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Vader Episode I: Shards of the Past

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Vader Episode I: Shards of the Past
Directed byDanny Ramirez
Produced by
  • Ian McClellan
  • Brandon Hall
  • Star Wars Theory (executive producer)
Written by
  • Danny Ramirez
  • Star Wars Theory
  • Nikolaj Wejp-Olsen
Based onCharacters by George Lucas
Music by
  • Jacob A. Cadmus
  • J Scott Rakozy (additional music)
CinematographyMatthew Halla (director of photography)
Edited byDanny Ramirez
Release date
  • December 20, 2018 (2018-12-20) (Los Angeles Premiere)
  • December 21, 2018 (2018-12-21)
Running time
16 Minutes
Budget$30,000 (initial)

Vader Episode I: Shards of the Past is the first episode of a series of short Star Wars fan films first screened on December 20, 2018, at the Landmark's Regent Theatre in Los Angeles, CA[1], and was released to YouTube on Decemeber 21, 2018. It was created by YouTuber Star Wars Theory. The film takes place eight months after Revenge of the Sith, and focuses around one of the main villains of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader. As of March 2019, it has amassed over 9 million views.


A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....

Anakin Skywalker is DEAD.

For eight months, the mysterious DARTH VADER has enforced the Emperor's commands.

For some, the EMPIRE brings fear.
For others, it brings hope.

But for Vader, it brings nothing but SUFFERING....

Fighting between the loss of Padme, and the new cursed life he now leads, Vader must do what must be done when a surviving Jedi Master from Order 66 has lured him to the home planet of his late Wife's tomb..[2]


Warner Chappell Music/Disney Copyright Claim Scandal[edit]


On June 21, 2018, (six months prior to the short film's release) Star Wars Theory uploaded a video explaining how he exchanged emails with Lucasfilm asking if he could crowdfund the short film or make any revenue from it. Lucasfilm said he could make the film, but they couldn’t allow Star Wars Theory to crowdfund or earn revenue from the project.[3]


On January 14, 2019, (over three weeks after the short film's release) Star Wars Theory uploaded a video explaining that Warner/Chappell Music and Disney gave the film a copyright strike over its soundtrack. What Star Wars Theory did was hire a composer to make an original soundtrack, which was inspired by John Williams' famous score of the Star Wars films, thus making the claim over the soundtrack and film false. This also meant that instead of the video being unmonitized, like Lucasfilm requested, it would generate ad revenue for Warner/Chappell and Disney. Star Wars Theory explained, “It’s not about the money, it’s the principle. When they [Lucasfilm] come to me with these rules… but then someone goes in there and manually claims it… to me, that’s very vindictive and very rude. Disney makes billions of dollars. This is pennies to them. It seems that they really don’t respect anything at all for the fandom.”[4] [5]


Over the internet, Star Wars Theory received massive support from news outlets, including but not limited to Newsweek[6] and Syfy Wire[7]. He also received support from fans and other YouTubers, and on January 16, 2019, Star Wars Theory announced that Lucasfilm forced the copyright strike to come down, thus restoring the video to its original state.[8]


Vader Episode I: Shards of the Past has received positive reviews from critics and overwhelmingly positive responses from fans. After the film ended at the screening in Los Angeles, the audience gave the film a standing ovation.[9] Luke Y. Thompson of Nerdist gave it a positive review, and called it, "impressive," as he said Vader would have put it.[10] Ryan Chichester of Comic Book Resources stated, "The film boasts a high level of production, voice impersonations of multiple Star Wars characters, and an intriguing story..."[11] Julie Muncy of Gizmodo said, "...the star here is the visual design, which captures a live-action Star Wars look perfectly. It’s particularly thrilling to see Clone Wars-style clone armor in live action. It’s well worth a watch for that alone."[12] David Pountain of We Got This Covered says, "...with this unofficial new Darth Vader movie, we see a testament to the dedication of the [Star Wars] franchise’s followers."[13] Corey Chichizola of Cinema Blend claims, "It helps make his [Darth Vader's] actions in Return of The Jedi make more sense, and expands the franchise's signature character in a fascinating way."[14] Kristian Harloff of Collider said that the film encapsulated the spirit of Star Wars extremely well and expressed interest in wanting a second part. He also addresed complaints about the writing and dialogue being a bit weak. Ken Napzok, who was with Harloff at the time of recording, noted the amount of passion Star Wars Theory put into the film, and said that the film reminded him of other Star Wars fan-films in particular, Troops and Hardware Wars.[15] James Richards of the Dork Side of the Force stated, "Overall, I thought that this was an excellent fan film and one that every true Star Wars fan should check out."[16] Joey Paur of GeekTyrant says, "I think Star Wars fans are going to really like what they see. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised."[17] Ben Wolf of That Hashtag Show gave it a "-A," giving positive comments about the story, how they presented the main characters, the fight choreography, and the imagery. Although, he noted criticism on the makeup they used for the Emperor. Wolf then explained, "It fits so perfectly, it really should be a canon piece."[18]


