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Star Wars Episode II: The Approaching Storm (Finished!)

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itunes

Cover artwork by user OnlyOneKenobi

For those authoring the BluRay version to disc with TSMuxer, you need to select “Do Not Insert VUI/SEI Data"

Synopsis

The second of the revamped ‘9000 Series,’ The Approaching Storm delivers a re-crafted perspective on Star Wars Episode II in keeping with the drive of the original trilogy of films. Unnecessary ‘galaxy shrinking’ cameos from classic characters have been cut-down or removed. Anakin and Padme are depicted as realistic adults developing romantic feelings for one another. The political plot is made more straightforward and graspable. Superfluous action is subdued to make the film more story driven.

Intention

By stripping away extraneous tangents and bolstering attention to character development, this edit seeks to improve the original film. The original trilogy is regarded as the template toward which the prequels strive. The prequels are made to submit to the continuity and drive of the originals to the degree possible.

The following three goals are held in balance.

  • Bend the prequels to the story continuity of the original trilogy and the impressions it gives.
  • Improve the prequels in and of themselves, as films, through conventional ‘FanFix’ methodology. The pacing is improved, dialogue trimmed, and characters are developed better. This is the most readily apparent of these three goals that can be seen in The Phantom Edit, for example. The edits should be viable as films on their own.
  • They ought to be functional as replacements for the original versions. This means leaving the film’s thoroughly “prequel” nature unaltered, respecting the broad strokes of Star Wars orthodoxy, and avoiding making changes that would betray to the audience that they’re watching a fan edit. In other words, none of the other two listed goals should put undue stress on the goal of producing something that would have been suitable to have been released in 2002.

Running time is about 108 minutes.

Cuts and Additions:

The primary source material is a preservation of the HDTV version by OT.com user Schorman.

New title crawl to better define the political plot, making Padme’s role a bit clearer, courtesy of Smudger9.

Camera pans down, rather than up, after the crawl, to maintain continuity with the other five films.

Removed Captain Typho’s lines before the ship blows up.

Trimmed Corde’s death.

Added deleted scene where Padme addresses the Senate. This establishes some context for the political content of this film, as well as Padme’s post-Queen character.

Trimmed the scene in Palpatine’s office to remove unhelpful dialogue.

Jar Jar’s introduction is removed, cutting from Obi-Wan and Anakin in the elevator to Padme greeting them.

Anakin’s inappropriate compliments are trimmed in favor of making it a relatable awkward moment for him. It doesn’t give Padme pause.

In the interest of downplaying Obi-Wan and Anakin’s antagonism, their discussion about their roles in front of Padme is trimmed to get to the point.

Anakin does not talk to Jar Jar.

Removed Jango talking to Zam, to save his reveal for later and remove redundancy.

Removed scene where Obi-Wan and Anakin merely bicker.

Tightened Padme’s reaction to Anakin slicing the poison slugs.

Tightened up the speeder chase to remove overly dumb moments, dialogue, and physics.

Anakin doesn’t lose his lightsaber, and Obi-Wan doesn’t lecture him about it.

Trimmed the transition from the bar to the back alley.

Lovingly borrowed audio from The Phantom Editor’s version to alter Zam’s dying words to, “Kamino system…”

Cut Windu’s instructions to Anakin. It’s more effective characterization if Anakin decides to talk to Palpatine himself.

Jar Jar is not depicted as openly incompetent. Removed his awkward acceptance of his new duties.

Removed Anakin complaining about Obi-Wan to Padme. Padme consoles him, and they acknowledge that Anakin has grown up. Padme’s only initial barrier to him has been dissolved.

Removed Dex’s Diner sequence.

Anakin doesn’t mention attachment being forbidden. This on its own doesn’t change anything drastically, but it’s not necessary to define the universal ‘Jedi Way’ so narrowly.

Added deleted scene where Obi-Wan and Mace talk on the landing platform.

