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Community Focus Thread 1: The Phantom Menace — Page 12

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Here’s another attempt at Qui-Gon communicating to Anakin through the force. Version 2 and Version 3

Great idea to flip it into Qui-Gon’s perspective guys, that makes it very clear he’s the driving force of the communication, so it transitions nicely.

I flipped the shot of Anakin looking down, so now he’s looking up (at a mystery voice?) and slowed it down 50%. Wish the reaction shot was longer though. Version 3 is slowed down to 25%.

We’re at the extreme end of my abilities here, so this is pretty rough - I don’t think I have the skills to polish this any further so someone else would need to run with it from here. Maybe extrapolating some frames so the slow motion doesn’t feel awkward? A bit more mystical music across the merged scene could also help?

I’m still not quite sure this can work, but I do really like what it does for both Qui-Gon’s and Anakin’s characters. And I like Qui-Gon’s “Your final test is at hand.” It implies that he trusts that this ‘final test’ (of the Jedi candidacy tests), whether it be Anakin needing to save the day, or his own forthcoming death, will likely prove he’s worthy of training.

One thing that also maybe doesn’t work is that Anakin doesn’t subsequently use the force. But, then again, what he does do is pilot his ship with precision and confidence (which he hasn’t quite done in the space scenes yet) - exactly as he used the force without realising when he was a podracer. That’s why I always was fine with the line “Now THIS is podracing!” - he’s not saying that literally, which makes no sense; he’s saying that this feels familiar, welcome, a calling, a comfort zone, a thrill. For Anakin, in this reimagined moment, the force emerges in him through his piloting skill, as it always has.

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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I think both versions are an improvement, although if I had to choose, I prefer 3 slightly more than 2. Regardless, both versions work for me!

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

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I feel the crawl currently being considered has way too much exposition, and would benefit from being more focused.

Also, here’s a few thoughts on reordering the climax:

  • Kerr gave me feedback when I was working on V1 of my TPM edit, that being that you’ve gotta show Jar Jar each time you cut back to the Gungan battle thread, since he’s the only one the audience has any connection to. You certainly could do that and keep the structure you’re going for.
  • It feels weird to cut to the Gungans being rounded up by the droids so long after the last time we saw them.
  • There are at least three instances of cutting to Padme and Panaka for only several seconds, making her thread feel choppy. If two of these could be combined that may help, or reinstating the “make sure everybody has zimas” sequence (and giving up on the idea that Anakin saved the day).

I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently.

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The Republic is failing. As
the Galactic Senate becomes complacent,
Queen Amidala of the planet Naboo stands as a vocal champion
against corruption.

As the newly crowned Queen relies on diplomacy, the greedy Trade
Federation has blockaded her home system in an attempt to force her compliance.

The Republic Chancellor has dispatched two Jedi Knights, mystical wielders of
The Force, to
negotiate for peace…

Also, do we have any promising usable audio sources for tweaking to pitch of Amidala’s voice? I can’t do so without also changing the pitch of the whole audio channel, and it sours the music.

I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently.

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Hal 9000 said:

I feel the crawl currently being considered has way too much exposition, and would benefit from being more focused.

Also, here’s a few thoughts on reordering the climax:

  • Kerr gave me feedback when I was working on V1 of my TPM edit, that being that you’ve gotta show Jar Jar each time you cut back to the Gungan battle thread, since he’s the only one the audience has any connection to. You certainly could do that and keep the structure you’re going for.
  • It feels weird to cut to the Gungans being rounded up by the droids so long after the last time we saw them.
  • There are at least three instances of cutting to Padme and Panaka for only several seconds, making her thread feel choppy. If two of these could be combined that may help, or reinstating the “make sure everybody has zimas” sequence (and giving up on the idea that Anakin saved the day).

That point on Jar Jar is a good one. I’m not sure how necessary it feels to me personally, but I can see that it’s probably conventional editing wisdom. I’ll see what the least offensive Jar Jar shots are, for reinsertion. You could definitely extend the retreat a little, which features him, but maybe open the cavalry scene on a Jar Jar shot too. I don’t know if it’s needed in the scene of combat beginning, which already have him saying “steady, steady”?

What’s the collective feeling on the Gungan surrender? In this ordering, it felt like the earliest option based on energy levels of the surrounding scenes, but if it’s egregious I’ll see what other options exist.

I tried merging two Padmé scenes (capture and being brought to Nute) but didn’t feel it worked. I’ll remake that and present it here for review.

