The Star Wars universe has touched literally of billions of people all across the world. Between its bombastic action sequences and unforgettable characters, the saga of the Skywalker family has effectively become modern mythology in its own right. However, the galaxy far, far away has become so much more than just the drama of a single family created by George Lucas; over the last few decades, fans have created their own works of art and fiction in order to honor this expansive, ever-growing universe.
These fan creations come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from personal edits of the original films, to physical replicas and costumes designs, to custom-made video games. They all have one major thing in common: a passion for the Star Wars galaxy. Fans like director Joe Sill continue to take this universe to new areas that have not necessarily been seen before. A new short film set firmly in the Star Wars galaxy explores the implications of the Force, as well as the brutality of the titular war, and the importance of family.
Released on Vimeo, the short film ‘Kara’ takes place on a barren desert planet — because Star Wars — and follows a young girl named Kara (Andra Nechita) and her father (Peter Arpesella) as they attempt to make their way to a remote Rebel base. The film begins with Kara playfully tinkering with her powers next to a camp fire; the next day as she and her father trek through the desert, the conflict between the Rebels and the Imperial forces intensifies as an enormous dogfight begins overhead.
Kara and her father flee the chaos, and eventually come upon downed X-Wing pilot Athena (Daniela Flynn). Although wary of Kara and her father, Athena teams up with them when stormtroopers on the ground begin to open fire on them; cornered and outgunned, Kara uses her force powers to gain the upper hand on the Imperial soldiers. Tears stream down her face as she inflicts pain upon the stormtroopers, wanting revenge for what these types of men did to her home, as he father slowly calms her down and gets her to release them. As Athena watches she realizes the gravity of the situation, and offers to take Kara and her father to the nearby Rebel base.
Overall the film seems to take ample inspiration from the characterization of Rey (Daisy Ridley) from The Force Awakens in order to construct the character Kara. From her overall appearance to her fear of her burgeoning Force powers, Kara follows many of the story beats from Daisy Ridley’s portrayal of Rey, but adds a darker touch to the character. However, this decision seems to have been intentional, given the fact that Rey’s original name was Kira anyway.
One of the most intriguing aspects of this short film is the way in which it presents Force sensitivity as both awe-inspiring and terrifying. Kara does not know what she’s capable of, and the anger inside of her for what has happened to her family threatens to burn her up — sharing many similarities to Josh Trank’s wholly underrated Chronicle. It’s an interesting deviation from the norm of the series to have family be what brings her back from the bring of the Dark Side, and not some pledge of allegiance to the Jedi code. Coupled with the ruthlessness of Athena as she guns down the stormtroopers, it paints the world of Star Wars in seldom seen shades of grey.
Sources close to production have indicated that director Rian Johnson himself wants to use his time behind the camera on Star Wars Episode VIII to craft a darker story. Perhaps the success of this fan film will lead him to incorporating these great elements from Kara into Rey. Even if nothing else ever comes of Kara and her story, we have to give credit where credit is due: Kara is an undeniable filmmaking achievement.
Star Wars: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, and will be followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode 8 on December 15th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode 9 is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.