Used extended arrival scene on Naboo.

Added first deleted scene of Padme with her family, replacing conversation with the new Queen.

Removed Kaminoan prime minister listing numbers of clone units. It lessens the power of their reveal in a few scenes.

Boba Fett is not described as being a clone. He probably still is a clone, but the pacing is off when the movie pauses to talk about him when nobody asked.

No fireplace scene. Instead, we have a day-for-night moonlight kiss that is interrupted by a scene transition.

Trimmed Obi-Wan and Jango’s dialogue.

When Obi-Wan reports to Yoda and Windu, removed Windu’s perspective-less question about the assassination attempt.

Removed dialogue about the Jedi not being able to use the force due to the dark side clouding everything.

Lightly trimmed the fight in the rain.

Tightened up the chase through the rings of Geonosis. Removed childish Boba moments, and sped up the pacing.

Removed Threepio recognizing Anakin as “the maker.”

Trimmed Cliegg Lars’ dialogue that goes over the top to characterize him as a good guy.

Removed scene where Yoda senses Anakin’s pain.

Removed Separatists’ walking conversation with Dooku, including the reveal that Padme’s assassination attempts stem from Nute Gunray’s pettiness.

Minor tweak: Changed Dooku’s dialogue and the opening crawl to suggest that “a thousand” star systems have revolted against the Republic, rather than “several” or “ten” thousand systems.

Obi-Wan identifies Count Dooku as the mastermind of the assassination attempt, rather than Nute Gunray.

Trimmed dialogue as Palpatine and company discuss what to do.

Jar Jar doesn’t fumble his words as he proposes giving Palpatine emergency powers. He also doesn’t seem caught by surprise when his colleagues applaud him. He appears more competent.

Yoda doesn’t tell us that he’s going to Kamino.

Threepio and Artoo stay on the ship and do not make their way into the battle.

Added a deleted scene on Geonosis to replace the indescribable droid factory action sequence.

Trimmed love confession scene to remove Anakin’s surprised reaction, because they had not decided not to get together.

Trimmed Nute Gunray’s dialogue during the Gladiator sequence.

Removed Threepio and Artoo from the battle, as well as trimming it up slightly.

Removed Geonosian war room sequences in order to remove the unnecessary Death Star cameo.

Lessened Obi-Wan and Anakin’s antagonism after Padme falls out of the transport.

Removed the Jedi giving the clones military advice; this helps establish the clones as competent soldiers and the Jedi as being dependent upon them.

Trimmed the duel with Dooku.

Yoda does not take out a lightsaber. I borrowed one brief shot from L8wrtr’s edit.

When AOTC first came out, I read somewhere that reversing the audio of Dooku’s pilot droid sounds like, “Use the Force, idiot.”

Sidious does not address Dooku as ‘Tyrannus,’ and that title has been removed from the film.

Added credits for myself, workprint viewers, contributors, and acknowledgments of all other AOTC “FanFix” fan edits to date.

Versions

DVD5, 720p iTunes-compatible mp4, and 1080p BluRay-compatible mkv

TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_TWqFOruwQ

This post has been edited.

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...how is it heavily implied Boba is his clone? It's actually MUCH easier to believe he's his son. Like, ridiculously easier. Because the clone thing is just dumb.

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Since I posted that, I decided to remove the description of Boba being an unaltered clone. Not so much to help rescue Boba's character, but because it is not necessary. So it'll be a more conventional approach in that regard. 

If Bossk ended up becoming the popular bounty hunter character, it'd be an army of Bossks and Papa Bossk. 

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MrInsaneA said:

...how is it heavily implied Boba is his clone? It's actually MUCH easier to believe he's his son. Like, ridiculously easier. Because the clone thing is just dumb.

Much easier to remove the kid, keep the helmet on and call him Fett.

The the Fett family subsaga is utterly surplus to requirements.

Have him as a bounty hunter hired to kill Padme.

