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Star Wars fan film to honour a galaxy far, far away from the prairies

Elizabeth Chamberlain stars as bounty hunter Jodo Cass in "Rogue Bounty"

Prairie Star Wars fans can look forward to Rogue Bounty, a Star Wars fan film.

That’s because it’s being developed and filmed in Saskatchewan and stars University of Alberta BFA Acting student Elizabeth Chamberlain.

Directed by Chris Fischer, Rogue Bounty takes place in the Star Wars universe at about the same time as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The nonprofit project features “rogue bounty hunter” Jodo Cass, who runs into an old man and woman fleeing the empire.

But even though the film is a fan-created project and a completely new story, Chamberlain says everyone involved is aware of the Star Wars legacy.

“There are a lot of rules and history in Star Wars that you have to honour when you’re doing stuff like this,” she says. “We have to appreciate and respect that we can’t take over the Star Wars world.”

The project is currently in development stages, with filming set to take place in Saskatchewan in summer 2019. As a nonprofit project, Rogue Bounty is largely crowd-funded, meaning many fans are already supporting the project before it’s even begun filming.

“We’re riding this ramp of [people who are] fans because they’re already fans,” Chamberlain says. “Everybody’s already excited about it, and that’s really cool.”

Chamberlain is excited about filming in Saskatchewan, her home province. As a recent graduate of MacEwan University’s theatre arts program, all her film experience has been in Edmonton, making this a new, but welcome experience. She says she’s thrilled to be studying theatre at the U of A, but working on a crowdfunded project based in Saskatoon is completely different.

“In Edmonton everyone is very supportive of arts, but because of that there’s a lot of [activity] happening in Edmonton. In Saskatoon, I think the film stands out; it’s unique,” she says. “It’s a big thing that doesn’t often happen.”

According to Chamberlain, everyone involved in the project is a hardcore Star Wars fan. That’s why when the crew is looking for something like a stormtrooper costume, it’s not hard to find someone involved in the project already owns one. But although the film’s cast and crew are all fans, audience members don’t have to be.

“You can totally go into it not knowing anything,” Chamberlain says. “It’s very standalone. It’s a full narrative within itself.”

Rogue Bounty has also changed and grown along the way as a fan project taking full advantage of various resources. Director Chris Fischer, for example, is a film student in Saskatoon who, Chamberlain says, is always meeting new people who can help develop the project.

“[The project] is kind of always undergoing editing as we’re going along,” Chamberlain says. “We have a really solid foundation, but we’re building it based on what we collect along the way.”

Once the film is complete, the cast and crew are hoping to take it on the road to fan conventions in Western Canada. The film will also be available to view online. Find Rogue Bounty’s Kickstarter campaign here.

“With this, you have to do your job to honour something that already exists,” says Chamberlain of working in the Star Wars universe. “It’s challenging, but it’s also exciting.”

Katherine DeCoste

Katherine DeCoste wishes she was a houseplant, but instead she's a third-year English and history honours student. When she's not writing reviews of plays or hot takes about fossil fuels, she also dabbles in poetry, playwriting, and other non-fiction, which she has published in various places. Other interests include making and eating bread.

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