The story of the Empire and the Rebellion has generally been told in the Star Wars universe by the eventual victors, but now the Empire is getting their due with a 7-minute animated fan-film from animator Paul Johnson. Channeling the highly-detailed anime style of the 1980’s, Johnson created a short that fleshes out the world of TIE Fighter pilots.
The project, drawn and animated solely by Johnson over four years’ worth of weekends, is a stunning example of what fans can do. The guitar soundtrack, reminiscent of 1981’s Heavy Metal, was performed by Zak Rahman with sound design by Joseph Leyva.
Johnson used footage from the Star Wars films, along with the 1994 TIE Fighter video game, to complete his vision of piloting one of the iconic ships. He also fully fleshed out the characters in the short film, including TIE/sa Bomber Pilot Flight Lieutenant Ada, Petty Officer Neal, Wing Commander Rosh, and others. Their full character backgrounds and sketches are available in a .PDF released by the artist.
“Special thanks to the good folk at Lucasfilm for encouraging people to get creative and make these kind of projects. It’s thanks to their extremely fan-friendly nature that we can enjoy IMPS: The Relentless, TROOPS, etc,” Johnson says in his YouTube video description.
“Don’t support me on Patreon, because I don’t have one! And don’t donate to my Kickstarter, because I don’t have one of those either. Instead, if you enjoyed this, give someone at your workplace, uni, school or whatever a random bar of chocolate or can or Coke or something. Seriously, it’ll probably make their day. That would totally make my day.”