[Movies] 25-Minute Short Film Black Angel Finally Found
Posted by Joseph Lee on 01.04.2013
Some audiences got to see it before Empire Strikes Back in theaters...
If you were able to catch Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in European or Australian theaters in 1980, you probably remember seeing the 1980 25-minute short film Black Angel, a fantasy story that played before the film. That short film was never released after Empire's run because it was thought lost.
Wired now reports that the short, directed by Star Wars art director Roger Christian, has finally been located.
Christian made the film with financial assistance from George Lucas. It follows a knight who returns from the Crusades and is taken to a mystical realm to rescue a princess from a black knight. Christian said: "When George read the script, he felt it was very suitable to go with the Star Wars legacy."
The film's art design and cinematography influenced many sword-and-sorcery films later, including Excalibur and Legend. Christian slowed down action scenes and made them longer with a process called step-printing, which Lucas then used for a lightsaber fight in Empire. Christian added: "Fans had rarely seen images like this on the big screen."
The short was never released on VHS or DVD, because Christian was unable to find the original negative. He thought it was lost until he was called by an archivist at Universal Studios last December. Christian said: "He said, ‘We found this tin of film labeled Black Angel, and it seems to point to you,'" Christian recalls. "I wrote back, ‘You just made my Christmas for the last 20 years.'"
He is still trying to figure out how to share the film with fans. He added: "Probably the best way is a downloadable version. I think it would be great to see it in a cinema again on a program with Empire Strikes Back. That's how it was intended to be seen."