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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Idk why you guys think the final battle is so complicated. While yes there are four different storylines, they all basically amount to “everyone fights the droids while infiltrating the palace and hoping the air force can take out the control ship to make the infiltration trivial easy”. Ultimately the battle hinges on Padme’s party and the pilots, with the Gungans and the Jedi going off on tangents only to give her party a chance. Plus plenty of SW films have done intercut battles. Remember Exegol, Endor, and Starkiller Base? It’s really just a function of wanting the climax to include a ground battle, air battle, and lightsaber battle.

Oh and while the execution is seamless, I don’t like the idea of Jar Jar being a planetary representative from the start. It robs him of his entire arc from lowly buffoon to much more important buffoon and redemption in the eyes of his people. If being a buffoon is the issue, this doesn’t fix it, it just makes him a bumbling authority figure like Marcus Brody in The Last Crusade.

Fwiw, if you guys really wanna simplify things, you could try moving the Gungan Battle to the start of the film, with Jar Jar being one of the only survivor of a Gungan massacre when he meets Qui-Gon. That said, the scene no longer serves any real narrative purpose without the greater context of being a distraction so the Naboo can infiltrate Theed.

But hey, that’s just my two cents.

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Anakin Starkiller said:

Idk why you guys think the final battle is so complicated. While yes there are four different storylines, they all basically amount to “everyone fights the droids while infiltrating the palace and hoping the air force can take out the control ship to make the infiltration trivial easy”. Ultimately the battle hinges on Padme’s party and the pilots, with the Gungans and the Jedi going off on tangents only to give her party a chance. Plus plenty of SW films have done intercut battles. Remember Exegol, Endor, and Starkiller Base? It’s really just a function of wanting the climax to include a ground battle, air battle, and lightsaber battle.

But if the Gungan battle is just a tangent, why is it necessary to have it be a major plot line? That was the main reason for the final battle restructuring: it focuses the climax on the most important elements, rather than wasting time on pointless droid fighting. Intercut battles have been a thing in Star Wars, but never 4 battles at once: Endor had 3 battles, and Starkiller and Exegol only had 2. Simplifying things allows for the audience to have a clear “hook” to be invested in.

Oh and while the execution is seamless, I don’t like the idea of Jar Jar being a planetary representative from the start. It robs him of his entire arc from lowly buffoon to much more important buffoon and redemption in the eyes of his people. If being a buffoon is the issue, this doesn’t fix it, it just makes him a bumbling authority figure like Marcus Brody in The Last Crusade.

I don’t think Jar Jar being a representative is the only change Eddie wants to make: he’s also going to replace several other pieces of dialogue throughout the movie, to change Jar Jar from a bumbling bufoon to a character with actual agency. Things don’t just happen to Jar Jar in this version, he actually helps the protagonists with their mission.

My preferred Skywalker Saga experience:
I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX

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Anakin Starkiller, regarding the final battle, I think the key point here is the difference between story and narrative. The story of the ending - all four concurrent plotlines - makes perfect logical sense, as you say. But narrative is how a given story is told, and it’s about guiding the audience through the story via its presentation. And that’s about managing more nebulous things like cognitive load, information delivery ordering, emotional response, and high and low energy levels. A story can be conveyed by a wikipedia article, but narrative is how the production team convey feeling as you watch the movie.

The issue with the ending that these recent attempts sought to address was primarily that of cognitive load. While it’s easy for us that have watched the movie a dozen times to understand that each storyline makes sense, the hypothetical first-time viewer would be having to hold the ‘present state’ of each plotline in their head at the same time, and wouldn’t necessarily have room to focus on things like where the tension and hope were, which characters were our emotional investment characters, and so on. It sounds like something a brain should have no trouble with, but when in motion, it can have a real impact on how a movie feels. These recent explorations weren’t an attempt to clarify a confusing plotline so much as present the story in a narrative that burdened the viewer the least, and then within that, to try to find a natural flow of energy peaks and troughs.

Anyway, I feel I should clarify a couple of things regarding my intentions for Jar Jar:

I have no intentions for Jar Jar.

The purpose of creating those clips was not to present any new ideas that I sincerely thought might be included in future edits; it was only to illustrate to participants in this thread that I’ve made a tool which I think makes editing Jar Jar as easy as it can be, so that anyone can explore changing Jar Jar. Some of the concepts I introduced in those clips were even mutually exclusive with each other.

