|Directed by||Kevin Rubio|
|July 18, 1997|
Troops is a 1997 short mockumentary film directed by Kevin Rubio that debuted at San Diego Comic-Con International on July 18, 1997 and was subsequently distributed via the internet. The film is a parody of COPS, set in the Star Wars universe. In the film, Imperial stormtroopers from the infamous Black Sheep Squadron patrolling the Dune Sea on the planet Tatooine run into some very familiar characters while being filmed for the hit Imperial TV show Troops. In a Reddit AMA in January 2018, Rubio stated that Troops is acknowledged by George Lucas as a canonical installment in the Star Wars franchise.
The film jump-started the modern fan film movement, as it was one of the first short films to bring fan films into the digital age, taking advantage of internet distribution and affordable production and special effects equipment, as well as fans with movie-quality costumes. Rubio shot the film on location on the El Mirage Dry Lake.
An example of the film's comedic tone comes in the opening monologue, which spoofs the opening of COPS: "TROOPS is filmed on location with the men of the Imperial Forces. All suspects are guilty--period! Otherwise, they wouldn't be suspects, would they?" Adding to the comic tone are the accents from the stormtoopers which is very reminiscent to the accents heard in the movie Fargo.
In TROOPS there is a notable alternate (tongue-in-cheek) take on the deaths of Luke Skywalker's Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, presenting their fate as the end result of a domestic dispute gone too far, rather than execution at the hands of Imperial forces. Indeed, the spotlighted members of Black Sheep Squadron attempt to mediate the dispute before Beru makes a disastrous move with a thermal detonator.
The film ends with an incoming message about a possible disturbance in Mos Eisley Cantina.
Fan Films Quarterly listed Troops as one of the 10 most pivotal moments in fan film history in its Summer 2006 issue. In August 2010, Time magazine listed it as one of the Top 10 Star Wars fanfilms.
In 2005, a new film called I.M.P.S. was released, made by several of the actors from TROOPS. Originally planned as a sequel, the film was first billed as TROOPS 2, but was renamed after fans learned that not only was Rubio not involved with the project, but that over the course of writing and production, the film had evolved into something entirely different (with a serious tone as opposed to the comedic one in TROOPS).
Troops was released on the free DVD given away with the inaugural edition of Total Movie magazine, complete with commentary track by Rubio. It was also included as a bonus feature on the 20th anniversary DVD of the TV series COPS.
- I'm The Creator of Tag and Bink -- AMA About Them
- The Top 10 Star Wars Fan Films, Time.com, August 24, 2010, retrieved September 15, 2010
- TheForce.Net - Fan Films - TROOPS : Ten Years Later