A new Indiegogo campaign has been launched to fund Star Wars: Secrets of the Unknown. The filmakers hope to film this year in order to submit for the 2017 Fan Film Awards.
Fan films are an interesting beast. Due to the varied motivations of the creators, the projects can range from extremely well produced and executed to something made on a 3 dollar budget in your back yard. On one end of the spectrum you get a well executed, well received film like the recent Darth Maul: Apprentice. On the other end of the spectrum, you get me and my friends circa 1989 filming on my parents video camera, using wiffle ball bats for light sabers, talking soda cans as stand ins for droids, and making blaster noises with our mouths as the camera rolls (pew…pew, pew!)
But more often than not, fan films are an outlet to examine our own fantasies on what we love about star wars. If you love the lightsaber choreography, you can play in that sand box and make a fight just as cool as you imagine in your heads. If you really wanted those crazy kids Mon Mothma and Crix Madine to get together after the battle of Endor, retire to Corellia, and open a bed and breakfast…you can make that dream come true. What is more rare in fan films though is riffing on the original fascinations of the maker himself. To Lucas, sword fights, rebellions, and romance was secondary to the importance of the central philosophy of the force. The soul of Star Wars isn’t found its its action sequences, but in the theological and philosophical questions that surround the main story.
The mission statement for Secrets of the Unknown seems to indicate it will be following Lucas down that path.
Story wise, we approached this from a very simple premise – we wanted to explore the theology of The Force, and the concepts of ‘The Light Side’ and ‘The Dark Side’ and how it plays into Jedi and Sith beliefs. We draw on inspiration from the Expanded Universe (EU) – now known as ‘Legends’ – and even get a chance to see the ancient Je’Daii, precursors to the Jedi Order.
Fan films are a risky endeavor. Even with talent and funding, it is difficult to match the tone and feel of a franchise that cranks out movies with some of the largest budgets of all time. But Secrets of the Unknown seems to be charting a unique path. By exploring some of the ancient past (recently made fertile ground for exploration by the legends purge) they give themselves room to be creative with their story and the look and design of the film. And by exploring the theological basis of the Jedi and Sith, they give themselves the grounding on which to create a deeper and more complex fan film.
There obviously is no guarantee of quality, regardless of intent or talent. But if, like me, you are intrigued by the idea of fan films exploring the more philosophical sides of Star Wars, check out their crowdfunding page at indiegogo to see more (including some concept art and videos) HERE.