UK based filmmakers Sneaky Zebra last week launched a new Indiegogo campaign to fund their latest short film: Echoes of Darkness.
The Star Wars themed fan film, penned by Sneaky’s very own Gary Scullion, aims to explore the new landscape of the universe created between ‘Return of the Jedi’ and ‘The Force Awakens’. Instead of focusing on the canonical battle of the Jedi vs the Sith, the new film offers a different perspective and aims to tell the story of the unsung heroes, of the smugglers and rogues that have previously only be touched upon in the guise of Lando and Han Solo.
“Echoes of Darkness takes place about 30 years after Return of the Jedi,” explains Scullion. “and follows this rag tag group of treasure hunters, or generally just smugglers, who are hired to collect a more recent relic than any old Sith holocron or Jedi lightsaber. One that can only be found on the forest moon of Endor. Unaware of just how dangerous their employer is, and the true magnitude of the package that they’re carrying; (the helmet of the dark lord Darth Vader), they play a very dangerous game that could make them rich – or it could cost them everything. “
While Star Wars may seem like a hot button topic considering the success of December’s hotly anticipated release ‘The Last Jedi’, the project is certainly a labour of love for it’s creator.
“Echoes was an idea I had from a few scenes in The Force Awakens, the idea was almost fully formed when I left the theatre, but it also seems like a timeframe no one in the fan film community is trying to explore, we’ve had 15+ years of fan productions set in the Original Trilogy, the Prequel Trilogy and the EU, but people seem to be avoiding the new era, for the moment.”
“What I wanted to do with this film, was show a different side of the Star Wars fan film universe. Typically there’s a lot of films that cover the Jedi and the Sith. The battle between the light and the dark. I wanted to step away from that and tell a very different story. I wanted to tell a story about the other guys; the guys that aren’t fighting a rebellion, fighting for the resistance, aren’t part of the empire. They’re not part of the bigger scope of the star wars.”
“The bulk of what we ever see are the scoundrel as they hit a turning point, we get hints at it, and I’m sure with ‘Solo’ coming out we may get some more of that world. But it’s always been a part of the films that fascinated me. What are all those other people in the Cantina doing, what are their stories and adventures.”
Building on the success of their previous shorts ‘Prop Wars’ and it’s sequel ‘Prop Wars: Prop Harder’, Sneaky have recruited some top names to headline their newest project, including film and theatre veteran Charlie Bond (The Fall of the Essex Boys, Dracula) and Jo Marriott (Exodus: Gods & Kings, The Monument Men, Torchwood). The film also aims to focus more on practical effects, with a host of SFX makeup and prosthetics going into it’s creation. Some of these, such as the Twi’lek played by Bond, might be species quite familiar to Star Wars fans, but others are entirely new and designed solely by Scullion for this particular film.
“As someone who grew up wearing out VHS tapes of Star Wars, and films like Terminator, Alien and Predator I have always had a love for practical Make-up and Special Effects. We live in a real digital era, especially with making stuff on YouTube, you don’t have the luxury of doing things for real, you’re usually limited to After Effects. But I always knew if I wanted to do a Star Wars short, I’d want it to feel like the tactile real world of the original trilogy, well as much as you can get on a low budget!”
Initially hoping to raise $3500 to fund the short, at the time of writing they seem well on their way to success, with fans having already pledged $3050. There’s no word yet on whether or not stretch goals are in the works, but considering the scale of the project and the level of detail and planning going into it, suffice to say, every single cent will be put to good use.
To lend your support check out the campaign here; or tune in to tomorrow’s GP podcast to find out more.