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Star Wars Episode III: Labyrinth Of Evil (Finished!)

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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 third of the revamped ‘9000 Series,’ Labyrinth Of Evil delivers a re-crafted perspective on Star Wars Episode III in keeping with the drive of the original trilogy of films. Anakin’s fall to the dark side is portrayed in a more believable way, with political motivations that are ignited by, rather than preceded by, a desire to save his wife. Padme’s role is expanded, and her fate is made to match her daughter’s memories.

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.

  • <span style=“font-size: 1.2em; line-height: 1.2em;”>Bend the prequels to the story continuity of the original trilogy and the impressions it gives.</span>
  • <span style=“font-size: 1.2em; line-height: 1.2em;”>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.</span>
  • <span style=“font-size: 1.2em; line-height: 1.2em;”>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 2005.</span>

Running time is about 109 minutes.

Cuts and Additions:

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

New title crawl, courtesy of Smudger9.

Trimmed unhelpful dialogue during the opening battle.

Shortened the missile sequence, but kept some of it to preserve the death of R4.

Trimmed the buzz droid sequence. This and other trims serve to downplay Obi-Wan’s familiarity with R2 somewhat.

Removed Obi-Wan leaping from his cockpit, and his little jump during the fight with the battle droids.

Lovingly borrowed audio from L8wrtr’s edit in a few spots to remove battle droid voices.

Dooku is not mentioned until he arrives to confront the Jedi.

The elevator sequence is gone, taking the R2 humor with it. Obi-Wan never refers to R2 by name. It’s not much, but it’s a small way to gloss over the tension between the continuity of the PT and OT.

A match cut removes bad dialogue before the duel.

Removed sound effects in the rear audio channels that were lifted straight from The Empire Strikes Back.

Cut away as the railing starts to land on Obi-Wan. The original made it look like his legs were crushed.

Anakin quickly decapitates Dooku with no influence from Palpatine. However, he still questions his actions. This makes him appear more mature and autonomous.

Trimmed dialogue and tightened up the action sequence leading up to the bridge fight, including removing R2 slapstick humor.

Removed Grievous’ and Anakin’s exchange. The focus should be on Obi-Wan, because he’s the only one who will interact with him later.

Corrected two inaccurate lightsaber ignition sounds during the opening sequence. Obi-Wan and Anakin’s sabers must match their ANH and ESB sounds.

Removed as much silliness as possible during the fight on the bridge of the Invisible Hand.

Grievous says, “Time to abandon ship” as he breaks the hull and escapes.

Lightly trimmed dialogue during the crash landing on Coruscant.

Trimmed Anakin and Obi-Wan’s dialogue recounting past adventures we never get to see.

Removed Jar Jar’s one line.

In this version, we see Anakin’s political motivations for turning to the dark side and tensions with Padme before he develops concerns about her impending doom. He is only shown to have one nightmare about her, and the order of scenes implies it was planted by Palpatine.

Anakin never tells Padme about his nightmare, another conflict within him.

Replaced scene with Windu hearing that Obi-Wan has engaged Grievous with deleted scene “A Plot to Destroy the Jedi.”

Dialogue trimmed in most scenes, especially during Anakin’s appointment to the Jedi Council.

Reinstated the deleted scene in Bail Organa’s apartment in order to give Padme something worthwhile to do in the film and contribute to a sense of tension between her and Anakin.

Trimmed a brief reference to the Jedi Code.

Moved Grievous’ arrival on Utupau to after Anakin and Padme’s tense political discussion.

Placed Anakin’s sole nightmare after this, with the opera scene right afterward.

During the opera scene, removed reference to midichlorians and creating life. Also removed Palpatine calling Anakin out on spying on him. It is more effective to let Anakin carry that tension inwardly only, and provide no relief.

Reinstated the sunset meeting between the loyalists and Palpatine, further elaborating on the tension between Anakin and Padme.

Anakin is depicted as being in his right mind up until he formally joins the dark side. The scene where he seems to have paranoia about Obi-Wan being as Padme’s apartment is gone. I guess we can interpret his crazed psyche at the end of the film as being caused by using the dark side. Your guess is as good as mine, but it’s better than having his personality fluctuate throughout the film.

Along with other dialogue trims, removed Obi-Wan telling the corduroy man to summon warriors.

Removed Boga’s noisy introduction, and lessened her vocal presence throughout.

Removed the first half of Grievous’ line, “It is a volcanic planet. You will be safe there.” Volcanic equals safe?