The Clones could be clones of someone else.

When the student is ready, the Master speaks?

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That'd take some doing, and is outside my intentions for this edit. 

The dialogue identifying Boba as a clone will be gone because it comes across as if it were important, when its not. If the film was released without that dialogue, I suspect everyone would still jump the conclusion that Boba was a clone. 

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Time for a little update. This fan edit has evolved somewhat as I've been working on it. I'm keeping the Sand People murder after all, but it will remain Anakin's secret for now; Padme will not know. She seems pretty adamant about NOT killing innocent people in Episode III.

I'm keeping, though trimming in a similar way as L8, Jar Jar addressing the Senate in order to not have the film come across as a fan edit.

Jango Fett will still die in the film; removing his death doesn't really gain me anything. My editing goals are to 1) Tell the basic story of the prequels, and 2) Bend them to match the originals in continuity. Removing his death doesn't really help either of those goals.

I surveyed, and re-surveyed several prior fan edits of this film, since Attack of the Clones fan edits have a lot of variation. My take on the romance plot is modeled after Slumberland for the most part. Does anyone have a strong opinion, and reasons for them, about Slumberland's or L8's "fireplace" scenes? Slumberland has the two of them eating dinner at dusk, then going out next to the lake at nighttime and sharing a kiss. The next time we see them is the 'morning after.' L8 has the lakeside scene occur earlier, then we see them eating dinner at dusk, then we see a couple of shots of them next to the fireplace and it wipes away abruptly to imply they are going at it with each other. The next time we see them is the morning after. I'm inclined to structure it as Slumberland did.

Also, let me throw this out there and see if anyone has any thoughts: Palpatine is behind the assassination attempts on Padme. In the original version of the film, Count Dooku seems to simply appease Nute Gunray by killing Padme. That seems pretty weak, especially since the film portrays Padme as leading the opposition to something Palpatine wants. But the final cut of AOTC seems to jettison what I suspect was the original motivation for her being killed in favor of a simpler plot where Nute Gunray wants her dead out of delayed vengeance, and there's a bunch of action scenes. So, in my cut, the goal is to make it look like, indeed, Palpatine's behind it all! The opening crawl will state that Padme works to oppose the creation of an army, whereas the original crawl implies she is promoting creation of an army to assist the overwhelmed Jedi. (This film is a MESS, as we all know.) By including the early scene of Padme addressing the Senate, we clearly see what her role is in all this. Palpatine is also quick to delay her from going further, and gives a hollow sympathy to seeing her alive in the next scene. (Why he wants to place her under Obi-Wan's protection is still a mystery; maybe he thinks the dark side is making the Jedi into fools.) When Obi-Wan eventually traces the assassination attempt back to Count Dooku, we do not hear Nute Gunray calling for her death. He still enjoys the execution arena, but it's not like he's holding out on signing a treaty because of her. The audience may wonder why Dooku would want to kill the primary person who is preventing the creation of an enemy army, unless he wants to start a war. Then at the end of the film, Dooku returns to Coruscant and we finally meet Sidious for the first time. Then we realize Palpatine's behind it all. (Please note, however, that Palpatine does not take an apparent interest in Anakin in this film. I'd rather not get into that until Episode III. It puts more nails in the coffin of the subplot that Palpatine 'invented' Anakin.)

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Keeping the sand people murder a secret? Brilliant! It removes the need for that terribly acted scene where he tells padme, and gives Anakin a darker edge, by giving him a dark secret! Again, brilliant!

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Glad you think so, though by no means is that my idea. Slumberland edited his that way, and I'm sure there have been others.

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Well, the edit is finished and is being released. DVD5 is up, with the 720p and 1080p files coming up next.

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I DLed the DVD5 of your Ep 1 and quickly regretted it as I had to get the 720 one .... Give us a heads up when the 720 is up, I'll just start there this time ; )

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720p iTunes version is available on the 'spleen. The full mkv is encoding now.

