Get ready to be totally jealous of a toddler, because one little geek in training is living the dream of saving the galaxy from the Empire in a new YouTube video. Perhaps you're already familiar with Amelia of Free Dad Videos fame, the 3-year-old who blows up the Death Star with a little help from her dad and an impressive collection of YouTuber friends. Amelia and her dad, Matt Silverman, went viral back in May with their adorable cover of a-ha's "Take On Me." Now, with Star Wars coming to TV next week, it's a great time for parents to get their kids acquainted with the series, and "Red Five: A Young Hope" is a perfect introduction.
The video casts Amelia in Luke Skywalker's role, tasked with making the infamous trench run in order to access the exhaust port that leads to the Death Star's reactor. Those who are into YouTube culture will no doubt recognize the other pilots in her squadron, but even the most casual internet user will definitely see a familiar face when Darth Vader removes his mask. No spoilers, but I will say that he's a viral video legend. But the real star is Amelia, whose acting (and piloting) will have fans cheering.
We begin with the familiar crawl outlining the plot, then cut to the action as Amelia and her squadron of X-wing starfighters make their approach on the Empire's space station. The familiar John Williams score swells as the tot delivers her lines perfectly: "I got a little cooked, but I'm OK!" Wondering how they managed this without the help of George Lucas? As Silverman explains in his out-takes and behind the scenes video, in order to get the most realistic "set" possible, he started with stills of the X-wing cockpits from the original film and then painstakingly Photoshopped the pilots out of the scenes (no disrespect to Wedge Antilles). Amelia and the other pilots wore altered store-bought costumes and performed in front of green screens, and the background and lighting were added in later.
But putting aside the technical aspects, how do you make a video like this with someone who can't even read a script? Amelia's scenes were filmed in spurts, whenever she happened to be in the zone. Silverman spoke to Romper about the video, and explained,
I've learned to be extremely patient. Video production is hard enough with adult talent, let alone a fidgety kid. She is very excited to make videos, but gets bored or too silly quickly. So I've really learned to read her ebb and flow precisely. There are times when we have no chance of being productive. And other moments when we drop everything to turn on the camera because she's being especially cute or articulate.
The quick cuts of the original scene perfectly lent to shooting with a fidgety kid, as she didn't have to focus for too long at any given time.
At 3, Amelia's still a little too young to actually watch Star Wars, but Silverman had her study the trench run scene, and she's familiar with the characters. In fact, he told Romper that in some of the scenes where she's just sitting quietly, she's actually listening to her father tell her stories about Luke, Leia, Obi-Wan, and R2-D2.
But perhaps the best thing about the video is that Amelia plays a badass fighter pilot. Silverman wanted his daughter to know that women can be X-wing pilots, too, and he's excited that Amelia in growing up in an era when geek culture is more welcoming to women and girls. "Anything she is passionate about will be there for the taking, and she is equally interested in Zelda and Star Wars as she is in princesses and Frozen," he tells Romper.
You can watch the full video below — I'm off to try and convince Silverman to adopt me.