16 Great Star Wars Fan Films, Documentaries & Video Essays to Get You Ready for Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Have you had enough Star Wars yet? No, you will nev­er have enough Star Wars, not even after you’ve acquired the Star Wars dinette set, Star Wars bed and bath col­lec­tion, $400 Star Wars Lego Death StarStar Wars chick­en frank­furter snack with built-in ketchup (seri­ous­ly)… and that’s not even to men­tion the first six movies, re-released every few years in new for­mats and expand­ed edi­tions.

Yeah, the mer­chan­dis­ing may be a lit­tle much; with the inau­gur­al film of the reboot­ed fran­chise open­ing dur­ing the hol­i­days, it’s a feed­ing fren­zy, no doubt. But for true fans, no amount of crass mate­ri­al­ism can put a damper on the enthu­si­asm, and yes, the anx­i­ety, for Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens. Will it eclipse our painful mem­o­ries of the pre­quels? Will Episode VII rekin­dle the mag­ic of Episodes IV-VI (for­mer­ly Episodes I‑III)? By near­ly all accounts, J.J. Abrams reimag­in­ing of the George Lucas lega­cy does all of the above.

To help you pre­pare for open­ing night (I’ve got my tick­ets!), we’ve com­piled some of our top Star Wars posts, fea­tur­ing all man­ner of doc­u­men­tary explain­ers, fan homages, inter­views, par­o­dies, remix­es, etc. From the dead­ly seri­ous to the ridicu­lous, per­haps no pop­u­lar movie prop­er­ty has attract­ed as much com­men­tary and meta-com­men­tary as Star Wars. That isn’t like­ly to change any­time soon, what with the Star Wars uni­verse again expand­ing into infin­i­ty. Before you take the leap for­ward into its future, revis­it its past at the links below.

Doc­u­men­tary Fea­tures and Archival Footage:

Watch the Very First Trail­ers for Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back & Return of the Jedi (1976–83) (see the first above)

The Mak­ing of Star Wars As Told by C‑3PO & R2-D2: The First-Ever Doc­u­men­tary on the Film (1977)

Kurt Rus­sell Audi­tions for Star Wars

The Mak­ing of The Empire Strikes Back Show­cased on Long-Lost Dutch TV Doc­u­men­tary

The Com­plete Star Wars “Fil­mu­men­tary”: A 6‑Hour, Fan-Made Star Wars Doc­u­men­tary, with Behind-the-Scenes Footage & Com­men­tary

How Star Wars Bor­rowed From Aki­ra Kurosawa’s Great Samu­rai Films

2 Hour Anno­tat­ed Star Wars Film Reveals the Cin­e­mat­ic Influ­ences Behind George Lucas’ Clas­sic Film

Joseph Camp­bell and Bill Moy­ers Break Down Star Wars as an Epic, Uni­ver­sal Myth

Star Wars is a Remix

Adap­ta­tions, Fan Films, and Par­o­dies:

Hard­ware Wars: The Moth­er of All Star Wars Fan Films (and the Most Prof­itable Short Film Ever Made)

Fans Recon­struct Authen­tic Ver­sion of Star Wars, As It Was Shown in The­aters in 1977

Star Wars Uncut: The Epic Fan Film

The Empire Strikes Back Uncut: A New Fan-Made, Shot-for-Shot Remake of the 1980 Sci-Fi Clas­sic

The Exis­ten­tial Star Wars: Sartre Meets Darth Vad­er

Star Wars as Silent Film

Watch a New Star Wars Ani­ma­tion, Drawn in a Clas­sic 80s Japan­ese Ani­me Style

And final­ly, if you’ve got the stom­ach for it and you want to catch up on the last six Star Wars films—or watch them all for the first time—you can do so all at once in the mind-bend­ing Meta Star Wars, which lay­ers all six films over each oth­er to cre­ate a psy­che­del­ic onslaught of whoosh­ing space­ships, droid bleeps and bloops, and flash­ing blasters and lightsabers. You won’t come away from the expe­ri­ence, if you can stand it, with any sense of plot or char­ac­ters, but you’ll have an inti­mate knowl­edge of the Star Wars uni­verse’s many unique sound effects.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch George Lucas’ Award-Win­ning Stu­dent Film Elec­tron­ic Labyrinth THX 1138 4EB (1967)

Free: Down­load 151 Sci-Fi & Fan­ta­sy Sto­ries from Tor.com

Blade Run­ner is a Waste of Time: Siskel & Ebert in 1982

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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