EXCLUSIVE Interview With ‘Star Wars’ Filmmaker Michael Koepff

in Movies, Star Wars

Still from Star Wars: Wingman

Credit: Michael's Basement

We may still be a few years away from any new Star Wars film in theaters, but fans of the greatest science-fiction epic ever have something just as good. The new fan film, Star Wars: Wingman, is currently streaming for free on YouTube and has been received with enormous enthusiasm and acclaim by the fandom.
Title card for Wingman, a fan film
Credit: Michael’s Basement
The official description of the film reads:

A rebel fighter squadron attacks an imperial transport. The new guy carries a heavy load and an ace pilot on a killing spree….

…Lock S-foils in attack position and enjoy 50 minutes of Starwars meets Topgun!

Seven years ago we, a bunch of friends from Germany came together and asked themselves why not make a Starwars movie. So without ANY former experience in filmmaking, VFX, animation, writing, directing and acting, we gave it a go and here we are now! Enjoy the ride.

Unlike the increasingly Dave Filoni-focused Star Wars projects controlled by Disney, Wingman is a stripped-down, taut action film following the grittier aspects of the franchise. The film has visuals that genuinely rival new Disney+ series like The Mandalorian and is a welcome watch for any fan. You can watch it here.
Still from Star Wars: Wingman
Credit: Michael’s Basement
We spoke with director Michael Koepff about Wingman, Star Wars, and what we can expect from him next.
The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Thanks for speaking with Inside the Magic, Michael! Tell us about your new film, Wingman – an X-Wing Story. First off, what inspired you to make a Star Wars fan film?
That’s quite simple. I was playing X-Wing, the miniatures game at this time, and stumbled across a fan film on YouTube called Star Wars: Destroyer. I was truly amazed by it, and I said to myself: “Wouldn’t it be great to pull something similar off yourself?” And so it began…
What’s your background with the Star Wars franchise?
I saw the movies for the first time in the early ’90s when they aired for the first time on German public television. I played the video games X-Wing and TIE Fighter back in then, but that was about it. Just as I came to my friends’ house and he invited me to a game of X-Wing, the miniatures game, Star Wars regained my full attention. I was always more attracted by the starfighters and pilots than by all the Jedi and Sith.
Still from Wingman, a fan film
Credit: Michael’s Basement
What’s your background in film production?
Haha! None! Whatsoever. It’s true. I’ve never done anything film-related before. The same goes for VFX, CGI, animation, and sound design. I did play around with the Blender 3D software a couple of years before that, but only as one hobby amongst many.
Do you mind walking us through the general production costs and time of Wingman?
I spent around 5000 hours of work over almost seven years. Next to that came my friends Alex and Marv, who did approximately another 500 hours each, and then all the cast who were on set for 5-6 days. We spent 2500 euros for plywood paint and food and another 1000 as pocket money for the composers.
Still from Star Wars: Wingman
Credit: Michael’s Basement
Have you heard from Lucasfilm or Disney regarding the film?
No, at least not yet.
Still from Wingman, a fan film
Credit: Michael’s Basement
Do you have a dream Star Wars project?
That would indeed be Wingman. This is pretty much exactly what I wanted to contribute to the fandom.
And finally, what’s next for you?
I’m not sure if I will do another Star Wars film since I have the feeling that any sequel would be worse than this one. I feel like I used up all my Star Wars mojo for Wingman. However, I definitely will try to do another movie. Perhaps something with piston-engine fighter planes. I guess we’ll find out.
Fans of Wingman can donate to Michael’s Basement here.

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