Trimmed Grievous’ lunge that Obi-Wan does not react to. It betrays the chasm between the CGI and live elements.

Grievous retreats as soon as the clone troops arrive, in keeping with what little characterization about him we have seen so far, rather than gloating a bit and then running away.

Removed the now redundant scene in the war room talking about a plot to destroy the Jedi.

Trimmed dialogue as Palpatine reveals his true nature to Anakin in order to slightly downplay Padme as Anakin’s only real motive for joining the dark side.

Removed Palpatine’s voiceover as Anakin waits in the Council room, talking about Padme again.

Trimmed dialogue as Windu and his gang confront Palpatine. It reads, “Are you threatening me, Master Jedi?” “Not yet.”

Trimmed the lightsaber fight, including Palpatine’s bizarre serpentine jump.

As Anakin enters the scene, Windu is already going to kill Palpatine, who defends himself with force lightning and sends Windu falling to his death. I made use of an idea from Kerr’s fan edit that L8wrtr also used to imply that the wrinkly face was Palpatine’s true appearance all along. Palpatine uses lightning only once instead of twice. He’s human-looking at the start, then the lights go out, and he has a monster face when they come back on. Trust me, it’s better than it sounds.

Anakin and Palpatine don’t mention Padme during the knighting of Vader scene. Other dialogue is trimmed a little for effectiveness. The idea is that saving Padme’s life is the spark that ignites a myriad of other factors for Anakin’s turn toward evil.

After Yoda’s brief and only use of his lightsaber in the whole trilogy, removed the scene where Anakin ignites his saber on a roomful of children. By cutting this, Anakin’s slip toward depravity can be seen as a little more gradual. Plus my version of the trilogy does away with the idea that Jedi are harvested as infants and raised in a cult environment. The term “youngling” doesn’t appear in these edits.

Removed Yoda’s interactions with the Wookiees after Order 66. Chewbacca remains in the background, hopefully unnoticed.

Removed R2 popping out of Anakin’s fighter.

Removed Obi-Wan and Yoda’s fight to enter the Temple. The line of dialogue about everyone being preoccupied about the Senate session is good enough.

Because I removed the duel between Yoda and Palpatine, I also removed discussion about said duel after Obi-Wan sees the security hologram. Also removed Yoda’s line that sees Anakin and Vader as separate people; it sounds like something he would have said in Return of the Jedi, rather than immediately after Anakin turned.

Padme is never informed about Anakin killing children, for the same reason as in my edit of Episode II. It is out of character for her to take it with anything other that indignation. Trimmed other dialogue during this scene for effectiveness.

Removed Obi-Wan sneaking into the bathroom on Padme’s ship. If you missed him during the wide shot, it’ll be a surprise when he shows up later.

Removed most asinine dialogue as Padme arrives and confronts Anakin, including “I saw your ship.” No reference to younglings. Tension ratchets between the two as Anakin finds out Padme told Obi-Wan about their relationship. No discussion about Anakin trying to save Padme; she never knew about Anakin’s fears about that. Anakin doesn’t seem focused on it himself anymore.

The duel on Mustafar plays out in full without cutting away to other plot threads. There is no duel between Yoda and Sidious. Not that the EU has bearing on my decisions, but I rather like Timothy Zahn’s description in Spectre Of The Past: “If Luke’s own current level of knowledge was any indication, Yoda could surely have defeated the Emperor all by himself. Yet he’d chosen instead to leave that task to Luke and the Rebel Alliance.”

Trimmed dialogue about Obi-Wan having the high ground at the end of their duel.

Removed Obi-Wan referencing the chosen one prophecy during Anakin’s immolation. It’s more effective when it’s personal rather than philosophical.

The ending of the film was great fun to work on. You’ll hear my own voice replacing that of the medical droid. His prognosis is not that she’s dying, but rather that she will survive without ever fully recovering.

Replaced Vader’s scream with the Russian dub, arguably making it a little less cheesy.

Courtesy of Hundsdorfex, replaced shot of Taintive IV descending toward Naboo with the ship streaking through space.

Trimmed dialogue aboard the Taintive IV to accommodate the idea that Padmé survives to travel to Alderaan with Leia.

Replaced Padme’s funeral with the deleted scene of Yoda arriving on Dagobah.

Padme is seen cradling an infant Leia on Alderaan, using footage from The Other Boleyn Girl, with her eye color corrected by Hundsdorfex. (Idea by ‘The Cutter,’ also used in Q2’s edit.)

