The Wall Street Journal had a bit of scoop in the “user-generated content” area today, with the news that Lucasfilms is re-launching StarWars.com on Friday, with a massive library of fan films, and some online video-editing tools from Eyespot that will allow fans to mash-up clips (more than 250 in all) from all six of the movies and mix in their own content. For a Star Wars fan and/or aspiring filmmaker, this is a pretty huge deal.
As the WSJ story points out, Lucasfilms isn’t quite opening itself up completely to the fan-film phenomenon — the submissions will be monitored by Eyespot’s software for nudity and other bad things (so forget about the “Leia slave-girl” mashups you’re thinking about, boys) and just to be extra sure, they will all be watched by a team of human filters in Costa Rica (why Costa Rica? Who knows). Fans will also be restricted to using the clips and music that Lucas provides, which some fans are upset by. At the same time, however, it’s easy to understand how a filmmaker like George Lucas — who is notoriously control-oriented — would feel just a tad nervous about allowing his creations to be altered and mashed-up without any restrictions whatsoever. I think he actually deserves some credit for giving it a shot (and as John Murrell at GMSV notes, it’s also enlightened self-interest). It will be interesting to see whether we can find another fan creation that’s as good as Chad Vader: DayShift Manager.