"Bohemian Rhapsody: Star Wars Edition" Hits YouTube December 4, 2013
TEMPE, AZ -- (Marketwired) -- University of Advancing Technology Digital Video Professor Paul DeNigris walked into his DV Production Studio class last semester and made an off-hand remark about an idea that struck him on his drive to work that day. Listening to a "classic rock" playlist on Pandora, DeNigris found himself singing along to Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody on Phoenix's I-17 freeway. "After Wayne's World, how does anyone NOT sing along to that in their car?" asked DeNigris. A diehard geek and longtime Star Wars fan, DeNigris noted that the line "thunderbolts and lightning" in the song could be re-interpreted as "Force chokes and lightning" -- and the idea of rewriting the classic Freddie Mercury lyrics to fit the Star Wars universe was born.
Students Stephen Panagiotis and Jamall Richards jumped on the idea and immediately set about reworking every line of the song with DeNigris' guidance and input. Mercury's operatic and often nonsensical lyrics gave way to a musical retelling of key moments from the Star Wars saga, from not only the Original Trilogy but also the Prequel Trilogy and the Expanded Universe of novels and videogames.
With the lyrics done, DeNigris reached out to his network of Arizona talent and found singer Adam Newton and music producer Joey Sawhill to execute the new version of the song. Newton was able to hit Freddie Mercury's original vocal register and to duplicate his phrasing of the song. The result is a new version of the old classic that sounds like Queen themselves could have recorded it.
To produce the video, DeNigris and student producer Panagiotis reached out to the Arizona geek community -- specifically to the various Star Wars costumer groups such as the 501st Legion Dune Sea Garrison, the Rebel Legion Mos Eisley Base, and the Mandalorian Mercs Shonare Vhekadla Clan. Over several weekends, members of these groups converged on UAT's Greenscreen Studio with their costumes -- Mandalorian Bounty Hunters, Imperial Stormtroopers, Droids, Jedi, Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Starkiller and more. A group called "The Cantina Banned" showed up dressed as the alien musicians from Star Wars: A New Hope. A puppetmaker and costumer in Tokyo, Japan, volunteered his Yoda puppet and his "Ewan McGregor" Obi-Wan to participate in the video, sending the UAT crew his footage via the Internet.
With so many talented costumers lip-synching to the new lyrics, student editor Natasha Stringam found it challenging to assemble the video. "Everyone did such a great job singing and there were so many funny moments in each person's performance that it was sometimes hard to decide which parts to put in and which to leave out," Stringam said. In the end, Stringam finalized the cut and turned the video over to the visual effects team, who added backgrounds and other elements to put the characters into the Star Wars universe. The result is a comedic homage to George Lucas' space opera as well as to the operatic rock of Freddie Mercury and Queen. It premieres on UAT Digital Video's YouTube channel on December 4, 2013.
About UAT in Tempe, Arizona, USA: University of Advancing Technology is a unique, private college that serves its student body by fostering knowledge creation and academic excellence in an environment that embraces the young technophiles of the world. With mission to educate students in advancing technology who innovate for our future and a suite of technology-centered undergraduate and graduate degrees, the University is a recognized leader in technology education.
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