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Rick McCallum was the face of Star Wars for almost two decades. He was the lead producer on the Special Editions, the Prequel Trilogy and, unlike George Lucas, was the guy talking about the films in public. Now, the former Lucasfilm employee will shepherd a totally new vision in sci-fi: R’Ha.

R’Ha is based on a short film of the same directed by Kaleb Lechowski, who is attached to direct the feature. While the short centers on an interrogation between a non-human alien and an enemy machine (think Goro from Mortal Kombat vs. a sentinel from The Matrix), the feature will expand on the central idea of the R’Ha race defending their solar system from invasion. There are no humans in the film.

Matthew Graham, co-creator of the original Life on Mars and writer on the shelved Star Wars TV show, is penning the screenplay. Read more, and watch the original short, below. Read More »

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When you read about a guy named Kaleb Lechowski getting a gig directing some expensive sci-fi film, this short might be the reason. Lechowski made the CG short R’ha over a period of seven months, animating it on his own while studying film and animation at Berlin’s Mediadesign Hochschule. Lechowski’s people are happy to note that he’s only 22, and will turn 23 in March.

The short presents and interrogation between an alien and a machine. It’s well-animated, if not exactly crafted with much nuance. Lechowski has probably earned himself a career in digital animation with this, at least. Coming as it does just as Zero Dark Thirty goes wide, the subject matter is interesting — the same blend of interrogation techniques that are at the center of the debate over Kathryn Bigelow’s film are the core of the story here. While I’m not wild about this short overall, I do like seeing that controversial subject matter put into a different context.

See the short below.

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