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"
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.
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 2005.
Special Thanks to:
Seciors, L8wrtr, TV’s Frink, DominicCobb, Kerr, MrBenja0618, Hundsdorfex, Jackpumpkinhead, Emanswfan, OnlyOneKenobi, Smudger9, DrDre, Schorman, Erik Pancakes, and Sir Ridley.
I could not have done this without the prior fan editors who have tackled this film, including:
JasonN, L8wrtr, Q2, AEMovieGuy, Corigar, Kerr, ADigitalMan, Slumberland, Stankpac, TM2YC, Spence, Father Merrin, Sithlord, and The Cutter.
Cuts and Additions (inclusive of version 5):
New title crawl, courtesy of Sir Ridley.
Trimmed unhelpful dialogue during the opening battle.
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.
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.”
Removed dialogue about the ‘high ground’ at the end of the 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.
DVD5, 720p iTunes-compatible mp4, and 1080p BluRay-compatible mkv
(These releases include synced ‘Backstroke Of The West’ subtitles as a bonus feature.)
This post has been edited.