Regarding your point about Jar Jar’s character growth: I don’t think he has any, at least any that you could reasonably expect an audience to invest in. Other than light confidence boosting and perhaps a small growth in respect over the movie, I don’t think anyone would really argue that he has a character arc. But he doesn’t need an arc! I think it’s almost certain that he’ll always remain some degree of idiot and that that can’t be changed, but I do think that the new voice lines in the tool afford us the possibility to give him agency, as Starkiller AG says, which is something that all active characters need in film, and that Jar Jar is sorely lacking. I have a feeling that, if Jar Jar can be shown to actually care about events, it could really improve his character, even if he remains a buffoon.

I don’t currently have any plans for Jar Jar. I think some of the possibilities in the new lines have potential - especially his many lines about Queens, and being able to replace some of his more annoying speech traits with less annoying ones. Making him already a Junior Representative is an idea that really appeals to me too, but that’s something that’s much more radical and not something I’d fold in with regular improvement.

That said, I would love it if we here could iterate on Jar Jar together. I’d really like to see people play with the tool and for us to collectively test some explorations. Or even just suggest some ideas for how we could improve Jar Jar beyond trimming his more offensive scenes. But that’s up to the community, and the direction people want to take this thread!

I suppose, by way of encouraging discussion, I’ll leave us with a question: Is making Jar Jar a representative, and/or their deliberate contact, a step too far?

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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I’m all for giving Jar Jar more meaning in the story. That said, I think that making Jar Jar a representative, and/or their deliberate contact, is a good atempt to archieve this goal.

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I think making Jar Jar more involved with the plot in terms of changing his dialogue is a good change. I’m all for it.

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Forgive my ramble for a moment please. I’ve always thought the best Jar-Jar scene in the movie is when he’s talking with Padme while they stare out the window. “Gungans getting pasted to eh?” He’s empathizing with her and the viewer can sympathize with that. But he’s still not really doing anything in that scene. He doesn’t even actually suggest using the Gungan army. Just a casual comment from him. Still, he’s talking to her, he’s feeling for the people, it’s an okay scene.

The worst scene (for me) is him randomly stealing the bbq from the vendor and just tries to whistle it off. Where the hell did that come from? Just what?

Giving him agency (if I’m understanding Eddie correctly) would be making what is there of him more like example one and less like example two.

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I think a big issue with pushing the gungan battle scenes forward is that this plot line can’t be resolved until the control ship is destroyed, so even if you push most of the battle forward it’ll still feel like a hanging thread all the way through to the end anyway. If anything I feel it puts a bigger strain on the audience to keep the captive gungans in mind while they’re watching the other three plots unfold.

The gungan battle also has a clear function in giving a sense of urgency to the other plots, they need to either capture the Viceroy or destroy the control ship before the gungans are wiped out, you lose that if the battle is already over by the time you get to those scenes. Yeah the gungans have been captured, but they’re no longer in any immediate threat, so there’s no real urgency. It’d be like if the Death Star was no longer looming over the Rebel base during the climax in ANH.

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You took the words right out of my mouth, Eddie. It’s about how, not why. I had to restructure the ending for my edit because I wanted to execute all four plotlines better while also making it simpler to follow.

And I agree, sirlegion. If I had to pick a favorite Jar Jar scene (although that’s saying very little), that conversation with Amidala would be my top choice, too!

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

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Eyepainter said:

And I agree, sirlegion. If I had to pick a favorite Jar Jar scene (although that’s saying very little), that conversation with Amidala would be my top choice, too!

Exactly. He shows he cares about something. And there are a lot of lines from the Clone Wars where he does more of this, talking about how much he likes the Queen, how much he respects Padmé, etc. Plenty of movies have goofballs for comic relief (arguably C-3PO in the OT has this role), but they’re far more palatable if they have things they feel strongly about.

That example (the Padmé/Jar Jar scene) can definitely be added too, quite easily:
“Yousa thinking yousa people gonna die?”
“I don’t know.”
“Gungans get wasted too, eh?”
“I hope not.”
Mesa no dying without a fight, Gungans are warriors. Wesa got a grand army. [+ anything else because he speaks offscreen]”

“Mesa no dying without a fight” adds a lot with just the simple change, because it tells us that, for all his cowardice and goofiness, he’ll still stand and fight to protect his people.

And Jar Jar’s last sentence, rather than just “you don’t like us”, could be something proactive from the Clone Wars options, like:
“If those droids attacking us, mesa think yousa have to deal.”
"But thesa Gungans are proud. With thisa mood at the moment, mesa the last person they listen to now.
“Mesa knowing mesa be big help with negotiations, and wesa good guys will triumph.”

