TK-421: “Why are we here?”
TK-422: “Don’t start that again. I mean, we’ve discussed everything there is to discuss. Evolution, Intelligent Design, God... the Force.”
TK-421: “This time I mean why are we here, in the detention cell.”
— TK-421 and TK-422 after discussing the meaning of life
The Fanon Menace: A Day in the Life of a Stormtrooper was a spin-off miniseries from the YouTube series The Fanon Menace. It aired shortly after the show completed its first season, starting on July 1, 2008, and continuing for six weeks. It was six short episodes depicting the life of two stormtroopers, TK-421 and TK-422, during their first day on the Death Star.
However, the first day turned out to be extremely hectic for them. During orientation, the two stormtroopers learned the number one rule around the Death Star was "Do not remove your helmet", which was considered worse than forming a plan to overthrow the Empire. With both stormtroopers sent to solitary confinement, together, they soon discovered the relationship between Darth Vader and Princess Leia. Through a turn of events, they met up with the escaped convicts back at the detention block and witnessed two men, a Wookiee and a Force ghost Jedi free the Princess and escape.
With this look into what went on in the Death Star during Episode IV: A New Hope, audiences got a glimpse of what a day in the life of a stormtrooper really was like. It was directed by Seth Hoover and released through the same two companies as the main series, College Kids Productions and The League of Extraordinary Jedi. It was also the beginning of what would be a continuous broadcasting of mini-series in between each season of The Fanon Menace.
Shortly after the Clone Wars ended, our legion was assigned to new posts and issued new armor and weapons. Little did we know, it would drive us all mad.
—TK-422 giving the introduction to the documentary
Nearly nineteen years after the formation of the Galactic Republic into the Galactic Empire, one unknown legion of clone troopers returned after being on duty in the Outer Rim. They were stationed on the newly constructed and almost operational battle station, the Death Star. They were issued new armor and new weapons to replace every aspect of the old Republic.
Earlier, many prisoners of war were sentenced to a term aboard the Death Star, and would often attempt to escape. This would kept the stormtroopers active in their duties aboard the battle station. Eventually it slowed and ceased to be, giving the stormtroopers a small segment of peace, before starting up again.
Two of the stormtroopers, TK-421 and TK-422, had to quickly adjust to the new routine as well as the modifications to their attire. Along with the regular chaos of the station, a new arrival had stirred the station as it was rumored Princess Leia Organa, Darth Vader’s daughter, was on board. Along with the rumor of her existence came the rumor of an attempt to rescue her, which kept the station at bay. It was only a matter of time before all disarray broke out.
TK-421: “Oh, come on. They want us to blend in on Hoth.”
―TK-421 and TK-422 discussing the color of their armor[src]
TK-422: “Yeah, like we’re ever gonna go to Hoth. It’s just an oversized ice cube. And isn’t white the universal sign of surrender?”
The first episode was an introduction into the main characters of TK-421 and TK-422. They started off as two normal clone troopers in line for equipment enhancement. When the two of them were picked next, they ran up to meet the advisor. However, the advisor was also preoccupied with a clone commando behind him. When TK-422 noticed that the armor was completely white, he and TK-421 got into a debate over why the Empire chose white.
TK-421 noticed that the armor had no identification number. He addressed the advisor who stated the reason was because they were allowed to choose their own. However, upon realizing that TK-421 interpreted it as a response to him instead of the clone commando behind the advisor, he immediately corrected the situation and assigned the two numbers. It was at that time, the two noticed the clone commando behind the advisor.
Once the two donned their new equipment, they realized it was worse than their previous ones. They could not see a thing in the helmets. TK-421 and TK-422 tried to bring the issue up to the advisor, but the advisor rushed them off to the firing range where they were to practice using it. The task proved futile. TK-422 could not see the target to hit it. TK-421, however, discovered the secret to hitting the bull’s-eye – he had removed his helmet. TK-422 reprimanded him for doing such a thing, warning that Vader might catch them, but as he spoke, Vader entered the firing range. He sneaked up behind them and sent them to the solitary confinement, together.
Leia: “Forming a diabolical plan to overthrow the Empire by stealing the Death Star Plans and giving them to the Rebellion so they can analyze them and find a weakness that they can destroy the battle station with. You?”
