Our main video will cover what Shadows of the Empire is and explain the more technical aspects of how we want to do everything. Here, in writing, we will talk about the matter on a more personal level as we need the video to show examples of the methods we wish to use and to familiarize you with the project...
To get this covered, we mean the utmost respect for George Lucas and Lucasfilm in our ambitions to make this fan film. It is completely non-profit and we are simply trying to make this as an artistic contribution to the Star Wars Universe.
Growing up with Shadows of the Empire, I have always had a close connection to it, in the way that I felt that it belonged with the original trilogy. There are a lot of story elements in it that are honestly very important in it's relation to the original trilogy. The story explains a lot about Luke Skywalker's training to become a Jedi Knight, and even explains how he built his lightsaber. There are a lot of great moments in both the novel and in the video game that I know Star Wars fans would love to see in the film. Dash Rendar's encounter with Boba Fett is definitely up there. The Beggar's Canyon chase with the swoop bike riders will definitely be a lot of fun as well.
There has already been a lot of planning and conceptualizing on how to get the scenes ready for shooting and I have to say that it is quite exciting. This is one of those things I feel would be really amazing if we can get this done right. I think Star Wars fans have really been waiting for something like this, an experience that will take the mind on an incredible and soothing story along side the force. We want this to be an experience similar to the original movies, in a way that it is philosophical and focuses more on the deeper parts of Star Wars while still keeping the main elements of the storyline.
We want to make this film using classic techniques, very similar to that of the original Star Wars movies... by using model kits, paintings and special fx make-up. We also want to use a method called Pepakura, in which we can we print 3D models out into paper and with the help of fiberglass and Bondo, we can create our own armor and props while it being very cost-effective.
It is very important to us that this project is as high quality as possible. We don't want it to be cheesy the way that so many other fan films are. This will require an enormous amount of time and artistic ability, but we are determined enough to make it happen.
Here are a couple examples of paintings that I have done for this project.
I recently had a conversation on a forum about how I define good quality and bad quality as some people are wondering what I think good quality is and what I will produce... I made post back defining how I feel about it and thought that some of you may interested in reading this as it really does define how I feel about effects.
"Low Quality is something that is obviously amateur work... bad lighting, bad effects, cheesy acting, fake-looking backdrops and props. Bad keying with green screens, not getting the mattes to blend well, having different kinds of lighting compared to the environment when keying... Things like that.
Keying objects in a scene can work well when needed and still look fine, but however is a very delicate process, same as any other artwork or illustration, if you aren't very careful about every single detail that makes it blend into a scene, then you lose the immersion because you lost it's believability that is there.
Generally what people call High Quality on independent films a joke, and Hollywood films I call a tragedy.
High Quality to me is not actually the industry standard for things... to tell you the truth, if we are talking about modern day effects, I think most of the movies that come out look absolutely terrible, and as a director I would never accept them. In my honest opinion Star Wars Episodes II and III are below High Quality to me. CGI is not always the worst thing, especially when you absolutely need it, but using real props even with their limitations looks better than CGI. The best example is Yoda. Even though Yoda cannot jump around the air, spin and dash around with the energy he has in Episodes II and III, he looks terrible as a CGI character. Episode V and VI Yoda is far better than II and III... Even the model kits for the spaceships truly look better than CGI... I find it unbelievable that people are fine with CGI... things looking fake takes the immersion of the film away for me. The theory I have about CGI versus models is that a model is a real physical object, that has real light hitting it, with real texture and real reflections. CGI is fake and 99 out of 100 times looks absolutely horrific.
To put my idea of High Quality out there, I want to at least make something that is definitely better than Episodes II and III and while probably not quite as good as IV, V, VI, at least reminiscent of their style in effects.
So in my opinion, my idea of High Quality is even better than the current industry standard for special effects."
Risks and challenges
The project will require a lot of time... Constructing model kits, sets, and costumes. It will also require a lot of patience for completing paintings that will be inserted into the film.
Casting will also be a complicated process as we want the best that we can find... We don't know exactly how long it will take, but we can assure you that we'll know when we've found the right people.
Let's say we use the novel as the overall base for the story and then we'll adjust some parts of the novel to include or change to the version of the game... Dash Rendar hunting down IG-88 is very likely be included in the film... In the novel, Dash Rendar simply guides the Millenium Falcon to Boba Fett's Slave I and takes off, in this case, will follow the game's direction more so than the books by having Dash Rendar hunt down Boba Fett and there will be a battle between the two. There may be slight variations or new things introduced to make it flow better as a film, but you can bet on seeing Dash Rendar and Boba Fett having an awesome fight. The Beggar's Canyon Chase sequence will probably follow the book a little more but will still have some extra scenes involving Dash Rendar, because it's as if the novel tells Luke's side and the game tell Dash's side, well cut in a way that has a lot action between both of them. As fair as the Imperial Freighter that contains the secret plans to the Death Star 2, Dash doesn't board the ship as he does in the video game, but we may still go down the game's route on that part, we're not absolutely sure just yet how it flow into the film. As far as the sewers and Xizor's palace it will have a combination of both the game and the novel together... A person asked me recently if Dash will escape at the end or will it be a cliff hangar, chances are, will be very similar to the game.
IG-88's attack on Boba Fett will also be included in the film as it is essential to the overall story and is confusing without it.