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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Burbin said:

I think a big issue with pushing the gungan battle scenes forward is that this plot line can’t be resolved until the control ship is destroyed, so even if you push most of the battle forward it’ll still feel like a hanging thread all the way through to the end anyway. If anything I feel it puts a bigger strain on the audience to keep the captive gungans in mind while they’re watching the other three plots unfold.

The gungan battle also has a clear function in giving a sense of urgency to the other plots, they need to either capture the Viceroy or destroy the control ship before the gungans are wiped out, you lose that if the battle is already over by the time you get to those scenes. Yeah the gungans have been captured, but they’re no longer in any immediate threat, so there’s no real urgency. It’d be like if the Death Star was no longer looming over the Rebel base during the climax in ANH.

Yeah, I feel like if you were to pull the Gungan scenes earlier, you’d risk the film feeling like ‘save the Gungans’ was the backbone, which I think most would find pretty unpalatable. And especially if we don’t have equivalent footage of the humans of Naboo also being oppressed, I think that’d feel weird for Padmé. You’d also have the issue that the Gungans appeared captured throughout the entire movie, without moving, even though it’s over a few days.

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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EddieDean said:

Burbin said:

I think a big issue with pushing the gungan battle scenes forward is that this plot line can’t be resolved until the control ship is destroyed, so even if you push most of the battle forward it’ll still feel like a hanging thread all the way through to the end anyway. If anything I feel it puts a bigger strain on the audience to keep the captive gungans in mind while they’re watching the other three plots unfold.

The gungan battle also has a clear function in giving a sense of urgency to the other plots, they need to either capture the Viceroy or destroy the control ship before the gungans are wiped out, you lose that if the battle is already over by the time you get to those scenes. Yeah the gungans have been captured, but they’re no longer in any immediate threat, so there’s no real urgency. It’d be like if the Death Star was no longer looming over the Rebel base during the climax in ANH.

Yeah, I feel like if you were to pull the Gungan scenes earlier, you’d risk the film feeling like ‘save the Gungans’ was the backbone, which I think most would find pretty unpalatable. And especially if we don’t have equivalent footage of the humans of Naboo also being oppressed, I think that’d feel weird for Padmé. You’d also have the issue that the Gungans appeared captured throughout the entire movie, without moving, even though it’s over a few days.

I think he was referring to moving the battle scenes to the beginning of the climax, not the beginning of the movie. Which is honestly an issue I hadn’t considered before: if we don’t show the Gungans at all between the scene of the pilots taking off and the control ship being destroyed, is that even more confusing than the 4 overlapping plotlines in the original? It might result in the audience almost forgetting about the Gungan plotline by the time it’s resolved, which wouldn’t work for our goal of increasing the dramatic tension.

I think an alternate way to simplify the climax, without that issue, would be to just delete one of the plotlines: either the Gungan subplot or Padme’s subplot. If the Gungan subplot was cut, then Padme and the others would just sneak into the palace without any diversion; and if Padme’s subplot was cut, then the ultimate goal would be to take out the control ship, without the added goal of capturing the Viceroy. I’d personally advocate for cutting the Gungan subplot: it’s by far the most visually bland part of the battle, and if you cut Jar Jar’s antics there’s not really much left.

My preferred Skywalker Saga experience:
I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX

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Yeah I was refering to the climax, though it’d still apply to moving the scenes even further. I feel the gungan battle and the palace infiltration form a symbiont circle if you will, if you remove the gungan battle then you’d trivialize the palace infiltration, without most of the federation army being diverted to meet the gungans the infiltration would feel way too easy. The battle is also the big payoff to the large armies that were set up at the beggining of the film, as well as to Jar Jar being a character. And as I mentioned before, it also adds a ‘ticking clock’ element, it was never a winning battle for the gungans, only a diversion, everytime you cut back to it you see things getting worse for them so it feels more and more urgent that the other plans succeed.

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StarkillerAG said:

EddieDean said:

Burbin said:

I think a big issue with pushing the gungan battle scenes forward is that this plot line can’t be resolved until the control ship is destroyed, so even if you push most of the battle forward it’ll still feel like a hanging thread all the way through to the end anyway. If anything I feel it puts a bigger strain on the audience to keep the captive gungans in mind while they’re watching the other three plots unfold.

The gungan battle also has a clear function in giving a sense of urgency to the other plots, they need to either capture the Viceroy or destroy the control ship before the gungans are wiped out, you lose that if the battle is already over by the time you get to those scenes. Yeah the gungans have been captured, but they’re no longer in any immediate threat, so there’s no real urgency. It’d be like if the Death Star was no longer looming over the Rebel base during the climax in ANH.

