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Community Focus Thread 1: The Phantom Menace

Author
Time
 (Edited)

New stuff made here or existing stuff highlighted here

Change requests or ideas to investigate mentioned here

  • Additional invasion shots and damage to Theed, to allow the invasion of Naboo to be enhanced and better felt, perhaps to serve as a more dramatic opening than negotiation
  • Removing the blockade from the opening shots, so it’s just the one ship (since the blockade disappears later when they return)
  • The Jedi go straight to Theed (maybe placing the TF waiting room scene on their own shuttle)
  • Padmé IS the Death Star Plans could make a good editing focus like this
  • Cleaner lines for Jar Jar, carrying the same content without as much of the messy way he speaks. Less “mesa”, more “I’m”
  • Or, giving Jar Jar actual AGENCY, using Clone War voices to make him less passive
  • Having JarJar be a deliberate guide, by having him start in his AOTC role as a junior representative
  • Redubbing Jar Jar entirely, like these examples
  • Having the Gungan battle play out before the other three endings
  • Cutting the Gungan battle down so it doesn’t need shields, or recontextualising it so they planned to draw the droids into the swamps
  • Change the pitch of Padmé’s voice to have it match Natalie Portman’s normal pitch (seen in her other appearances) like this
  • Putting Qui-Gon’s instruction for Anakin to hide in the hangar scene not the street so it’s not disconnected.
  • Having the bet free both Anakin and Shmi, EddieDean’s no dice version, or PeterPan’s no dice extended version, or a dice version (in progress).
  • Changing the lightsaber Obi-Wan grabs to Maul’s red one
  • Putting Dooku in TPM, perhaps during the funeral, like Snooker did here

What’s going on here?

This is the first thread in a series of ‘Community Focus Months’, intended to give the originaltrilogy.com community a central resource to collaboratively focus on a single Star Wars movie at roughly the same time, much like how the community rallied around Hal’s Rise of Skywalker Ascendent. This thread does not have a specific output in mind, but it is designed to encourage:

  • Collective focus on The Phantom Menace - both the original release and your preferred edits
  • Discussion of existing approaches and fixes that you particularly like, or that are particularly useful
  • The generation of new ideas, new approaches, and feedback
  • Revisiting and highlighting older ideas, perhaps those we can now achieve with modern tools
  • The potential matching of ideas to people with technical skills, and the generation of new usable content.

This is my first attempt at such a thread, so some of this content may not be useful, and there may be more that I could add. If you think the approach to the idea of monthly focus threads could be improved, please give feedback over at the Index and Overview thread.

Please try to keep this thread focused specifically on The Phantom Menace. For more information on the wider project and why I’m doing this, and to share your thoughts on editing the franchise as a whole, please also see the Index and Overview thread.

Scene Overview

Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
Released in cinemas 19th May 1999
Written by George Lucas
Directed by George Lucas

I’m trying to present this section from an ‘editor’s perspective’, highlighting the key plot points, structure, character development and interactions, topics of dialogue, scene linkages, references, etc. It’s in as close to original order as possible, with cut scenes placed in roughly the right place. Let me know if there’s anything relevant that I’ve missed.

Part 1: Escaping Naboo

  • The opening crawl highlights galactic turmoil and taxation of trade routes, the Trade Federation’s blockade of Naboo, bureaucratic Republic hesitancy to act, and the Supreme Chancellor (Valorum, not mentioned by name) secretly dispatching two Jedi (not mentioned by name), “the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy”.
  • Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon board the Trade Federation capital ship orbiting Naboo as ambassadors, who discuss a disturbance in the force and a little of the current situation. The host droid reports that they’re Jedi to Nute Gunray, who fearfully calls Sidious. Sidious tells them he’ll make their invasion legal, and instructs them to land their forces, destroy the Jedi’s ship, and kill the Jedi. The Jedi survive gas and battle droids, and when stopped from breaking into the bridge by destroyer droids, the Jedi flee using force speed and board separate landing craft to the surface.
  • Queen Amidala tensely calls Nute Gunray, who denies knowledge of ambassadors, before nervously calling Palpatine about it. Gunray cuts out communications to the planet, leading Amidala’s council to assume invasion.
  • On the surface, as the landing craft deploy troops and tanks, Qui-Gon knocks over a panicking Jar Jar to save him from a tank and earns his loyalty. He saves him from a flying droid and they are joined by Obi-Wan. Jar Jar mentions his home city, which he’s banished from, and the Jedi coerce him into leading them there and they dive underwater.
  • They swim to Otoh Gunga, where Jar Jar is poorly received by the Gungans and their Boss Nass, who refuses to get involved in the surface war. Qui-Gon uses a mind trick to secure a “bongo” submarine which will take them through the dangerous ‘planet core’, and they have Jar Jar join them for navigation. On the journey, Jar Jar explains his banishment for clumsiness, and they nearly get eaten by a couple of large fish.
  • On the Trade Federation ship, Sidious discusses Republic bureaucracy with Nute Gunray and assures him that Queen Amidala won’t be much trouble.
  • The Jedi’s bongo is damaged and loses power, but is repaired and they escape another couple of large fish.
    The invasion army travels into Theed city as Queen Amidala watches, then a droid tells Nute Gunray that they have captured the Queen.
  • The bongo surfaces in Theed.
  • CUT SCENE: The bongo has surfaced at the top of a waterfall, and they narrowly escape falling down it.
  • Queen Amidala is sent by Nute Gunray under droid guard toward prison, but is saved by the Jedi. Captain Panaka informs them that communications are down, so they head to the hangar, free some pilots, and Padmé (as handmaiden) influences the decoy Queen to have them travel with the Jedi on Padmé’s ship to Coruscant.
  • Their escaping ship is damaged by the blockade, and its shield generator is repaired by R2-D2, but the hyperdrive is damaged. They argue about landing on dangerous Tattooine in Hutt Space.
  • Nute Gunray reports the loss of Queen Amidala to Sidious, who offers his apprentice Darth Maul to hunt her down.
  • On the ship, R2-D2 is commended, and the decoy Queen asks Padmé (as handmaiden) to clean it. Qui-Gon convinces the Queen that Tattooine is their best option. Jar Jar and Padmé discuss Jar Jar’s weird day.

