in late 2011. A visual effects company restored the film frame by frame before “Black Angel” had its world “re-premiere” at the Mill Valley Film Festival and was re-released digitally in early 2014 through iTunes.
“I wrote ‘Black Angel’ as an epic adventure inspired by the great Samurai films. For the feature film I want the audience to experience the intensity of the battles where life or death is the only prize,” said Christian in a statement. “Like the first ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Alien,’ we are going for absolute reality, engaging the audience in the drama so they feel like they are really there in this ancient world, shot in staggeringly beautiful landscapes, ancient cities and castles. With flying demons and sorcerers, princesses and Knights, armies of the undead and an evil god of the underworld, we are filming down and dirty; ultimate realism that audiences hunger for and the world I am passionate to create on film again.”
Watch the restored version of the original Black Angel short below: