It's been over two years since a Darth Maul fan film ignited YouTube with over 16 million views, and now another fan film starring an iconic Sith Lord has been released -- one that appears to be the first of many more to come.
The YouTube channel "Star Wars Theory" recently published a video titled "Vader Episode I: Shards of the Past," which takes place eight months after Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader. The film boasts a high level of production, voice impersonations of multiple Star Wars characters, and an intriguing story that focuses on Vader's pain after the death of his love, Padme Amidala.
The film is roughly 10 minutes long, and takes on a similar storyline to Marvel's "Darth Vader" comic series, which began with Vader searching for remaining Jedi after the execution of Order 66. In this film, Vader's inner turmoil and resentment towards the Emperor are especially prevalent, and are laid out in the opening sequence.
In what turns out to be a dream he is having, Vader encounters a great many Star Wars luminaries, from a large group of Clone troopers to Padme to the Emperor, himself. It also nods to the survival of a fan-favorite Jedi, known for wielding an "amethyst blade," perhaps setting up an epic rematch between Windu, Vader and the Emperor. Of course, the first meeting between the three resulted in Anakin Skywalker cutting Windu's hand off before the Emperor seemingly killed him, thus resulting in the creation of Darth Vader.
There are many other callbacks to Star Wars stories and characters throughout the short film, including a shout-out to the 501st, the elite infantry of troopers that Anakin led during the Clone Wars. Finally, the film ends with what seems to be a nod to Luke's force encounter with Vader on Degobah in The Empire Strikes Back. Whether it's real or not remains to be seen, but the film ends with Vader staring down into a cavernous hole, drawing his lightsaber.
Titled as a first episode, the creative team behind the Star Wars Theory account has announced more videos on the way. The video already has over 220 thousand views, and was trending on YouTube. In a pinned comment beneath the video, Star Wars Theory lets viewers know that "This is just the beginning!"