Part 2: Tattooine

  • They land on the outskirts of Tattooine, and don’t send any transmissions, to avoid detection. Padmé, via her decoy, instructs the Jedi to take her with them. They discuss the planet’s moisture farming, remoteness, and indigenous tribes. Qui-Gon takes them to a “smaller dealer”, Watto. There they meet his slave, Anakin, who asks Padmé if she’s an angel before they discuss Anakin’s desire to leave and be a pilot, the planet’s pod racing, and his slavery. Watto rejects Qui-Gon’s attempt to mind trick him into accepting Republic credits, and tells them he has the only replacement hyperdrive, which they don’t question. Anakin and Watto talk (subtitled).
  • After radioing back to Obi-Wan and deciding they have no alternative cash, they go wandering and Jar Jar accidentally gets into a confrontation with Sebulba. Anakin reappears and he and Sebulba threaten each other (subtitled). As a storm approaches, (seen from Obi-Wan’s perspective where he’s also told he has an incoming call,) Anakin tells them they should stay at his rather than head back to the ship, where they meet his mother Shmi. Anakin shows Padmé the droid he’s building, (naked) C-3PO, which Padmé is impressed with, before explaining that he’s building a pod racer. C-3PO meets R2-D2.
  • On the ship, (following from the earlier scene,) the Naboo governor entreats the decoy Queen to contact him (“the death toll is catastrophic”, but this is not verified on-screen), but Obi-Wan cautions them to send no reply.
  • On Coruscant, Sidious sends Maul to Tattooine. (“At last we will reveal ourselves to the Jedi. At last we will have revenge.”)
  • At Anakin’s home, the group discuss slavery, surviving beyond the Republic, pod racing and its gambling, Jedi reflexes, Qui-Gon being a Jedi, Anakin wanting to be a Jedi who frees the slaves, Anakin’s mechanical skills, and their mission. Anakin offers the racing/gambling solution, which they all accept in spite of Shmi’s initial objections. As they leave, Padmé (as handmaiden) objects but is overruled, and they head to Watto’s where they make the fairly complex deal. Anakin and Watto talk (subtitled).
  • By radio between the ship and near Anakin’s home, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan discuss the plan. Qui-Gon and Shmi discuss Anakin’s goodness and force sensitivity, and that there was no father. Anakin’s kid friends come and talk about his pod racer, before Anakin tests it to confirm it’s working.
  • At night, Qui-Gon and Anakin discuss the stars (he wants to see them all), as Qui-Gon “checks his blood for infections”, but really has Obi-Wan conduct a midichlorian count, which is off the chart.
  • Maul arrives at the planet and sends out probe droids.
  • CUT SCENE: During a Tattooine sunrise, Anakin’s friend Kittster says hello, Padmé tells Anakin that he needs to leave soon, and the droids are polishing the pod racer.
  • As Tattooine prepares for the race, in the pits Qui-Gon and Watto discuss Anakin and Sebulba’s competence, and make an addition to their complex deal which would free Anakin, which Qui-Gon uses the force to influence. As Anakin arrives, Watto is mean to him (subtitled), and Padmé has further doubts upon hearing that Anakin’s never won a race.
  • Probe droids continue to search.
  • As the racers line up, the two-headed announcer introduces the racers - a diverse group - and the crowd cheer. The flags parade as Shmi tells Anakin to be safe, and Sebulba sabotages his racer before they share insults (subtitled). Qui-Gon gives Anakin some light force-guidance, before Jabba opens the races (subtitled), and the racers power up.
  • CUT SCENE: An extended version of the racer introductions, and an extended “start your engines” sequence.
  • As a disapproving Padmé and the other main characters observe, the announcers cover the race and the racers start their engines. Jabba spits a frog into a gong to start the race, and Anakin and another racer have false starts, before Anakin recovers. Sebulba takes the immediate lead but it’s clear that Anakin and his racer are very fast and he starts to overtake others. Various racers crash, Tuskens snipe some of them, and Sebulba sabotages some. Anakin takes some damage and repairs it on the fly, overtaking many others until it’s just him and Sebulba. They clash a few times, and Sebulba’s sabotage causes a fire on Anakin’s pod which he repairs on the fly. The two racers get linked together until the separation causes Sebulba to crash, and Anakin to win, to great cheers from the crowd and relief from his friends.
  • CUT SCENE: Sebulba wipes a racer out using flamethrowers (like in the videogame!) Repair droids recover some broken pods, and Anakin dodges them. Additional racing shots.
  • In the pits, Anakin is congratulated by Padmé and Shmi, and in the stands, Qui-Gon forces Watto to honour his deal via the threat of the Hutts. Qui-Gon delivers the parts to Obi-Wan at the ship and returns to the city.
  • CUT SCENE: Somewhere around this time, on the streets, Anakin gets in a fight with (child) Greedo, but Qui-Gon separates them.
  • At Anakin’s home, Shmi is pleased with his winnings and that Anakin is freed and will become a Jedi. They’re all sad that Shmi can’t come with him, and C-3PO is left behind and they discuss the droid’s incompleteness. Shmi and Anakin share a sad goodbye, and Anakin hopes he’ll see her again and promises to return to free her.
  • A probe droid reports back to Maul and he mounts his speeder.
  • CUT SCENE: Anakin says goodbye to Jira (the woman who earlier said “there’s a storm coming”), gives her some of his winnings and is told he’s the “kindest boy in the Galaxy”, then Qui-Gon cuts down a probe droid, which is why in the next scene they’re…
  • Running back to the ship, Maul attacks Qui-Gon (via nearly running over Anakin), who boards the ship, and Obi-Wan flies the ship over them to allow his escape. Recovering, Anakin and Obi-Wan meet and shake hands, and the ship leaves orbit.
  • On Naboo, Nute Gunray threatens Naboo’s governor. A battle droid tells him they’re searching the swamps for “underwater villages”.
  • Padmé (as handmaiden) watches the governor’s plea again, and they discuss the coldness of space and “the Queen’s” concern for her people, and Shmi. Anakin gives Padmé a wooden necklace, and they say they care for each other.

Part 3: Coruscant

  • Their ship arrives at Coruscant (“the entire planet is one big city”) and their delegation are received by Palpatine, who has been concerned for Padmé, and Valorum, who has called for a Senate session. Palpatine is certain the Senate will help.
  • In the Queen’s rooms, Palpatine bemoans bureaucracy, the slow courts and Valorum’s corruption, suggesting the vote of no confidence.
  • In the Jedi temple, the Council doubt the return of the Sith. Qui-Gon tells them about Anakin, “a vergence in the force”, his high midichlorian count, him being possibly conceived by midichlorians, the prophecy of the “one who will bring balance to the force”, and requests his Jedi training (“finding him was the will of the force”). They reluctantly agree to test him.
  • Anakin visits Padmé (thinking she’s still a handmaiden) but Padmé (as Queen) says she’ll pass on his sentiments.
  • In the Senate, Palpatine summarises the political plot so far. Queen Amidala entreats the Senate to help, but the Trade Federation convince Valorum to defer. Frustrated, she is convinced by Palpatine to call for a vote of no confidence, which passes.
  • CUT SCENE: In the Senate, Bail Organa (played by Adrian Dunbar, NOT Jimmy Smits, though he isn’t referred to by name) backs Padmé’s vote on behalf of Alderaan.
  • In the Jedi temple near sunset, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon discuss Qui-Gon’s defiance of the Jedi code, as Anakin passes tests in the council chambers. He’s cold, and Yoda sees that he’s afraid.
  • Jar Jar comforts a disillusioned Padmé in her chambers, and they discuss the Gungan army, before Palpatine arrives as a candidate for Supreme Chancellor, optimistic he can help. Padmé will return to Naboo, in spite of Palpatine’s objections.
  • In the Jedi temple at night, the council reject training Anakin (“clouded his future is”), so Qui-Gon wants to promote Obi-Wan and take on Anakin as his own apprentice, both of which are rejected. They all discuss the political situation, and send the two Jedi with Padmé to Naboo to unravel the mystery of the Sith, because they believe Maul is targeting her.
  • Approaching their ship, Obi-Wan expresses doubts to Qui-Gon about Anakin, who promises he won’t be a problem, but who Qui-Gon asks to observe him mindfully. They discuss the mechanics of midichlorians. They reconnect with Padmé and fly to Naboo.

Part 4: Return to Naboo

  • On Naboo, Nute Gunray tells Palpatine that they believe their droid army has secured control of the planet. Palpatine tells them he’ll keep the Senate from acting, and tells them he’s sending Maul, which they privately show concern about.
  • On the ship arriving near Naboo, on the bridge Anakin picks up some piloting knowledge quickly. Padmé wants to take back the planet but has no army and the Jedi can only protect her. She tells Jar Jar she’ll need his help. Back on the bridge Obi-Wan (without Anakin) notes that the Trade Federation ship is a droid control ship (which they didn’t mention earlier when they boarded it).
  • Landing in a clearing, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon discuss the fact that Jar Jar has left for the Gungan city, and Obi-Wan apologises for doubting Qui-Gon. They reconcile. Emerging from the water he dove into earlier, Jar Jar tells the decoy Queen that the Gungan city is deserted, suspecting a fight, but then assumes they’ve gone to a sacred place. The decoy Queen’s party arrive at the Gungan clearing, and after some tension, Padmé reveals herself as the true Queen, and respectfully convinces Boss Nass to support their fight, to cheers.
  • In Theed, Nute Gunray tells Sidious they’ve found Padmé’s ship near the swamps. He’s surprised, but tells Maul to wait.
  • In Naboo’s forests, after a Gungan scout spots incoming Naboo guards, Boss Nass promotes Jar Jar to general, to his concern. Padmé is told that their citizens are in camps, and that police and guards have formed an underground resistance, but that the opposing force is large. Padmé proposes an infiltration, using the Gungans as a diversion to draw the droid army from the cities. To protect them, she plans to have pilots knock out the droid control ship (which is now a single ship, rather than the blockade of many such ships we saw earlier), but Qui-Gon says their fighters’ weapons might not penetrate its shields. Obi-Wan thinks enemy reinforcements are a risk, so Padmé highlights the importance of capturing Nute Gunray.
  • In the palace, Nute Gunray tells Sidious that an army is massing near the swamps. Sidious tells him to wipe them out.
  • Emerging from the fog into Naboo’s plains, the Gungan army marches and deploys energy shields. Over the hill, the droid army approaches, its tanks opening fire on the shields.
  • On the streets of Theed, Qui-Gon tells Anakin to find a safe place to hide when they get inside. A small droid force is destroyed, letting Padmé’s party slip into the palace. Observing the attack, Nute Gunray is suprised that it happened so close rather than in the plains.
  • In the hangar, the Jedi overwhelm the droids and pilots get into their ships. R2-D2 and Anakin get into one. The ships go to orbit and start attacking the Trade Federation capital ship.
  • On Naboo’s plains, the droids deploy, and from a command sent from their control ship, they activate. The droids pass through the Gungans’ shield, and combat begins, including Gungan energy shields, energy grenades, and energy catapaults.
  • In the hangar, Qui-Gon tells Anakin to “stay in that cockpit”. Heading to the throne room to capture Nute Gunray, Padmé is blocked by Maul, and the Jedi step forward. Destroyer droids appear and fire on the party, so Anakin turns on his ship to destroy them, but accidentally engages autopilot and it takes him to join the battle above. The Jedi fight Maul as Padmé and her party take the long route. The lightsaber duel moves into the nearby power core. Padmé’s team fight through the palace, but are worried they don’t have much time.
  • On the plains, more combat. In space, Naboo pilots are shot down as the deflector shield’s too strong. Anakin disables autopilot and takes control, rejecting a (HUD) message (intended to be from R2-D2) to return to the planet. Padmé’s team use ascension guns to climb floors.
  • The duel continues acrobatically in the power core, but Obi-Wan gets delayed and some closing force shields separate him from Qui-Gon and Maul. They all pause.
  • The Gungans’ shields fail, and they begin to flee, pursued by droids and tanks, and are surrounded by droids. Padmé’s party are surrounded by droids and yield. In space, a droid fighter shot sends Anakin spinning into the control ship’s hangar, disabling it. Droids approach.
  • As the force shields drop, Qui-Gon and Maul move into a smaller chamber with a pit, and Obi-Wan runs (without using force speed) up to the final closed shield. He helplessly watches the duel, and Maul mortally wounds Qui-Gon. “Nooooo!”
  • On the plains, the Gungans have been rounded up by the droids. In the palace, Padmé is taken to Nute Gunray who threatens her. A decoy Queen arrives and shoots at the droids, making Nute think Padmé is herself a decoy. Padmé uses the distraction to get secret guns to her team, and they turn the tables, capturing Nute Gunray.
  • The final force shield drops, and Obi-Wan fights Maul but falls partway down the pit, his lightsaber kicked down after him.
  • On the control ship, Anakin fixes his fighter, shooting some incoming droids and accidentally destroying the ship’s power core. Neimoidians comment on this. Anakin flies out to the other pilots’ surprise as the control ship explodes.
  • On the plains, the droids collapse, freeing the Gungans.
  • CUT SCENE: Somewhere around this time, in the palace, Padmé hears about victory on the battlefield, and tells Nute Gunray that he’ll answer to the Senate.
  • CUT SCENE: Somewhere around this time, in the hangar, Anakin dismounts his fighter, to surprise from the other pilots.
  • In the pit room, Obi-Wan pauses, leaps from the pit, and uses Qui-Gon’s lightsaber to bisect Maul, sending him tumbling into the pit, believing him dead. A dying Qui-Gon affirms that Anakin is the chosen one who’ll bring balance, entreating Obi-Wan to train him.
  • As the new Supreme Chancellor Palpatine‘s shuttle lands, Padmé sends Nute Gunray away to answer to the Senate. Palpatine acknowledges Obi-Wan’s bravery, Anakin’s potential, and Padmé’s boldness. He promises peace and prosperity for the Republic.
  • In a private room as the sun goes down on Naboo, a visiting Yoda makes Obi-Wan a knight, and reluctantly accepts Anakin as his padawan. They discuss the chosen one and Qui-Gon’s defiance.
  • In a Naboo outbuilding at night, Qui-Gon’s funeral is conducted, and the main cast and additional Jedi watch. Obi-Wan tells Anakin he can be his Padawan, and Mace and Yoda agree that Maul was a Sith, but don’t know whether he was master or apprentice, since there are always only two.
  • At daytime, the Gungans parade through Naboo’s streets to cheers as the royal guard fly overhead. Received by Padmé, Boss Nass is given a glowing ball of peace, to cheers, and Padmé and Anakin smile at each other.

Fan Editing

Commonly Mentioned Issues and Opinions

These are subjective, and not necessarily the opinion of the OP, but are collected here as a list for convenience. Please feel free to add to this list.

  • Jar Jar Binks. Lots of goofy antics, an annoying voice and manner of speech, little relevance to the plot (especially in the middle).
  • Gungans. Imperfect CG, annoying voices, and Boss Nass in particular has quite cartoonish mannerisms. Low relevance to the plot, and unwelcome final parade scene.
  • Anakin. The future Darth Vader is portrayed here as a child, he makes a lot of ‘whoop’s and other kid noises, he saves the day partly by accident.
  • Dialogue. Ric Ollie, Bravo 5, and Obi-Wan all state the obvious a little too much, lines by many characters are badly delivered or raise unwelcome questions.
  • Characterisation. Many characters feel underdeveloped, and the Anakin/Padmé relationship feels weird and falls flat. It doesn’t feel like the film has a main character.
  • Plot. Trade disputes, senate bureaucracy, and focus on politics are boring. Some unnecessary detours, like a fish getting eaten by a bigger fish twice. Some illogical steps, like trusting only Watto has a hyperdrive, and travelling by water through the ‘planet’s core’ and ending up on top of a waterfall.
  • Villains. Trade Federation and Watto both possibly racist caricatures and underwhelming. Nute Gunray has little agency. Faceless battle droids are easily dispatched, and their voices are annoying.
    Aesthetic and tone. Broad disconnect between this and the OT, some elements seen as too CG and not ‘lived in’, underwater city doesn’t feel very Star Wars, Gungan battle is visually dull, two-headed podracer announcer feels silly.
  • World-shrinking. Especially having Anakin build C-3PO, and Jabba appearing during the pod race.
  • De-mistifying the force, Jedi, and Sith. Midichlorians, the chosen one prophecy, the rule of two.
  • The final act. It follows four separate settings at the same time, some of which remove the jeopardy of each other, like Padmé gaining the upper hand taking away from Anakin’s victory when he destroys the droid ship.

Common Changes

  • Opening crawl. A lot of different approaches here, many switching the political emphasis for more hints at the Sith menace.
  • Aesthetic. A lot of colour grades, LUTs, film grain effects and so on have been applied, to achieve a more consistent look with the OT. (Please feel free to share your favourite comparisons!) Trims to acrobatics in lightsaber duels.
  • Trims to dialogue. Trims to Jar Jar, Gungans, Neimoidians, droids, Anakin, characters stating the obvious, etc, all make those characters more palatable. Some editors have made the droids silent (they’re networked), and some have gone as far as re-dubbing Jar Jar.
  • Removal of some sound effects. Like the frog that Jar Jar sends flying towards Sebulba.
  • Character improvements. Trims to Jar Jar’s antics throughout, and Anakin being on autopilot. New subtitles for some characters, especially those in Watto’s shop. Making Obi-Wan take on Anakin without Qui-Gon’s request.
  • Removal of scenes. The bongo escape is often skipped, as is the sequence in Otoh Gunga. Scenes of political discussion are often skipped as they sometimes cover the same content as other scenes. Midichlorian mentions are often cut entirely.
  • World-shrinking. C-3PO is often either cut entirely, and some editors have at least removed Anakin building him, or his meeting with R2-D2. Jabba is often cut.
  • Streamlining of plot. Especially the political storyline, and the complex bet made by Qui-Gon and Watto.
  • Re-structuring of the ending. via a lot of different approaches, especially to have Anakin save the day, or to end on the funeral rather than the celebration.

Notable Edits and Unique Approaches

The main purpose of this section is to highlight the unique approaches taken by some edits, and unique elements within them, which you may wish to explore further. As one guy I can’t review every indexed edit, so I’ve tried to just highlight popular (on IFDB) and recent ones on these forums. I personally haven’t reviewed any three-in-one edits. Please forgive any unintentional omissions - and please suggest any other edits and unique approaches you think are worth discussing.

Edits after the in-progress ones are ordered by date of last update on IFDB or these forums at time of posting. Descriptions are based on goals highlighted in the editor’s IFDB listing.

