So how do you protect the viability of your intellectual property? Some approach it by slapping copyright lawsuits on people or supporting SOPA. Others, however, inspire legions of fans to further their works — like Lucasfilm, which gave its blessing to a crowd-sourced version of Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope.

When Casey Pugh of StarWarsUncut.com asked for fan-made video clips in 2009, he couldn’t have known that the resulting feature-length film — culled from over 400 scenes using live actors, animals, animation and puppets, all edited together — would score an interactive media Emmy award (2010). And now, the director’s cut is available for your viewing pleasure. This version hit YouTube this month, and in less than a week, it has already snagged over a million views.

Score one for creativity, and for a content maker who offers fans some leeway to honor its franchise in the most absurd, homespun and awesome way imaginable.

If you haven’t seen it, go ahead and settle in, grab some popcorn and let The Force of fandom take hold. Or, in other words, hit play on the video below. Enjoy!

[via BBC]