Black Angel (1980 film)

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Black Angel
Black Angel 1980.jpg
Digital re-release poster
Directed by Roger Christian
Produced by
Written by Roger Christian
Music by Trevor Jones
Cinematography Roger Pratt
Edited by Alan Strachan
Release date
  • 21 May 1980 (1980-05-21) (United Kingdom)
Running time
25 min
Language English
Budget £25,000

Black Angel is a 1980 short film that was shown before the theatrical release of The Empire Strikes Back in certain locales. It was the directorial debut of Star Wars art director Roger Christian. The film negative was thought to be lost until it was rediscovered in December 2011. In June 2015, it was announced that Christian was working on a feature film adaptation of Black Angel, which would be in part funded on crowd-funding site, Indiegogo.


Sir Maddox, a medieval knight, returns from the Crusades to find his home rife with sickness and his family gone. As he journeys through this mystical realm he encounters a mysterious and beautiful maiden, who appears to him as he is drowning. Sir Maddox learns that the maiden is being held prisoner by a black knight and in order to free her he must confront her captor, the Black Angel.[1]



The film was shot at Eilean Donan in Scotland[2] in autumn 1979. The budget of £25,000 was given to Roger Christian by an Eady Scheme fund from the UK government.[3]

Release and rediscovery[edit]

George Lucas tied the film as a programme with The Empire Strikes Back in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Scandinavia.[4] It was never released on any home media, such as VHS and DVD, and for many years the original negatives were believed to be lost.

In December 2011, the 35 mm negative was rediscovered by an archivist at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, California.[1][5][6] On 13 October 2013, it was screened for the first time since its original release, and became available on Netflix and the iTunes Store for streaming and download, respectively, in early 2014.[1][6]

On 12 May 2015, the film was uploaded to YouTube with an introduction by Christian.[7]

Feature film adaptation[edit]

In June 2015 it was announced that Roger Christian was working on a feature film adaptation of the short.[8] At the same time Christian started an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for the film.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Mattise, Nathan (28 December 2012). "The Sword and Sorcery Precursor to Empire Strikes Back". Wired. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 12 April 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Verrier, Richard (16 October 2013). "Short film meant to accompany Empire Strikes Back makes a comeback". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 17 April 2014. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "Long-lost Scottish short now online". Visit Scotland. Retrieved 19 May 2015. 
  4. ^ Anderson, Martin (9 March 2010). "Exclusive interview: The worlds of Roger Christian". Shadowlocked. Retrieved 23 July 2010. 
  5. ^ Matisse, Nathan (10 September 2013). "Once-lost Star Wars-related short to screen for the first time in 33 years". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 14 September 2013. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Matisse, Nathan (20 October 2013). "Short that aired pre-Empire Strikes Back will come to Netflix, iTunes in 2014". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013. 
  7. ^ Machkovech, Sam (12 May 2015). "Short film that preceded theatrical Empire Strikes Back restored, on YouTube". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 13 May 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Rife, Katie. "The "lost" short that played with The Empire Strikes Back is being made into a feature". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2 June 2015. 

External links[edit]