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TIE FIGHTER Is The STAR WARS Anime You’ve Been Looking For

There have been a lot of great Star Warsinspired fan films over the years, going back to Troops and Pink Five, but this latest one might be the coolest yet. Created by a fan named Paul Johnson, TIE Fighter is an animated, seven-minute short film which focuses on a massive space battle between the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance, but with the focus clearly on the Imperial side of things (you’ll have never cheered so loudly watching that “rebel scum”get theirs.) We’re clearly supposed to be rooting for the bad guys here, and I’m actually kind of OK with that.


The coolest thing about this short film is that it’s entirely done in the style of 1980’s anime like Robotech or Gundam or Akira, with everything from the way the camera moves, the over-fetishization of the explosions, to the whine of the electric guitar over the battle scenes, in place of the traditional John Williams score, this is anime done in the old school style. And yet, it’s still totally OG Star Wars as well in every way. If you were a kid in the ’80s, this is the Star Wars cartoon we actually wanted to see, instead of being stuck with Droids and Ewoks on Saturday mornings. Aside from the original trilogy and retro anime, the other major inspiration came from Lucasarts’ 1994 TIE Fighter game.

The entire project was drawn and animated by its creator over four years’ worth of weekends, with assistance from Joseph Leyva on the sound design and the guitar score from Zak Rahman, a true labor of love from everyone involved. You can click on this link for bios on all of the characters in the film, and you can check out the official poster below. In the meantime, watch the entire video….and then totally watch it like three or four more times because it’s that cool.


IMAGE: TIE Fighter poster powered by deviantART

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  1. Just passing by says:

    You guys gotta see The Doctor Who anime, that Otaking did a few years back. 12 minutes of random scenes and general awesomness. Gotta love the daleks ;D

  2. Cadrid says:

    If you watch this and don’t end up with a wet spot on your pants, talk to your doctor.

  3. Sev says:

    This was by far one of the best fan-shorts I have ever seen. Reminded me much of my youth with Voltron, Jayce and Wheeled Warriors, and Gundam. Great job all around. 

  4. JetpackBlues says:

    Looks magnificent, but full of the most superfluous animation and unnecessary transparency effects to highlight characters wearing helmets I’ve ever seen.  Probably would have been 2 minutes shorter without all the character flybys, eye zooms, button pushing and switch flicking.

    • Fin says:

      Button pressing and switch flicking are two of my favorite things. As a fan of the original Tie Fighter game, I loved all the little details that you rarely see elsewhere. The ion cannons, the shields, the interdictor ship…so many call outs from the game. More switch flicking I say!

      • JetpackBlues says:

        My car starts by pushing one button.  ONE, I say! 😛

        • Ghfgfd says:


        • Really Mr? says:

          Your car doesn’t have interstellar devices or is 200- years in technology into the future do you? All those buttons will be required when you gave to find a cheap way to mass produce millions if tie fighters.

    • JetpackBlues says:

      This one even tops the Robot Carnival short “Presence”, by Yasuomi Umetsu (Megazone 23, Pt. II, Kite) for most unnecessary movement, shading and detail in animation: if I do enjoy it so….

  5. chris says:

    the music is absolute trash, ruins everything else

  6. Dark Spartan says:

    This is the best SW cartooooon ever!!! I wanna be a TIE pilot…

  7. Codian says:

    Oh, man. I want more. Despite all the Haters, I loved the 86 Transformers movie, and Robotech. This is like that, but using one of my other favorites, Star Wars! You’ve gotta make more. Please.

  8. Johnny says:

    This is utterly lifeless and uses “shading and detail” as a way to trick people into thinking it’s good animation when good animation doesn’t require either of those things.  The characters come off awkwardly animated and everything else is CGI animation that’s been drenched in ugly unnatural color tones.
    I’m not a much of a fan of straight to video 80’s Sci-Fi Anime fueled by the pre-bubble Japanese economy but holding this up as a new example of a certain genre is rather insulting to the talented Japanese animators working on those projects.  I’d wouldn’t care at all but the guy who made this didn’t keep pushing the idea that Japanese animation is a single genre and style, which by all accounts all non Japanese Anime fans of this time period almost all seem to believe.

    • dragondisaster says:

      Oh the irony here. You’re talking about insulting Japanese animators when you’ve just insulted the video’s creator who spent his free time over four years developing this project as a fan’s may not fit your idealised version of what 80s anime is but effort and dedication went into this production.

    • dark Spartan says:

      Man… U r a purist. Look beyond it n see the beauty of the Empire crushing the Rebs sccccuuuum. Lol

    • Demis Rusos says:

      You sir, are a wanker.

  9. Claudio says:

    So, this is like a dream sequence right? Everyone knows the Empire can’t shoot for shit. They built the Death Star because they can only hit something as big as a planet. 

  10. Jay says:

    if anything someone should start a petition to get this to actually become a show

  11. Sylver says:

    The animation is great to look at.But that music is just awful! The music director won out over the sound effects guy too it would seem,since the terrible music drowns out any effects. Overall good but wouldn’t watch a whole movie with that terrible score being so loud.

    • Tavien says:

      Wow really? Terrible score? This is visionary and pays due tribute to all 80s anime with that score. True to the style of Gundam, Voltron, and the later Neon Genesis Evangelion. This is phenomenal. The only thing I crave is more, with suitable dialog and voice acting.

      • Jake says:

        Yea, but didn’t quite feel Star Wars. I didn’t mind it to much but would have liked if the sound effects and music were more even. Over all this was a fun fan film. Even if I don’t agree all their choices I can respect the hard work put into it.

  12. Strong says:

    TIE and X-Wing ships shoot missiles? TIE Bombers shooting missiles?
    I think some people were just pretending to be fans.

    • neliz says:

      what does Luke shoot from his X-Wing to destroy the DS in ANH? where does it come from? Launchers you say?

      Check your wookiepedia, the launchers can be refitted  or have secondary armament. 

      It seems you are just pretending to be a fan.

    • Defex says:

      TIE Bombers carry concussion missiles in addition to their normal payloads. 

    • bob says:


    • Weak says:

      “I think some people were just pretending to be fans.”  You mean you… Right?  Do you think military space craft are limited in their armaments purely based on your limited perceptions of them?  of course bombers carry alt payloads.  did you ever play Tie Fighter?  no? wow, what a true fan you are.  keep up the good work with casting those stones from your glass house, numb nuts. 

  13. curious geek says:

    silly question, is it just me or is there no link to the actual video in the article?

  14. “That’s no moon … that’s a Mobile Suit. IT’S A GUNDAM!!!!!!!!!!” – I’d totally love a moment like that, alla Gundam Wing lol