George Lucas wanted a short to play in front of The Empire Strikes Back in the U.K. After reading a script written by Star Wars Set Decorator, Roger Christian, Lucas commissioned the short Black Angel for £25,000. The negatives were lost for years until they were found in 2011 by an archivist at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. After a lengthy restorative process, it is now available on YouTube.
The short is more interesting than good, and the actual story is fairly minimal. The knight, Sir Maddox, returns home to find it destroyed and overrun with illness. Maddox then leaves the manor to find the raiders who wrecked his home. Along the way he falls into a lake, but a young woman saves him by… pleading with death? After stating she is bound to the Black Angel, Sir Maddox vows to free her because he owes her his life.
Black Angel reminds me of shooting videos in high school where the sets and props seemed to matter more than the story. However, it is beautifully shot, and I image would be quite breathtaking if seen in a theater. Even watching the short on my computer monitor was really impressive. Plus, it was nice to watch something that didn’t cut between shots every two seconds.
The most interesting thing about Black Angel is it’s a piece of Star Wars history that has nothing to do with Star Wars. If this wasn’t associated with The Empire Strikes Back, it would be an easily forgotten short. If you are like me though, you’ll want to check out all things associated with Star Wars no matter how obscure. Whatever you might think about Black Angel, I think we can all agree at least it is better than the holiday special.