The ’80s Sci-Fi Space Opera Epic Needs Rediscovery

By April Ryder | Published

It may not be officially available on any streaming platform, but that doesn’t mean this ‘80s sci-fi space opera doesn’t need a little rediscovery. Starchaser: The Legend of Orin is a 3D animated gem that should not be tossed away into the abyss of forgotten films.

Starchaser: The Legend of Orin

Starchaser: The Legend of Orin was directed and produced by Steven Hahn, and written by Jeffrey Scott. The film is a little Masters of the Universe mixed with a lot of Star Wars and a dash of The Last Starfighter. It was one of the first animated films to mix traditional and computer animation. If you know your ‘80s flicks, you can guess what you’re in for when you sit down to watch this movie. 

The Starchaser Story

The plot of Starchaser: The Legend of Orin centers around Orin (voiced by Joe Colligan), a young miner who has been working all of his life as a slave in the mines of a planet called Trinia mining crystals for the evil Zygon and his robot minions. 

When Orin finds a jeweled sword while digging one day, his life is changed forever. After escaping the mines with his brother Elan, the two set out to discover a whole new world of adventure and find the true power that lies within the mysterious sword and its hilt. 

An Animation Legend

Steven Hahn produced Starchaser while at the height of his TV animation career. During the off-season, Hahn thought the project would be a good piece of work for his South Korean animation studio to work on. However, things didn’t go exactly as planned. 

The Starchaser Delay


The film began production in 1982 and was supposed to be ready for release in 1983, but it wasn’t released in theaters until two years later.

It turned out the process of converting the movie to 3D was more involved and more expensive than they once imagined, and Starchaser was delayed. 

What was initially a $2 million movie became a $6 million movie by the time it was all said and done. Ultimately, it was the price of learning. Hahn’s production team was doing stuff they had never done before, so there were mistakes and reshoots that would not have been present otherwise. 

A Financial Flop


Starchaser: The Legend of Orin was released in theaters in the U.S. by Atlantic Releasing for a run of just under 20 days on November 22, 1985. Its U.S. earnings overall were only about $3.3 million, officially making it a financial flop. 

The critic reviews of the movie aren’t very complimentary either. Many critics, namely Siskel and Ebert, accused Hahn of creating a blatant ripoff of Star Wars and never fully realizing the potential of the plot, while some said it was a great movie for when you and the kids are stuck in the house on a rainy day.

Eye Of The Beholder


Starchaser: The Legend of Orin’s value is all in the eyes of the beholder it seems. 

The polarizing viewpoints on the movie are precisely why it should not be forgotten. Where there is contention, there is entertainment.