Lost 'Star Wars' theatrical companion short to get feature treatment with Rutger Hauer

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Lost 'Star Wars' theatrical companion short to get feature treatment with Rutger Hauer
In this 1977 image provided by 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation, Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by Sir Alec Guinness, confronts Darth Vader in a scene from "Star Wars." The intergalactic adventure launched in theaters 35 years ago on May 25, 1977, introducing the world to The Force, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Han Solo and a pair of loveable droids named R2-D2 and C-3PO. (AP Photo/20th Century-Fox Film Corporation)
In this 1977 image provided by 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation, X-wing fighters attack the Death Star in a scene from "Star Wars." The intergalactic adventure launched in theaters 35 years ago on May 25, 1977, introducing the world to The Force, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Han Solo and a pair of loveable droids named R2-D2 and C-3PO. (AP Photo/20th Century-Fox Film Corporation)
David Prowse as Darth Vader in a scene from the film 'Star Wars', 1977. (Photo by 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images)
In this 1977 image provided by 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation, Darth Vader, played by David Prowse and voiced by James Earl Jones, and his Imperial stormtroopers take over the Rebel Blockade Runner in a scene from "Star Wars." The intergalactic adventure launched in theaters 35 years ago on May 25, 1977, introducing the world to The Force, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Han Solo and a pair of loveable droids named R2-D2 and C-3PO. (AP Photo/20th Century-Fox Film Corporation)
In this 1977 image provided by 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation, Imperial stormtroopers look for the lost droids in a scene from "Star Wars." The intergalactic adventure launched in theaters 35 years ago on May 25, 1977, introducing the world to The Force, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Han Solo and a pair of loveable droids named R2-D2 and C-3PO. (AP Photo/20th Century-Fox Film Corporation)
In this 1977 image provided by 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation, Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Ben Kenobi (Sir Alec Guinness) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) come upon the Death Star in a scene from "Star Wars." The intergalactic adventure launched in theaters 35 years ago on May 25, 1977, introducing the world to The Force, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Han Solo and a pair of loveable droids named R2-D2 and C-3PO. (AP Photo/20th Century-Fox Film Corporation)
In this 1977 image provided by 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation, Princess Leia, played by Carrie Fisher, records a message for help on R2-D2 in a scene from "Star Wars." The intergalactic adventure launched in theaters 35 years ago on May 25, 1977, introducing the world to The Force, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Han Solo and a pair of loveable droids named R2-D2 and C-3PO. (AP Photo/20th Century-Fox Film Corporation)
FILE - In this June 7, 1977 file photo, people wait in line in front of the Avco Center Theater in Los Angeles to see "Star Wars." The intergalactic adventure launched in theaters 35 years ago on May 25, 1977, introducing the world to The Force, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Han Solo and a pair of loveable droids named R2-D2 and C-3PO. (AP Photo, File)
Actors featured in the "Star Wars" movie, from left, Harrison Ford who played Han Solo, Anthony Daniels who played the robot C3P0, Carrie Fisher who played the princess, and Peter Mayhew who played the Wookie, Chewbacca, are shown during a break from the filming of a television special presentation in Los Angeles, Ca., Oct. 5, 1978. (AP Photo)
English actor David Prowse (L), who played the character of Darth Vader (Dark Vador in French) in the first Star Wars trilogy poses with a fan dressed up in a Darth Vader costume during a Star Wars convention on April 27, 2013 in Cusset. AFP PHOTO THIERRY ZOCCOLAN (Photo credit should read THIERRY ZOCCOLAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Harrison Ford, as Han Solo of “Star Wars” fame chats with Carrie Fisher Nov. 13, 1978 during a break in the filming of the CBS-TV special “The Star Wars Holiday.” Ford says he leaves the singing in the special to Carrie, who is the daughter of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. The film will also feature many special effects not seen on the original movie. (AP Photo/George Brich )
Dave Prowse, the original Darth Vader from the "Star Wars Trilogy," poses during the New York Comic and Fantasy Creators Convention Friday, May 7, 1999. The new movie, "Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace," will make it's way to theaters May 19th. (AP Photo/Lynsey Addario)
In this 1977 image provided by 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation, from left, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill are shown in a scene from "Star Wars" movie released by 20th Century-Fox. Disney is previewing several of the studio's upcoming live-action films for fans at the D23 Expo, Aug. 9-11, 2013, a three-day Disney extravaganza at the Anaheim Convention Center. Disney bought George Lucas' Lucasfilm empire last year for $4.06 billion and plans to unleash a new "Star Wars" trilogy and two spin-off films beginning in 2015 with "Star Wars: Episode VII," which is being directed by J.J. Abrams and written by Michael Arndt. (AP Photo/20th Century-Fox Film Corporation)
STAR WARS signed photo of David Prowse showing him in his classic role of Darth Vader
In this video grab made available by Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM on Thursday, May 22, 2014, J.J. Abrams, director of "Star Wars: Episode VII," talks to the fans from the movie set in the desert in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The media company, twofour54, backed by the Gulf federation's capital of Abu Dhabi announced Wednesday that the next installment of "Star Wars" is currently filming in the oil-rich Middle Eastern emirate. (AP Photo/Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Actor Harrison Ford uses primitive means to deactivate robot C-3PO’s voice mechanism May 31, 1980 during a scene from the “Star Wars” movie sequel, “The Empire Strikes Back.” On screen, Ford is best known as wise-cracking Han Solo. Off screen, Ford isn’t so cocky. (AP Photo)
