Shadows of the Democracy is the first installment in the Spoof Wars: Tales of the Jebi film series. Filmed at the same time as Typhon, the film was originally intended to be a stand-alone story, but was later continued in Return of the Smuggler and Dark Equilibrium, forming a trilogy.
The story follows Guy-Gone Weird, Typhon and Sprint Render once again as they land on Cypress III to relax after various escapades. There they are attacked by a ruthless bounty hunter. While Guy-Gone faces this foe, Sprint and Typhon discover a strange object.
Because the film started as a simple short with a basic story and was later expanded, an due to setbacks and various other factors, production was considerably drug out from 2007 to 2011. At the end of 2012, a prologue was conceived to better tie together the three films.
The film will be released...when it's done.
In Shadows of the Democracy, Guy-Gone Weird, Typhon and Sprint Render land on a small world for a break, only to find themselves hunted down by a ruthless bounty hunter. Using his unusual paralyzer device and other unique tricks, he intends to capture and bring the trio back to his employer -- dead or alive. As Guy-Gone faces this new evil alone, Sprint and Typhon find themselves tempted by an alluring gold object. This short film brings parody and action together and tells another chapter in the Spoof Wars saga.
- Guy-Gone Weird .... Matt Gilbert
- Typhon .... Tyler Stacey
- Sprint Render .... Wes Stacey
- Bounty Hunter .... Aaron Loucks
- ??? .... Ryan Murphy
- Shawn Duet .... Jonathan Consiglio
- Maigus .... Matthew Shackelford
- Bioculus .... Andrew Kaldenbach
- Olmec Qel-Drona .... Chris Patton
- Rig'ur Mortuus .... Eric Kaldenbach
- Dev .... Matt Wetmore
- Nack .... Matthew Shackelford
- Heavenly Voice .... Matthew Shackelford
- Guy-Gone Weird
- Sprint Render
- Dharth Bob
- Spiff Guard
- Shawn Duet
- Exor Kruun
- Rig'ur Mortuus (also acts as prologue Narrator)
- Olmec Qel-Drona
- Dharth Deceivious
- Dharth Dredd
- Dharth Decimous
- Dharth Plaquetus
- Dharth Bolshevik
- Dharth Very Insidious
- Moses Megualon
- Ancient Jebi Warrior
- Ancient Spiff Archer
- Ancient Spiff Warrior
Organizations and titles
- Bounty hunter
- Dark Jebi
- Galactic Democracy
- Jebi Order
- Order of the Spiff Lords
Behind the Scenes
In fall of 2006, Matt Gilbert and Aaron Loucks took a video editing class at their community college. As soon as the final project details were announced, the two decided they wanted to make a short Spoof Wars follow-up. They tossed around ideas and settled on two of them, which eventually became Typhon and Shadows of the Democracy. It was decided that since Typhon was so short and simple, and since Shadows was (at that time) also short and straightforward, that they would film the two back-to-back.
Shadows of the Democracy changed quite a bit even from its initial drafts to filming. The film was originally titled Nights of the New Democracy, a play on Knights of the Old Republic. The story started when Typhon and Sprint land the Rusty Eagle on a dark, foggy world and enter a bar. In the bar, they secretly meet Guy-Gone Weird, who had arrived separately. He tells them that there is a bounty on all of them and points to the wanted poster on the wall. While talking, they see a shadowy figure eying them, but when they go to investigate, he is gone. They leave the bar and are immediately attacked. Rhast was originally much more of a Dark Jebi assassin, and used primarily gadgets against the heroes until Guy-Gone confronted him with his saber. Rhast would have worn a long black robe and come across more as a Dark Jebi villain visually, than a bounty hunter. Most of the film played out as before (without the nugget sub-plot), and with a somewhat more serious tone. It was implied that Rhast was sent by Dharth Bolshevik to enact revenge for the events of Spoof Wars.
Ultimately, it was decided that only one location should be used, and an outdoor location was decided. Additionally, due to almost no budget, the robed Rhast was abandoned and made a bounty hunter using available parts and re-using old costume parts (such as the leather vest worn by Dharth Bob). The bar scene was cut and the film was decided to start with the heroes already fighting Rhast, apparently all still together as shown in Typhon. (Note: The bar scene idea was later briefly revived in the short-lived project The Search for Dharth Bob and eventually in Return of the Smuggler). The title was changed to Shadows of the Democracy, a play on Shadows of the Empire.
Filming on Shadows picked up immediately after filming was completed on Typhon the same day. The cast and crew moved their filming to the area behind their high school, known as the "Independent Islands", and prepared for filming. Filming went generally as planned, until one of the batteries on the two cameras died. Due to the time constraints of the late time of day and the dying second camera, most of the saber fight was skipped over and the end was filmed before some of the actors had to leave. After some initial editing and better planning, including some choreography ideas sent by Matthew Shackelford, Matt, Aaron and Ryan returned a little over a month later and filmed a newly extended fight scene. While the scene turned out much better than planned, there was a noticeable difference in the surroundings as fall continued.
