For Pete's Sake

Gear up for ‘Rogue One’ by watching Chris Conley’s ‘Star Wars’ fan film

Chiefs receiver Chris Conley reviews 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Movie'

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley and Star Wars aficionado gave his movie review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Movie on Friday.
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Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley and Star Wars aficionado gave his movie review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Movie on Friday.

Chiefs receiver Chris Conley is a self-professed Star Wars fanatic, so it should be no surprise that he wrote a review of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” which hits theaters today.

But in that review, which you can read on The Players’ Tribune, Conley revealed a dark secret: He first fell in love by watching “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.”

Ugh. That movie was, um, not good. On the plus side, it was better than Episode II, but those are the two worst episodes in the Star Wars catalog.

“I was just this little kid in my hometown theater in Dallas, Georgia, sitting there in awe,” Conley wrote. “The biggest thing that drew me to the Star Wars universe was how connected everything was — for whatever reason, it just made sense to me. I instantly identified with it.

“Since then, throughout college and into my career with the Chiefs, I’ve never let go.

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“Now, I know what you’re thinking: I know the prequels aren’t the greatest movies on the planet, but they struck a chord with me. I can’t hate them because they are what first made me fall in love with Star Wars. I can’t help but keep a special place for them in my heart.”

In fact, when Conley was at the University of Georgia, he created a Star Wars fan film. In the essay on The Players’ Tribune, Conley writes that he was bored one night and watching fan videos on YouTube. So he decided to create a lightsaber duel and post it as well.

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Conley and a friend then decided to do more and wrote a story ... with a tie to Georgia football. Part of the 26-minute movie was filmed at Sanford Stadium. Former Georgia running back Todd Gurley and former Bulldogs coach Mark Richt have funny cameos in the film.

“I took a crash course that was basically reading Filmmaking for Dummies, but I also read articles, watched videos and seminars, and read FAQs,” Conley wrote. “I surrounded myself with as many talented people as I could, wrote a script, choreographed fights for about a month and got permits for different locations. I had to beg people for equipment and help. We shot it and edited for about five months afterward.

“The result was my fan film, Retribution, in which I played the Sith lord, Khari Vion.

“It’s very raw and it has tons of mistakes that we see now, but given that it was my first film project, I’m proud of it.”

Conley has reason to be proud. It’s a nice movie, and you can watch it here:

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff