They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery.  As the cost of filmmaking tools get more affordable, many talented people on a limited budget can make a fan film.  This is the first in a series of reviews on Star Wars fan films, including some that I’ve personally been involved with.

But this fan film up first is one of the most compelling and beautiful short films, and it is animated. It is called TIE FIGHTER, and is amazing.  What if there was an Empire focused short Star Wars animation, drawn with the crazy detail and shading of classic 1980’s anime that’s all but vanished from Japan nowadays?

Right out of the gate, this film uses sounds that are familiar to all fans, but enhances the feel of the anime television show with a well made guitar influenced soundtrack.  An imperial probe droid scans for Rebel presence, and finds some.  As soon as it’s confirmed, the Imperial Forces come in to blast the Rebel scum into oblivion.

What’s most impressive about this short is the amazing attention to detail. Seeing the pilots get in the cockpits, toggle switches, a rev up the engines is truly a sight to behold.

This is a very polished animation, and if I didn’t know it was a fan film, I would swear its a promotional teaser for a television show. The love and care that is in this short film is truly the sign of a fan that is a hardcore Star Wars fan, and showing the Empire in an advantageous point of combat.

The only thing I would do differently is to have added voice talents to the characters.  That is the one thing that keeps this from being perfect.  But the slick animation, the Japanese influence, and the sound design still make it a fantastic entry into the Star Wars fan film universe.  What’s also considerably absent, but in a good way, is the Jedi or Sith characters that usually populate the fan films.  This one is strictly combat, and it’s glorious.

I would be thrilled to see what this animator does next.

Here is the film.  It’s just under eight minutes, but packs a punch.  Enjoy!


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Jason Turner is a creative auteur from Kansas City. He is an actor, director, writer, filmmaker, producer, and published comic book author.