  • DAZMAN’S IMPROVED EDITION (2022): A new edit using kk650’s color correction, and new CG-improved shots of planets, lightsabers, digital displays and more, heavily cutting the politics and minimising the Sidious/Palpatine connection, Anakin being a slave, and world-shrinking.
  • SECIORS’ RETURN OF THE SITH: REVISITED (2022): Seeks to streamline the story and make it a better introduction to the Star Wars universe, in particular the Jedi and the force. Many uniquely cut scenes. The Trade Federation are now “The Federation”, a predecessor to the Separatist movement, Sidious does not appear, and only Anakin is followed through the pod race.
  • EYEPAINTER’S EDIT (2021): A heavily trimmed edit with a far more muted natural colour scheme.
  • OCTOROX’S FASTER, MORE INTENSE (2021): Seeks to combine many popular changes into a more streamlined experience, especially the opening act.
  • EBUMMS’ EDIT (2021): A conservative edit that seeks to preserve almost everything, other than very smooth extensive trims to Jar Jar
  • Q2’S FALL OF THE JEDI (2021): A popular and long-maintained edit seeking to streamline the film seeking alignment with the OT. C-3PO and R2-D2 are minimised, and Anakin doesn’t go to space in the final battle.
  • HAL9000’S CLOAK OF DECEPTION (2021): Another popular and long-maintained middle ground edit, built on many edits that came before, using the OT as its “template” and minimising tangents. New implied backstory for C-3PO using dialogue from the Clone Wars.
  • L8WRTR’S SHADOW OF THE SITH (2021): Another popular and long-maintained edit “ruthlessly” improving the film, aligning with the OT but also focusing on best setting up the PT story. Removes ‘Darth’ as a title, and makes Anakin the hero of the final act.
  • NUMERALJOKER’S EDIT (2021): Seeks to release the longest possible version of the movies, including deleted scenes, all upscaled to 4K.
  • TM2YC’s REBORN (2020): Seeks to improve characters and plot by taking every opportunity to replace Gungan and other dialogue with alternate dubs and subtitles.
  • ANDREAS/ANJOHAN’S THE ANCIENT LORE (2019): A “remake” making some radical changes to structure and dialogue, with some content from other movies and fan films and new CG effects. Count Dooku appears in this movie, and fan content for Darth Maul is added.
  • YADS’ LONE GUNGAN EDITION (2012): A radical edit that replaces Jar Jar and Neimoidian dialogue with alternate dubs and subtitles, and heavily changes the invasion sequence using scenes from elsewhere in this movie and many other non-SW movie sources.
  • THE PHANTOM EDITOR’S THE PHANTOM EDIT (2000): The original that started it all. Others have taken it further, but this edit has an important place in fanedit history.

Resources

Sources and Versions

  • Official 2000 VHS
  • Official 2001 DVD: Added some of the extra racer introductions and additional race footage, added an air taxi sequence on Coruscant, removed a shot of Watto screaming “Sebulba!”
  • Official 2011 Blu-Ray: Slightly expanded the frame, redid the force speed effect, replaced a shot of Nute Gunray watching a screen of the Jedi’s escape with a shot of just the screen, replaced puppet Yoda with a CG version, fixed some clipping on the two-headed announcer, replaced the “vote now!” chorus with general uproar
  • Official 2019 Disney+ 4K Restoration: Upscaled the 2011 Blu-Ray’s digital master files, removed DNR evidence from some shots
  • BOBSON DUGNUTT’S EXPANDED EDITION (2021): Seeks to extend the movie to its longest possible length through the use of new, alternate, and extended scenes, all with finished effects and upscaled where necessary. May provide a useful source of additional scenes and shots, including good quality deleted scenes.
  • KK650’S REGRADED REGRAINED EDITION (2018): Seeks to present a more OT/natural grade with film grain version of the 2011 Blu-Ray. Many additional 4K, theatrical, VHS, laserdisk, and other regrades on the Preservation subforum.
  • +++ I’m quite unfamiliar with preservation so please suggest any fan restorations, upscales, regrades, and more!

Other Resources and Options

  • Opening text and subtitled characters can always be rewritten
  • Digital displays and wordless communication can be reimagined, for example Maul’s probe droids in this movie
  • C-3PO in particular has a million lines of dialogue from a huge array of sources that could be used as alternatives.
  • +++ Many other forum users and youtubers have produced all-new or improved shots using modern VFX tools

Context and Considerations

  • This movie is part of the wider Star Wars saga and franchise. Does it feel consistent with the whole, and like it belongs in the same universe? Does each element in it add to or subtract from the whole? Does it depend on or add to elements seen in other canon media?
  • This is also the first episode within the prequel trilogy. Does it establish the characters and plot for this story arc? Does it behave as act one of a wider story, setting up hooks or other elements which’ll pay off later? Does it build anticipation for the following film?
  • It is also a stand-alone movie. Does it tell a complete, coherent, end-to-end story that works in isolation from wider context? Is it too dependent on other content? Could you watch only this Star Wars movie and enjoy it?
  • In release order, and some popular watching orders, this movie might be watched after the Original Trilogy, as a prequel. Does it serve to expand on and illuminate new facets to that universe? Do the elements of it add value and context to the viewer’s existing knowledge when watched in this order?
  • Chronologically, in the saga, this is our first Star Wars movie. Should it be positioned to behave as an introduction to the setting, factions, and themes? Does it carry the exposition it needs to? Does it make the viewer curious to experience the wider saga?
  • This movie has been edited many times, but is also very well-known. To what degree should all of the key elements be preserved? Does cutting too much feel jarring to the familiar viewer? Or should quality of experience be the priority?

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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And now, taking off my OP hat and putting on my regular thread contributor hat, some personal subjective thoughts, to generate discussion and to give some examples of the kind of things we might discuss here.

Watching through the original, and reading back over the scene by scene analysis, a few things jumped out to me that might be worth discussion. (There’s a large chance these have been observed and edited before, but not everyone’s seen every edit or idea, so we might as well plow on.) In no particular order:

  • Observation: Qui-Gon isn’t actually mentioned by name until a long time into the episode. Dazman (at least) deliberately put the Jedi’s names in his crawl for this reason.
  • Personally, I came to this analysis from the perspective of this being the first in a chronological saga, rather than a prequel. That actually did a lot for me in terms of enjoyment, making the world-shrinkage feel minimal and removing a few other frustrations.
    • I don’t find the C-3PO/R2-D2 introductions as jarring when treating this episode as the first chronologically. If it’s not behaving as a prequel, this doesn’t feel like it’s shrinking the universe. And Padmé being impressed with Anakin having built C-3PO gives their relationship at least a little more growth.
    • Likewise I found kid Anakin less abrasive (other than the odd whoop) when considering this chronologically and without trying to think backwards from Vader. Later movies and the Clone Wars do a good job of smoothing out the transition between this boy into that villain.
    • I didn’t even really mind Jabba. He’s daimyo here, I think it’s OK that he’d sponsor this huge operation that draws in opportunities for profit beyond the reach of the Republic.
  • On this rewatch I also found myself less frustrated than I expected to be about some of the other unpopular elements:
    • Other than the Gungans’ more goofy behaviours and the repetitive nature of the larger fish, the underwater content isn’t actually that bad and feels to me more of a part of the Star Wars universe than I remembered it. There’s decent character work for both Jar Jar and Qui-Gon here.
    • The pod racers look great, and aesthetically feel more fitting in Star Wars after the Sequels and especially the Mandalorian. The race was far more tense for me after all of the slow build up and character work on Tattooine - even including the announcer - so I actually felt like the slower set-up to the race had value even though it’s usually trimmed.
  • There are a lot of scenes on the Trade Federation capital ship’s bridge, and a lot of scenes of the armies travelling. There are probably a lot of options for restructuring here.
  • Mrebo on these forums recently had a good idea about using Anakin’s conflict with Sebulba as the party’s (and the audience’s) introduction to him, and then changing Anakin’s subtitles to have him explain why he’s brought them to Watto’s shop. This made our first introduction to Anakin one where he’s driving the plot and standing up for himself. And while it requires the shot of Jar Jar spitting a frog onto Sebulba, that element might be softened by the new context that “It’s the will of the force that we met”, though perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch.
  • It’s a bit too obvious that Sidious has pull in the Senate, referencing his power there twice. Implicit feels better than explicit to me, for this one.
  • One thing that was covered a few times in the movie but never quite hit home for me is that Maul’s target throughout is the Queen (presumably capture, not kill, so she can be brought back to the Neimoidians). Maul’s pursuit of Padmé is an element that could better be played up so it’s more prominent in the audience’s mind. You could do this via the crawl, perhaps, at least emphasising the Dark Lord having his eye on her (she does grow into a real thorn in his side in the Senate, after all). But there may also be an opportunity to dub or subtitle Maul’s probe droid to help emphasise that he’s after the Queen. Something like “The Queen’s companions have been detected.” would help reinforce who his target is and why he chases her party.
  • We don’t see and feel the oppression of Naboo at all, we only hear about it second hand every time.
  • There’s good character building in some of the commonly cut scenes. Padmé being impressed with Anakin building C-3PO helps establish their relationship even though it comes at the cost of keeping the Anakin/C-3PO angle.
  • The blockade is gone when the party returns to Naboo, with more than ten ships down to now just one. Obi-Wan identifies it as a ‘droid control ship’, even though he didn’t make that observation when boarding it the first time.
  • While still on the streets of Theed, Anakin’s told to find a safe place to hide when they get inside the palace. This pays off later when they get to the hangar, but the idea is disconnected from the execution. Perhaps it would be better served if the instruction to hide came whilst in the hangar, prompting Anakin to board a ship. That might make his decision feel a bit less of an artificial way to get him into the ship.
  • I really don’t like the Gungan/droid battle. The Naboo plains are featureless, which has always made them feel extremely artificial to me; the battle contains no emotional stakes since it’s faceless droids versus nameless CG Gungans; having energy shields/catapaults/grenades adds to the artificial look; and the battle is full of extremely goofy moments, mainly surrounding Jar Jar, which serves to make the force look incompetent. Perhaps a good alternative would be to imply that they intended to draw out the army onto the plains then flee into the swamps - giving them the home field Viet Cong advantage. You could skip the force shields and conflict entirely, having the Gungans stand in the open, wait for the droids to deploy, then flee towards the swamps (maybe using some appropriate new dialogue) - with that plan simply failing as they get overrun. It’d still make the plan a little half-baked, but perhaps no worse than the current chaos, goofiness, and failure. Perhaps the Gungans assume they’ll be captured, not killed, as has been done with the humans living on Naboo, panicking once the droids open fire (having only just been told by Sidious to “wipe them out”).
  • As many have observed, in the finale we’re following FOUR plotlines (the Gungan battle, Anakin in space, Padmé in the palace, and the Jedi/Maul duel. We jump between them A LOT, and some of them lessen the jeopardy of the others. For example, Padmé turning the tables on Nute Gunray takes away from Anakin’s need to destroy the control ship. I might prefer to have the Gungans engage and get captured before we even begin the other plotlines (they’re sneaking into Theed offscreen), increasing the remaining plan’s jeopardy for longer. You could then have the hangar rescue, with Anakin, Padmé, and the Jedi splitting off, following Padmé’s group up until their capture too, for a new layer of jeopardy and the pause in her storyline. Then you could intercut Anakin in the skies with the Jedi duel, having Qui-Gon fall as Anakin’s ship fails within the droid command ship’s hangar, before Obi-Wan kills Maul as Anakin recovers and saves the day at roughly the same time (for a double victory-punch), finally showing the recovery of the other two plotlines before the cut back to Qui-Gon’s death scene. (I’m sure someone’s already done this but if so I’d love to know in which edit it appears!)

