I’ve finished a first draft of the edit, which, as I went along, turned out to be a more radical one as it neared competition. I’ve decided that ten minutes is a bit too short to construct a well paced narrative that delivers all the necessary information.
The film now runs just 26 minutes, though the final cut will probably be about five or six minutes longer. Almost all of it depicts the events of III, with brief cutaways to I and II near the end. We almost exculsively follow Anakin; his motives for turning are now brought out as clear as can be. The political motivations, as well as the imminent death of Padme are both intact, but as he gives in to his fear of losing control, he will then compromise anything at the sake of not losing his power (the Opera scene where Palpatine tells the Darth Plagueis story establishes this right at the top of the film).
A few shifts in the story beats are reworked entirely, first off the Jedi actually do have the potential to stop another from dying, but they refuse to toy with the power as the code strictly forbids it. Which is what now causes Anakin’s public outrage, and what compels Yoda to advise “train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose”. So when Anakin meets with Palpatine for the “revelation” scene, it isn’t speculation on Nik’s part; there literally are things about the force the Jedi aren’t telling him.
Anakin never truly ‘discovers’ that Palpatine is a Sith; in the way I’d wished it had happened in the real movie, he sort of knows all along. And when Obi Wan is pressing him to spy on the Chancellor, his “you’re asking me to do something against a mentor and a friend” is more of a means of saving face than it is the truth. When he goes to tell Palps that Obi Wan has engaged Grevious, he does so with the intent to kill. The only thing that holds him back is whether or not he actually can, and whether or not it’s the right thing to do for his own sake. So, at least at this point in time, Anakin’s own morality is already in the grey area. There are many forces at play, none of which he finds complete trust in.
“My mentor taught me everything about the force, even the nature of the dark side”
Boom. Lightsaber goes on. Both our characters already know what situation they’re in.
“Are you going to kill me?” “I would certainly like to”
“I know you would…I can feel your anger, it gives you focus, makes you stronger.”
And this, ladies and gents, is the last line in the film. The remaining events play out completely dialogue free. As that final line is meant to resonate in your head through all of Anakin’s terrible choices.
In the interest of keeping this edit still somewhat conservative, I originally intended to proceed with the John Williams score narrating the following events. But the moody, nightmarish nature I was trying to achieve didn’t quite resonate with me in that option, so in lieu I took a chance on the score from James Mangold’s LOGAN. Though it certainly does not fit the universe of Star Wars, nor is it paticularly catchy, it encapsulates exactly the breathless monstrosity of Anakin’s downfall I was looking for.
Killing Mace is now completely done on his own volition, after a spot of tense silence, Vader cuts off his hand quite instinctually. The music cue indicates that this is a sort of Pandora’s box of an event; creating a Rube Goldberg-esque chain of events that spirals out of control. Palpatine rises up, Anakin kneels, Obi Wan sees the terror through the holovid. Sidious orders the army to obliterate the Jedi temple, Anakin goes back to comfort Padme.
Scenes of Yoda and Obi Wan surveying the carnage are intercut with Anakin and Padme passionately embracing. Padme nervously oversees the Senate hearing given by Sidious as Vader tears up the separatist Outpost. And so on, and so on, and so forth.
You’ll see it flows very smoothly whenever I get around to uploading the workprint, probably to Vimeo. It’s also with mentioning that I used Hal9000’s edit as a base for my own, so though it doesn’t really resemble his work, I was compelled to steal a thing or two from it (thanks Hal 😉 ). But there are a few changes I want to make before I start any kind of upload, namely the bumpy opening of the film which I’ve not quite realized as of yet.