Last month, the short film that accompanied screenings of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back back in 1980 found itself back in the headlines when negatives of Black Angel were discovered years after the film was believed to have been lost. Now, that 27-minute film directed by set director Roger Christian is becoming a full, feature-length movie 35 years after it first premiered, with Christian at the helm.
Christian posted the original, restored film online last month accompanied by both an introduction from the Oscar-winning set designer, and a tease that more news regarding the dark, medieval fantasy was on the way.
“It’s my passion project, has been for 35-36 years,” Christian told The Hollywood Reporter. “I guess ‘patience is a virtue’ is a true saying.”
The feature-length version of Black Angel, which follows a knight who returns home from the Crusades only to discover that his home and the surrounding town have been threatened by supernatural forces, will begin production later this year in Scotland, with additional shooting in Hungary, Morocco, and Belgium. Two well-known sci-fi and genre actors are also attached to the film, with Blade Runner actor Rutger Hauer and Raiders of the Lost Ark actor John Rhys-Davies cast in unspecified roles.
While the original short film was made for around $38,000, the feature-length adaptation will have a bit more generous of a budget — something around $15 million, according to Christian.
“I can make a huge epic film with that,” said Christian in an interview about the feature-length Black Angel movie. “I’m going down and dirty, I want the audience to smell the blood and the sweat and the tears. I’ll be doing fights in mud and rain.”
Although George Lucas himself commissioned the original Black Angel to accompany The Empire Strikes Back, the Star Wars creator won’t be involved with the feature-length film, according to Christian. An IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign was launched earlier this week to bring additional funding to the project, with perks that include a role as a member of the Demon King’s army in the film.
“It kind of happened – serendipity of the universe – as J.J. [Abrams] was about to start filming [The Force Awakens], so it became this legendary story of a lost piece of Star Wars history,” said Christian of his little film’s new-found popularity more than three decades after it was first screened for audiences.
No word has yet been given as to when production for Black Angel will begin, but we’ll be keeping an eye out for updates so stay with us.