A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Roger Christian, the Academy Award winning set designer for Star Wars, directed a short film selected by George Lucas to open before screenings of The Empire Strikes Back. The short, Black Angel, disappeared sometime after its release and only resurfaced a couple of years ago. Following its rediscovery and restoration, Christian decided to allow fans to experience this lost bit of Star Wars related film lore when he screened it at the Royal Cinema in Toronto, earlier this year.
A rainy evening did little to dampen the buzz surrounding Black Angel’s Toronto screening. Fans and media gathered to watch the short, meet the director and learn more about the film and his work on Star Wars and other sci-fi classics like Alien. After the screening, Christian sat down with noted film critic Richard Crouse, to discuss the process behind Black Angel’s restoration.
During a lively Q&A, the affable and engaging Christian related the events that led to George Lucas choosing Black Angel to open for Empire in Europe. The film never saw the light of day in North America as the practice of showing shorts before a film had come to an end on this side of the pond by the time of Empire’s release. He delighted the audience with tales of Black Angel’s rediscovery and restoration, the challenges of making the film and the fact that the castle used in Black Angel was featured a few years later in Highlander. Christian also provided some insight into his role in the Star Wars films. He went into detail explaining the process behind creating the iconic lightsabers, some of the set designs and other items in the Star Wars saga.
A fun evening was capped by an appearance by R2D2 and audience members were given a chance to take pictures on the red carpet with Christian and his signature invention, the lightsaber.