• Film

Shahbaz Sarwar and His “Star Wars” Fan Film

Shahbaz Sarwar had been to the premiere of The Force Awakens (2015) at the Imperial Cinema in Denmark when he got the idea to become part of the Star Wars fan base which makes fan movies. Star Wars fan films have become quite popular among fans and are accepted by Lucasfilm as long as they are not commercial projects. The quality of the films varies significantly.

“Watching the film in a theatre that was packed at 10 am on a weekday made me realize how much love there still is for this franchise,” says the Pakistani-Danish actor and filmmaker at our meeting at the Café Kaleidoscope in Copenhagen. “People should be working, but here they were watching this film.”

Sarwar decided to step up his ambitions and create a professional fan movie that could impress Lucasfilm and Disney and give him a chance to fulfill his dreams of making movies in Hollywood. He decided to cast Danish actor Lars Mikkelsen (House of Cards, The Witcher), who also provides the voice of Grand Admiral Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels and will be seen in August in Dave Filoni’s Ahsoka on Disney+.

“I wanted to make a movie that was compelling storytelling,” he says about Shrouded Destiny: A Star Wars Long Tale – Fan Production. “But also was professional in terms of casting, production design, music, the works, and when someone like Mikkelsen is cast, you are inspired to move it to the next level.”


It was not easy getting an accomplished actor like Mikkelsen on board, but Sarwar had previously worked with him in the Danish TV series Ride Upon the Storm in which Mikkelsen played the lead character of a priest and Sarwar played an Imam.

“There is a togetherness because we are both fathers,” explains Sarwar about their characters in the series. “But we represent opposing ideologies. I take over one of his son’s churches and Lars’ character is a bit anti-Islamic and questions what Islam’s place is in Danish society. My character represents that struggle.”

In Shrouded Destiny: A Star Wars Long Tale, which is the first of three episodes released on YouTube in January 2023, Sarwar and Mikkelsen also play opposite each other. Sarwar co-directed with Erik Alejandro Gonzalez and Mikkelsen worked pro bono for eight days just like all the other 450 volunteers on the film.

The dialogue between them is like a chess game, where they are trying to read and trick each other, which culminates in the most unique way of showing “The Jedi Mind Trick” in live-action Star Wars.

The premise of the film focuses on the tragedy that befalls one family and how that escalates into a philosophical discussion about how the Jedi recruit new members to their organization and how that affects the rest of the galaxy.

“In Star Wars fan films, fans often create films that are built around the Galactic Civil War period (the original trilogy conflict shown through Episodes IV-VI from 1977-1983), and this one takes place 500 years before the prequel trilogy, the movies from 1999 to 2005. I am very much interested in conflict in peacetime,” says Sarwar about his film.

“What kind of problems exist in a peace situation? What problems are there that we do not think about? I found a piece of trivia from the Star Wars universe about a prison which was meant to keep the Jedi who had fallen off the path and I thought that was interesting because this is peacetime.”

Sarwar has a big goal with his fan films.

“It is my ambition that I want to be able to tell that story at a major scale for Disney. I even have a cover letter written to Dave Filoni safely tucked away on my computer ready to send his way through trusted hands, but only when the time is right. I want to earn the right to have that letter read by him and every day in my life is geared towards that endeavor.”