Picture this: A line that runs through the theater lobby and out the door. People talking excitedly, hoping to get in to see the new film about to be released. The same two words on everyone’s lips: Star Wars.
No, I’m not talking about The Force Awakens, although that was a film worth waiting in line for. I’m talking about something much simpler, and in my opinion much cooler, the fan film Revan. Now before you try to argue that a fan film can’t be cooler than a new Star Wars movie, let me explain. Revan was a project led by some of my closest friends. It took a lot of time, and I’m of the opinion that it was pretty great.
Then again, you could say that I’m biased. I had the opportunity to be in the film as the Mandalorian Commander Veela, and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
This film was a long time coming, and the sheer amount of pride that I have for it comes from immense amount of effort to film it. Overall, we took a little less than three years to film it, and that’s not counting the pre- and post-production. As a group we went through so much together, from leadership changes to cast changes to location and costume changes. The first scene I filmed was also the last scene I filmed due to a major costume and location change.
In addition to that, the my good friends Jonathan, Steven, and Andrei Shulgach, the leaders of the project, lost their father very close to the end of the post-production. The strength they, and their younger sister Oksana, displayed during that time was incredible, and the film is dedicated to him.
The whole project was an amazing opportunity and gave me so many amazing memories that I can’t thank the Sulgaches enough for all the hard work they put into it. I’ve made so many amazing friends throughout the journey that I can’t thank them enough.
I guess I should probably educate those of you unfamiliar with Revan’s story to what in the world I’m talking about. Revan was a Jedi Knight during the era known as the Old Republic who fought in the Mandalorian Wars. (And for those of you who don’t know, the Mandalorians are these badass clan-based people whose culture revolved around battle and honor within war.) During the Wars, Revan disappeared and reappeared as a Sith Lord. The Jedi brought him back to the Light Side, but they essentially had to brainwash him to do so and took his memories. The film follows Revan’s attempt to find who he truly is again.
Interested yet? If not, feel free to click the little ‘X’ to close the tab or find another article to read. There are lots of good ones on here. If you are, I’ve included the trailer below for your viewing pleasure.
Still interested? Good. I’ve managed to bring you all to the dark side. Have a cookie.
Though I guess you would also want the stories I’ve promised you as incentive to keep reading this post. To be quiet honest, I don’t know where to begin. Should I start with the spray on hair dye I used before just dying my hair black, or the fact that I filmed battle scenes in the snow in somewhere between 4 and 10 degree weather with an injured knee? I guess I’ll start with the latter because it’s far more interesting than annoying, messy hair dye.
Once we had access to armor that wasn’t entirely made out of cardboard, we were able to film some of the more movement heavy scenes. We also got a lot of snow in January of 2014 and had a great white canvas to film our snow battle scenes on. Let me just say that it was cold. Like I would have cut open a Tauntaun and use it to keep warm if I could have cold. Blankets, hot cocoa, and frequent trips into the Shulgaches’ basement were a necessity to keep from freezing during those days.
We managed to get a lot done, and we managed to fit in a lot of crazy shenanigans while doing so. The first day we were filming in the Mandalorian camp on the ice world Rekkiad, our Revan actor Tim couldn’t make it, so we did promotional shots like the one above. We also did goofy shots like this one:
And we made a short film all about Canderous’s quest for a jar of Nutella (cleverly hidden inside a box because we were trying to give it a more “serious” tone).
The day we filmed the larger of the two Rekkiad battle scenes, the packed snow around the camp had frozen to ice. We could barely walk through the camp without falling, and if you look around the YouTube channel for the project, you will find a “fall compilation” in one of the behind the scenes videos because it was just too funny not to include. We filmed a battle in the snow that involved my character having to figure out the logistics of dodging blaster fire and killing everyone with a sword.
Did I mention that those where some of the first days I had to wear a knee brace after finding out that I had knee problems? Injury plus already bad knees plus cold was fun to act around.
We filmed in the cold again the next January to finish up the scenes on Rekkiad, and I got to reshoot the first scene I ever shot because of a better location and armor. The weather that day was a sweltering 17 degrees (compared to the previous January), and we were filming in an old building on a farm. I can’t share many stories from that day because of major spoilers for the film, but I can say that it was amazing to spend that time with the cast again.
If I’m going to be quite honest, I miss filming Revan, but I’m so thankful for what we’ve accomplished. Our premiere in Harford County, Maryland, was sold out with people crammed standing in the theater so that as many as possible could see it. It was amazing to reconnect with a lot of the cast and see the final product on the big screen. It was also really weird watching myself on a movie screen.
This is a fan film that I highly recommend to anyone who loves Star Wars, and I hope you all enjoy it!