‘Tomorrow & Tomorrow’: Star Wars fan film debuted at Regal Henrietta December 1st

Around Town

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Regal Henrietta will feature a trip to a galaxy far, far away… But one that was created, made, and filmed right here in Rochester.

“Tomorrow & Tomorrow” screened for a 7pm showing December 1st, and all proceeds went the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Tickets are $5 and are only available at the door.

The flick is the brainchild of local Rochester City School District teacher Don Burns. Like most passionate projects, it started by combining other loves: teaching, Shakespeare, and Star Wars.

“I found a Shakespeare movie that had Stormtroopers doing Hamlet speeches,” said Burns, who plays the role of Sith Lord Darth Vader in the movie. “I was so mad because Vader is perfect for Macbeth, and I called my friend Ryan and he talked me into it.”

The speech is framed around Darth Vader reciting the “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” soliloquy from Macbeth:

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Macbeth, Shakespeare

Burns said that to prepare for the role, he would study the film how Vader moved, and listen to CDs to nail how James Earl Jones spoke. When News 8 spoke with him and the crew in October, he said had made his kids sick of hearing it, as he self-delicately admits he nailed it only a week prior… Months after filming was done.

Burns and his two colleagues who joined him at the Sunken Gardens — Ryan Foresta, Stormtrooper and prop master, and director Joey Palluconi — are part of the “Garrison Excelsior” chapter of the international 501st Legion.

It takes its name from the famed Stormtrooper Legion, dubbed “Vader’s Fist” in the universe.

“It’s a way to spread our love for Star Wars, and LucasFilms they let us dress up for charity events and they give us license to go out in their intellectual property,” Burns said.

The fan film does it best to accomplish what Star Wars did so magnificently; make the imaginary world feel real, worn, and something you could reach out and touch. The movie is all in full costume, including Stormtrooper gear, which Foresta admits is challenging when navigating stairs.

“The easiest part is standing in one spot and walking around and being on patrol,” he said, also commenting a full field of vision isn’t need for taking photos with fans.

Foresta is also responsible for recreating other famous props that appeared in the original movies, as well the statue that is featured in the movie; and in Vader’s eye in the poster.

“Tomorrow & Tomorrow” was filmed in Richmond Mausoleum in the Batavia Cemetery, and in the Sunken Gardens in Rochester. Palluconi says fits perfectly.

“Well it’s like going into Dante’s Inferno, it’s like going into Hell, so he found this awesome place, and it shows the landscape of going down, the iron gates, and this old Naboo aesthetic,” he said, referencing a world in Star Wars.

But the film doesn’t just shoehorn in the eponymous soliloquy, it explores the Shakespearean tragedy of Vader himself.

“We really latched on to Anakin realizing he’s been a slave from birth until death,” Palluconi said. “The idea of telling a story about Vader and Padme, and this idea how he sees himself, and him becoming the monster that we know of… And this idea of him realizing that’s he’s a pawn in other people’s games.”

And again, all this for charity.

“I wanted to make a film that would be cool for Shakespeare and teaching it in school, but the other thing is that if we can make back what we spent on this film, that would be great for Make-A-Wish,” Burns said.

Burns threw heaping praise “for all the people that came together for this film,” and adds that this film has an incredible level of star power; his nephew Mark Lukenbill, an Oscar-nominated editor, took on editing the film.

You can watch the full fan film here:

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