Long Lost ‘Star Wars’ Short Film ‘Black Angel’ is Becoming a Feature
The timeline of Star Wars history is filled with all kinds of odd corners, left turns, and wild diversions, but there’s nothing quite as strange as Black Angel. A 25-minute medieval fantasy short that was attached to the earliest screenings of The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, the film was considered lost for decades until its rediscovery in 2013. Now, this long-lost object of curiosity is getting the feature treatment and original writer/writer Roger Christian is set to return.
The news coms to us via The Hollywood Reporter, who also revealed that the cast of the new Black Angel will include genre stalwarts like Rutger Hauer and John Rys-Davies. This version will be shot for a very modest $15 million, a number that is significantly larger than the shoestring $38,000 that was spent on the original short.
In terms of story and setting, Black Angel has nothing to do with the Star Wars universe, but Christian himself is more than enough to bridge the two. He won an Academy Award for set design on the original Star Wars and that same imagination can be clearly seen in this short, which is evocative and strange and beautiful. For many people, Christian will always be known as the filmmaker who committed career suicide a few years later with the infamous Battlefield Earth, but once upon a time, he was as promising as young directors get.
The combination of this short being a George Lucas-approved that was specifically shot to accompany The Empire Strikes Back and the fact that the film itself was thought to be lost forever for over 30 years have transformed Black Angel into a must-see curiosity for Star Wars fans. And if you have the interest of Star Wars fans, then you have a production that has a reason to get made. We have no idea how a feature will change the story, which is a very simple tale of a knight going on a quest to rescue a maiden, but it’ll surely be bigger and glossier. Hopefully, the Christian of a few decades ago will show up instead of the guy who directed a cackling, dreadlocked John Travolta in 1998.
The Black Angel feature has the blessing of George Lucas and the production is currently seeking additional funds over at Indie GoGo. Whether this is a sign of a truly independent production or a production that is already struggling is for you to decide. In any case, one of the shadowy corners of film history is getting a spotlight shined on it and we couldn’t be more interested in what happens next.