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How to make Episode 3 work as a standalone prequel?

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I am interested in what you all think about turning episode 3 into a standalone prequel film.

I have always considered it the best entry in the prequel trilogy, mainly due to it’s compelling story. It would be great to view it in a marathon as the only prequel but this would require a new crawl and maybe some other changes in the story.

What would have to be included in the new crawl, among other cuts/additions to make it work as a standalone prequel film?

I think some of the biggest challenges are establishing the array of villains in the movie and Anakin/Obi Wan’s history. And the past can be altered since episode 3 would stand alone. The crawl could even specify that Anakin was found by the Jedi as a teenager rather than as a kid, as well as specifying that it was Obi Wan alone who sought out Anakin.

Return of the Jedi: Remastered

Lord of the Rings: The Darth Rush Definitives

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Honestly, I don’t really think you would have to establish too much in the crawl.

I definitely wouldn’t try to elaborate on Anakin’s history in the crawl. It wouldn’t fit and it isn’t really necessary. Obi-Wan reiterates in the movie dialogue that he’s trained Anakin since he was a boy (maybe cut “small” from “small boy”, and it could be interpreted as him being a teenager). A lot of the relationships are reestablished in this movie, like both Anakin and Palpatine reminding the audience that they have had a friendship for a long time. And we also learn through the dialogue that Anakin’s relationship with Padmé is a secret and against the Jedi code, which I still think is important for the movie to work and remain faithful to the themes of the saga.

All you would need to do is slightly alter the crawl to set up what the Clone Wars are and that the Jedi are fighting for the Republic. I would try to make that very concise and fit that in the just first paragraph.

Then the rest of crawl plays out the same, setting up the antagonists and the immediate situation with the kidnapping of the leader of the Republic. I’d also probably slightly alter the reference to Dooku to refer to him as a fallen Jedi.

Really take the crawl of A New Hope as a good example, it briefly introduces us to a war that we’re just being dropped into, just like we would be if Revenge was a stand-alone film. Ironically, Revenge “is a period of civil war” just like ANH!

I also think that you would want to trim any references that wouldn’t make a lot of sense without the context of the last two films, like anything about Anakin’s mother, unless you establish what happened to her in a dream or something (but I think it would still work without it, don’t make anything more complicated than it has to be), maybe the mention of the necklace Anakin made for Padmé, and definitely the final reference to Qui-Gon.

Maybe Yoda could just say:
“In your solitude on Tatooine, training I have for you.”
And then cut to Obi-Wan with an inquisitive look, then cut to the next scene.
I think that would be enough to help set up that there is more for them to learn, but keeps it mysterious.

Really the only issue I can think of might be that you don’t get the context of how Owen and Beru are Luke’s family, since they decide to take Luke there in the end. But without the previous two films, and with what Obi-Wan tells us in A New Hope, we can just assume it is Anakin’s family and what Obi-Wan tells Luke in ANH is generally true (minus his father wanting him to have his lightsaber and the stuff about Darth Vader, things Obi lies about to push Luke to become a Jedi).

A big change that might be considered is keeping Vader’s identity a twist, but I think what makes Revenge of the Sith work is the dramatic irony of knowing that this is the fall of Anakin Skywalker. At the very least, you could possibly remove any mention of Darth Vader from the film and cut any scenes of Anakin after Obi-Wan leaves Mustafar. But in a marathon context the audience would still know that Obi-Wan is lying, and later in ANH Vader refers to Obi-Wan as his old master. I just think you’d have to make radical changes and bend over backwards for such a change, and I think it would overcomplicate the movie and take away from its themes.
To maintain the twist, someone could just do the Machete Order, and put this standalone prequel film inbetween Empire and Jedi.

There are some other changes I think that would be worth considering. I know Dom’s ROTS edit intergrates OT music here and there in the film, and doing something similar with this project could help the movie fit in with the OT style more. Finding places to ocassionally reuse music and classic sound effects could help the movie feel more like classic Star Wars, since this film wouldn’t have the two other films to help establish the prequel aesthetic.
Dom’s thread: https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Doms-Useless-Prequel-Edits/id/56746

Another edit I would recommend looking into for inspiration would be NFBism’s New Canon Cut. While his was meant to help recharacterize Anakin, Obi-Wan and their friendship to better fit with the Clone Wars tv show, I think a lot of his ideas, which include a lot of small changes, go a long way to help improve Anakin’s character in general, and I definitely would suggest anyone working on a ROTS edit to read through his thread and check out his edit: https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Revenge-of-the-Sith-The-New-Canon-Cut/id/53990

I would also consider readding the deleted scenes of Padmé to help tie her story in with the Rebellion plot in the OT. You could even consider using Hal’s ending where Padmé survives if you wanted to try to be as consistent with the OT as possible. I would also encourage you to check out a recent post of mine from the Prequel Radical Redux thread where I suggest restructuring Padmé’s deleted scenes to help tie it even more directly to the Rebellion as we know it, and to better set up Anakin’s paranoia in the film.
https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/The-Prequel-Radical-Redux-Ideas-Thread/id/9911/page/294#1242655

Further down I also suggest an alternate way to handle her death to give her character more agency.
https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/The-Prequel-Radical-Redux-Ideas-Thread/id/9911/page/295#1243121

The good thing about most of these changes, if you don’t try to hide Vader=Anakin or to have Padmé survive, is that the movie can work as a Stand-alone film, but it doesn’t necessarily contradict the Episodes I and II either. Just because we cut out the references to Anakin’s mother and Qui-Gon Jinn doesn’t mean they don’t exist, but by removing those references, people who watch this edit can choose to either watch those movies, or just watch this plus the OT and it would work either way. By removing those details from ROTS, it allows people to interpret Anakin’s backstory however they choose, either as I and II present it, or as Obi-Wan describes it in ANH.