Added credits for myself, workprint viewers, contributors, and acknowledgements of all other ROTS “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

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Awesome. Thanks for making this available so soon after your Ep2 edit.

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Looking at this list of changes, it sounds much better already.

Worst May the 4th EVER.

Ol’ George has the GOUT, I see.

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I hope you color corrected the scene with padme at the end to match ROTS! I saw Q2's edit, and while this idea worked as far as pacing and believability is concerned, it stood out like a sore thumb visually because it looked radically different from the rest of the movie visually and it stood out horribly.

Chickens have personalities.

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Yes, I think mine matches the surrounding footage much better than Q2's. I can't export a video right now since Final Cut is tied up exporting the 720p version of the edit. But here's some screencaps. 

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Just to compare, here's a screencap from Q2's edit:

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How have you handled the reason for a still-alive Padme only keeping Leia and not Luke. Didn't she like Luke? ;-)

^ Perhaps an unsolvable problem as the faulti is with ROTJ sadly.

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VIZ TOP TIPS! - AMERICANS. Make the UK’s disastrous political choices look relatively sane by electing Trump as your president. Or Hillary.

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These edits adopt the prequels' assumption that the audience is already familiar with what came before. As such, the best answer is Old Ben's exposition that, "to protect [them] both from the Emperor, [they] were hidden from [their] father when [they] were born." 

Within Episode III, it's partially addressed (or, more accurately, sidestepped) in the scene between Obi-Wan, Bail, and Yoda aboard the Taintive IV whatever-the-hell. My version hopefully telegraphs to the unsuspecting audience that a conversation is just coming to an end. It reads:

"Hidden, safe, the children must be kept. Until the time is right, disappear we will... Master Kenobi, wait a moment..."

The scene doesn't end there, but that's how it opens. 

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Hmm, well I do agree it looks much better than Q2's, but I would say it needs a little more blueish purplish tint to it.  Those might not be the correct colors from a technical standpoint but to my eyes that's what they see.  It doesn't look bad though!  I might just be nitpicking because I'm expecting it to look different.

Chickens have personalities.

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http://s28.postimg.org/b041kg315/Screen_Shot_2014_02_27_at_12_37_23_PM.jpg

This is my very rough and quickly thrown together attempt to make it match the surrounding shots a little better.  It's not perfect and it actually doesn't look as natural as yours, but I wasn't going for natural, I was going for fitting in with ROTS, lol.

Chickens have personalities.

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Man, I've fiddled with these two shots for a long time now, but I think taking the green back a bit legitimately looks better. I think now there's just a little bit of that purple Alderaanian dusk hitting the pillow. I guess I'll forego the 3 days of encoding time the computer's put in so far for the 720p version in order to upload a test clip. If it looks all right, I'll chug on toward releasing the HD versions of this edit. (I won't be going back and redoing the DVD5.)

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Oh, snap! That was actually an older sequence that I took that screenshot from. The one I used for the DVD5 did have more red in it, and therefore less green. 

Damn. Well, now that I've cancelled the encode, I will tweak it a little more and post a test clip. May as well. If it looks fine, I'll chug on toward completion. I'm uploading a clip now, but need to run, so I'll post it later on tonight.

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Here's a test clip of the new settings. Notice the baby's face taking a quality hit; it can be taken too far!

https://vimeo.com/87827411

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Season 6 of Clone Wars featured voicework by Liam Neeson. I was able to use some of it as an eleventh-hour source. The 720p and 1080p releases will reflect this, but the already-released-by-then DVD5 will not. 

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Downloading this puppy now. Excited to see how it all came together. Congrats, Hal!

 

 

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Hal 9000 said:

Here's a test clip of the new settings. Notice the baby's face taking a quality hit; it can be taken too far!

https://vimeo.com/87827411

 This looks very good to me. I think it'll always be a little weird bc the lighting is so much more naturalistic than in the prequels. That strong shadow is just out of character. But it's close enough.

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Downloaded this last night after watching the first two. Excited to give this a go tonight. Thanks for your hard work!

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So this was doubtless the best version I've seen. Love the order, the longer Mustafar scene, I especially loved keeping Padme alive. 

2 headscratchers though. 1-The Windu/Palpatine fight looked odd with the sudden darkness. I think I know what you were going for, to mask his facial transition but it just felt odd. 2-What on God's green earth did you leave in the "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" in Vader's reaction to Padme's supposed death? Why not use his yell from when Luke cuts his upper arm in ESB? 