TK-422: “He took his helmet off.”
Leia: “Wow, that’s almost unforgivable.”
— Leia and TK-422 explaining why they were in the detention block[src]
The second episode continued TK-421 and TK-422’s first day in the Death Star after they had been sentenced to solitary confinement, together. While in the holding cell, the two of them discussed many aspects of life, such as the creation of the universe through Evolution, Intelligent Design, God, and the Force. During that discussion, Darth Vader arrived with a new guest to join them – Princess Leia, who had recently been captured from the Tantive IIVI over Tatooine. They had moved her there after the appearance of a freighter in the hangar.
Princess Leia and TK-421 started talking and they discovered that Leia was responsible for stealing the plans to the Death Star and giving them to the Rebellion. However, Vader did not want to keep them in the same cell as Leia and reassigned them to a new location. While he showed them the way, TK-421 and TK-422 discussed the relation between Vader and Leia. During the discussion, TK-421 pointed out that Leia had Vader’s eyes. This caught Vader’s attention and he joined in the discussion.
The duration of the topic was ephemeral as it died shortly after Vader interjected. They continued walking towards their new station, when TK-422 pointed out that it was hard to see the resemblance. TK-421 tried to remove his helmet to show TK-422 what to do to get a better look at Darth Vader’s eyes. In doing so, TK-422 tackled TK-421 to the ground. TK-422 mentioned that they did not have the same trouble with the helmets when they were clone troopers. Vader reentered the hall and pointed out the correct direction to their new station. When they arrived, they discovered the freighter in the hangar was the Millennium Falcon.
Lost in Translation
TK-421: “I’m here. I was just investigating a disturbance aboard the starship.”
Advisor: “TK-421, do you copy?”
TK-421: “I’m here already. What, are you deaf or just plain crazy?”
— TK-421 and the advisor trying to make contact[src]
In episode three of the series, TK-421 and TK-422 were experiencing boredom guarding an idle freighter. They had been assigned to guard the entrance to the Millennium Falcon. However, they had been assigned when Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Chewbacca had clambered out of the smuggling compartments. Also, during that time, Darth Vader arrived with a scanning crew to scan the freighter for stowaways. When the scanning crew boarded the Falcon, they were quickly apprehended and dragged away.
TK-421 and TK-422 heard a commotion up in the Falcon and decided to investigate. When they arrived on board, they found nothing to alarm them, except for an abandoned scanner board. However, upon further exploration, TK-421 tripped over the scanner board and his E-11 discharged. TK-422 reprimanded him for being so clumsy and they continued their search. Eventually, TK-421 received word from the hangar control room. TK-421 returned to his post to talk to the advisor.
The advisor could not hear TK-421 and thought that he had a bad transmitter. TK-421 started to get mad at the advisor when TK-422 returned to ask what the problem was. TK-421 explained that he thought someone was messing around in the control room with the transmitters and accused the Empire of putting George, a recent recruit, on duty. It was unclear what exactly George had done, but he allegedly had a reputation for messing around in the control room. TK-422 ordered TK-421 to gather their partner Joe, who TK-422 mistakenly called Frank, while he tracked down Bob, Joe's partner, to go investigate the control room.
Joe: “Hi, guys. Sorry, I tripped over a mouse droid. Wait, who’s that robed guy running away?”
―Joe and TK-421 after noticing Obi-Wan[src]
TK-422: “Oh, it’s probably nothing. Just another drill.”
Episode four of the series followed TK-421 and TK-422’s first day in the Death Star as they arrived at the control room with Bob and Joe. Upon entering the room, they soon discovered two hidden droids, C-3PO and R2-D2, in the back. C-3PO explained to the four stormtroopers that the culprits had headed towards the prison level. TK-422 decided to take a short-cut past the tractor beam.
While they passed the tractor beam, TK-422 ordered two stormtroopers to stand guard while he and another moved on to explore the surrounding area. While the two stormtroopers, Bob and TK-421, stood guard, they got into a discussion about a new vehicle that was out on the market. During that conversation, they heard a noise in the background. A few minutes later, it was revealed that the noise came when Joe accidentally tripped over a mouse droid.
