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B&W Japanese Star Wars Saga Serial (WiP) (Concept Vid Added)

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 (Edited)

(PROOF OF CONCEPT VIDEO NOW AVAILABLE! https://vimeo.com/545276729)

After being a SW fanedit follower for years and a lurker here on & off almost as long, I’ve decided to pull the trigger and make one of my own!

The approach I’ve settled on takes inspiration from:

  • The BLACKENED MANTLE prequel 3-in-1 edit that used a less straightforward editing approach with a Japanese dub & re-written (sometimes drastically) subtitles to recontextualize existing footage in meaningful ways,

  • The b&w FLASH GORDON adventure serials,

  • THE HIDDEN FORTRESS and other chanbara films, and oddly enough

  • ROBOTECH.

Put all that in a pot to stew and you end up with a b&w Japanese-dubbed, English-subtitled SW serial spanning all three Skywalker eras that runs approximately 40 chapters of roughly 20-25 minutes each.

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.
  • Make something as expansive yet self-contained as possible for my partner to watch & enjoy.
  • Put something out there that’s a little bit different.
  • Hopefully interact, collaborate, & learn from the super-talented folks on OT.
  • Not kill myself in the process!

STORY ORDER: For this serial I’m using all 11 films, partially or fully, in something close to a Machete Order:

CHAPTERS / SOURCE

  • 1-5: ANH
  • 6-10: ESB
  • 11-16: a PT 3-in-1 heavily modeled after The BLACKENED MANTLE edit.
  • 17-21: ROTJ
  • 22+: a mix of TFA, TLJ, TROS, and R1 (with R1 not happening as a flashback but concurrent to the other material).

WHY THE WHOLE SAGA? It’s all Mon Mothma’s fault.

I wanted to use R1 footage in the ST era and while I could make everything else I wanted basically work, I kept tripping over her looking exactly the same in her single ROTJ scene an acknowledged 30 years earlier. How do I fix that? I make a canonical ROTJ without her in that scene.

And then the floodgates opened…

CRAWL?/NO CRAWL? No standard crawl, but each chapter will open with a brief text piece bringing viewers up to speed for that episode.

RELEASES? Primary release will be episodic, but I’ll probably do larger compiled versions (if not proper film versions) at some point.

FORMAT: Aiming for 1080p b&w 5.1 Japanese AC3 mkv file initial release. Wouldn’t rule out some kind of color alternate release at some point because if the editing works already been done, why the hell not?

SOURCES: The starting point for all of these edits are the R2 blu-rays & their 5.1 AC3 Japanese audio output except with using ESB-R upscale w/ pending JPN 5.1 audio sync for ESB (and eventually all Adywan’s Revisited films in HD when done).

CONTINUITY: I’m setting my own continuity with this series but really tried to not deviate too far from at least the spirit of established SW lore for the most part.

I’m taking kind of a ROBOTECH-approach here with this material: taking three separate stories that share a lot of elements and rearranging it with some rewriting and changing context into something new. Yeah these stories are much more originally connected than ROBOTECH’s components, but you get the idea.

So I just ask that viewers try and take into account what I actually show or don’t show on screen in my versions when judging whether or not I’m making a continuity error.

If I have, say, Jimmy Smits from R1 interacting with Carrie Fisher from TLJ, as long as I don’t specifically identify him onscreen as her adopted father Bail Organa and just have him as a fellow Senator or some random dude in a cape, then I don’t consider their being in the same scene a continuity error.

CHANGES: Without getting into specifics yet, I’ll throw out these random opinions I’m carrying into the start of this project as clues:

  • Building a nearly complete second Death Star in a few years when it took you almost 20 to build the first one makes no sense.
  • Repairing a damaged Death Star, on the other hand…
  • Between Leia, Rey, Jyn, Holdo, and the rest, it seems to me that women have to do the heavy lifting fixing the galaxy after the Battle of Endor.
  • The galaxy is a BIG place. Lots of people and planets and infrastructure and material that don’t immediately disappear because something bad happened in one spot on one end of it.
  • It’s much easier to use old things already on hand while you slowly make and replace them with new things than wait until you have everything you need all shiny & new.
  • From a certain point of view, you could tell someone Kylo Ren betrayed & murdered Ben Solo, if you felt guilty about your part in Ben turning to the dark side.
  • Rey & Jyn could almost be sisters.
  • What the hell was that blue energy shooting out of the shaft Palpatine took a header down? The stuff that washed completely over Vader & Vader’s helmet that wasn’t vaporized in the Death Star explosion?
  • Being referenced on screen is almost as good as being seen on screen.
  • Greedo never gets to shoot, just like Jabba never goes to Mos Eisley.
  • The Executor is always ready for Vader’s arrival.
  • I really wish there was a scene of Leia in the Senate.

HELP WANTED: I’ve already incorporated ideas from other fanedits, so you’ve all already been a huge help. (I’m thinking of having a text commentary track just to help point out in real-time where certain ideas or bits came from, in addition to listing names in the end credits) 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!

Thanks for stopping by!

(OLD UPDATES ARE ARCHIVED IN THE SECOND POST)

“That’s not how the Force works!”

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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!

Thanks!

“That’s not how the Force works!”

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Thanks for the interest!

So here’s where things stand:

  • I’ve got all the footage broken into individual chapters and roughly settled where it should go in the revised timeline (the Exegol fleet storyline bumped back to be concurrent with the TLJ slow-speed chase, for instance).

  • Basic color correction has been applied (both B&W and full color for special sections).

  • Japanese audio has been imported or synced to unique footage (from fanedited sources) where needed.

  • Chapter intro/outro’s rough assembled.

The only big thing I haven’t started yet is laying on the subtitles.

In terms of a workprint, I’ll make a few individual chapters available for comment before the whole story is ready to send out as a workprint. They’ll be from all over the story, but since each chapter has its own intro prologue, folks should still be able to follow along well enough no matter the order.

“That’s not how the Force works!”

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(End of) April Mini-Update!

Wanted to hold off until I had a video to show, and I am close on that, but I also didn’t want to get into May without giving an update. So while some of this is already integrated into the first post, here’s what’s happened since the last update:

  • I’ve expanded the story scope from ‘just’ the Sequel Trilogy to the entire Saga (including SOLO, which I wasn’t originally planning to do). So looking at around 40ish chapters instead of around 15.

  • REALLY kicked the tires of Premiere Pro to figure out workflow & best practices for things like captions & proxies & color grading & organization & exporting & future-proofing & VFX work and more thru a ton of trial & error.

  • Got R2 blurays with appropriate audio for all Saga films.

  • LOTS of YouTube tutorial watching.

  • Remapped the entire story (see OP), most notably having RONE footage take place parallel with the Sequel Trilogy material instead of between the Prequels and the OT. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but I’m finding its cinema style syncs up with the Sequels so much better than ANH that you can buy it being part of that era easier.

So what’s the plan now?

My next goal for May is to get the first chapter of the Sequel era out as a workprint. Clocking in right now at around 30 min, it so far pulls footage from RONE, TROS, TFA, and TPM, so it should be a pretty good barometer for seeing how stuff originally from different eras can work in different contexts.

How close to final will that be? I’m guessing there will still be audio work to finish and placeholder cards for a VFX shot or two, but the pacing, grading, and re-captioning will be done.

“That’s not how the Force works!”

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Looking at this from a glance, I gotta say that this sounds cool.

Anyway, I noticed your mention about the lack of a crawl, and how you plan to go about this using text. Well, I have an idea. I’m a sucker for Seven Samurai, and I’ve always loved the opening credits and text prologue of that film combined with the thumping musical score that sets the atmosphere. I think something similar would make a perfect alternative to the opening crawl (not to mention give it more of the aesthetic that you want to acheive). I don’t know how to do it myself, but I think it would make for a nice little detail.

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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Eyepainter said:

Looking at this from a glance, I gotta say that this sounds cool.

Anyway, I noticed your mention about the lack of a crawl, and how you plan to go about this using text. Well, I have an idea. I’m a sucker for Seven Samurai, and I’ve always loved the opening credits and text prologue of that film combined with the thumping musical score that sets the atmosphere. I think something similar would make a perfect alternative to the opening crawl (not to mention give it more of the aesthetic that you want to acheive). I don’t know how to do it myself, but I think it would make for a nice little detail.

Thanks!

Shock of shocks, I’m also a fan of SEVEN SAMURAI and have actually been binging on the Fumio Hayasaka score all week. That intro is fantastic and something I am definitely looking to evoke/homage/crib to some degree. I think I’ve got a nice balance figured out between that aesthetic and some necessary SW features, but you’ll have to be the judge on that!

“That’s not how the Force works!”

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GMatias said:

Eyepainter said:

Looking at this from a glance, I gotta say that this sounds cool.

Anyway, I noticed your mention about the lack of a crawl, and how you plan to go about this using text. Well, I have an idea. I’m a sucker for Seven Samurai, and I’ve always loved the opening credits and text prologue of that film combined with the thumping musical score that sets the atmosphere. I think something similar would make a perfect alternative to the opening crawl (not to mention give it more of the aesthetic that you want to acheive). I don’t know how to do it myself, but I think it would make for a nice little detail.

Thanks!

Shock of shocks, I’m also a fan of SEVEN SAMURAI and have actually been binging on the Fumio Hayasaka score all week. That intro is fantastic and something I am definitely looking to evoke/homage/crib to some degree. I think I’ve got a nice balance figured out between that aesthetic and some necessary SW features, but you’ll have to be the judge on that!

I’ll be happy to.

I have altered Lucas’ visions. Pray I don’t alter them any further.

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 (Edited)

I wasn’t exactly planning on releasing something today, but when I noticed how close I was to finishing off the intro test I’d mocked up from an idea Eyepainter reminded me of, I figured it was worth burning a little midnight oil to get something out on this particular date.

So with that said, here’s a link to a Proof of Concept workprint of Chapter 1’s first sequence (with intro & prologue):

https://vimeo.com/545276729

I ended up doing more of a dialogue pass than I thought, even on lines I wanted to keep, to get the subtitle readability & timing to a comfortable speed.

“That’s not how the Force works!”