A missing piece of Star Wars history has returned.
During the production of The Empire Strikes Back, George Lucas commissioned Roger Christian to write and direct a short film called Black Angel to run in front of Empire in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Scandinavia. This was was reportedly Lucas’ way of thanking Christian for his Oscar-winning art direction on the original 1977 Star Wars.
The negative for Black Angel was lost for three decades before a print of the short film was rediscovered in 2011. Yesterday, Anderson posted the restored print of Black Angel on YouTube with a new introduction, in which he cites the short’s influence on Excalibur and even The Empire Strikes Back itself.
Black Angel stars Tony Vogel as Sir Maddox, a medieval knight returning from the Crusades who finds himself on a quest to rescue a maiden (Patricia Christian) from her captor, a knight known as the Black Angel. The short was filmed on a shoestring budget of £25,000, and Christian suggests “setting your clock back 34 years” when viewing it.
As a director, Christian’s biggest claim to fame is the infamous Battlefield Earth adaptation. However, he has also helmed several other features including Starship, Nostradamus, Stranded, and Prisoners of the Sun. Christian was also a second unit director on Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace, in addition to his art directing turns on Alien and Monty Python’s The Life of Brian.
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