In the roughly 33 years since George Lucas introduced us to a saga from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, fans haven’t been able to get enough of Star Wars. One of the side effects of this desperate need of a Star Wars fix is that fans are creating their own content based upon the original story. There’s fan-created fiction, art, filk music, and video content that falls into two categories: mashups and fan films.

The difference between video mashups and films is that mashups use the existing video content from the feature films, which is sometimes altered, while the films use new content created specifically for the film. So, following these guidelines the video that you create using JibJab’s Star Wars Staring You Web site would be a mashup, while the LEGO Star Wars saga told in 2 minutes 13 seconds is a fan film.

It doesn’t matter whether a video is a mashup or a film, both types of content fall along some basic lines: They re-tell the existing story, sometimes with an amusing twist, continue it, or even blend Star Wars with other tales or even the real world. I have a strong leaning towards the films that retell parts of the original story. When it comes down to it, I actually like Weird Al Yankovic’s The Saga Begins more than Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace.

Some of these films answer questions that have plagued Star Wars fans for years. In Star Wars games, where the force powers are well defined, videos answer some of the questions that fans have concerning the movies. An example of this is the mashup that answers the question of what would have happened if Obi-Wan had used force speed in an attempt to help Qui-Gon Jinn.

Star Wars and TV mashups

A common type of fan-created video is one that blends Star Wars with a television program; most of these mashups seem just a little odd. See what I mean in these mashups: Star Wars with a MacGyver opening and Star Wars with The A-Team opening (which is just plain wrong); both of these videos are much easier to stomach compared to Star Wars with a Dallas opening. As popular as this type of mash-up is, I’m really glad that the movies never went along these lines. However, this mashup could answer the question of whether Han shot first.

My favorite Star Wars fan videos

I’d be remiss if I didn’t end with two of the best fan videos: Ryan vs. Dorkman and Ryan vs. Dorkman II. Both of these videos are lightsaber battles, which appear to have been professionally done by the folks at Industrial Light and Magic, but according to Wikipedia, they weren’t.

The Ryan vs. Dorkman videos are my favorites; what are your favorite Star Wars mashups and fan-created films?

Additional Star Wars resources on TechRepublic

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