“It’s time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers,” said George Lucas in announcing the sale of his company today. But there’s a significant group of filmmakers unlikely to fare well now that the Star Wars franchise is Disney-owned: the amateur “unauthorized” filmmakers, who enjoyed relatively liberal copyright policies while they were making remixes and fan fiction based on the Star Wars universe.
The Star Wars movies practically created their own genre of fan movies and fan fiction. Since 2002, Lucasfilm has actually hosted “Official Star Wars Fan Film Awards,” offering recognition and prizes to fans who make their own films using Star Wars characters and settings.
Many of those works were spoofs or commentary set in the Star Wars world. One of the most popular early fan movies was Troops, a knockoff of the TV show Cops. In the movie, Imperial Storm Troopers irritably scour the rough neighborhoods of Tatooine looking for various types of lawbreakers. (Droid thieves, of course, feature prominently.)