Indie filmmakers Alok Mishra and Leif Einarsson claim that the web series R2D2: Beneath the Dome, which is downloadable from the StarWars.com web site, directly lifts ideas from their fan-made short Jar Jar Binks: The True Hollywood Story.
Producer Alok Mishra of Hannum Monkey Productions commented exclusively to Film Threat in a brief letter after Star Wars Episode I made its network debut on FOX television: “Did you happen to see the R2D2: Beneath the Dome special that was on Fox after Phantom Menance on Sunday night? They showed part one of a three-part series that completely rips off our Jar Jar short.” Mishra spoke with Film Threat about the misfortunate set of circumstances regarding his Jar Jar Binks short, which has been a favorite on the fan circuit at conventions and film festivals, and even played recently at the prestigious American Cinematheque in Los Angeles. The producer could barely contain his outrage, “I’m talking a shot-for-shot rip off at parts.”
Others members from the creative team behind the Jar Jar short also expressed their displeasure with the Flanneled One. Jar Jar Writer/director Leif Einarsson put it in perspective, “As young indie filmmakers, we’ve only just dreamed of being George Lucas, ironically, it seems that he just wants to be us.”
“At first we were flattered, but then we saw the scenes from next week and the R2 short essentially copies the storyline and visuals so much that we ended up being rather annoyed,” said Mishra.
Writer and actor Dave Estes jokingly added, “If they really want a good idea, I’ve got one about a young boy who goes to a school for wizards…”
Mishra feels Lucas may be taking advantage of fans. “Not only did they rip us off, they did it in such a mediocre fashion and they had a budget and access to the stars.” Producer Mishra does not take R2D2: Beneath the Dome so lightly. “Additionally we received word from some our friends at ILM that there will be three baby Jar Jars in Episode II that have a three stooges-esque rapport with each other… Oh Lucas, will you never learn.”
Clearly, legal action is not an option for the powerless filmmakers, since the Jar Jar parody short was fan-made. And the little detail that the Jar Jar character is owned lock, stock and barrel by LucasFilm. However, that hasn’t stopped Mishra from feeling offended.
Mishra ends by saying, “We were both shocked and flattered that Mr. Lucas chose to borrow so heavily from our short. At least now the title ‘Attack of the Clones’ makes more sense.”
If you really want to see an interesting piece of “Star Wars”-related video, be sure to download this George Lucas Japanese television commercial from theForce.net. And you don’t even need to purchase Quicktime for $29.99 to see it!
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