…right, that’s a ludicrous amount of text to put in front of you all. I hope you guys think this was all worthwhile and that we kick this off with a bang!

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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I’ll start with my general attitude toward editing the prequels and my thoughts on the beginning of TPM.

While I am inspired by and adopting edits others have made (and need to watch more of those listed above), my focus/inspiration is reordering and recontextualizing scenes. My thinking is informed by how ANH was “saved in the edit” as expressed in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFMyMxMYDNk

I am leaving a lot intact (like R2 and a lot of Jar Jar and Gungans) and I hope the annoying parts will work better with changed context, in addition to toning down.

When I think about the prequels I try to keep my first impressions in mind. I was on the edge of my seat when the movie started. After the perplexing crawl, a lonely ship sailing through space toward a space station keeps me in suspense. And the first thing to happen is a bland conversation on a viewscreen. It deflates tension. Plus we are going to get that same information repeatedly and in better ways. Then they go to a conference room and talk. When we get to the action a moment later, the stakes and characters aren’t sufficiently established and I had a feeling of waiting for the movie to really begin.

The stakes should be better established at the outset. My approach is to start with the invasion in order to show the danger. The limited footage of the invasion doesn’t allow for a terribly flashy start (and is a little short for proper opening shots) but it’s more active and conveys more information more quickly. It is more of an ESB than ROTJ way of opening. I’ve considered whether new CGI shot(s) of the invasion could make for a stronger opening, not that I have the skills to do so, but also seems like a lot of work for relatively benefit.

The crawl is one way to give the viewer better context but it doesn’t remedy the impact of the first several minutes. Another approach is cutting a lot of the clutter to get to the action more quickly.

The blue elephant in the room.

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I completely agree. I think a lot can be preserved if it’s given the right context and the movie is paced well. A far more interesting opening would be an invasion (which we actually get to see the impact of), with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan sent to Theed specifically to rescue the Queen, rather than to the belligerents to settle things diplomatically.

One idea I had to remedy the problem of them showing up with Jar Jar, could be to have him already be established as their local guide who helped them navigate the city to reach the Queen. By his following canon appearance he’s become a Junior Representative to the Naboo delegation - specifically a (junior) politician intended to bridge the divide between Coruscant and Naboo, and therefore a perfectly sensible person to serve as local knowledge for two Jedi Knights sent to Naboo to rescue the Queen. So, what if he’s already in that role during the Phantom Menace? It wouldn’t conflict with his poor relations with the other Gungans, either, and it would explain him continuing to travel with the Jedi/Padmé party better than just sticking around as he does in the movie. And doing all of this could unlock a trimmed opening that starts on the action where the plot really starts, with the Queen’s street rescue, the hangar breakout, and the blockade attack. That could easily feel like an intro which leads neatly into Act One, the discovery of Anakin - and there are plenty of expository scenes off Naboo which could give the audience that information even once they’ve left the planet.

Edit: Hell, you could even start with them travelling in the bongo then arriving to rescue the Queen, since the characters really introduce themselves to each other then. Then you’d get to see Jar Jar guiding the Jedi through some ‘secret underwater passages’ to traverse the planet without detection from the occupying army, demonstrating that local knowledge.

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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I personally would like to see the inclusion or even mention of Dooku in The Phantom Menance to better connect Episode I and Episode II. I believe this would really help sell his history with Qui Gon Jinn and make a larger impact on Attack of the Clones when we see he has left the Jedi Order and is working in opposition of the Republic.

Perhaps digitally add him to the council scenes (does not need to talk) or even have him look on as an attendant at Qui Gon’s funeral. It latter could also be a subtle hint at him be Maul’s successor as apprentice to Palpatine and the camera could now linger on both Dooku and Palpatine during Yoda and Mace Windu’s discussion at the end about who was killed, master or apprentice.

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Darth Sadifous said:

I personally would like to see the inclusion or even mention of Dooku in The Phantom Menance to better connect Episode I and Episode II. I believe this would really help sell his history with Qui Gon Jinn and make a larger impact on Attack of the Clones when we see he has left the Jedi Order and is working in opposition of the Republic.

Perhaps digitally add him to the council scenes (does not need to talk) or even have him look on as an attendant at Qui Gon’s funeral. It latter could also be a subtle hint at him be Maul’s successor as apprentice to Palpatine and the camera could now linger on both Dooku and Palpatine during Yoda and Mace Windu’s discussion at the end about who was killed, master or apprentice.

I don’t mind the idea but that would clash with canon, Dooku left the order in 42BBY.

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EddieDean said:

I completely agree. I think a lot can be preserved if it’s given the right context and the movie is paced well. A far more interesting opening would be an invasion (which we actually get to see the impact of), with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan sent to Theed specifically to rescue the Queen, rather than to the belligerents to settle things diplomatically.

One idea I had to remedy the problem of them showing up with Jar Jar, could be to have him already be established as their local guide who helped them navigate the city to reach the Queen. By his following canon appearance he’s become a Junior Representative to the Naboo delegation - specifically a (junior) politician intended to bridge the divide between Coruscant and Naboo, and therefore a perfectly sensible person to serve as local knowledge for two Jedi Knights sent to Naboo to rescue the Queen. So what if he’s already in that role during the Phantom Menace? It wouldn’t conflict with his poor relations with the other Gungans, either, and it would explain him continuing to travel with the Jedi/Padmé party better than just sticking around as he does in the movie. And doing all of this could unlock a trimmed opening that starts on the action where the plot really starts, with the Queen’s street rescue, the hangar breakout, and the blockade attack. That could easily feel like an intro which leads neatly into Act One, the discovery of Anakin - and there are plenty of expository scenes off Naboo which could give the audience that information even once they’ve left the planet.

