There’s no shortage of fan films and series based on our favorite franchises. I’ve already talked about the best Star Wars fan films that deserve a watch, but I wanted to talk about a few other franchises. From Dragon Ball Z to DC to Uncharted, here are 23 fan films that could easily fit right in with their franchise’s original movies, shows, books, and games.
Dragon Ball Z: ‘Dragon Ball Z: Light of Hope’ by RobotUnderdog2
I remember watching Dragon Ball Z as a kid with friends, so when I heard a live-action film was coming out in 2009, I was excited. Then I saw the movie. This group of fans came together to create a fan film that could erase the painful memory of the film.
Dragon Ball Z: Light of Hope is a live-action series adaptation of “The History of Trunks” TV special. It tells the story of Gohan and Trunks in their battle to defeat the Androids after Goku and the rest of the Z warriors have fallen.
Matrix: ‘Matrix Recall’ by Red Skeleton Kru
Honestly, I couldn’t care less about The Matrix growing up. That is until Red Skeleton Kru produced this short film. While it doesn’t have any of the original characters, it takes inspiration from the movies in the filming style and props used.
It feels like a slight parody, but in the best way. The leads are actually a couple, so their banter is authentic, and you can tell. Despite the extremely low budget, the special effects and editing are high-quality, surpassing that of the original movies.
Marvel: ‘Gambit’ by Nick Bateman
Gambit has been done dirty in Marvel’s many movies, but this fan did him a little bit of justice. My only gripe is the hair, but that’s not super important to the character. The actors fit their roles perfectly, and Gambit’s personality was captured to a T.
In the comics, Gambit is a mutant and Rogue’s love interest. He was part of a thieves’ guild, as we see in the short film, before joining the X-Men. He has the ability to manipulate kinetic energy, usually used in combination with card throwing and creating explosive projectiles.
DC: ‘Growing Shadows: The Poison Ivy Fan Film’ by Triskelle Pictures Ltd.
If Poison Ivy is one of your favorite villains, or if you haven’t been satisfied with her in DC movies and shows, this is the fan film for you. The casting and makeup for Ivy are impressive, and the actress is spot-on for the character. You’ll also love the twist at the end that fits the narrative of DC’s Harley Quinn series.
“Someone has been poisoning the residents of Gotham, using venomous plants. All signs suggest that this is the work of Poison Ivy – but as she’s been locked up inside Arkham Asylum, how could she be responsible? A mysterious visitor will find out the truth.”
DC: ‘Riddle Me This’ by Cine-Clark Studios
The Riddler is far from my favorite villain in the DC universe, but this feature-length fan film makes me want to learn more about him. The production feels like it would fit right in with either Gotham or the Michael Keaton Batman movies.
“A new killer has emerged in Gotham City that has a taste for blood and riddles. Two detectives, Renee Montoya and Eric Cohen, are tasked with finding this killer before more victims fall prey to his sick game.” In it, we explore Montoya and the Riddler’s connection.
DC: ‘Red Hood: The Series’ by tenshunn
Jason Todd, the second Robin, returns to Gotham as The Red Hood to seek vengeance and send a message to the Bat-Family, specifically Batman himself. While Jason Todd isn’t my favorite of the Bat-Family, his story is fascinating, and this series captured it well.
The first episode starts with Red Hood facing off with the third Robin, Tim Drake. Jason Todd’s Red Hood costume looks straight from the comics with a few modernized upgrades. And the Robin suit Tim wears looks like how I expected it to look in Titans.
DC: ‘Nightwing: The Series’ by ISMAHAWK
This series is probably what got me into DC movies and shows. Nightwing: The Series follows Nightwing’s fights against Deathstroke. The casting was spot-on, especially for Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon. The fight choreography and costuming were on-par with high-budget movies.
I have watched the entire series and behind-the-scenes videos for each episode since I discovered it the day the fifth episode came out. Everything Ismahawk does has been high-quality, sometimes even better than actual movies. How is he not already working with DC on full-length feature films?
Nevernight: ‘Nevernight’ by Piera Forde
From the same creators of the Matrix fan film I talked about earlier comes the three-episode adaptation of Jay Kristoff’s Nevernight. While I couldn’t get through the book because of the writing style, the cinematography and acting in the fan creation made me want to try again.
