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TIE Fighter is an animated short Star Wars fan film, depicting a space battle between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance from the Imperial TIE pilots' point of view. It was made by Paul "OtaKing 77077" Johnson and features a soundtrack by Zak Rahman.

A two-minute preview was first posted in 2012. The full film went online in 2015, with a completely new soundtrack.

Can be watched here.

TIE Fighter provides examples of:

  • Ace Custom: The cluster missiles Ada released at the X-Wing squadron are her own modification, per the background info. She constantly tries to get the head flight officer to authorize various similar customizations, who will forever deny them.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: According to the background information, Neel has a crush on Ada and frequently leaves her boxes of chocolate. She doesn't realize who they're from at all.
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  • All There in the Manual: Since the film is dialogue-less, a lot of background information and even the characters' names only appear in the supplementary material.
  • Animesque: More specifically, the art style is based on '80s science-fiction anime.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The Rebel fleet is completely obliterated and the Empire declares victory.
  • Berserk Button: Mentioned below, don't insult bombers near Ada.
  • The Bore: The background materials describe Rosh as "tedious", unskilled in social interactions, and generally unmemorable. This is even reflected in the background materials because Rosh has a shorter biography than any of the other characters.
  • Call-Back: There are subtle references throughout the film to the TIE Fighter video game, including the HUDs in the fighters and the briefing room being taken straight from the game.
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  • Companion Cube: Ada really, really, really likes her TIE bomber. Regarding it as slow (which it isn't in her hands) in any sense triggers her Berserk Button.
  • Competence Porn: The Galactic Empire, for once, does not suffer from troops dying en masse ineffectively or having terrible aim, and wins a battle as a result, due to being genuinely more dangerous than the Rebellion.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: Early on in the battle the rebel pilots get their fair share of kills against the Imperials, and even have a very brief Hope Spot that they might escape with minimal casualties. Things quickly get worse for them once the attack on the cruiser fails, and once the Star Destroyers get involved, the battle is over almost instantly.
  • Dark Action Girl: Ada, a skilled Ace Pilot who can make a TIE Bomber fly like an Interceptor and serves the Empire.
  • Face Framed in Shadow: Gaunt gets a shot like this at a pivotal moment, combined with a Slasher Smile.
  • Fearless Fool: Plenty of Imperials regard Ada as a lunatic for her habit of speeding through asteroid fields for cover so she can flank enemy fighters or capital ships and catch them by surprise.
  • Glory Hound: His bio states that Gaunt is one in some ways, although some of traits associated with a glory hound are played with or even subverted. Gaunt is certainly ambitious, loves capturing at least some ships intact from combat in order to increase his standing, and hasn't published his (quite effective) tactics because he thinks it makes him look better to be the only one using them, while he'd just be one man among many who are producing the same results if his tactics became more widespread. However, unlike most glory hounds, (who will carelessly throw away resources and lives for the sake of their own ambition) Gaunt is extremely resource conscious, (to the extent that his bio describes him as almost being a hoarder) and uses cautious tactics that minimize the risks to his ships and men. Both Neel and Ada appreciate his tactical skill and the way he uses their fighters and bombers in ways that play to the strengths of their craft.
  • Grin of Audacity: You see one on Neel's face a split second before his helmet comes on. His biography states him as a hotshot...when he's not concerned with his own survival or paranoid that Gaunt's bridge will get hit and kill the commander.
  • Hidden Depths: Despite repeatedly stating that Rosh is uninteresting and has no hidden depths, the very last line of his bio is teasing about whether or not he's actually hiding some sort of secret about himself.
  • Hope Spot: The Rebels get a short one after a group of Y-Wings shoot down a bunch of Imperial fighters and then line up the equivalent of a torpedo run on the Interdictor Cruiser. If they can do enough damage to take out the cruiser's gravity wells, it would let the rebel fleet escape with only some losses among the pilots. The Y-Wings fire... and the cruiser uses its gravity wells to push their shots off target, the Y-Wings are all shot down, and things go downhill for the Rebel fleet very quickly.
  • Hot Blooded Sideburns: Zig-Zagged Trope - Neel is indeed a bit of a hotshot with ridiculous sideburns, but he's also neurotically terrified that Commander Gaunt will get killed from his bridge getting hit and rather pessimistic when that pops up. Lampshaded in his bio as well, which says the sideburns style he's grown was popular on his home planet about twenty years ago.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Averted in the short by the pilots, who are deadly shots. In the background material, however, it is revealed the Gaunt has terrible aim with blasters.
  • Irony: Neel's greatest fear is Commander Gaunt dying by a Rebel getting a lucky shot on the bridge of his flagship. The battle in the short film, however, ends after Neel lands a well-placed shot on the bridge of a Rebel cruisernote .
  • Large Ham: Commander Gaunt manages to be this without having a single line of dialogue, purely thanks to his dramatic arm gesture when ordering the capital ships to open fire. According to his character bio, he "is known for theatrically flamboyant hand gestures when a simple 'fire' command would suffice."
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Commander Gaunt is a loyal Imperial soldier, but he is also not unpleasant to work under, as he is known to offer fruit to his officers during meetings, and he places value on the lives of the soldiers and ships under his command. In addition, Neel is highly fearful of a Rebel getting a lucky shot on the bridge of the Violator and killing Gaunt, because that would mean getting transferred to another squadron under someone far worse than him — possibly even Darth Vader.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Ada's TIE Bomber is equipped with cluster missiles, as she laid waste to a Rebel squadron.
  • Mood-Swinger: Neel's biography in the background material states that he swings back and forth between Hot-Blooded confidence and neurotic Nervous Wreck.
    His self image flips from self-aggrandizing fighter prodigy to doomsayer and harbinger of bad luck at the most bizarre of times
  • Mythology Gag: The background material states Neel's greatest fear is the bridge of Gaunt's Star Destroyer getting hit, placing his squadron in other potentially much worse hands (like Darth Vader) know, kinda like when A-wing that went flying into the Super Star Destroyer's bridge in Return of the Jedi...oh, and he's paranoid of A-wings due to always getting shot down by them in the virtual combat simulator.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: The Star Destroyers, as is standard in Star Wars: the Violator, the Exterminator and the Inhibitor. Lampshaded in the supplementary material, which points out that Gaunt may have chosen these ships because of their intimidating names and the psychological effect they would have on the enemy.
  • Oblivious to Love: Neel has a crush on Ada that she is clueless about. Apparently he regularly leaves chocolates outside her door, and she hasn't discovered the identity of her admirer.
  • Old Soldier: Rosh is as experienced as his appearance would infer.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Rosh's bio states he is frequently called "the ace", or "that man I keep handing fruit to" in Gaunt's case (he also apparently is the pilot that has happened to have received the most fruit from Gaunt), because few people actually remember his name for some reason.
  • Order Is Not Good: Gaunt is described as a big believer in Order, but in this case the order in question is the totalitarian regime of Palpatine's Empire. While Gaunt's biography says that he's not an evil man, it also points out that he's by no means good either, and is a believer in using fear and intimidation to keep systems in line. He was taken under the wing of Grand Moff Tarkin, who famously tried to use the destruction of entire planets to inspire that sense of fear. Gaunt is cut from a similar cloth, he's just not as extreme as Tarkin, and isn't as willing to throw away lives.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Some rebels attempts to do this when their vessel goes up in flames. They didn't make it.
  • Perspective Flip: Shows a battle in the Galactic Civil War from The Empire's point of view.
  • Private Military Contractors: Rosh was a mercenary before joining the Imperial Fleet. This has resulted in him being widely distrusted by officers concerned about his loyalty, but Gaunt only cares about results, so when he noticed Rosh's skills Rosh was rapidly promoted.
  • The Quiet One: Rosh is described by the background info as a tedious person. His replies to the constant requests for tips to how he got be such an ace pilot he gets are "Do a Barrel Roll" and "Just, you know, don't get shot."
  • Rugged Scar: Exploited Trope — according to the background material, Ada got that large scar from... opening a closet, but she keeps it while telling everyone she got it from a battle where in she killed 12 X-wings.
  • Shout-Out: The entire clip is rife with references to the old X-Wing and TIE Fighter video games (even borrowing its logo from the latter). The HUDs of each ship match those of the games, the Star Destroyer has the same briefing area as it does in TIE Fighter, and various sound effects are lifted from the games.
  • Silence Is Golden: There is no audible dialog throughout the short. While characters clearly speak and give orders, what they're saying has to be guessed by the resulting actions.
  • Single-Issue Wonk: Ada has an obsession with various bomber craft, and was only ever interested in flying the TIE Bombers when she attended the Imperial Academy.
  • Slasher Smile: Gaunt gets a wicked one when victory is near. According to his bio, he has a tendency to grin like this during battles.
  • Technology Porn: Quite a few scenes are very detailed shots of engines or weaponry clicking into action.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Gaunt's biography states he apparently really likes fruit and often hands some his subordinates during briefings.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Ada's biography calls out her habit of unnecessary barrel rolls in her bomber.
  • Victory Through Intimidation: Background materials state that Gaunt, the commander of the Imperial Fleet, is a big believer in this. Gaunt is a believer in the Tarkin school of thought that fear and massive firepower would do more to keep order in the Empire than anything else. In the Outer Rim sector where his fleet operates, Gaunt has developed a reputation that often makes local pirates and would-be separatists surrender as soon as he confronts them rather than attempt to fight.
  • Villain Protagonist: Neel, Ada and Rosh.
  • The Worf Barrage: A massive burst of missiles ends up being for naught against the Interdictor Class cruiser, as they simply reverse the polarity of their gravity well projectors to send the missiles off-course.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): TIE Fighter Short Film


TIE Fighter

To think that all of this just to get a TIE Fighter ready to launch.

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