Edit: Hell, you could even start with them travelling in the bongo then arriving to rescue the Queen, since the characters really introduce themselves to each other then. Then you’d get to see Jar Jar guiding the Jedi through some ‘secret underwater passages’ to traverse the planet without detection from the occupying army, demonstrating that local knowledge.

Good thoughts. I’ve taken the battle droid dialogue (trimmed down) about searching for hidden underwater villages and put it in the mouth of the droid captain in the tank right before we see Qui Gon running. It fills in why they have landed so far from the cities and makes finding Jar Jar feel less random. In addition to trimming Jar Jar forcing himself upon them, one might cut from “Wesa goen underwater, okeyday” to them in the bongo rather than swimming.

Darth Sadifous said:

I personally would like to see the inclusion or even mention of Dooku in The Phantom Menance to better connect Episode I and Episode II. I believe this would really help sell his history with Qui Gon Jinn and make a larger impact on Attack of the Clones when we see he has left the Jedi Order and is working in opposition of the Republic.

Perhaps digitally add him to the council scenes (does not need to talk) or even have him look on as an attendant at Qui Gon’s funeral. It latter could also be a subtle hint at him be Maul’s successor as apprentice to Palpatine and the camera could now linger on both Dooku and Palpatine during Yoda and Mace Windu’s discussion at the end about who was killed, master or apprentice.

There has been good work incorporating Dooku in council scenes but I really like the idea of him just being at the funeral. I don’t know if standing next to Palpatine (between him and Amidala) is too on the nose but as Qui-Gon’s former master should have a prominent place. Would primarily involve out-of-focus shots of his profile so seems fairly doable.

The blue elephant in the room.

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I’ve seen someone take the scene of Dooku landing on Coruscant and talking to Sidious in AOTC and recontextualising it in TPM, but I don’t remember who it was or how they did it.

Two things I’d never realised until reading Eddie’s plot summary:

  • Why does Sidious want to invade Naboo? Why the fixation on recapturing Padme?
  • When exactly do Padme and the decoy switch places? She introduces herself to everyone as “Padme” when she’s pretending to be a handmaiden; do people not know that’s Queen Amidala’s first name?

In terms of what to do with Jar Jar, I’ve always liked Hal’s approach in Cloak of Deception, to recontextualise him as a stressed-out everyman who’s in over his head with a few judicious cuts. I’m curious about the redubbing and subtitling attempts though - I’ve not seen many of the edits on the list, so if anyone has links to the edits by Secior, TM2YC, Andreas/Anjohan, or Yads, I’d love a PM.

“It’s like rhymetry. They poem.” - Leorge Gucas

TROS Novelisation: The Faraday Edit, TLJ: Stoic Edition, ROTS: The Faraday Nudge, ROTS Ultracut: Order 66, Godzilla Vs Megalon, Godzilla Vs Gigan, Godzilla: Final Wars, The Light Rises, Faraday Jr.'s Star Wars

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Mrebo on these forums recently had a good idea about using Anakin’s conflict with Sebulba as the party’s (and the audience’s) introduction to him, and then changing Anakin’s subtitles to have him explain why he’s brought them to Watto’s shop. This made our first introduction to Anakin one where he’s driving the plot and standing up for himself. And while it requires the shot of Jar Jar spitting a frog onto Sebulba, that element might be softened by the new context that “It’s the will of the force that we met”, though perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch.

Could you copy/link his comment regarding this idea? I was going to bring up a specific idea regarding Anakin’s introduction, but I’m curious what exactly he suggested for this.

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CaptainFaraday said:

Two things I’d never realised until reading Eddie’s plot summary:

  • Why does Sidious want to invade Naboo? Why the fixation on recapturing Padme?
  • When exactly do Padme and the decoy switch places? She introduces herself to everyone as “Padme” when she’s pretending to be a handmaiden; do people not know that’s Queen Amidala’s first name?

1- Because the original plan was to get her to sign the treaty ( Palp thought she was young so easy to scare) to legitimize the occupation and create sympathy for him in the Senate so he could use it to win the next election ( Valorum had less than a year left on his mandate.) He never expected that Amidala would find her way to Coruscant. He just adapted after that and he got what he wanted even quicker. The old EU cover that story pretty well ( Cloak of Deception )

2- Amidala is a persona. Every queen of Naboo get one. Nobody knows Padme Naberrie is the queen of Naboo apart from a few selected people. Padme is just one of the handmaiden for the casual personnel. Canon book Queen’s Peril cover that in details. The first switch with Sabe in TPM as the decoy is just before they get captured (black dress.)

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RogueLeader said:

Mrebo on these forums recently had a good idea about using Anakin’s conflict with Sebulba as the party’s (and the audience’s) introduction to him, and then changing Anakin’s subtitles to have him explain why he’s brought them to Watto’s shop. This made our first introduction to Anakin one where he’s driving the plot and standing up for himself. And while it requires the shot of Jar Jar spitting a frog onto Sebulba, that element might be softened by the new context that “It’s the will of the force that we met”, though perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch.

Could you copy/link his comment regarding this idea? I was going to bring up a specific idea regarding Anakin’s introduction, but I’m curious what exactly he suggested for this.

Right here.

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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Guiguioh said:

CaptainFaraday said:

Two things I’d never realised until reading Eddie’s plot summary:

  • Why does Sidious want to invade Naboo? Why the fixation on recapturing Padme?
  • When exactly do Padme and the decoy switch places? She introduces herself to everyone as “Padme” when she’s pretending to be a handmaiden; do people not know that’s Queen Amidala’s first name?

1- Because the original plan was to get her to sign the treaty ( Palp thought she was young so easy to scare) to legitimize the occupation and create sympathy for him in the Senate so he could use it to win the next election ( Valorum had less than a year left on his mandate.) He never expected that Amidala would find her way to Coruscant. He just adapted after that and he got what he wanted even quicker. The old EU cover that story pretty well ( Cloak of Deception )

2- Amidala is a persona. Every queen of Naboo get one. Nobody knows Padme Naberrie is the queen of Naboo apart from a few selected people. Padme is just one of the handmaiden for the casual personnel. Canon book Queen’s Peril cover that in details. The first switch with Sabe in TPM as the decoy is just before they get captured (black dress.)

Thanks for this, I needed both points clarified too. Is it actually made explicit in the movie that Palpatine is from Naboo? It’s implied in the dialogue, but I don’t think it’s spelt out. Shame that the Amidala persona thing isn’t in the movie though.

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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Guiguioh said:

CaptainFaraday said:

Two things I’d never realised until reading Eddie’s plot summary:

  • Why does Sidious want to invade Naboo? Why the fixation on recapturing Padme?
  • When exactly do Padme and the decoy switch places? She introduces herself to everyone as “Padme” when she’s pretending to be a handmaiden; do people not know that’s Queen Amidala’s first name?

1- Because the original plan was to get her to sign the treaty ( Palp thought she was young so easy to scare) to legitimize the occupation and create sympathy for him in the Senate so he could use it to win the next election ( Valorum had less than a year left on his mandate.) He never expected that Amidala would find her way to Coruscant. He just adapted after that and he got what he wanted even quicker. The old EU cover that story pretty well ( Cloak of Deception )

I wonder if there’s a way to hint at that more in the movie? (Which may or may not work if it’s an edit that tries to keep Sidious and Palpatine separate, depending on how it’s done.)

2- Amidala is a persona. Every queen of Naboo get one. Nobody knows Padme Naberrie is the queen of Naboo apart from a few selected people. Padme is just one of the handmaiden for the casual personnel.

Again, I wonder if there’s any way to hint at this? I like the backstory; it evokes the names given to Japanese Emperors and their ruling eras (I forget the word for it).

Canon book Queen’s Peril cover that in details. The first switch with Sabe in TPM as the decoy is just before they get captured (black dress.)

I personally think leaving this being ambiguous in the movie works in its favor, but it’s cool to know there is actually a point where they switch and I’m going to see if I can spot it next time I watch it.

“It’s like rhymetry. They poem.” - Leorge Gucas

TROS Novelisation: The Faraday Edit, TLJ: Stoic Edition, ROTS: The Faraday Nudge, ROTS Ultracut: Order 66, Godzilla Vs Megalon, Godzilla Vs Gigan, Godzilla: Final Wars, The Light Rises, Faraday Jr.'s Star Wars

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EddieDean said:

Thanks for this, I needed both points clarified too. Is it actually made explicit in the movie that Palpatine is from Naboo? It’s implied in the dialogue, but I don’t think it’s spelt out. Shame that the Amidala persona thing isn’t in the movie though.

