Thursday afternoon, while an apocalyptic downpour rendered the San Francisco cityscape an abstract of gray, things were plenty colorful at Lucasfilm’s screening theater in the Presidio.
Filmmakers from as far away as Malaysia and as young as 12 years old were gathered to see their own short works played in the house that Star Wars built. Each was a winner of the #GoRogue contest, which asked fans from around the globe to use action figures to create their own content inspired by Rogue One, the new stand-alone film set within the Star Wars universe.
Running the gamut from silly to action-packed, the seven winning #GoRogue entries that were shown served as a prelude to an advanced screening of Rogue One itself, the cherry on top of a magical day for the select few filmmakers chosen by a judging panel that included Rogue director Gareth Edwards and Star Wars: Rebels voice actress Ashley Eckstein.
Following a tour of Rancho Obi-Wan, which houses the world’s largest collection of Star Wars toys, memorabilia, and artifacts, the winners were treated to some introductory remarks from Industrial Light & Magic President and General Manager Lynwen Brennan.
“The passion of our fans is what drives us,” she said, before informing the winners that each would receive a coveted ILM crew member pin—usually reserved only for those that have worked directly on a Star Wars feature.
The variety of the winning entries reflected the global enthusiasm and diverse appeal of the Star Wars franchise, factors responsible for making terms like “lightsaber” and “scruffy-looking nerf herder” common place in our pop culture lexicon.
Tan Gin K.’s The Last Transmission… from Malaysia was an action-packed scene in which Rebel forces desperately attempt to transmit vital information before enemy forces can stop them. Una historia de Star Wars from Mexico’s Jose C. was presented in Spanish without subtitles, featuring the exploits of a legion of toy Star Wars figures as they steal a pacifier from a human toddler.
Perhaps the funniest entry of all was What Will You Become, a short involving Lego Star Wars figures from Rogue One sitting around a table and imagining what they’ll do next after successfully stealing the plans of the Death Star. Reminiscent of Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken, it’s genuine humor and absurdity was a refreshing change of pace for Star Wars, which is often guilty of taking itself entirely too seriously.
Speaking with reporters after the conclusion of the Rogue One screening, “U.S./Canada 8 – 12” category winner Ian M. from Indiana said it took three weeks to complete his stop-motion entry, One Force.
Asked for his thoughts on Rogue One, he declared it awesome. But which was better, Rogue One or Ian’s own take on the Star Wars universe?
“Definitely Rogue One,” he giggled, but at least for one afternoon, there was no need to choose.