Nevernight was created with ScreenAustralia, and the author has backed the series. They’re even trying to get this picked up by a bigger network to adapt the entire book series. I followed along with the production of this, and the amount of effort they put into everything was fantastic.
Game of Thrones: ‘The Wild Wolf’ by Wild Wolf Films
This Game of Thrones prequel fan film takes place 15 years before the first episode of the HBO series. Brandon Stark, heir to Winterfell and Ned Stark’s older brother, has been betrothed to Catelyn Tully in an attempt to unify houses Tully and Stark. But, Petyr Baelish challenges Brandon for Catelyn’s hand.
The costuming and acting were almost the same quality as Game of Thrones. Maybe even better than season eight… too soon? The Wild Wolf is based on a lesser-known story by George R.R. Martin, and we need more fan films (or official series) in this universe if they’re this high-quality.
Lord of the Rings: ‘Horn of Gondor’ by Rosenthal z.s.
Set 500 years before The Lord of the Rings starts, Horn of Gondor sees the aftermath of the hordes of Balchoth invading Gondor. “The Ruling steward Cirion places his hope to the North, to the half-forgotten nation of the Horselords. Will the knight Borondir succeed and convey Cirion’s message?”
Horn of Gondor was filmed in the Czech Republic, and the locations they filmed looked straight out of Middle-Earth. Even the actor’s accents fit in with the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises. My only gripe was the costuming, but for a small budget, it’s passable.
Related: Amazon’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ Series
A Court of Thorns and Roses: ‘Under the Mountain’ by Taleen Productions
If you like A Court of Thorns and Roses as much as I do, you’ve probably been following along with the Hulu adaptation and scouring the web for fan films. When I stumbled across Taleen Productions and their many ACOTAR scene recreations, I was ecstatic.
Under the Mountain shows the scene where Rhys heals Feyre’s arm in exchange for her spending a week each month with him in the Night Court — should she defeat Amarantha and survive. While they don’t look exactly how I imagined the characters, the two actors do fantastic portraying them.
Throne of Glass: ‘The Assassin’s Blade’ by Red Skeleton Kru
The last of Red Skeleton Kru’s fan films that I will include on the list, The Assassin’s Blade, is my favorite. And that’s probably because it’s what made me want to read the Throne of Glass book series in the first place. If you still haven’t read it, this will make you want to, too.
Everything from the costuming to the casting was what I expect from an official adaptation, should that come about soon. Even better than the fan film is the behind-the-scenes: it showed how much effort was put behind it despite lighting and weather issues.
Lara Croft: ‘Croft’ by EBNERDS
I had absolutely no interest in watching any of the Lara Croft movies until I saw this short film. I discovered this when I fell down the fan film rabbit hole while procrastinating studying for college finals. But I’m so glad I did because I found a new franchise to love.
The entire video looks like it was pulled from one of the movies or video games. In it, “a woman will risk everything to save a young girl held hostage in the mountains by a group of mercenaries.” The ending might surprise you just like it did me.
Twilight: ‘The Mary Alice Brandon File’ by Tongal
I’ll be the first to say I didn’t like Twilight much. In fact, I couldn’t even get through the second book, but I did watch all the movies. But the short films created by Tongal in partnership with Lionsgate and Women in Film are so well done, I might consider reading the series.
The Mary Alice Brandon File shows how Alice Cullen became the vampire we know and love. Alice was institutionalized in the early 1900s for having premonitions of traumatic events. While institutionalized, she underwent electroshock therapy and was turned by a staff member to keep her safe.
Twilight: ‘We’ve Met Before’ by Tongal
Speaking of Alice Cullen, here’s another Twilight short film following her time before joining the Cullen family. She meets Jasper, her one true love, in a diner. At the beginning and end of the video, we see memories of the couple in vintage film shots.
The short film was slightly better quality than the first Twilight movie in costuming, acting, and cinematography. The story was adapted from The Twilight Saga Illustrated Guide in a way that makes it feel like Alice is telling you the story instead of you watching a video.
