Patrick Read Johnson, one of the co-creators of the long-running Dragonheart fantasy series, is about to release a Star Wars movie, but not exactly in the way you might expect. Instead of another installment of the Disney-owned Lucasfilm space opera, 5-25-77 is an autobiographical coming of age story about Johnson’s own experiences being one of the first members of the public to see the original Star Wars upon its release on May 25, 1977 (get it?). Per Deadline, the film star John Francis Daley as the younger version of Johnson, as well as Austin Pendleton, Neil Flynn, and Colleen Camp. 5-25-77 is currently set to be distributed in the United States this fall by, which hopefully not interfere with any confusing Disney Star Wars releases.
5-25-77 will follow John Francis Daley as Johnson in the beginnings of his career in the film industry, primarily working in practical special effects and models. According to Johnson, he first saw an incomplete version of Star Wars before the visual effects by the still-nascent Industrial Light and Magic were complete and was awed by it. 5-25-77 is reportedly a love letter to the effect Star Wars had on a generation of filmmakers and a project he has been working on for over 20 years. Johnson began writing the film in 1999, collecting funds for the Star Wars-adjacent film in 2001, and eventually began filming in 2004.
Around that time, star John Francis Daley had just appeared on the cult Judd Apatow/Mike White television series Freaks and Geeks, in which his character also had a strong connection to Star Wars. Since then, Daley has starred in the crime procedural series Bones and developed an ongoing filmmaking partnership with Jonathan Goldstein. The two have co-written numerous hit films, including Horrible Bosses, Horrible Bosses 2, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. They are currently working on the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves starring Chris Pine. They also have a co-writing screen credit on Spider-Man: Homecoming, which puts them in the Disney camp, which means they probably cannot be all that far away from their own Star Wars film or show.
Prior to working on his long-gestating Star Wars project, Patrick Read Johnson worked on numerous films including Baby’s Day Out and Angus. He is likely most famous for the Dragonheart franchise, which he co-created with Charles Edward Pogue. The first film in the series was released in 1996 and followed a medieval English knight turned rogue played by the very American, very 20th-century Dennis Quaid. The dragon part comes in by way of Sean Connery voicing the last surviving dragon, who teams up with Dennis Quaid’s character to essentially pull protection cons on villagers until they recover their lost ideals long enough to defeat an evil king played by David Thewlis who needs half of the dragon’s heart in order to live. That’s where the heart part comes in.
5-25-77 sounds like it reveres Star Wars in the appropriate manner, with a labor of love from a dedicated fan who put his whole life into it. We are excited to see it this fall.