- Directed by Kyle Newman
- February 6, 2009
A group of friends take a cross-country trip to break into Skywalker Ranch so their dying friend can see The Phantom Menace before its release.
Fanboys is a story about the bonds of nerd friendship. It is a weirdly touching movie. These are not politically correct friends, but they are friends. The bond among them is strong and is largely based around Star Wars but they have moved beyond that as well.
As much as Star Wars is the focus, this movie is also a loving nod to other science-fiction films and franchises. We get THX-1138. There’s a blink and you’ll miss it instance of Stargate SG1 on a TV. The presumed rivalry between Star Wars fans and Star Trek fans plays a central role in the story as well. Even William Shatner shows up in this movie. Reportedly William Katt, who auditioned for Luke Skywalker, had a cameo but it was cut when reshoots occurred. But there are others that did make it in.
Billy Dee Williams shows up as Judge Reinhold. Carrie Fisher shows up as a doctor. Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith show up as themselves. Ray “Darth Maul” Park has perhaps the best of the cameos when he shows up as a Skywalker Ranch security guard who says, “Time for you to get mauled, boy.” There are many more cameos and part of the fun in Fanboys is spotting them.
There are also narrative bits in the movie that play homage to the original trilogy. My personal favorite is while on the Skywalker Ranch and attempting to evade George Lucas’s security forces the group takes a dive down a garbage chute and wind up in his trash room which is suspiciously designed like the Death Star trash compactor. The film progressively gets weirder and weirder until it borders on the almost surreal. There is even the weirdness involving William Shatner helping the group of friends get the plans for Skywalker Ranch.
The presumed focus of the story is Linus (Chris Marquette) who is dying from some undefined cancer, but Eric’s (Sam Huntington) story is more important. Eric has drifted from his friend Linus as Eric became super responsible and worked at his dad’s (Christopher McDonald) dealership. It’s clearly a life he doesn’t want but because he is trying to be responsible and an adult it’s the life he gravitates towards. He would much rather be a comic book artist than anything else.
I have heard that originally Linus was not dying and that came in during reshoots as did some of the stuff that is not socially acceptable anymore. It makes me curious why then they originally decided to burglarize Skywalker Ranch. Were they just really obsessed Star Wars fans then? That seems a little bland.
The narrative of Fanboys is about one last hoorah of youth and passing into adulthood. It touches on the bonds among friends and not being able to see that you have always had what you want and need while chasing what you think you want and need.
Fanboys is a loving nod to a particular moment in Star Wars fandom. It’s got some laughs and it’s got plenty of weirdness and it is entertaining from start to finish. If you are a Star Wars fan you need to check this out!