There have been a lot of great Star Wars–inspired fan films over the years, going back to Troops and Pink Five, but this latest one might be the coolest yet. Created by a fan named Paul Johnson, TIE Fighter is an animated, seven-minute short film which focuses on a massive space battle between the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance, but with the focus clearly on the Imperial side of things (you’ll have never cheered so loudly watching that “rebel scum”get theirs.) We’re clearly supposed to be rooting for the bad guys here, and I’m actually kind of OK with that.
The coolest thing about this short film is that it’s entirely done in the style of 1980’s anime like Robotech or Gundam or Akira, with everything from the way the camera moves, the over-fetishization of the explosions, to the whine of the electric guitar over the battle scenes, in place of the traditional John Williams score, this is anime done in the old school style. And yet, it’s still totally OG Star Wars as well in every way. If you were a kid in the ’80s, this is the Star Wars cartoon we actually wanted to see, instead of being stuck with Droids and Ewoks on Saturday mornings. Aside from the original trilogy and retro anime, the other major inspiration came from Lucasarts’ 1994 TIE Fighter game.
The entire project was drawn and animated by its creator over four years’ worth of weekends, with assistance from Joseph Leyva on the sound design and the guitar score from Zak Rahman, a true labor of love from everyone involved. You can click on this link for bios on all of the characters in the film, and you can check out the official poster below. In the meantime, watch the entire video….and then totally watch it like three or four more times because it’s that cool.