He is the senator from the Chommel Sector, witch include Naboo and a number of other planets. He is from a noble family of Naboo. It is not explicit in the movie although his wardrobe make it pretty clear for the second point.

CaptainFaraday said:

I personally think leaving this being ambiguous in the movie works in its favor, but it’s cool to know there is actually a point where they switch and I’m going to see if I can spot it next time I watch it.

That is one of the strongest aspect of the movie. Still it is not hard to call when you have watch the movie a lot. Sabe as the queen has two outfits. The other ones are Padmé.

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EddieDean said:

Guiguioh said:

CaptainFaraday said:

Two things I’d never realised until reading Eddie’s plot summary:

  • Why does Sidious want to invade Naboo? Why the fixation on recapturing Padme?
  • When exactly do Padme and the decoy switch places? She introduces herself to everyone as “Padme” when she’s pretending to be a handmaiden; do people not know that’s Queen Amidala’s first name?

1- Because the original plan was to get her to sign the treaty ( Palp thought she was young so easy to scare) to legitimize the occupation and create sympathy for him in the Senate so he could use it to win the next election ( Valorum had less than a year left on his mandate.) He never expected that Amidala would find her way to Coruscant. He just adapted after that and he got what he wanted even quicker. The old EU cover that story pretty well ( Cloak of Deception )

2- Amidala is a persona. Every queen of Naboo get one. Nobody knows Padme Naberrie is the queen of Naboo apart from a few selected people. Padme is just one of the handmaiden for the casual personnel. Canon book Queen’s Peril cover that in details. The first switch with Sabe in TPM as the decoy is just before they get captured (black dress.)

Thanks for this, I needed both points clarified too. Is it actually made explicit in the movie that Palpatine is from Naboo? It’s implied in the dialogue, but I don’t think it’s spelt out. Shame that the Amidala persona thing isn’t in the movie though.

I couldn’t recall either and had to search the script just now. Valorum says “The Chair recognizes the Senator from the sovereign system of Naboo.” And Palpatine says “our planet”/“our people” when speaking to Amidala.

Point 1 is something I’ve been confused about but I see what you’re saying Faraday.

The blue elephant in the room.

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We first meet Palpatine in his senator guise in a scene of Holo-Palpatine talking to Padme and co. in the Naboo palace, which establishes that he’s associated with Naboo, though it’s not made completely explicit until later.

My understanding is that Palpatine’s goal all movie is just to get the Trade Federation to invade his own planet as a kind of false-flag to generate sympathy and get himself elected. Nute Gunray is just a useful idiot.

I’ll rewatch the movie (and a few edits) tomorrow and see what I can contribute to the thread. Good work on the OP!

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That’s an impressive and very insightful OP, thanks for your dedication!

I got introduced to Star Wars franchise in the chronological order and in Latin Spanish dub. That always influenced my view on the prequels on 2 main aspects:

  • Much like EddieDean said, much of the character introductions, worldbuilding and perceived coincidences seem far less contrived when the trilogy is viewed as the actual first set of films instead of prequels. On the other hand, TPM doesn’t delve that much into what the Force is, and it’s unfortunate the earliest explanation for it involves the midichlorians.
  • Some of the dialogues and particularly most of the line delivery and voices are far less obnoxious in the dub (the improvement is pretty noticeable with Hayden Christensen’s dialogue in the later two films). So for me the dialogue issues were hardly relevant until I saw the movies in their original language.

This influenced on me never having strong feelings against the prequel trilogy and despite their flaws I consider them enjoyable movies, of course never reaching the OT’s level.

I’d probably post a more thorough review when I have more time, but here are a couple of abridged thoughts about TPM.

  • I do find Jar Jar annoying, but not irredeemably hateful. I’d be interested in a fan-edit that redubs him. On the other hand I admit to liking Boss Nass in a guilty pleasure way.
  • Overall this film looks much more naturalistic and pleasant to the eye than the other prequels.
  • I do think TPM benefits from going immediatly from meeting Jar Jar to the arrival on Theed, but I’d hate to lose the visuals of Otoh Gunga. At least the Submarine breaking down and the second pair of fish could be excised seamlessly.
  • I’ve never had problems with the droid dialogue either on this film, the later prequels or TCW. I find them funny.
  • The identity of Darth Sidious should be better concealed in his holographic appearances, like having his face or voice distorted. We don’t need the explicit Senate references or anything that links him too soon to Palpatine other than the funeral shot. This would benefit the audience for both the chronological and release viewing orders.
  • Maul was severely underused, but I don’t see a way to remedy this sticking only to TPM.
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Mrebo said:

The limited footage of the invasion doesn’t allow for a terribly flashy start (and is a little short for proper opening shots) but it’s more active and conveys more information more quickly. It is more of an ESB than ROTJ way of opening. I’ve considered whether new CGI shot(s) of the invasion could make for a stronger opening, not that I have the skills to do so, but also seems like a lot of work for relatively benefit.

I’ve added a new section in the OP, ‘changes editors would like to see’, to help aggregate things like this. This is the first item in the list.

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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CaptainFaraday said:

I wonder if there’s a way to hint at [Padmé/Naboo being the target to generate support for Palpatine as Supreme Chancellor] more in the movie? (Which may or may not work if it’s an edit that tries to keep Sidious and Palpatine separate, depending on how it’s done.)

I think this’d be tricky, as it’s a complex sequence of intentions to convey. I think you’d need to explicitly spell it out in the crawl, which feels to me like it’d put too much emphasis on the less interesting political plot.

I think personally my preference would be to have Padmé be explicitly one of the few voices for positive action / champions of the people / thorns in the side of corruption, in an increasingly bureaucratic/stagnant/complacent/corrupt senate. This is a role she’s shown strongly in during all other prequel content, and establishes her character for this episode well. (I know she’s not a Senator but as Queen she’s still shown as being given a voice in the Senate). But more importantly it would also explain why she’s both a threat to the established Republic order AND its enemies, including those within it who are greedy (Trade Federation, proto-Separatists), and those who seek to continue its demise (Sidious). It’d be good continuity with AOTC too, showing that the assassination attempt could be coming from within or without. The bloakcade and invasion could be both the Trade Federation’s objection to her and an attempt to make her appear politically weak, and as Sidious escalates the Trade Federation’s behaviour throughout the movie, his use of Maul works as both a ‘capture’ mission AND a ‘kill if you get the chance, to take her off the board’ mission.

Without overthinking it, the opening crawl could carry this information using something like:
“The Galactic Republic is failing. As its senate becomes more complacent, PADMÉ AMIDALA, elected Queen of the Naboo system, stands as a vocal champion against corruption. Threatened by her successes, the greedy TRADE FEDERATION have blockaded her planet, in an attempt to weaken her political power.” (Yes it’s still political, but it’s one paragraph, not three.)

“The Galactic Republic is failing” seems like both a good opening for the saga chronologically, and a good hook for those following the Original Trilogy. It is, after all, the background plot of the prequels. “To weaken her political power” works from two angles- initially implicitly by drawing her away from the Senate to protect her people, and later as the audience learn that they’re invading to ‘force a settlement’, to show the Galaxy that she caved easily.

You could potentially add something about the Republic’s inability to enforce peace even amongst its own systems, which would also serve two purposes - to help explain why the Trade Federation think that they can get away with planetary invasion as a form of coercion, but also to pay off later in this trilogy when it’s revealed that the Republic has no standing army.

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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My only criticism to an otherwise good idea is that I like how the audience gets to gradually realise the Republic is starting to fail across the prequels. It’s not obvious at first, as the different stakeholders attempt to keep up appearances to hold onto their positions (the Jedi’s ability to use the Force has diminished, the Senate has become a bureaucracy, everyone except Sidious is one step behind everything that’s happening across all three films), and in the end that’s their undoing as Sidious sweeps in at the last minute and knocks the final pretence of function out of a system that was already dysfunctional. (That’s drawing across AOTC and ROTS as well, but it starts in TPM.)

“It’s like rhymetry. They poem.” - Leorge Gucas

TROS Novelisation: The Faraday Edit, TLJ: Stoic Edition, ROTS: The Faraday Nudge, ROTS Ultracut: Order 66, Godzilla Vs Megalon, Godzilla Vs Gigan, Godzilla: Final Wars, The Light Rises, Faraday Jr.'s Star Wars

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That is a fun slow realisation for the trilogy, especially with the chronological mindset, but I think my personal priority tends towards strengthening the individual movie by boosting Padmé’s character and taking out a few layers of political ambiguity.

