The next Star Wars film won’t be released for another seven months, but for those jonesing for a fix of the galaxy far, far away, there’s new hope in the form of a short film put together by a group of drone pilots, depicting a Rebel Alliance starship escaping Imperial fighters.
Given that this short film’s budget was probably a few hundred million dollars less than what Disney gave J.J. Abrams to work with on 2015’s The Force Awakens, it’s pretty impressive how captivating its chase scene is.
The scene was filmed by Rotor Riot, a group which includes some of the most well-known drone racers on the internet, using modified racing drones and old Star Wars toys; including three Imperial fleet TIE fighters, a Rebel Alliance X-wing, some Stormtrooper figurines and a miniature R2-D2. Some of the footage was shot by attaching motors and propellers to the toys, while attachments that looked like cockpits were added to the faster, nimbler racing drones to film the scenes of the planes juking in and out of trees.
The plot is simple: R2-D2 seems to have somehow been captured by the Empire in an X-wing and is trying to escape (his regular companion Luke Skywalker is nowhere to be found). He pilots his ship through forests and bridges, in footage that feels reminiscent of the first viral drone racing video, which also compared flying drones to Star Wars chase scenes.
The group also put together a behind-the-scenes video to show how the film came together. Although the final product actually almost looks like something you’d expect to see on the big screen, in reality they dealt with countless crashes, redesigns, and logistical headaches: