University of Advancing Technology Digital Video Professor Paul DeNigris and his students Stephen Panagiotis and Jamall Richards have reworked the lyrics in Queen’s classic, Bohemian Rhapsody, into this geek-worthy Star Wars version.
Stephen and Jamall jumped on the idea and immediately set about reworking every line of the song with DeNigris’ guidance and input. Mercury’s operatic and often nonsensical lyrics gave way to a musical retelling of key moments from the Star Wars saga, from not only the Original Trilogy but also the Prequel Trilogy and the Expanded Universe of novels and video games.
With the lyrics done, DeNigris reached out to his network of Arizona talent and found singer Adam Newton and music producer Joey Sawhill to execute the new version of the song. Newton was able to hit Freddie Mercury’s original vocal register and to duplicate his phrasing of the song. The result is a new version of the old classic that sounds like Queen themselves could have recorded it.
To produce the video, DeNigris and student producer Panagiotis reached out to the Arizona geek community – specifically to the various Star Wars costumer groups such as the 501st Legion Dune Sea Garrison, the Rebel Legion Mos Eisley Base, and the Mandalorian Mercs Shonare Vhekadla Clan. Over several weekends, members of these groups converged on UAT’s Greenscreen Studio with their costumes – Mandalorian Bounty Hunters, Imperial Stormtroopers, Droids, Jedi, Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Starkiller and more. A group called “The Cantina Banned” showed up dressed as the alien musicians from Star Wars: A New Hope. A puppetmaker and costumer in Tokyo, Japan, volunteered his Yoda puppet and his “Ewan McGregor” Obi-Wan to participate in the video, sending the UAT crew his footage via the Internet.
With so many talented costumers lip-synching to the new lyrics, student editor Natasha Stringam found it challenging to assemble the video. “Everyone did such a great job singing and there were so many funny moments in each person’s performance that it was sometimes hard to decide which parts to put in and which to leave out,” Stringam said. In the end, Stringam finalized the cut and turned the video over to the visual effects team, who added backgrounds and other elements to put the characters into the Star Wars universe. The result is a comedic homage to George Lucas’ space opera as well as to the operatic rock of Freddie Mercury and Queen. Enjoy!