Yeah, I feel like if you were to pull the Gungan scenes earlier, you’d risk the film feeling like ‘save the Gungans’ was the backbone, which I think most would find pretty unpalatable. And especially if we don’t have equivalent footage of the humans of Naboo also being oppressed, I think that’d feel weird for Padmé. You’d also have the issue that the Gungans appeared captured throughout the entire movie, without moving, even though it’s over a few days.

I think he was referring to moving the battle scenes to the beginning of the climax, not the beginning of the movie. Which is honestly an issue I hadn’t considered before: if we don’t show the Gungans at all between the scene of the pilots taking off and the control ship being destroyed, is that even more confusing than the 4 overlapping plotlines in the original? It might result in the audience almost forgetting about the Gungan plotline by the time it’s resolved, which wouldn’t work for our goal of increasing the dramatic tension.

I think an alternate way to simplify the climax, without that issue, would be to just delete one of the plotlines: either the Gungan subplot or Padme’s subplot. If the Gungan subplot was cut, then Padme and the others would just sneak into the palace without any diversion; and if Padme’s subplot was cut, then the ultimate goal would be to take out the control ship, without the added goal of capturing the Viceroy. I’d personally advocate for cutting the Gungan subplot: it’s by far the most visually bland part of the battle, and if you cut Jar Jar’s antics there’s not really much left.

I think somebody has already said this, but the problem with cutting out the Gungan battle is that it leaves a gaping plot issue where Padme and friends storm the castle without any issues. If I remember correctly, the whole point of the Gungan battle was to distract the droid army from being stationed at the palace. Without that battle, Padme and friends breaking in becomes unbelievable, since their group is tiny. Even if you were to suspend your disbelief, there’s no way they could’ve gotten past the droid army, even with two jedi in the group.

By no means am I saying that the Gungan battle is great. I think most of us (if not all) will agree that it’s terrible. But it does serve its purpose.

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

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Okay then, I guess the only subplot we can safely cut is Padme capturing the Viceroy. I remember the Anti-Cheese edit cut that bit, and it worked pretty well. It does raise the question of where Padme and the Jedi were planning to go when they got interrupted by Maul, but I guess that’s not too big of a deal.

My preferred Skywalker Saga experience:
I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX

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Is there anything currently that people would like to see more iteration on? Any specific ideas you’d like to see developed? This thread will continue, but we might be approaching time to spin up the next one (for ROTJ). Should we use this time to bring anything in particular into focus?

The Clone Wars: Refocused

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Hi Guys/Gals, wow an amazing thread and some absaloutley amazing ideas. I was never a huge fan of TPM until seeing Hal9000’s amazing Cloak of Deception and since have been hooked on the fan editing scene.

Anyway I don’t want to wobble on about how I got here but after reading through the thread I seen that one idea was to have Shmi freed also, as much as I like the idea I think it may create some issues.

*1 I couldn’t believe that Shmi would not leave Tatooien and accompany her son Anakin. She wouldn’t know if the Jedi Council would accept him.

*2 I think it will create a problem when it comes to AOTC, how would Anakin know how to find his mother, what would lead him to the Lars family and eventually to the sand people.

Just throwing that out there, seriously loving all the ideas and concepts in this thread.

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Atom-88 said:

*1 I couldn’t believe that Shmi would not leave Tatooien and accompany her son Anakin. She wouldn’t know if the Jedi Council would accept him.

Both good points. The way I see this is that Jedi take kids away to train. It’s sort of an accepted thing. She gives the story “my place is here” to make it better for him but we can assume she knows the deal.

Atom-88 said:
*2 I think it will create a problem when it comes to AOTC, how would Anakin know how to find his mother, what would lead him to the Lars family and eventually to the sand people.

I tried this in the prequel redux thread to continue this idea into AOTC. The third edit on the post is the closest to where I want it right now. I’ve since smoothed the audio a little with some music from the scene but by the time I did that the thread had moved on. But you can hopefully get the gist of how those ideas from here could potentially carry over.

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Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying it can’t work just I find it weird that one minute she is worried and doesn’t want him to race and the next it’s a case of “My Place is Here”. To me it always felt like she was only telling Anakin that so he wouldn’t feel bad about leaving.

As for the Quigon assisting Anakin during his space battle maybe the line he gives Anakin before the Pod Race might work better. “Remember concentrate on the moment feel don’t think, use your instincts, May the force be with you”.

Just a suggestion 😁👍