Block Wars is an American satrical parody film of the popular Star Wars flms, filmed in Blockland. The first ten minutes of the film was released as an extended trailer in June of 2009. The project was originally headed by users Swholli and WRB852, however WRB852 has since left the project (though his name is still included in the credits). The film is currently unfinished.
As of 2011, the film has gone under two hiatuses but has still continued to be labled as "in production." While it is unknown the current state of the film's completion, Swholli has said: "I'm sorry for the continued inactivity, though you're all probably used to it by now. I promise you, this is still far from over, I refuse to quit. Some plans are being made and with some possible involvement of key players, I may be able to still salvage this."
Details are unknown of how it is planned to be continued, but some speculate a reshooting of old footage may be required to update the film to complete faster than before.
Blockland is in a state of civil war. Spies for the Rebel Alliance have stolen plans to the Galactic Blockpire's Death Egg: a space station capable of annihilating an entire planet. Rebel leader Princess Leia is in possession of the plans, but her ship is captured by Imperial forces under the command of the evil lord Darth Vader. Before she is captured, Leia hides the plans and requests to pick up her dry cleaning in the memory of a droid called R2-D2, along with a holographic recording. The small droid escapes to the surface of the desert planet Tatooine with fellow droid N-1GR. The two droids are quickly captured by Jawa traders, who sell the pair to moisture farmer Owen Lars and his nephew, Luke Skywalker. While Luke is cleaning R2-D2, he accidentally triggers part of Leia's holographic message, in which she requests help from Obi-Wan Kenobi. The only "Kenobi" Luke knows of is an old hermit named Ben Kenobi who lives in the nearby hills. Thinking the message is part of a longer, pornographic video, Luke goes out in search of Obiwan. Just after finding him they are attacked by Sand People. The assailants are scared off by Ben Kenobi, who reveals himself to be Obi-Wan. He takes Luke and the droids to his home, where he tells Luke of his days as a Jedi Knight. The Jedi were the guardians of peace, justice, and low coffee prices in the galaxy before being wiped out by the Blockpire's Starblocks Coffee. Obi-Wan tells of the Latte, from which the Jedi draw their power. He goes on to tell Luke of his father, Anakin Skywalker, another Jedi who fought alongside Obi-Wan. Contrary to his uncle's claims, Luke learns that his father was betrayed and killed by Darth Vader, Obi-Wan's former pupil who turned to the "dark side of the Latte". Luke is presented with his father's lightsaber, the Jedi's weapon of choice. Obi-Wan views Leia's complete message. Leia begs Obi-Wan to take R2-D2 and the Death Egg plans to her home planet of Alderaan, where her father will be able to retrieve and analyze them. Obi-Wan asks Luke to learn the ways of the Latte and join him on the trip. Luke initially refuses, claiming Obi-Wan as a pedophile, and offering Obi-Wan transit to a local space port. When he discovered that his home has been destroyed and his aunt and uncle were killed by Blockperial stormtroopers in search of the droids, Luke agrees to join Obi-Wan and travel to Alderaan. The two hire smuggler Han Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot Pedobacca (named because of the Pedobear decal) to transport them on their ship, the Millennium Falcon. Meanwhile, Leia has been imprisoned on the Death Egg and has resisted revealing the location of the secret Rebel base. The Commander, the Death Star's commanding officer, tries to coax information out of her by threatening to destroy Alderaan. Leia begins taunting The Commander with insults and such, infuriating him to the point of destroying the planet stating how he was prepared to negoiate but she had pissed him off. When the Falcon arrives at Alderaan's coordinates, it finds only a cloud of rubble. They follow a TIE fighter, not realizing they are being drawn towards the Death Egg. When they attempt to flee, the ship Falcon is captured by the station's tractor beam, and is brought into its hangar bay. The group escapes from the Falcon and takes refuge in a command room while Obi-Wan goes off to disable the tractor beam. While they are waiting, Luke discovers that Princess Leia is aboard and is scheduled to be executed. Sizing up the situation, Han, Luke, and Pebadocca stage a rescue and free the princess. After several harrowing