In that time, Joe also noticed a hooded man, who the four stormtroopers later discovered was Obi-Wan, flee from the tractor beam bridge. TK-422 brushed it off, figuring it was just another drill. The Stormtroopers decided to check the tractor beam just in case the hooded man had tampered with it. During their examination, they became confused with the new color coordination of the levers and buttons. When they were finished with the examination they moved onto the detention block, where they hoped to stop the culprits from getting away.
Escape from the Cell Blocks
Bob: “You wanna know my secret?”
TK-422: “Yes. That thing can’t hit anything for me.”
Bob: “I close my eyes when I shoot.”
— Bob and TK-422 discussing how to shoot the E-11[src]
Episode five continued the story of TK-421 and TK-422’s first day as they arrived back at the detention block. However, the door was sealed shut and they could not enter. At that time, Obi-Wan walked by and helped them. He cut open the door and allowed the stormtroopers to enter the blocks. The first step caused the most damage as two stormtroopers tripped over the low railing and fell onto the floor.
Once they were inside, TK-421, TK-422, Bob and Joe fended off the escaped prisoners in the hallway. During the standoff, Bob showed TK-422 his secret to shooting accurately with the E-11 blaster at TK-422's request. He closed his eyes when he shot, which helped him target the prisoners down the hall. Also during the standoff, the four stormtroopers noticed that the prisoners attempted to flee by going down the garbage chute.
They chased after them up to the garbage chute, where they picked Joe to follow. Joe agreed to go down the chute and search for them. However, he got stuck along the way. Joe was still able to hear what was going on and gave the others reports. When he finally managed to free himself, Joe wiggled down to the garbage compactor where he too got caught as it was contracting. The others decide to follow by using a stairwell next to the chute.
- View: Episode V: Escape from the Cell Blocks on YouTube
- Script: Episode V: Escape from the Cell Blocks script
TK-421: “Ouch. Man, Vader’s gonna be mad when he finds out we let them escape.”
―TK-422 to TK-421 after noticing his helmet was off[src]
TK-422: “Don’t worry, it won’t be as bad as the time you took your... helmet... now you’re in for it.”
Episode six picked up right after the three Stormtroopers left to rendezvous with Joe and continued to go after the escaped prisoners. Once they found Joe, he had been compacted, literally, as thin as cardboard. They healed Joe and eventually caught up with the escaped prisoners. They were cut off from them when the prisoners ran to a retracted bridge and shot the door panel out. The stormtroopers used a crowbar to wedge to door open slightly and they discovered that they were chasing Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker. They figured they were chasing them because the Luke did not have a helmet.
They decided to take a short-cut to catch up with the prisoners and beat them to the hangar. However, they took a wrong turn and ended up in a different hangar. Just as they were about to leave, Han ran up into the hangar, shouting, and started shooting at the stormtroopers. Bob was taken aback when TK-422 suggested that the prisoner thought they were the "bad guys". They decided to follow the prisoner back to the correct hangar.
When they did, they arrived just in time to see Obi-Wan turn into a Force ghost at the hands of Vader. They also took part in a target practice that was going on as the prisoners attempted to escape. TK-421 was shot in the process and knocked backwards. The Falcon took off and flew out of the hangar. When TK-421 managed to stand back up, he mentioned how Vader was going to be mad when he found out the prisoners had escaped. TK-422 made a comment on how he was not going to be as mad as the time TK-421 took his helmet off. However, as TK-422 turned to face TK-421, he noticed that TK-421’s helmet had been knocked off. The series ended with the TK-422 staring at TK-421 and saying, “Now you’re in for it”.
The idea for A Day in the Life of a Stormtrooper came as a response to the YouTube video Lego Star Wars An Average Death Star Day. The two creators decided to write a “behind the scenes” of what happened in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope during the time on the Death Star. They decided to use the character TK-421 to tell the story, giving him a partner TK-422. The write-up of the script occurred when the two creators were on a plane trip to Budapest, Hungary for a leadership conference. On the plane ride there, they wrote the first two episodes together.