As the film was continuing editing after the completion of Typhon in spring 2007, it was decided that the film seemed to lose track of Typhon and Sprint too much. While chatting online, Matt and Ryan started toying around with showing a sub-plot featuring Typhon and Sprint that would inter-cut with the saber battle. Initial ideas would include getting lost, traveling to a space McDonalds, and getting attacked by other bounty hunters (also later revived in Return of the Smuggler). The McDonalds idea was altered to have the two calmly eat lunch while Guy-Gone fought for his life. Out of the discussion of what they would eat came the idea of the golden nugget. The idea of a Lord of the Rings parody had been presented earlier, and it was decided that Typhon would discover a "one nugget" and the two would fight over it. These scenes were shot with a single camera in the summer of 2007. The day before filming, Tyler, not realizing that he shouldn't, got a very short haircut. Rather than have to wait almost 5 months for his hair to grow out again and potentially add to the noticeable season change discontinuity, it was quickly decided to add some lines referencing his haircut change - that he got it somehow between scenes, and that he should "change it back".
After the subplot was edited into the film, it was decided that the film had grown bigger than the intial "short fight movie" idea and that the story needed to be fleshed out much more. A new introductory scene was shot showing a Batman Forever/& Robin-style suit-up, a gag where the characters were in the wrong clothes, and a few background shots. Soon after, a new series of scenes were written and shot, showing Guy-Gone's hesitance to return to the Jebi, Rhast's initial attack, and a newly extended fight between Rhast and Typhon and Sprint. Because Tyler was unavailable for filming, Ryan dressed in the Typhon outfit and acted as a stand-in from the neck down. Another continuity error developed, once again due to hair length, as Aaron had continued to grow his hair out since the original filming and was very noticeably longer. Several shots were added to the fight, and finally a scene was shot for after the credits where Dharth Bob and his troops would discover Rhast, parodying a scene from Revenge of the Sith in which Darth Sidious discovers the burned Anakin. Two scenes for the earlier version of Dark Equilibrium were shot at this time as well.
The final bit of filming occurred in early summer of 2009, when the crew returned for some scenes for Return of the Smuggler, and decided to get a few shots to fill in the editing a little better. These shots included background shots of some areas in the "Islands", shots of Sprint returning from the Rusty Eagle, and a few shots of he and Typhon (again, Ryan in the costume), running down a path that connected the location of the fight and the location of the nugget struggle.
In December of 2012, Matt and Eric viewed the nearly completed film and agreed that something was missing. For one, it was about 10 minutes shorter than Return of the Smuggler and Dark Equilibrium, and it felt a little disconnected from them, despite being the start of the trilogy. In addition, Matt had always been unhappy with how it started abruptly without any real explanation of what was going on. Eric proposed the idea of a Lord of the Rings - style prologue that could take the opportunity to fully explain what happened in The Dubious Maneuver as well as what happened since. Matt expanded the idea by crafting an ancient battle and subsequent events that incidentally tied together a handful of unexplained elements from the movies - the golden nugget, the Symbiocolate, the Legend of Olmec Qel-Drona and the Hidden Temple, the laserglaive, and the origin of the Spiff/Jebi rivalry. Sean also got in on the idea, adding elements and giving suggestions.
However, this epic battle could not be filmed, because something of that scope was way beyond the ability of anyone on the team. So Matt proposed that it be done in the style of a motion comic - still images that have moving elements - similar to the timeline videos from The Old Republic, with a few key shots in full video. Within the first week of January 2013, filming began with Olmec, Dharth Deceivious and 3 Spiff Sorcerers.
- The film is the first in the "Tales of the Jebi Trilogy".
- The film was originally titled Nights of the New Democracy.
- Rhast was originally going to be a Dark Jebi assassin working for Dharth Bolshevik.
- Sprint and Typhon would have originally arrived on Cypress III separate of Guy-Gone and covertly meet in a bar.
- Most of the film was shot on the same day that nearly all of Typhon was shot.
- The planet, Cypress III, was named after the park that was used as Daftooine, Cypress Park.
- The opening titles and suit-up sequence parody Batman Forever/Batman & Robin.
- Rhast is not particularly based on any existing character, though the closest is Aurra Sing.
- Shadows of the Democracy was not originally intended to have any direct follow-ups.
- Rhast's twitching fingers at the end, followed by abrupt credits was a parody of the end of X-Men: The Last Stand.
- The part where Guy-Gone and Rhast fight each other spinning on the ground, missing each other was a brief parody of Ryan vs. Dorkman.
- Typhon seems to have an invisible armory - he seems to pull his gun and detonator out of nowhere.
- Guy-Gone's brief hologram scene at the beginning was originally not meant to show anyone in particular, but was change to Maigus using extra footage from his Dark Equilibrium recordings.
- The film was the last to be filmed on Mini-DV, excluding some early footage for Dark Equilibrium that was not used.
- One of the cameras was the same one used for all filming on Spoof Wars.
- Initial cuts of this movie inspired most of the remaining cast of the original to return, including Jonathan and Sean.
- Matt tripped over Sean's huge robe a few more times, once while trying to run up the steep bridge.
- Shadows of the Democracy on SpoofWarsFilms.com