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Before The Empire Strikes Back, There Was The Black Angel… And It’s Been Found.

In the United Kingdom, Australia, and Scandinavia, going to the theater to watch The Empire Strikes Back was a unique experience in comparison to everywhere else in the world. Prior to the start of Empire, a short film called Black Angel was shown in those select countries. This wouldn’t be such a big deal present day since between then and now, especially living in the internet age and with streaming video’s extreme popularity, all Star Wars fans would have found a way to have seen it by now. Unless you happened to be in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Scandinavia 34 years ago and went to go see The Empire Strikes Back, you haven’t seen Black Angel yet because the film’s negative was lost almost immediately.

It was lost… until now.

Advice from the writer/director: set your clock back 34 years when viewing it.

Black Angel (1980 short film)

Black Angel’s creator, Roger Christian, may be a name you recognize. Citing Battlefield Earth wont impress anyone, but his behind the scenes roles in film is extensive and impressive. Films to the likes of, Star Wars: A New HopeStarship, Nostradamus, StrandedPrisoners of the Sun, Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace, Alien, and Monty Python’s The Life of Brian… just to name a few.

To thank him for his work on Star Wars, George Lucas commissioned Christian to write and direct a short film that would play in theaters directly before The Empire Strikes Back. The concept in general is a long lost art. I think the last movie I saw with a real short film before it was Honey, I Shrunk The Kids when the Roger Rabbit short film, Tummy Trouble, played before it in theaters.

Yeah we definitely just went there. Remember that??? Back to my point, the practice of short films playing in theaters prior to the feature film needs to come back into practice. Trailers are great, but like I said before, this is the internet age. Short of seeing the first showing of whatever movie is breaking some other movies brand new trailer, people are going to put it on the internet minutes after it shows for the first time. Might as well add some unpredictability in there and show a short film.

So how about that? A film resurrection after 3 decades. Hit up the comments about your thoughts of Black Angel and just the general story of it being lost for so long. Heck, do you remember Tummy Time!?!? Throw it all down below and I’ll see you down there.

The geek world is a realm I basically live in so if you’re into gems like this great find, you’ll want to follow me on facebooktwitter and instagram.

By: Eli Rebich

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