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1080p version should appear on myspleen shortly. 

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I actually cared about the love between Padme and Anakin, which was no easy feat my friend. None of the other edits came close. Thank you!

I only picked up on a few things:

1- the opening crawl seemed off as far as timing and fade out. Usually they fade into the distance but they were visible on screen and then suddenly gone when it panned down. 

2- some of the scenes (the deleted ones that were added back in mostly) were of pretty poor quality some of the time, especially the first Senate scene and on Geonosis. The Naboo ones seemed fine, though. Was this because I watched the DVD5 version instead of the 720 or 1080? 

In any case, I really enjoyed it, which is really saying something considering the source material. Thanks again and I'm looking forward to Ep III tonight.

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ExNihilo said:

I actually cared about the love between Padme and Anakin, which was no easy feat my friend. None of the other edits came close. Thank you!

I only picked up on a few things:

1- the opening crawl seemed off as far as timing and fade out. Usually they fade into the distance but they were visible on screen and then suddenly gone when it panned down. 

2- some of the scenes (the deleted ones that were added back in mostly) were of pretty poor quality some of the time, especially the first Senate scene and on Geonosis. The Naboo ones seemed fine, though. Was this because I watched the DVD5 version instead of the 720 or 1080? 

In any case, I really enjoyed it, which is really saying something considering the source material. Thanks again and I'm looking forward to Ep III tonight.

 The two issues that you listed have been addressed and will be reflected in an upcoming fixed version. It's not really a 2.0, but just to fix a few glitches that DominicCobb pointed out, and the crawl issue you listed that I noticed too. I don't know why the crawl didn't have a crossfade applied; I went over everything a zillion times before exporting. But it's fixed. 

The deleted scenes (the opening one with Padme in the Senate, and the confrontation on Geonosis with Dooku) suffer from frame rate issues. So they should look smoother and better in that regard, though the resolution and look of them will be the same. In other words, a screengrab of the fixed version would look the same. I'm also going to increase the amount of film grain slightly, to help better mask the drop in quality when using a deleted scene. 

I am glad you enjoyed it; I think Episode II is "most improved" over the original version. It was based in part on Slumberland's brilliant edit, at least in terms of the romance plot.

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I am in the process of replacing the 1080p version of The Approaching Storm with a fixed version, to address a framerate issue in a few of the deleted scenes. The links are down from the .info, but new ones will be up in a day or two. The torrent of it will be going down, and will be replaced with a fixed version later today. 

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Is anybody else having trouble watching the BD25 version of this?  I was able to get EP1 BD25 from hal working fine.  (loved it btw.  I would have personally cut a bit more jar jar, but I will get to that after I finish my return of the jedi edit.  :) )

But I downloaded all the parts to the bd25 version, and even combined them successfully into a single zip to be extracted.  But it won't extract, says the mkv has an "unsupported compression format".  with 7 zip.  If I try winzip it says "Unable to find local headers".  I don't know what I could have done wrong, as I did the same thing I did for EP1 and all other edits and it worked fine for those.  Anybody else experience this?  I watch on a 65 inch TV and would really prefer to watch in 1080P as opposed to 720.

Chickens have personalities.

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Please let me know if anyone else has this problem. I'll re zip and upload if the problem is with the files themselves.

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I deleted all the files and started the download again we'll see if that fixes it.  In the original I could explore the zip and see the mkv file in the folder, but it won't let me remove it from the zip file.

Chickens have personalities.

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keep us appraised, and I hope it was just a fluke.

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I just hope the emperor will not share my appraisal of the situation.

Chickens have personalities.

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I hope so commander for your sake.

7-zip is not as forgiving as I am.

Chickens have personalities.

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I hope so commander for your sake.

7-zip is not as forgiving as I am.

Chickens have personalities.

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Nope still did the same thing.  :(

Chickens have personalities.

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