Star Wars has always inspired plenty of creative, devoted homages and tributes to the franchise. Just take a brief scan of YouTube and you’ll find dozens of fan films, parodies and re-enactments all tied together by their love of the franchise.
However, there’s one work that might have the longest gestation period of any Star Wars fan product that never saw the light of day. But that all might be about to change.
In 2004, filmmaker Patrick Read Johnson began work on a semi-autobiographical film detailing the impact Star Wars had on his young mind. He called the movie 5-25-77, the date A New Hope was released in theaters. After Johnson, played in the movie by John Francis Daley, visits the ILM workshop in the late 1970s and watches Star Wars, he tries to recreate his favorite movies of the era, including Jaws and 2001: A Space Odyssey, in his backyard.
As incredible of a premise as that sound, Johnson was never able to finish the film. He ran out of money with about 75 percent of shooting completed, and although various unfinished work prints have been screened at certain festivals, the film’s decadeslong shooting schedule hasn’t yet yielded a final cut.
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Or so everyone thought. But Johnson told Yahoo Movies that the film is in fact finished and has even landed a distribution deal, although he won’t say with who. He also won’t say when the film will be released, although he does emphasize that it will not conflict with the Dec. 18 release of The Force Awakens:
"“They told me, ‘We’ll release it on the same day as Episode VII, as counter-programming!’ Not only is that wrong and stupid — it’s heretical.”"
This isn’t Johnson’s first movie. He directed Spaced Invaders in 1990 as well as Baby’s Day Out in 1994, and he even has a writing credit on DragonHeart.
But this is clearly his passion project, and that’s what makes me want to see this movie. Although I’m intrigued to see how Johnson pays tribute to the iconic films of his youth that I also love, I can only imagine the dedication one must have to commit to a film for over 10 years. Bravo to Johnson, Daley and everyone else involved for sticking it out to finally get the film out to the public.
Check out the trailer below.