On December 27, 2018, Star Wars Theory said that it would take about $215,000 US dollars to make Vader Episode II, because he explained how he'd like for it to include duels, more VFX, more action, more actors, and new costumes. He also went on to say that in Episode II, Vader will get thrown into a brick wall by a Wookiee, and that he'll fight against different Jedi who survived Order 66. This will include Mace Windu, who turns out to have survived after Revenge of the Sith in Star Wars Theory's "Vader Fan-Film" universe.[19]

Episode II Teaser[edit]

On February 24, 2019, Star Wars Theory uploaded a short teaser clip for Vader Episode II, featuring the voice of Mace Windu shouting, "I'm still alive, motherf***er!" That line not only references Windu being supposedly killed in Revenge of the Sith, but also Samuel L. Jackson's (who originally portrayed Windu in the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy) use of the word "motherf***er" in various films he's in. After this tease, Star Wars Theory stated that there will be no swearing whatsoever in Vader Episode II. The full teaser trailer is set to come out somewhere in June 2019.[20]

External Links[edit]


  1. "I RENTED OUT A THEATRE GET YOUR FREE TICKETS NOW!! (LIMITED) - Star Wars Theory Vader Fan Film". Star Wars Theory. 11 December 2018. YouTube.
  2. "WATCH VADER EPISODE 1: SHARDS OF THE PAST – A STAR WARS THEORY FAN-FILM". StarWarsTheory.com. 23 December 2018. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  3. "LUCASFILM SUPPORTS MY VADER FAN FILM!! BUT... - Star Wars Theory Fan Film". Star Wars Theory. 21 June 2018. YouTube.
  4. "Disney Files CLAIM on Vader fan film and is making money from it now...". Star Wars Theory. 14 January 2019. YouTube.
  5. Katzowitz, Josh (January 15, 2019). "Disney files copyright claim on YouTuber's Darth Vader film—and the creator is devastated". The Daily Dot. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  6. Asarch, Steven (January 15, 2019). "YOUTUBE STAR WARS THEORY HAS VADER FAN FILM STRUCK DOWN BY DISNEY MUSIC PUBLISHER (UPDATE)". Newsweek. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  7. Young, Bryan (January 18, 2019). "STAR WARS WEEKLY: JOHN BOYEGA'S BLOODY EPISODE IX TEASE AND SOME FAN FILM DRAMA". Syfy Wire. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
  8. "LUCASFILM STEPS IN! ORDERS THEM TO REMOVE CLAIM! JUSTICE!!". Star Wars Theory. 16 January 2019. YouTube.
  9. "I think they liked it...Vader Fan-Film Reaction End Credits". Star Wars Theory. 21 December 2018. YouTube.
  10. Thompson, Luke Y. (December 27, 2018). "STAR WARS DARTH VADER FAN FILM SEES HIM BATTLE PALPATINE". Nerdist. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  11. Chichester, Ryan (December 24, 2018). "Dark Star Wars Fan Film Explores the Tortured Mind of Darth Vader". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  12. Muncy, Julie (December 23, 2018). "This Dark Star Wars Fan Film Perfectly Captures the Feel of Darth Vader's World". Gizmodo. Retrieved January 16, 2019.
  13. Pountain, David (December 31, 2018). "New Star Wars Fan Film Explores The Early Years Of Darth Vader". We Got This Covered. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  14. Chichizola, Corey (December 31, 2018). "Fan Made Darth Vader Movie Is Chilling And Epic". Cinema Blend. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
  15. "Thoughts on the Vader Fan Film". Jedi Council. January 3, 2019. Collider. YouTube. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  16. Richards, James (December 22, 2018). "Review of Vader: A Star Wars Theory Fan Film". Dork Side of the Force. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  17. Paur, Joey (December 25, 2018). "Seriously Impressive STAR WARS Fan Film VADER: EPISODE I - SHARDS OF THE PAST". GeekTyrant. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  18. Wolf, Ben (January 5, 2019). "Star Wars: Fan Film Goes Inside the Mind of Vader". That Hashtag Show. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  19. "This is How Episode 2 Will Happen - Star Wars Theory Vader Fan-Film". Star Wars Theory. 27 December 2018. YouTube.
  20. "Vader Episode 2 Teaser Teaser Trailer "I'M STILL ALIVE"". Star Wars Theory. 24 February 2019. YouTube.

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