Black Angel director on making Star Wars short into a film

Roger Christian talks to us about turning short film Dark Angel into a feature

Black Angel
Black Angel
It looks like the prospect of a Black Angel film will finally become a reality

long time ago in a galaxy far far away, George Lucas commissioned his Star Wars set decorator Roger Christian to make a short film to accompany the 1980 release of The Empire Strikes Back. Now, with its Indiegogo crowd-funding target having been met, it looks like it could finally become a full-length feature.

That film, Black Angel, proved an apt companion piece – a dark, beautifully shot medieval myth concerning a vengeful knight taking on the enigmatic antagonist who brought destruction to his village.

Black Angel became a legend itself – being a major visual influence on John Boorman’s Excalibur, while its slowed down ‘step-printed’ technique used for its climatic fight was adopted for Luke’s nightmarish Dagobah duel in Empire. 

The film then seeped into obscurity and was considered a lost piece of Star Wars’ legacy – until it was recently retrieved from Universal’s archives.

Now, 35 years since its conception, Christian, who was the art director for Alien and directed Nostradamus, is turning Black Angel into a realistic $15 million feature thanks to renewed interest in epic fantasy adventures like The Lord Of The Rings and Game Of Thrones

Roger Christian
Roger Christian made the original short while working on The Empire Strikes Back

“This has been a life’s work, because it was the first film I wanted to do – a real passion project,” reveals Christian. “I’ve tried to do Merlin and King Arthur, and I just couldn’t get interest… so finally the world has caught up with my passion!”

While lead character Sir Maddox has yet to be cast, French newcomer Laura Weissbecker will play renegade Princess Kyna, Blade Runner’s Rutger Hauer will be a High Priest, while Lord OfThe Rings’ John Rhys Davies will embody King Atholas – a bitter rival of the knight.

“I needed those ancient kind of faces that fit – that kind of casting is essential to making these kind of films work.”

Crucially, there’ll be a sorcerer called Myrddin too. “I always wanted a Yoda or Merlin type, because every hero has a mentor. I found this ancient character from Scottish history – he was like a wise man living in the woods probably where Merlin came from a few hundred years later, but they took his story and reignited it.”

A release date for Black Angel is yet to be announced. For more on the biggest movies, pick up the latest issue of SciFiNow.