escapes, they make their way back to the Falcon, where they witness a lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader. As the others race onto the ship to escape, Obi-Wan allows himself to be struck down by Vader's lightsaber; Kenobi disappears while his empty cloak and deactivated lightsaber fall to the ground. As the Falcon makes its escape, Vader and The Commander reveal that a tracking device was placed aboard the ship in order to finally find the rebel base. After fighting their way though a token defence, the Falcon flies clear of the Death Star and reaches the Yavin IV Rebel base. The Death Egg plans are analyzed by the Rebels, disclosing a vulnerable exhaust port leading to the main reactor. Luke joins the assault team but Han collects his reward for the rescue and leaves, despite Luke's request to stay and fight. The Death Egg arrives and is met by Rebel fighters. The Rebels suffer heavy losses - after several failed attack runs few pilots survive. Vader appears in a TIE Advanced X1 and attacks the Rebel ships. Luke, one of the few Rebel pilots left, begins his attack as the Death Star moves into to attack range. Vader closes on Luke, but as he is about to fire, Han arrives in the Falcon and attacks Vader's wingmen to the tune of Micheal Jackson's Thriller. Vader's ship is sent careening off into space. Guided by Obi-Wan's voice telling him to use the Latte, Luke switches off his targeting computer and fires a successful shot, destroying the Death Egg seconds before it is about to fire on the Rebel base. Later, Princess Leia awards medals to Luke and Han for their heroism.
Production and Delays Edit
In December of 2007 (ironically the 30th anniversary of the first Star Wars film) a post was made in the Community Projects board titled "Whos up for movie making?" In it, the post detailed the idea of Swholli and WRB852 to parody the film Star Wars in Blockland. The topic requested that anyone interested in applying for several positions including voice actor, add-on creator, decaller, and set-builder. This would also be the first time the phrase "physical actor" would be used to describe the in-game process of portraying a character on screen. The term was created by Swholli and WRB852 as a means of recognizing the difference between a voice actor and an in-game actor (as the two are often different in terms of Blockland machinima; often the "physical actor" can be several different players with only one voice actor). The phrase caught on for various different Blockland machinima makers and is used as universal standard today. Once a discussion on the topic title (due to vague and ambiguous nature) it was settled to simply be the film's title: Block Wars - Episode IV: No Hope.
The topic gained a vast amount of support and pre-production was put in effect. With the help of user Packer, for complicated add-ons, and Adio, for high-quality set building, the team began shooting and changed the status as in-production. Filming was hectic, as with most Blockland machinimas, as actors were sparsely willing to cooperate let alone follow direction. Eventually key scenes began to take shape. The process was daunting and different than most productions. WRB852 would (and what would later prove to be a problem) edit the footage into his timeline immediately after shooting it. While this meant that it allowed for faster release of finalized renders, it would cause the production on set to feel rushed and agonizing. Eventually the production was reaching the ten minute mark, a goal set up by WRB852, but lacked certain special effect elements to seal the final render. As WRB852 went about recreating the famous opening scene in-game,another user, Darkstar (known for his own machinimas as well as film clan Block Eye Entertainment or BEE), was asked to render some of the more difficult special effects shots.
The release of the 10 minute trailer was a huge success, as several members called it "the best Blockland movie to date." And while many have come after it, only few have been able to capture that same sense of professionalism as Block Wars already has. It became such a hit that Blockland creator Eric "Badspot" Hartman featured Block Wars on his personal Digg page as well as the Blockland website . After the release, WRB852 and Swholli decided to take a self created hiatus as a sort of vacation from the work, as the production had be hectic thus far. Concern had been show toward the lack of work that came out of a roughly two year production (being it only ten minutes for two years wait since announcement), plans of a hiatus came as a bit of an annoyance.
