A delightful unofficial Star Wars project, that’s well worth checking out.

There’s a definite line to be drawn between the over-used term ‘fan service’ and effectively utilising the mechanics and elements of a fictional universe to create new stories. The former sees the inclusion of elements and ideas with little other purpose than to illicit nostalgia, or as a nod to those with prior knowledge of said world. The latter leverages the internal logic of a fictional world to drive matters forward. Star Wars Origins, though unashamedly a movie made by fans of George Lucas’s defining work – and built upon elements of that and his other great creation, Indiana Jones – leans pleasingly towards the latter in its 20-minute addition to the ever-growing catalogue of what we used to call ‘fan films’.

That, however, is a term that belittles what has been done here. It references the subjects of its affection in effective and immediately noticeable ways, but has managed to also step aside from the universes it borrows from, to look at them with its own eyes. The narrative, which I won’t spoil here, while being almost exclusively composed of elements that hit one nostalgic touchpoint after another, manages to transcend its own references by recontextualising every single one. In doing so it creates not only an exciting, cinematic action vignette, but also an interesting meta commentary on both how Star Wars was built on a rich history of folk tales, myths and art from diverse cultures, and how it has created its own mythology and history studied by fans across the world.

The discourse surrounding blockbuster movies has become a less and less friendly forum over the last few years, with Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker being the latest battleground for fans to duke it out over whose vision for their beloved franchise should be the one to rule them all. I’ve certainly thrown my ha’p’orth in on a few occasions because… well… of course I have an opinion on Star Wars, doesn’t pretty much everyone? Star Wars Origins exists because of this fact, and the endless fascination we have with its Galaxy Far, Far Away. There’s no denying that the best and worst things about fandom are cut from the same cloth. However, seeing the love, care and attention poured into fiction celebrating and elevating a fictional universe such as this film shows is something of a balm.

[4Stars]

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