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Star Wars firm sued over 'failed' Darth Vader film

Marc Johns Image copyright Richard Gittens
Image caption Marc John is claiming £1.35m in compensation from Lucasfilm after it pulled the plug on his plans for a Star Wars fan film

A film-maker is suing Stars Wars producers Lucasfilm, saying it ruined his plans to make more than £1.35m from a film about Darth Vader.

Marc John, 46, of Buckinghamshire, claims he was blocked from filming an interview with actor David Prowse for a film to be broadcast in 1,200 cinemas.

He claims the film would have made about £3m, with his share worth £1.35m.

At the High Court hearing, lawyers for Lucasfilm denied it "unlawfully induced a breach of contract".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption An interview with David Prowse, who played Darth Vader in the original sci-fi trilogy, was said to be the main feature of a scuppered cinema broadcast

The live question-and-answer session with Prowse was to be the "centrepiece" of the film.

Fans would have also seen a "demonstration of how to wield a lightsaber like a Jedi" by a stunt double, among other highlights, the court heard.

Mr John, from Aylesbury, said the broadcast from the Manchester fan convention would have beamed into cinemas internationally in December 2015, just before the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

'Diehard fans'

However, his barrister Shane Sibbel told the court Lucasfilm's lawyers contacted organisers Candy Events and threatened to sue unless they broke an agreement with Mr John to film there.

"Serious Star Wars fan" Mr John runs a firm streaming satellite broadcasts of live events to cinemas, which has filmed more than 40 major events with stars, including David Bowie and Meryl Streep.

Mr Sibbel told Judge Veronique Buehrlen QC there would have been a great demand among "diehard cult fans" given the "sky high" anticipation for the 2015 film.

He claimed Lucasfilm's concern was that it would "dilute the launch" of Episode VII.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr John is seeking damages at London's High Court for his failed bid to film an interview with Darth Vader actor David Prowse

However George Woods, for the Disney-owned firm, said the claim was "extraordinarily speculative."

"He relies on an estimate of him netting £1.35m on sales of well over £3m, on what he admits is a low-budget documentary of a fan convention," he said.

"There was no realistic chance of him realising these substantial sums or indeed any sums."

The case continues.

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