Last month, YouTube channel Star Wars Theory released a Darth Vader fan movie that went down a storm with viewers. Shared under the title “Vader Episode 1: Shards Of The Past – A Star Wars Theory Fan-Film,” the short film explored the journey of Anakin Skywalker between the events of the Star Wars Prequel and Sequel Trilogies, and his connection to the late Padmé in particular. The video quickly made the rounds online, earning nearly 7 million views in the course of just a few weeks, but sadly, it sounds like the channel has run into a little legal trouble.
Though Disney is a notoriously litigious media giant, channel owner Toos reportedly received the okay from Lucasfilm to make his fan film in advance under the conditions that he didn’t crowdfund for the project and didn’t monetize the video. Though Toos adhered to these terms, the channel received a copyright strike earlier this week from the Walt Disney Music Company’s publisher Warner/Chappell Music for the film’s soundtrack. While the music for Shards of the Past was an original composition, the publisher felt that it hewed too closely to the “Imperial March” theme composed by John Williams.
The publisher has therefore started monetizing the video themselves, and has reportedly made over $80,000 so far. To make matters worse, Toos says that Disney has since reached out to him, but only to warn him against taking legal action for the situation, even threatening to have his channel taken down.
Naturally, a lot of fans aren’t too happy with the situation, with many calling for a boycott of Star Wars: Episode IX and any other Disney-related releases unless the company offers an apology for their treatment of the YouTube channel. Where the situation goes from here remains to be seen, but given the popularity of the Star Wars Theory channel, it seems that we now have one more cause of tension between Lucasfilm and parts of the franchise fanbase.