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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I would like the prequel edits to maintain a consistent aesthetic with the theatrical cuts of the OT (the monitor displays should be less advanced than the OUT’s, not more.)

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I partially agree- I think the modern TV shows mark the gold standard middle ground between OT-style and overdoing it like the prequels did. It feels like Disney have settled on the right aesthetic balance which feels like it fits with the OT whilst being a bit more modern. I’d like to see the PT content downgraded quite a lot, but the OT content upgraded just a little.

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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I’ve been thinking about the movie since you made this post, so I’ll share some random thoughts I’ve been having.

The Crawl

I like the direction of the crawl you posted, Eddie.

I think the big complaint of the original crawl is that it got people’s heads scratching before the movie even starts. The goal of the crawl should be clarify things for the audience. Get everyone on the same page, keep it simple. Think about the original Star Wars opening crawl. It gives some background, but we’re left with a few simple ideas: There’s a big, evil empire, and there’s a rebellion fighting against them. A easy to understand tale of underdogs fighting against tyranny. We also get the gist of the basic plot: the bad guys have a super weapon, and the good guys stole the secret plans for it. We also learn about Princess Leia and her crucial role in this mission.

With this TPM new crawl, there are a few key words used that I think help establish important themes or ideas for this trilogy: complacency, corruption, and greed. These words highlight the problems in the final years of the Galactic Republic, and it establishes people like Padmé trying to fight against this corruption, and personally paying a cost for it. I think centering Padmé as an important character in a new crawl is a great idea. It might do a better job at investing the audience in her journey from the get-go. Like you mentioned before, a common point made about this movie is how it feels like there isn’t a main protagonist. Maybe Padmé technically isn’t, but I think anything would help to give more characterization to this ensemble.

I think another thing worth discussing is runtime. There are a lot of TPM edits that really cut down the runtime of the film, but I personally think if you’re trying to make an edit of this film that could’ve realistically been a theatrical release, the runtime should be at least be 2-hours. Preferably not shorter than the original Star Wars film, but that’s just my opinion. But I do think such a rule can help editors prioritize which cuts are the most important to make. You might be able to make a great 90-minute movie, but would that be too short for a Star Wars movie?

Nemoidians and Sidious

I know I just mentioned being careful about cutting too much and making the movie too short, but if I were to want to cut any scenes, I think I would cut a lot of the scenes between Nute Gunray and Darth Sidious. There’s a few reasons for doing this. 1) I feel like the pacing just halts every time we cut back to what the bad guys are doing. 3) It feels like a lot of information is repeated in other scenes. 2) I actually think it would serve the narrative more if we kept the Sith’s involvement in the plot as mysterious as we can. I actually wonder how much it would actually hurt the movie if we cut all of Sidious’ scenes. Would it be better if the actual phantom menace was a figure only alluded to in the first film? I’m sure there are edits that have already done this. We are talking about the most fan-edited film in history, after all.

Jar Jar Binks

In regards to Jar Jar, instead of totally dubbing him, I’m curious if it would be possible to play around with his dialogue to simply tone down his sometimes confusing Gungan dialect. A few examples:

“I spake” to “I speak”
“You saved my again” to “You saved me again”
“More did you spake?” to “More did you say?”
“Ex-squeeze-me, but de mostest safest place would be Gunga City” to “De safest place would be Gunga City”
“’Tis embarrassing. My afraid my’ve been banished. My forgotten. Da bosses would do terrible things to me. Terrrrrible things to me if me goen back dere” to “Tis’ embarrassing. I afraid I’ve been banished. I’m forgotten. Da bosses would do terrible things to me. Terrible things to me if I go back dere.”
“Wesa goen underwater, okeyday?” to “We go underwater, okay?”
“My warning you. Gungans no liken outsiders, so don’t spect a warm welcome” to “I’m warning you. Gungans don’t like outsiders, so don’t espect a warm welcome.”

Obviously how doable this would be would depend on how easy it is to isolate Jar Jar’s dialogue, and if you could find the right pieces to frankenbyte the dialogue changes. I recall Brian Blessed (who voiced Boss Nass) gave an interview where he said “I tried to make sure my noises didn’t interfere with dialogue”. He basically said that he thought that Jar Jar sometimes made noises on the line, and he has a lot of plot, so the audience would go, “What’s he saying? What did he say?” Anyway, I’m not saying Brian Blessed should be the authority on this, but I think it is a fair point.

And of course, basically every TPM edit in the past has toned down Jar Jar by cutting certain scenes or lines whole cloth, or muting Jar Jar’s voice, but I’m curious how possible it would be improve the dialogue that is necessary without overdubbing Ahmed Best’s performance. Because I think one issue with cutting a lot of Jar Jar is that if you cut too much Jar Jar, the edits feel less invisible as they should if you’re going for an edit that could pass as a theatrical release. This method might allow an editor to keep more Jar Jar, but make him less annoying. Another positive thing about this route would be that you probably could get away with these dialogue changes without Jar Jar’s mouth movements being noticeably off, since the CGI twenty years ago wasn’t as true-to-life as it can be now. And I know this is something other editor’s have played around with, but maybe the pitch of Jar Jar’s voice could be played around for more grating lines and yells. Not sure how helpful it would be but maybe it could be.

But maybe this idea could also be used for Watto and the Nemoidians to some extent.

Padme

Speaking of pitch, something I would like to see would be to change the pitch of Queen Amidala’s voice back to Natalie Portman’s natural pitch. I’ve heard other people say this is difficult or impossible with how the audio is mixed, but I find this choice pretty unappealing, and it makes the Queen more relatable and human if she had something closer to her natural pitch. It’s honestly kind of impressive how George was able to get such a wooden performance out of Portman after her great role in The Professional. It’s crazy how much crap Jake Lloyd got for his performance as Anakin, but at least he was more emotive than Natalie was in this film.

It’s kind of funny, I know there is a video somewhere on YouTube where someone does exactly this, but all of the comments are saying how it’s supposed to be like that, and give all of the reasons and excuses. Like, sure, give all of the in-universe reasons for why that is cool or whatever, but I feel like it makes her less relatable and more boring to listen to, even if people are not consciously aware of it. I guess it’s just a testament to how opinions of the prequels have changed.

Anakin

Not a lot to say about Anakin that hasn’t already been done, but there is one idea I recall regarding how Anakin gets connected with Qui-Gon and company. This was an idea I had back years ago, but I’m pretty sure the Phantom Editor also mentions in his commentary having this edit when he did his edit, but decided to not go with it. Basically, the idea would be that you would replace Jar Jar getting accosted by Sebulba, with Qui-Gon seeing Anakin in a fight and breaking it up. This deleted scene originally takes place after the pod race, and the Rodian thinks Anakin cheated at the pod race, but if you could assume they are just talking about a game they were playing. One benefit is that it would help you avoid another of Jar Jar’s goofy antics, and it also lets you see another side of Anakin that we mostly see as sweet and innocent. I think one of the reasons he didn’t use it was because of the quality of the scene, but perhaps there is a better quality version of the scene available now.

On the other hand, I do like Mrebo’s idea for the scene, which gives Anakin a little extra agency. Maybe you could use both ideas, since you would need to invent a way for Anakin to pair back up with the others (unless you just assumed Anakin caught up with them after Watto let him leave).

I’m sure I’ll have other ideas later, but that’s a lot for now. One other idea I had is that you could potentially use establishing shots of Mos Espa from the Book of Boba Fett somewhere in TPM, if you wanted to show a bit more of the city. Feels weird to talk about edit ideas that have been discussed for the past twenty years…

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EddieDean said:

I’m trying to present this section from an ‘editor’s perspective’, highlighting the key plot points, structure, character development and interactions, topics of dialogue, scene linkages, references, etc. It’s in as close to original order as possible, with cut scenes placed in roughly the right place. Let me know if there’s anything relevant that I’ve missed.

EddieDean, I look forward to adding a thing or three to your ongoing series of topic threads eventually.

Just a little thing for now, but can you also include a description of the ‘deleted scene’ of Yoda arriving at Dagobah in this one too? - while I have my own firm preference of how I’d like to see it incorporated into a re-edit of the movie, perhaps you could just add it at the bottom of your scene descriptions if you don’t have a preference of your own. It’s not readily obvious where it should go, as there’s optional places to put it if anyone chooses to include it.

EDIT - Doh!, ignore this post everyone…I got very mixed up late last night, and this ISN’T a deleted scene from TPM, lol.