In light of the unfolding ‘Kenobi’ series, I feel it’s worth having a conversation about younglings in these Hal9000 fan edits of the prequel films. (Incredibly minor spoiler for Kenobi: it involves referencing youngling Jedi.)
My saga fan edits operate on two levels, as I see it. The first is in relation to the known-quantity ‘saga’ films in isolation. The second is to hopefully play nicely overall with other, non-saga material. Sometimes things removed from my edits will be referenced in a book or a comic, and most often this introduces only mild contradictions as most of the removed content can still be thought of as occurring when other material establishes it to the hypothetical reader who only has my fan edits for those films. This is all well and good for books, comics, and animation, though it hits a bit differently when it comes to new live-action content closely tied into the saga.
My prequel edits do not explicitly remove the possibility of children Jedi trainees being present at the Coruscant temple, though they do away with much of what builds it up. In Ep1, we hear Qui-Gon say Anakin would have been identified “early” had he been born in the Republic, though we do not hear anything about Anakin being explicitly “too old” to begin training. In Ep2, we do not see Yoda and the younglings. In Ep3, Anakin is not explicitly shown to kill children, and this does not factor into Obi-Wan or Padme’s reactions.
Attack of the Phantom, the 2002 edit from The Phantom Editor, also removed Yoda and the younglings, as he felt the scene hurt Obi-Wan’s character. I agree with this decision. My edit of Ep3 depicts Anakin’s turn to the dark side as a bit more gradual, betraying the Jedi ostensibly as a shift in political allegiance. This is different from the original, in which the focal point for Obi-Wan and Padme is that Anakin slaughtered children, seemingly as his initial actions after switching sides. These are the substantial gains that come with omitting younglings being shown or discussed onscreen in the prequels.
In the new Kenobi show, (very minor spoilers) we are reminded in no uncertain terms that Anakin slaughtered younglings during his march of the Temple. Nothing in my edits of the prequels make this impossible, and it could be taken by a viewer as a new revelation perhaps. Nothing save for a sequel-sequel trilogy can impact the first level of operating within a coherent episodic saga, though this does put some strain on cooperating with new live-action material. It contradicts only the implication that editing gives us for Anakin in Ep3.
I havne’t made plans to modify this substantially, although I would imagine making two small changes to Ep1 and Ep2 in the event I find myself reissuing it anyway. Those being to reinstate the explicit idea Anakin is “too old,” and Anakin explicitly mentioning that attachment is forbidden for Jedi.