JAN 2021 PROJECT UPDATE
Since my first post I’ve been able to acquire Japanese blu-rays of Eps VII to IX, so I’ve decided to mash the silent film and BLACKENED MANTLE approaches together and do my edit of these three films as a (roughly) 15-chapter B&W Japanese dubbed & English subtitled adventure serial a la FLASH GORDON. Each chapter will have its own prologue recap, although I won’t be using a traditional crawl.
I’ve almost finished the first chapter already, so will hopefully have some test or workprint vids up soon…
ORIGINAL DEC 2020 POST
I’ve been a SW fanedit follower for years and a lurker here on & off almost as long, so I guess it was about time I pulled the trigger and made one of my own! I talked about it and SW fanedits in general terms a few weeks ago on an episode of FORCE GHOST COAST-TO-COAST (http://www.multiversitycomics.com/podcasts/force-ghost-coast-to-coast-season-iii-episode-xliv-fan-edits-ashes-of-the-empire/), but now that I’ve actually started working on it in earnest I can get more specific:
OVERALL GOALS: This project is trying to feed a few different birds with one scone -
- Help me get more comfortable and fluent in Adobe Premiere.
- See if I can solve some narrative challenges with making X amount of footage accomplish Y objective.
- Use new subtitling along with video edits to make story adjustments.
- Put something out that’s a little bit different.
- Hopefully interact, collaborate, & learn from the super-talented folks on OT.
- Not kill myself in the process!
I’ve been looking for a project to help me get some Adobe Premiere time-on-task, and a SW fanedit sure seemed like a fun way to do that.
I was really impressed with the way THE BLACKENED MANTLE used subtitles to (in some cases drastically) recontextualize existing footage in meaningful ways, and wanted the same kind of leeway in planning my edit. I went back & forth on whether or not to go full TBM and use a different dub for audio, but I think a music-only ‘silent’ film is both aesthetically cool and hopefully saves me a headache or two!
(I’d actually forgotten about the music-only version of THE LAST JEDI until after I’d made the decision to go that route!)
I might do an ‘old timey’ version later on, but for now this the THX version of a silent movie: 1080p widescreen HD full-color!
CHANGES: I don’t want to give everything away, plus its still VERY early in the process, so I’ll just throw out SOME of the big beats in no particular order for now and update as things progress -
Han lives! While I thought him dying in TFA was handled pretty well, I thought him surviving (props to THE FORD AWAKENS) was a cool enough WTF idea that it got the brain-wheels turning. Why isn’t he in the rest of the movie or the other films? If he is, where does that footage come from? How involved can you make him?
They’re not really rebels! This is probably semantics, but it just irks me that Leia’s group are called the Resistance when, in fact, it’s the First Order that’s resisting against the New Republic regime. I know why it makes metatextual sense to give them that name, and I read some Wookiepedia entry with a canonical explanation I can buy, but the films themselves don’t give enough context for that or a few other related things. So for the purposes of this fanedit:
- The Resistance are referred to as the Republic where possible.
- The First Order is still The First Order but it’s more explicit that they are Imperial remnants.
- Starkiller Base is now Tarkin Base because: (1) it kills planets, not stars; (2) I know it kills stars to power the gun, but that’s more like eating stars and it’s not called Stareater Base; (3) ex-Imperials would name a base after one of their former generals.
Not everything is about Luke Skywalker! TFA’s opening crawl reads like the First Order was waiting for Luke to disappear before coming out of hiding, and ONLY Luke can put that genie back in the bottle. The map-guffin is, of course, a map to Luke. I like Luke as much or more than I like Han, but putting all this narrative pressure on him right up front seems to take away from what Leia and the Republic. could and should be trying to accomplish instead of hoping Luke can bail them out. So for the purposes of this fanedit:
Max von Sydow is a First Order defector instead of a Jedi archeologist. The flashdrive doesn’t have the map to Luke on it, but rather 3 pieces of info:
- The location of Tarkin Base (since it can fire through hyperspace, it can fire from anywhere)
- The existence of the SD fleet (not nearly as big and not Sith-provided; old stockpile of automated ships run with skeleton crews)
- Confirmation of Snoke and Kylo Ren as Force users
Why is the last bit important?
Han/Leia don’t know Kylo = Ben! When the Knights of Ren burned down the Jedi academy and killed students, Leia & Han assumed Ben was one of the dead/missing. Luke was so distraught over his actions that he didn’t correct them; better to let them think a rogue element like Kylo killed him than Luke’s own actions turning him dark. That shame compounds things until Luke disappears. So in another instance of Star Wars rhyming poetry, Leia/Han get the truth of a family member being betrayed & murdered “from a certain point of view”.
Finding out the First Order has at least two high-level Force users in their ranks forces Leia to put the past behind her and reach out to Luke.
RUNTIME: I was originally going to post this as just a 3-in-1 edit attempt but the more I play around with things, I see ways to do this story as a single film, a duology, or a trilogy.
Right now my ‘assembly’ cut is running close to 4 hours, so the duology might be the optimal fighting weight for this project, but I know I can do a trilogy and am really curious to see what a 1-film version would look like!
HELP WANTED: I’ve already incorporated ideas from other fanedits into the plan (like moving the destruction of Hosnian Prime later in the story) so you’ve all already been a huge help. But I will more than likely be reaching out for feedback, tips, and possibly some FX/audio work as things progress. As much as I’m using this as a personal teaching opportunity, I’d be a Jabba-sized fool if I didn’t take advantage of the talent here!