Bucketheads: Star Wars fan film series takes viewers to a galaxy far, far, away

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Realizing your dreams is a beautiful experience, and for Bucketheads co-creators Andy Brown and Marco Bassow, that moment came just over two years ago.

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In December of 2018 they released their Star Wars fan film on YouTube.

This passion project brings viewers inside the lives of Stormtroopers, something its creators say had never been done before.

“We decided that it was about time that somebody really showcased the Stormtroopers as the superior fighting force in the galaxy,” Brown said. “But, we also wanted to show the different shades of grey present in any kind of war scenario.

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“We really thought it would be an interesting spin on a story to portray what it’s like to be one of the bad guys, without knowing that you’re one of the bad guys.”

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The co-creators’ story ideas come from many places, including some from beyond the Star Wars universe.

“We wanted to bring in the realistic sense of films like Saving Private Ryan, or Band of Brothers, where war is nitty-gritty, and shouldn’t be as glorified as it is,” Brown explained. “A lot of the people there don’t understand what they’re even fighting for.”

“We spent a lot of time developing the storyline and the characters,”Bassow added. “We wanted to figure out who are these people who fight for the empire, what drives them? Although it was sort of tough, getting into our characters mindset, as neither Andy nor myself are space fascists.”

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Their initial 13 minute project garnered more than 2.1 million views, helping to push the pair to launch an extended series of Bucketheads.

“It must’ve been only a couple of months after (Bucketheads) was on YouTube that we really started putting the plan into motion, you know, starting to write again,” Brown said.

“It’s pretty cool to see how this project keeps going and has pretty much taken on a life of its own,” Bassow added.

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Unlike a regular television series Bucketheads works on what Brown called a “shoestring budget,” relying on a team composed solely of volunteers.  However, every team member involved is just as deeply passionate about the project as its creators.

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“A lot of super talented people from all different backgrounds and departments joined the project,” Bassow explained. “Were able to do more with it than we’d initially dreamed up.”

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“It’s glorious to be able to put one of those (Stormtrooper uniforms) on,” lead Troy Mundle, who portrays TK-423, said.

Mundle grew up a fan and jumped at the opportunity to join the cast.

“Once I saw the movie (as a kid), I was hooked,” Mundle explained. “I had the figurines, the posters, the bed sheets, the socks, and I’ve been a fan ever since.”

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Not even a pandemic could damper the mood on set, as the cast and crew adapt to the changes as they continue filming.

“Both Andy and I are lucky to be working on some of the big sets shooting in (Vancouver), so we get to watch how they’re dealing with it,” Bassow said. “What PPE is being used, what safe practices look like for having a large crew in a specific place.”

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“Everybody’s just really careful and cautious,” Brown echoed. “Bucketheads (is) fortunately a unique project where most of our principal actors were already masked,” he chuckled. “So, that really covered the bases of having people work close together.”

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One of the biggest differences noticed by Mundle has been the way those on set stay hydrated.

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“When you’re on set now you can’t just open up a water bottle and start drinking from it,” he explained. “There’s actually designated areas where you’re allowed to unmask and consume water. Also, it can’t be a bottle that you’ve brought in, it needs to be one that you got on set.”

“So yes, there’s been some definite changes, but, we’re very fortunate that we’re able to shoot,” Mundle continued. “We’ve had to make adjustments, but, it’s amazing that we can continue working, doing what we love to do.”

For those eager to see the work that has gone into the project, the Bucketheads braintrust has set a tentative release for part one, of episode one in late March.

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