Yesterday’s surprise announcement of the new Star Wars movie title, The Force Awakens, was particularly shocking to Vancouver-based videographer Dan Lalonde. Back in 2005, Lalonde made a Star Wars fan movie about an ordinary Canadian guy who obtains the powers of a Jedi. The title of his amateur film? The Force Awakens. (Watch the trailer, above.) “My movie is kind of crappy, to be honest, which makes it even more funny,” Lalonde, 35, tells Yahoo Movies. “It is pretty awesome, though, to have come up with the title.”
The poster for the movie
Lalonde’s 50-minute film was inspired in equal part by his love of Star Wars and a viewing of the 2004 Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator. Set in the present day, The Force Awakens is about an emotionally troubled recluse who discovers his Skywalker-like abilities when he single-handedly stops a meteor from killing his girlfriend. The movie was very much a DIY affair, starring Lalonde’s friends and filmed locally. When it was completed, the director made it available for free online via torrent. As for the title, “it pretty much just came to me,” says Lalonde. “I thought, hey, he’s awakening the force by stopping the giant meteor coming at him.”
For the most part, Lucasfilm has been supportive of fan-made film homages, even launching the Official Star Wars Fan Film Awards in 2002 to honor the genre. If you’re a filmmaker with your own intergalactic ambitions, this year’s deadline for submissions is Jan. 16. Just don’t call your movie The Force Awakens, because that title has already been taken… twice.