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Sci-Fi Thursday: Watch 'Black Angel,' The Short That Opened Before 'Empire Strikes Back' in Theaters

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | May 14, 2015 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | May 14, 2015 |

Science Fiction Thursday. Because even science fiction is more educational than pseudoscience fact.

What have we got this week?

Well, when The Empire Strikes Back was released in theaters way back a few months after I was born (you’re welcome, by the way), it was apparently a thing in Australia and Europe to have opening shorts before the feature. Sort of like the bands opening for the featured band in concerts. I once saw Eve 6 open for Third Eye Blind, back before the former had made it big and before the latter collapsed. Because I’m the most nineties person you have ever met. In any case, Empire got paired with a twenty minute little film called Black Angel, commissioned by Lucas himself and put together by Roger Christian (the set director from Star Wars). Americans have basically never seen it, even though it started making film festival rounds a couple of years ago. Here it is now online in its entirety, and it’s a nifty one:

One of my favorite parts of old old copies of classic books were the line drawing illustrations that accompanied the text, sometime separated with a thin sheet of tissue paper. I grew up with a copy of The Wizard of Oz that was freaking haunting. Some authors were able to keep that alive through the years. The version of Stephen King’s The Stand is a stand out (ha!) in that regard. In any case, the 1906 edition of War of the Worlds had some gorgeous drawings accompanying the text, created by Brazilian illustrator Henrique Alvim Corrêa, and some wonderful scans of them are up online now. One of them is below and you should go look at the rest because I trust you are individuals of impeccable taste. The reason they’re up now is because a collection of 29 of the original copies are up for auction. You can go bid on the pieces here, but the current bid’s at $10,000, so if you can afford that, you probably owe me some sort of finder’s fee. I take second-party out-of-state paychecks and no major credit cards.


Finally Luc Besson is putting together a big screen adaptation of the classic French science fiction comic Valerian, originally published in the sixties. Cara Delevingne has signed on as one of the leads, but so help me, if using 100% of your brain is a plot point, I will assume that Besson is volunteering to let me eat the 85% of his brain he thinks he doesn’t use with a goddamned spork and barbeque sauce.

(source: THR)

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.