The popular Darth Vader fan-made movie Shards of the Past has delighted long-time Star Wars buffs. Getting fans of the franchise on board isn't the easiest thing to do, and Disney knows this all too well. With that being said, the studio has found a way to further drive a wedge between themselves and the intense following that Star Wars has by reportedly treating the popular Star Wars Theory YouTube channel unfairly. In response, passionate fans are calling for a boycott of Star Wars 9 and anything else that has Disney's fingerprints on it.
Before making Vader Episode 1: Shards of the Past, the Star Wars Theory YouTube channel asked for permission from Lucasfilm. They were then given the green light to move forward, as long as they followed two guidelines: they couldn't crowdfund and they couldn't monetize the fan film on YouTube. Toos, who runs the popular channel, decided to fund the movie himself and strictly make it out of his love of Star Wars. The movie was put out on December 20th and has nearly 7 million views.
Earlier this week, Toos received a copyright strike from Warner/Chappel publishing, who are the publisher for the Walt Disney Music Company. Even though he hired a composer to make music that was based off of the work of John Williams, the publisher believes that it is too close to the "Imperial March" theme. They did not take down the video, instead, they monetized it themselves and have made over $80,000, according to Toos. This news has left a bad feeling for hardcore fans, who have enjoyed fan films for decades.
While a lot of Star Wars 9 boycotts are often started by people who hate Disney and what they have done with the franchise, this new boycott comes from fans who are passionate about the way that Disney treats fans. George Lucas is/was a big supporter of fans creating their own takes on his stories, and Vader Episode 1: Shards of the Past could be one of the best ever made. Toos isn't bummed out that he wasn't able to monetize his movie, but the way that Disney has treated him has taken its toll.
After receiving the copyright strike, Toos revealed that Disney had reached out to him. However, it wasn't to offer support or even apologize, it was to basically threaten him against taking legal action against them. The theme that the movie uses is similar to John Williams' work, but it is not a direct rip-off, which means that Toos could actually have a case. But, the publisher threatened to have the entire Star Wars Theory YouTube channel taken down, which is how Toos makes his living.
After hearing about this treatment, many fans are calling for a boycott of Star Wars 9 and any future projects unless Disney and Warner/Chappel offer an apology for what they have done to the Star Wars Theory YouTube channel. To many, it feels like a slap in the face and reinforces preconceived thoughts about the studio's handling of the franchise. Hopefully this is all a big misunderstanding that gets resolved in a timely manner. You can check out Toos talking about the complaint below, thanks to the Star Wars Theory YouTube channel and check out the excellent Vader Episode 1: Shards of the Past too.