In this 1977 image provided by 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation shows, from left, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill in a scene from "Star Wars." The intergalactic adventure launched in theaters 35 years ago on May 25, 1977, introducing the world to The Force, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Han Solo and a pair of loveable droids named R2-D2 and C-3PO. (AP Photo/20th Century-Fox Film Corporation)
Harrison Ford, as Han Solo of “Star Wars” with Carrie Fisher in the filming of the CBS-TV special “The Star Wars Holiday” Nov. 13, 1978. Ford says he leaves the singing in the special to Carrie, who is the daughter of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. The film will also feature many special effects not seen on the original movie. (AP Photo/George Brich)
JUN 15 1977, MAY 30 1978, JUN 4 1978; 'Star Wars' has Given three Performers that 'All-Important Break'; Featured in the popular science fantasy movie are, from left, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford.; (Photo By Steve Larson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
In a scene from George Lucas' epic space opera Star Wars, the American actor Harrison Ford as rebel smuggler Han Solo draws a gun against enemies; behind him can be seen a fantastic space shuttle. USA, 1977. . (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - MAY 29: Actor Harrison Ford's Han Solo character from 'Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi' is shown on screen while musicians perform during 'Star Wars: In Concert' at the Orleans Arena May 29, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The traveling production features a full symphony orchestra and choir playing music from all six of John Williams' Star Wars scores synchronized with footage from the films displayed on a three-story-tall, HD LED screen. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS - MAY 29: The Star Wars prop of actor Harrison Ford's Han Solo character frozen in carbonite is displayed at the museum exhibit of 'Star Wars: In Concert' at the Orleans Arena May 29, 2010 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The traveling production features a full symphony orchestra and choir playing music from all six of John Williams' Star Wars scores synchronized with footage from the films displayed on a three-story-tall, HD LED screen. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn talks about the Winter 2015 release "Star Wars: Episode VII" during the Walt Disney Studios presentation on the third day of CinemaCon 2014 on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2013 file photo, Adam Driver attends a news conference for "The F Word" on day 4 of the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto. The cast of “Star Wars: Episode VII” was announced Tuesday, Aril 29, 2014, on the official “Star Wars” website by Lucasfilm. Actors Oscar Isaac, Max von Sydow, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Domhnall Gleeson and Driver will be joining the cast. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
In this Nov. 25, 2013 file photo, r=the "Founders Award" recipient producer and director J.J. Abrams arrives at the 2013 International Emmy Awards Gala at the New York Hilton, in New York. From the set of “Star Wars: Episode VII” in Abu Dhabi, the director Abrams announced the launch of Star Wars: Force for Change, a campaign to raise funds for United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF). The campaign will run from 12:01 a.m. PDT on May 21, 2014, until 11:59 p.m. PDT on July 18. (Photo by Evan Agostini/InvisionAP, file)
FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2013 file photo, Harrison Ford arrives at the 17th Annual Hollywood Film Awards Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. After months of carefully guarded secrecy and endless Internet speculation, the cast of the latest incarnation of the space epic, "Star Wars: Episode VII," was unveiled Tuesday, April 29, 2014, on the official "Star Wars" website by Lucasfilm and the Walt Disney Co. The "Episode VII" cast is a mix of fresh faces, up-and-comers and established names, including veterans Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. (Photo by John Shearer/Invision/AP, file)
FILE - This April 7, 2011 file photo shows Carrie Fisher at the 2011 NewNowNext Awards in Los Angeles. After months of carefully guarded secrecy and endless Internet speculation, the cast of the latest incarnation of the space epic, "Star Wars: Episode VII," was unveiled Tuesday, April 29, 2014, on the official "Star Wars" website by Lucasfilm and the Walt Disney Co. The "Episode VII" cast is a mix of fresh faces, up-and-comers and established names, including veterans Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Fisher. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, file)
FILE - This Oct. 28, 2013 file photo shows actor Harrison Ford at the LA Premiere of "Ender's Game" in Los Angeles. Ford is recuperating after surgery to heal a broken leg suffered during production on “Star Wars: Episode VII.” The actor’s publicist said that Ford is doing well after surgery and will soon begin rehab. Ford was injured a week ago during filming of the much-anticipated sequel at Pinewood Studios outside of London. The accident involved a spacecraft door falling on the 71-year-old actor’s leg. Ford’s Han Solo pilots the Millennium Falcon, which is returning in “Episode VII.”(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
FILE - In this April 23, 2010 file photo, American actor Mark Hamill who played Luke Skywalker in the George Lucas Star Wars saga poses with a figure of the movie, C 3 PO, before the screening of "Star Wars V-The Empire Strikes Back," as part of the Jules Verne Festival in Paris. After months of carefully guarded secrecy and endless Internet speculation, the cast of the latest incarnation of the space epic, "Star Wars: Episode VII," was unveiled Tuesday, April 29, 2014, on the official "Star Wars" website by Lucasfilm and the Walt Disney Co. The "Episode VII" cast is a mix of fresh faces, up-and-comers and established names, including veterans Harrison Ford, Hamill and Carrie Fisher. (Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere, file)
Actor David Prowse, who was the man in the black Darth Vader suit in the first Star Wars film, signs autographs at Star Wars Celebration IV, billed as the world's biggest Star Wars party, marking the 30th anniversary of the release of the first film in the Star Wars saga, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Saturday, May 26, 2007. The show runs through Monday. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
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Thirty-five years after it screened alongside Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, fantasy short Black Angel is getting the feature-length treatment.