I hope you don't feel I'm knit picking. I really enjoyed it and will likely only allow my kids to watch these versions of the Prequels. Your hard work really paid off. Thank you so much!!

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The idea with the Sidious reveal was to have the lights flicker out when he starts to use the force lightning, then come back on to reveal a monster face when it dissipates. Kerr was the first to use the idea, and L8wrtr used it too. It's not perfect, but it helps do away with a lot of crummy dialogue during that scene. More importantly, it gets rid of the idea that he was injured by his own force lightning. He says this later, but this version makes it clear he's lying. Episode III should have featured a gradually aging Palpatine, like Episode II did. This solution, I feel, is better than what we got in ROTS.

The Darth Vader "Nooo" scene had to stay in this edit. Given what I was doing with Padme and changing who knows what about whom, this scene sets things straight. It establishes that Vader believes Padme is dead, that Palpatine lies to Vader about her, etc. I did try to use the "Nooo" from the 2011 edition of Return Of The Jedi, but I couldn't make it work. The music was too powerful in the clip, and there's reverb of the existing "nooo" in most channels. I never really minded that moment too much, though it is cliche and un-Vader-like. What are ya gonna do? If this edit didn't alter Padme's fate, I'd probably do what L8wrtr did and have the scene fade to black after Vader answers, "Yes, Master."

EDIT: The best way to get the edit at this point is myspleen. PM me for an invite; I still have a few left. Or you can try the fanedit.info site for a .dlc file. 

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Well you did a fine job and my hat's off to you. I look forward to more of your work!

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Thanks very much; I'm glad my efforts translate into enjoyment. 

I edited them not because I wanted to learn to edit or use Final Cut, but rather because I wanted them to exist. There were several points where I would not have been confident in a given cut or edit I made were it not established by the precedent of an earlier fan edit. (For example, the quick transition from Obi-Wan spying on Dooku's conference to Anakin bringing his mother's corpse home. It was in Slumberland's edit first.) If I were to have tried to do these fan edits without any influence from prior edits, they would not be nearly as good. That's why I've credited every other FanFix edit of these films (listed on FE.org) in the end credits. 

L8wrtr's fan edits introduced many, many clever edits that I replicated in mine. He was kind enough to spend time instructing me on how to achieve the effect for the Sidious reveal scene. Q2's edits contain many bold cuts, some of which I've used too. Seciors' mentorship in the technical aspects was invaluable, and his own fan edits were inspirational to me. Emanswfan gave helpful guidance in some of the technical things as well. Slumberland's AOTC edit was exemplary, as I think he came closest to making the romance plot work. Adigitalman was helpful back a few years ago when I did my first edits, and his edits pioneered many tweaks that have become commonplace by now. Kerr's and AEMovieGuy's ROTS edits were a treasure trove of clever ideas, some of which I adopted for mine. TV's Frink was so kind as to upload gigs of data for me to benefit from, and I sincerely wish there was an unobtrusive way to work in a nod or two to his own (ridiculous) edits. (I had to resist having Obi-Wan chide Panaka in Episode I for sweating.) JasonN's edits had several interesting ideas, a few of which I used in mine. OnlyOneKenobi provided help unlooked for by designing beautiful clothing for these edits, so I didn't have to exhibit the crap posters I threw together to be able to list them on FE.org. If I were to create a subtitle track that played over my edits and flashed a fan editor's name onscreen whenever I borrowed an idea for something, there'd be very little of the film without subtitles. 

It's been a learning experience from beginning to end, and your enjoyment of them is what it's all about. That, and being able to sit through these awful movies myself. Hopefully Episode VII won't require breaking out the 'contingency' versions, though I'm ready for that possibility. Even though they contain a few references to the prophecy, it's still much more vague and could allow for the interpretation that it actually referred to Luke. 

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I loved the hell out of this fan edit. Every cut was invisible and you hit every important scenes on the head especially for the Mace vs Palpatine duel. I also liked that you kept the "I hate you!" in "The Immolation Scene" because I feel that was what brings Anakin's turn full swing. Now with Q2's other two PT Fanedits I have a fully watchable PT. Thank you for your hard work.

I believe in Rian Johnson

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Thanks indeed. I find mixing fan edits like that interesting, and tried to work out my own best possible PT fan edit combination before realizing I had to make my own. Someone should put a spreadsheet together illustrating which edits are "compatible" with one another. 

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