During the conference, the main screen writer, Joshua McGraw, would work on the project before going to bed. He completed episodes three, four, and five during the conference, as the conference was only three days long. On their trip back to Amman, Jordan, the two creators teamed up again to work on the final episode in the mini-series. Throughout the mini-series, they tried to fit it mainly to what happened in Episode IV, however, as they did not access to canon, they did most from memory. They later went back and fixed the inconsistencies and fit others to the continuity of their main series The Fanon Menace. However, one inconsistency that was never fixed was the use of the term “Empire” instead of “Domain”.
Principal filming did not start until January 28, 2008; however, it did not end until May 19, due to a large gap in which the director was too busy with school work to actually work on the mini-series. He filmed the last four episodes on his last weekend in the country Jordan. This caused for a stressful time, as he thought he might have to release them in early May. However, due to fortunate circumstances for him, he was able to wait to release them in July, and gave him June to work on producing the episodes.
Every episode was filmed using a stop-motion animation, which was the first of its kind for the director. This allowed him to let the episodes flow better, instead of pauses between dialogue. However, it did make filming an individual episode longer and took up more space on the computer, slowing the processing system. That, in turn, made it longer to produce an episode, delaying the directors projected date of release from mid-June to early July.
Music and sound
Music for the mini-series was taken directly from the Original Trilogy, although during the ending segment of the last episode, “Anakin vs. Obi-Wan” was used to portray a sense of intense desperation. It was also enhanced from the choppy version the director disliked in Season I to a flowing, continuous play. The director double produced the episodes, first with just voice over, then second with the music, allowing it to flow smoother, instead of cut off whenever someone had to speak.
Also, during the mini-series, the director took his experimentation with sound effects to a new level. He used the classic lightsaber and blaster effects that he experimented in the first season and added a new door whoosh, footsteps, metallic clanging, explosions, and others. With his experiments, the director was able to form a system, which he plans on using for the sequel season, The Original Trilogy.
The first release of A Day in the Life of a Stormtrooper came on July 1, 2008, on the internet video streaming site, YouTube. A new episode was released every Tuesday afterward, continuing for six weeks. The director later combined the episodes together to place them in the bonus features of The Fanon Menace: Season 1 with the DVD release. A preview for the series was released a week earlier and can be seen at YouTube.
Viewers for A Day in the Life of a Stormtrooper were mainly in North America, Europe and Great Britain. Within the United States, viewers were concentrated more in the southern states than in northern or western, even though there were a high percentage of viewers from Hawaii. A large majority, seventy-six percent, of viewers were male for the mini-series, whereas there were only twenty-four percent female viewers.
After splitting the ages into ranges of roughly ten years, A Day in the Life of a Stormtrooper managed to attract more viewers from the creators target range on thirteen to seventeen year olds. However, there were still more viewers in the thirty-five to forty-four range. The margin between the two highest ranges was about three percent.
The mini-series rallied one hundred and fifty views during its six week debut. However, since then it has tallied more than that. The creators found it odd that the mini-series had more views on its trailer than any one episode. Each individual episode gathered over fifty views before The Fanon Menace: Season 2 debuted on September 19, 2008.
|Clone Commando||Joshua McGraw|
|Leia Organa||Joshua McGraw|
|Lord Vader||Seth Hoover|
|Han Solo||Seth Hoover|
- In order of appearance
- TK-421 (First appearance)
- TK-422 (First appearance)
- Clone trooper 1
- Clone trooper 2
- Clone trooper 3
- Clone Commando
- Darth Vader (First identified as Darth Vader)
- SKpade (Non-canonical appearance)
- Prisoner 1
- Prisoner 2
- Prisoner 3
- Leia Organa (First appearance)
- Han Solo
- Luke Skywalker (First appearance)
- Imperial Commander
- Joe (First appearance)
- Bob (First appearance)
- Obi-Wan Kenobi
- Death Star
- Orientation Room
- Firing Range
- Detention Block
- Detention Cell 1138
- Detention Corridor
- Trash Compactor
- TIE Hangar
- Docking Bay
- Tractor Beam Corridor
Notes and references
- ↑ YouTube: A Day in the Life of a Stormtrooper preview
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 YouTube: Rylukntesh: Views and Popularity (Notice: Referral content viewable only by video owner, although accurate)
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 YouTube: Rylukntesh: Age Range and Pie Chart (Notice: Referral content viewable only by video owner, although accurate)