Serious or funny — what kind of film will Citizen George become?

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Without fame and fortune, how might the prequels have turned out? Photo: JR Ralls
Without fame and fortune, how might the prequels have turned out? Photo: JR Ralls

Citizen George is slated to be a full-length independent film about a director who creates a hugely popular space opera film trilogy (read, George Lucas and Star Wars), only to end up releasing disappointing film prequels 20 years later.

So far, so basic, right? The catch here is that you have to choose the type of movie this fan film will end up being. Want a dramatic story about a serious film auteur and the perils of fame and fortune, like Citizen Kane? Drop some cash into the Drama tip jar. Want a wacky, time-travel comedy like Austin Powers? Slide your money into the Comedy tip jar.

When writer/director JR Ralls was trying to decide whether to make a lighthearted comedy or a serious drama out of his idea, he thought it would make more sense to ask his Kickstarter backers.

“Kickstarter is all about letting the fans choose what they want to see,” Ralls writes. “So why not take that to the next level? Why not let you decide if Citizen George is going to be a comedy or a drama?”

Obviously, Han shot first. Photo: JR Rails
Obviously, Han shot first. Photo: JR Rails

The drama version of the film will be more in the vein of Citizen Kane, about the rise and fall of a man who is hero to many but a villain to others, much like William Randolph Hearst was back in the early days of newspapers. The other Citizen George will be a sci-fi time travel comedy, similar to Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure or Austin Powers. The 1970s director makes the prequels by traveling through time to pre-empt the 1990s version of himself.

“That version would be a lot lighter and more of a wish fulfillment fantasy,” writes Ralls, “but at the same time it too would also be a great way to explore how power affects people.”

This isn’t the first film Ralls has funded via Kickstarter, having made Dark Dungeons in 2014, so there’s some possibility that this fascinating idea will be made into a real film.

What version do you prefer? I’m leaning toward the comedy, but you can head over to Kickstarter to see all the details and more images from the production team.