Not long ago, in a galaxy not far away, fans of George Lucas and the universe he created released their own chapter of the Star Wars saga, entitled “A Light in the Darkness.”
Directed and co-written by Fed Wetherbee of Moondoggie Media, the 40-minute independent production takes place on a small planet in the Outer Rim where the inhabitants of a mining colony are totally unprepared when an army of droids attacks.
When help from the Republic finally arrives, it consists of Storm Troopers under the command of an unnamed Jedi (Chris Lindsay, whom I would describe as “African-American” if it weren’t for the fact that neither Africa nor America exists in the Star Wars universe).
Young Farin (A. J. Achinger) looks up to the Jedi as “a true leader, giving confidence to all those around him.”
“He was also kind and fair-minded,” Farin notes in a voice-over comment after the Jedi ended a tug-of-war over a piece of food between the boy and his best female friend Kyla (Jackie Dozier) by splitting it in half and giving a piece to each child
It’s not long before the boy begins receiving elementary training from the Jedi knight in combat tactics and use of a light saber.
But as we saw in the “third” Star Wars film, “Revenge of the Sith,” the Storm Troopers were programmed by the Sith and turn on the Jedi, killing them with an overwhelming assault. The only thing Farin has left of the warrior he looked up to is his severely damaged light saber.
While freed from the droids, the colony was now under Imperial occupation, and the colonists soon learned “there are always those willing to trade loyalty for power,” particularly the despotic new governor, Zalem (Bill Stinchcomb).
Some of the colonists try to fight back, but the enemy forces are “just too strong,” Farin notes. “We need something more, something that would unite the people. We needed a symbol.”
Nineteen years later, the adult Farin (Mark Whitten) trades with a pig-snouted, four armed trader named “Wanna” (John Loper) to obtain a special item. When the alien threatens to take the money and keep the relic, the adult Kyla (Natalie Cordone) intervenes by pointing a gun at the trader’s head and, after Farin has left with the item, takes back the credits as well.
Meanwhile, an Imperial officer (J. Scott Browning) warns Zalem that unrest among the colony’s people is interfering with the amount of zenite being produced. As a result, the governor orders that all shifts be increased and food rations be cut in half.
Farin and Kyla enter a bar operated by a man named Corom (Ken Kincaid), where Farin states he hopes their acts of resistance will draw the attention of the rebel alliance.
That evening, Farin, Kyla and Corom meet fellow rebels, and Farin shows them that he’d secured the final piece to make the Jedi’s light saber functional and activates it for everyone to see.
Farin tells the group that the Jedi used such devices to maintain peace throughout the galaxy for thousands of years, but Kyla responds: “You’re not a Jedi.”
But no one knows that, Farin states, which will enable the rebels to use the Empire’s fear of the old order against them.
As the group prepares to make its first attack, Farin dresses in hooded Jedi clothing and puts white and blue makeup on his face to look like a ghost.
“Time to raise the dead,” he says.
Days later, Corom tells two new customers in his bar that strange things have been going on recently, and Imperial troops are showing up dead or bound and gagged, possibly due to the restless soul of a Jedi knight come to take back the planet.
Before long, the Imperial lieutenant demands that Zalem eliminate the problem or a new governor will take his place. The villain then stabs the officer and turns his attention to obtaining information from an unhappy pig-snouted alien trader.
That evening, a number of Storm Troopers led by Zalem invades the rebel hideout. Several people in the group are captured, and the governor orders them to be executed in the public square, but he takes Farin with him since he remembers “the little boy that wanted to play Jedi.”
Spoiler Alert: If you’d rather watch the fan film’s ending yourself, skip down to the link at the end of this article. If not, just continue reading.
Corom manages to stay hidden and assembles the rest of the group in the square. Just as the Storm Troopers prepare to kill the three rebels, an explosion behind them catches the soldiers off guard while the crowd pulls out all manner of weapons and takes on their oppressors.
Corom then frees Kyla from her bonds and gives her a gun, which she uses to take out the trader/traitor as he attempts to flee.
In the governor’s compound, Zalem prepares to use his double-bladed light saber (which crackles with purple energy) to kill Farin, but the captive manages to get free of his bonds and retrieves his light saber.
During the duel, the governor manages to separate Farin from his weapon on a walkway, then uses his double-bladed saber to electrify the railings. Just when it appears Farin is beaten, Zalem receives a message that the situation on the surface has deteriorated. and the colonists “are in full revolt.”
Farin smiles triumphantly, and his grin would be even bigger if he knew that several rebel ships have arrived to take on the Empire’s Star Destroyer in orbit above.
The battle between Farin and Zalem moves into the main control platform, and the rebel states that if the mining operation wasn’t there, the Empire would leave.
With that, he plunges his light saber into the main console and holds it there, even after the governor strikes him with a killing blow.
The entire compound begins to crumble, and Zalem moves toward a badly wounded Farin with the intention of killing him with his own light saber.
Just then, Kyla appears and fires her gun at Zalem. As a result, he falls off the central console platform and plummets to his death.
She then tries to help Farin, but he says he’s dying and asks her to take his light saber so enemy soldiers won’t find it. He also asks her to continue the struggle against their oppressors and finally expresses his love for her.
After Farin goes to the big starship in the sky, Kyla turns her attention to the light saber, which is on the floor several feet away. As she continues to focus on the weapon, it flies toward her, meaning that she is strong in the Force.
And with that, it’s time to go all Clint Eastwood and get reviewing.
The Good: I can sum up this independent production in one word: Excellent! It has clever plot twists, characters that are well played, fantastic special effects and good costumes with nifty alien make-up. It really feels like part of the Star Wars saga, which is the highest praise I can give.
The Bad: Perhaps I should call this section “The Bad Guy,” since I want to sing the praises of Zalem. Bill Stinchcomb brings the character almost to the level of villainy established by Darth Vader, and his double-pronged laser saber is a terrific effect, with realistic crackling purple energy making it one of the best effects in the three-part story.
The Ugly: After having watched this fan film a few times, I keep telling myself that this time I won’t get all misty-eyed at the end. And every time, I do. It’s pretty ugly when you can make a grown man cry (a little), but “Light” keeps on doing that to me. Well done!