A CORK man who grew up playing with Star Wars figures was brought on board to write for the franchise in a plot twist he said would have left his ‘eight year old self’ awestruck.
Castlemagner native, Will Collins, who grew up in Cork and eventually settled with his family in Donegal, co-wrote an episode of the Star Wars Visions’ series alongside Jason Tammemägi.
The programme, which is currently streaming on Disney Plus, is titled Screecher’s Reach.
It centres around a young girl named Daal who seeks reprieve in a rural workhouse before discovering a legendary haunted cave named Screecher’s Reach with her friends.
Some of the lines feature culturally inspired references including a nod to a Fr Ted episode that sees Bishop Brennan get a ‘kick up the arse.’
Lucas Films allowed the reference - which involves a character’s desire to give the ghost at Screecher’s Reach a ‘kick up the arse’ - due to its cultural significance.
The episode formed part of an ambitious project that allowed filmmakers and animators all over the world access to the Star Wars universe.
Will is no stranger to success with previous screenwriting credits that include the Oscar nominated feature animations, Wolfwalkers and Song of the Sea produced by Cartoon Saloon in Kilkenny.
Mr Collins even got to live out every Star Wars fan’s dream with a trip to the George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch located north of San Francisco.
The father of two is now detailing his adventures in a light-hearted film and TV podcast he co-hosts with fellow screenwriter Kevin Lehane - the screenwriter behind cult Irish film Grabbers. Known as the Best Bits Podcast, the pair select quirky themes and recap on memorable television and film moments.
One of the experiences the Cork man hones in on is his time at Skywalker Ranch where they developed the Star Wars-Visions’ episode.
“It was totally isolated from the rest of the world. The place even had its own fire department. If we wanted to light a fire we had to check in with the fire station and they would come and light it for us. We really were treated so well.” He recalled how the sounds of wolves and coyotes the ranch were commonplace. However, Will’s biggest fear was of turkeys.
“We never got scared of the coyotes but the turkeys were terrifying. They were hanging out together on the side of the road like wild hooligans. At one stage they chased us for half a kilometre. It was like being chased by a dinosaur because we were that terrified.
"The experience was somewhere between annoying, funny and terrifying. It was like the turkeys were getting their revenge for being made Christmas dinner. Luckily, we came away unscathed.”
The screenwriter was glad to combine his two loves- Star Wars and Fr Ted -through the project.
Will said he is enjoying the reaction online from people who have watched the Star Wars episode.
“What you normally don’t get from television is that immediate audience reaction. When you are under the umbrella of millions of Star Wars fans you just know that you’re going to get eyeballed. A lot of them are assessing the work completely blind and showing their reactions online.
"It’s really nice to see. In a way it’s like being able to go into the cinema with an invisibility cloak. You can see the viewers’ reactions without them even realising and that has been really satisfying. I would pay good money to be able to have that experience over and over again. This particular episode has been really well received and that’s something we’re really proud of.” T
To find out more about Will’s trip to the Skywalker Ranch and the Screecher’s Reach episode check out The Best Bits podcast.