However, the problem would become worse. Sometime in the summer of 2009, WRB852's external harddrive became corrupt and failed to operate. This meant the cost of all of the original, unedited footage of the first ten minutes all being deleted. With the failed harddrive and continued messaging about seeking involvement with the film despite the hiatus, WRB852 advised Swholli to lock the topic. So, with a somewhat saddening goodbye, Swholli allowed the topic to sink into the oblivion of "too old to bump." WRB852 left the project due to lack of interest and inactivity, stating he no longer wanted the stress of being the director, camera man, and editor. He handed the jobs off to Swholli and told him that he'd still be there for occasional support, but nothing like it was before. Block Wars seemed as if though it were shutting down forever.
It wasn't until January of 2011 that Swholli had a spark of interest in Block Wars again. He began secretly filming (unknown to the community) more footage as well as editing the original ten minutes to fix some inconsistencies. Eventually he laid down a voice track consisting of himself doing every major role, even the laughable performance as Leia. At this point, the film was up to twenty minutes in length in only a tenth of the time it took to get to ten minutes. It seemed as if the project was finally going to be finished.
Due to Swholli wanting there to be more voices than just his own on the project, he set out to find voice actors to fill other roles he himself felt he couldn't do. User Taboo signed on as the voice of Han and already team member Packer offered as the voice of Obi-Wan. Darkstar also was willing to provide the voice for Luke, and Swholli continued to fill in the extra roles as well as that of Darth Vader and N-1GR. Most of Luke's dialog for the Tatooine shots had been filled by Darkstar and so that scene had been completed. However, soon the plague of inactivity took hold once more.
Taboo and Packer had been late with their voices, so the production was at a stand still as it couldn't continue on to Mos Eiesly (let alone the rest of the film) without Han Solo. As weeks became months, Swholli's interest became smaller and his school work became more a priority. With only twenty (still unreleased) minutes in the can, Swholli took a second hiatus that still lasts until today. Speculation on the film's completion is doubtful and most consider it to be an unfinished work that may never be. Swholli insists that he hasn't lost faith in the project and that it will eventually become a reality.Swholli is quoted as saying:
"I'm sorry for the continued inactivity, though you're all probably used to it by now. I promise you, this is still far from over, I refuse to quit. Some plans are being made and with some possible involvement of key players, I may be able to still salvage this."
Hopes of the film's completion remain, but it's uncertain when that will be. Even though fan's expectations are no longer as high as before, and the interest by the general community is more lukewarm now than before, Block Wars undoubtedly made a mark on Blockland Machinima. It wasn't a huge leap in technicality or story telling, but instead showed that Blockland could be used to make movies of any size and shape, and even something as difficult to recreate as Star Wars, could be achieved.
Sequels EditAlthough it's obviously far too early to be thinking about sequels, Swholli has always made it clear that he "started" with Episode Four because of two reasons. One, the original trilogy by far is superior to the prequels, and two, The Empire Strikes Back was his favorite of the three, but you "can't do Empire without first doing A New Hope." This means that sequels are in mind assuming that Block Wars is ever finished. The titles are as follows:
Block Wars - Episode IV: No Hope
Block Wars - Episode V: The Blockpire Done Goofed
Block Wars - Episode VI: Return of the Latte
Obviously Episode Four's script has been finished, but surprisingly, so has Episode Five's due to Swholli's love of that film. Episode Six has seen a few pages, but was later stopped due to lack of concentration on Four.
When it was discussed briefly about the prequel trilogy Swholli stated his high dislike for them and that he'd never be making those. However, upon further thought, the idea actually seemed viable, as they were more prone to parody fodder due to their unlinked nature. Drawing on inspiration from RedLetterMedia's Plinkett Review, parts of a script for Episode One were written after completion of Episode Five. However, due to feeling that thinking of the prequels before the first one was even completed, Swholli abandoned writing Episode One, Five (though finished) and Six all together and went back to working on the first film. Only the titles are finished:
Block Wars - Episode I: Phantom but Deadly
Block Wars - Episode II: Send in the Clones
Block Wars - Episode III: Sith Happens
Episode one sits on the shelf unfinished. Assuming the original trilogy is actually completed, we may be in store for the prequels after all.