Twilight: ‘Consumed’ by Tongal
The last Tongal short film tells the backstory of the Volturi vampire twins, Jane and Alec. These two vampires have always intrigued me. They are the only immortal children allowed in the Twilight universe (and two of the most powerful).
In it, we see Aro meet the twins and their mother when they’re young children. Then, it skips a few years to them as 13-year-olds with their village blaming them for all the bad things happening. In the end, the twins are turned by Aro, despite the rules.
Star Trek: ‘Agent of New Worlds’ by Avalon Universe
If you’ve watched any of the 80’s Star Trek media, you’re probably going to love this fan production. Agent of the New World follows two women searching for some technology. When they find it, they ultimately discover it can affect what they see.
The costuming and props look straight out of Star Trek: The Next Generation. While the acting is sub-par, it fits right in with most Star Trek movies and shows. You can tell a group of Trekkies put a lot of effort and love into the project.
The Hunger Games: ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ by Taneel Productions
While we’re still waiting on the official adaptation of the Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, we can enjoy this little scene. In it, Coriolanus Snow meets his with tribute, Lucy Gray Baird. It shows who the future President is in his youth before being corrupted by the Capitol.
The cinematography of this fan film pairs well with the talent of the actors playing Snow and Baird. They have great chemistry, really capturing the doomed love story. I also loved the song that played during the credits. The lighting also successfully copied the franchise’s style.
The Hunger Games: ‘The Second Quarter Quell’ by MainstayPro
This is by far my favorite Hunger Games fan film of all time. I fell in love with this when it came out ten years ago, and I still love it just as much to this day. The actors were excellent, and young Haymitch looks believable as a young Woody Harrelson. The action was also on par with the Hunger Games movies.
The Second Quarter Quell follows Haymitch during his turn in the Games. It starts with him facing off against Careers before being saved by his new ally, Maysilee. While it’s short, it takes place over many days. The short film ends by using the arena to his advantage to defeat his last opponent.
Harry Potter: ‘Sisters of House Black’ by Kelsey Ellison
The story of the Black sisters – Bellatrix, Narcissa, and Andromeda – has intrigued fans (and myself) for years. There have been numerous fan films and fan fiction about their falling out, but this one steps it up a notch. The costuming is great, and the actresses were cast to look like sisters.
The short film is a prequel following the Black Sisters during Voldemort’s first rise to power. The film goes through several years of their lives and gives each sister a fleshed-out personality. “A wizarding war is on the brink, and now, the sister’s choices will soon decide their ultimate fates.”
Harry Potter: ‘The Tale of Three Brothers’ by Felicity Giles
When I first clicked on this video, I expected another version of the story we saw in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. I was wrong, but I couldn’t be happier about that. The creators took the story of the deathly hallows and put her own twist on it.
I liked how Death was a little girl in a white cloak instead of the black-cloaked older men we often see in media. I also like the twist in the end when the invisibility cloak is passed on to the grandson. The best parts of this fan film were seeing how the brothers used the Elder Wand and Resurrection Stone.
Harry Potter: ‘Ilvermorny’ by Working with Lemons
Since the story of Ilvermorny was released on Pottermore, I had wanted a movie focused on the school. So, when I stumbled across Working with Lemon’s fan film, I fell in love with it. Ilvermorny tells the story of how the “American Hogwarts” was created.
Isolt Sayre runs from her cruel aunt to America, where she befriends a Pukwudgie called William. While he’s not seen in the short film, we meet her husband, muggle James Stewart, and their adoptive sons, Chadwick and Webster. Together, they create the “American Hogwarts.”
Uncharted: ‘Uncharted’ by Allan Unger
We’re getting the first Uncharted movie next year, but this fan film from 2018 made people realize how great that could even be. Tom Holland plays a young Nathan Drake in the upcoming prequel film, but Nathan Fillion is Nathan Drake from the games.
The fan film from Allan Unger follows Drake as he’s captured while searching for the lost treasure of the Flor de la Mar. Fans, including myself, have been hoping for more of Fillion’s Drake, but sadly this is all we’ve got so far. Everything from the casting to the costuming was spot-on.