Roger Christian (Nostradamus, Battlefield Earth), who won an Oscar for his set decoration work on the first Star Wars (where he, among other achievements, helped design the first-ever lightsaber), is returning to write and direct the adaptation of his first-ever effort as a director.

"It's my passion project, has been for 35-36 years," Christian tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I guess 'patience is a virtue' is a true saying."

Originally commissioned by George Lucas who Christian claims "hated" the short that accompanied Star Wars: A New Hope, the 25-minute long Black Angel – about a Crusade-era knight on a quest to defeat an evil force to free a captured maiden - was shot in Scotland on a shoestring budget of just $38,000, much of which the director claims was spent on "two big horses."

READ MORE Lost 'Empire Strikes Back' Theatrical Companion Short Film Unearthed (Video)

But it went on to be seen as a significant influence in fantasy films, such as John Boorman'sExcaliber (1981). Adding to the overall mystery, it enjoyed only a brief time in theaters before the negatives were considered lost, only to show up again more than three decades later in 2013 in Universal's U.S. archives, with the film screening again in various film festivals.

"It kind of happened – serendipity of the universe – as J.J. [Abrams] was about to start filming [The Force Awakens], so it became this legendary story of a lost piece of Star Wars history," says Christian.

The feature length version of Black Angel, which is expected to go into production later this year, will have a marginally bigger budget of "around $15 million," says Christian, and is being backed by London-based sales and distribution banner Carnaby International. "I can make a huge epic film with that," he adds. "I'm going down and dirty, I want the audience to smell the blood and the sweat and the tears. I'll be doing fights in mud and rain."

And in Rutger Hauer and John Rhys-Davies (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lord of the Rings), it already has two swords-and-sandals favorites lined up the cast, although Christian says more and younger cast members will be announced later. "These kind of faces fit into this ancient world so well, they're powerful actors and I need that," he says.

READ MORE' Star Wars: The Force Awakens': Details About Andy Serkis' Character Revealed

The eight-week shoot will take place again in Scotland, plus Hungary, Morocco and Belgium. "They'd be hurling haggises at me if I didn't shoot in Scotland, they kind of own Black Angel."

Backing up the production, a 45-day crowdfunding campaign has been launched on Indiegogothat is aiming to raise $100,000, offering perks including opportunities to be an extra in the film and a week-long mentorship with the audio department in post-production. An actual two-frame film negative from Star Wars: A New Hope, given to Christian by Lucas is also up for grabs.

"It may seem a small amount, but it all helps, and I think it's very important to build you fanbase, and that's what it does," Christian says.

Although Lucas commissioned the first short, he isn't involved with the full-length version ofBlack Angel (Christian says he's actually busier than ever since selling his Star Wars universe to Disney).

"But I sat with George for about an hour and went through the film, and he said you're doing the right thing keeping it smaller, he said that was a very important lesson."

READ MORE Cannes: Full-Length Version of Directors' Fortnight Short 'Kung Fury' Launching in Market (Exclusive)


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