Lost Star Wars short film rediscovered after 34 years
Black Angel will be shown for the first time in over 30 years at the Glasgow Film Festival
A LOST short film that originally accompanied the first Star Wars sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, has been rediscovered after 34 years and will be shown again in the UK later this month.
The film, Black Angel, was directed by Oscar winner Roger Christian, and shot on location in Scotland on a shoestring budget of just £25,000.
Finances for the short were provided by George Lucas to thank Christian for his work as art director for the original Star Wars movie.
Loosely based on Arthurian legend, the film had a huge influence on the depiction of Medieval times in cinema for years to come, according to Martin Anderson, editor of popular culture website Shadowlocked.com: "Black Angel has become a bit of an internet holy grail in itself," Anderson writes.
"Those who saw it remember something extraordinary. A spiritual work set in the Middle Ages with amazing cinematography and music, Black Angel took the gritty medieval realism of Monty Python And The Holy Grail and returned it to its roots in Mallory, Tennyson and Kurosawa."
By the time The Empire Strikes Back came out, short films no longer accompanied major film releases in theatres in the United States, but in many cinemas in Europe, Canada, and Australia the tradition continued.
The film follows the story of a warrior who returns home after years of fighting to find his family dead and his homeland ravaged. He rides off in search of revenge, but instead finds love, according to a review in Showbiz magazine.
After Empire finished its run, the original prints of Black Angel were lost, but they were rediscovered last year by an archivist at Universal Studios, the BBC reported.
Black Angel was painstakingly restored and will screen again in the UK for the first time in 30 years at the Glasgow Film Festival later this month.
The news comes a year ahead of the release of the first new Star Wars film since 2005. The seventh film in the franchise will be directed by JJ Abrams, and will star members of the original cast including Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill.
Christian says he hopes the new movies will be respectful of the original films' legacy: "George Lucas's genius was that he made a space film that people got, it was gritty and dirty, and also this fantastic mythology he created around the films," he said. "I hope with the new film they don't just go for the ride and forget the mythology."