Sorry for the long post. While there are a lot of interesting 3-in-1 prequel edits, I do think with the right cuts, Revenge can still work rather well by itself. So this is a good idea for those who might want to do a marathon, but might not necessarily want to watch all three prequels.

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I think some scenes from EP2 are needed to show how Anakin turns…
Perhaps start with Anakin’s Tatooine story from EP2 and use the dreams to show premonitions for the events of EP3.
Perhaps use part of EP2 count Duku to tie in with Palpatine’s kidnap.

EP3 deleted scenes help with the story, but they make the film drag on a bit. So pacing needs to be changed also. Again, I’d try to fit some action from EP2, probably the Obiwan X Jango Fet fight.

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Cut Grievous entirely as an onscreen presence, he is merely a mcguffin to isolate Anakin.
Restore the birth of the Rebellion scenes.

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Replace some exposition in the opening crawl, then done, honestly. The other two prequels don’t really do much for the story, and definitely nothing that can’t be explained in a crawl.

Hot take: The Force Awakens is in no way, shape or form a rehash or remake of A New Hope.
It’s no more derivative than the average sequel, and is certainly less derivative than the prequels.

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Super easy, barely an inconvenience. Since, as with all Star Wars films, Lucas was mostly just making it up as he went along, he got so caught up in adding cool new stuff that he didn’t get around to any of the essential stuff until RotS.

That’s not to say the rest isn’t worth watching, just that you wouldn’t be lost without it, or at least the case for TPM, as the Machete order proves. However, as any 3-in-1 Prequel editor will tell you, you should start with the end duel with Darth Maul and Obi-Wan promising to train the boy. I mean, sure, it’s just as unnecessary as the rest, but it’s such an amazing scene and the ending is sorta relevant. I guess now that I think of it, there’s not much reason to include it, but it doesn’t really hurt.

As for AotC, there’s some bits you should probably include. Include the Obi and Ani meeting Padme in her apartment, Obi-Wan discovering the clones, Anakin and Padme spending “falling in love” on Naboo, the three getting captured, and the clones rescuing them. No need for the Dooku duel, since there’s one early on in RotS.

Oh wait. Now it’s just a 3-in-1 edit. Aw well. I spent too much time on this post to delete it. I’ll just try again.

What do you need that isn’t in RotS?

-Introduce Dooku

-Explain the Clone Wars

-Introduce Padme

If you go with a crawl, those first two are covered. You could argue Padme is introduced well enough in the film as is. Just patch everything up with flashbacks to the other two films and you should be good.

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i don’t think you need to go out of your way to introduce padme. her first scene with anakin says a lot by itself, as in that their marriage is secret because the jedi don’t allow it. you don’t need to throw everything at the viewer right away. and we don’t need to know that they’ve known each other for so long, just that he loved her very much, enough to become darth vader in order to save her.

you could explain the clone wars in the crawl, and i think that’d solve many of the issues. heck, dooku doesn’t really need much of an introducing either.

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You could include some stuff from the clone Wars as flashbacks in order to explain things.

I can answer almost all questions anyone might have about the Sith from Star Wars Legends, and please do PM me for the bd25 DEED(Despecalised Editions), as I have this version, though I can’t answer technical questions about them. Auntie Derry/Rumpelstiltskin.
Do not go gentle into that good night, Though wise men at their end know dark is right, They
Do not go gentle into that good night. “Star Wars is a buffet, enjoy the stuff you want, and leave the rest.” - SilverWook Feel the love.

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Really all you have to do is explain Dooku and the Clone Wars in the crawl.

Not exactly the same thing, but here’s (a kind of old version) of the crawl to a fanedit I’m working on, for a shorter version of a standalone Revenge of the Sith. The wording hasn’t been changed in newer versions.

You could do something like that to have the same effect.

Hot take: The Force Awakens is in no way, shape or form a rehash or remake of A New Hope.
It’s no more derivative than the average sequel, and is certainly less derivative than the prequels.

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I don’t want to teach anything to anyone, but if you find something interesting here, feel free to use it.
https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/THE-CHOSEN-ONE-A-STAR-WARS-STORY-RELEASED/id/60721
I treated it not like a saga-movie but like a spinoff, using different text.

-Introduce Dooku: I don’t think you need this. He is the bad guy, you can explain it with Palpy at the beginning of III, when he says “He is a sith lord”.

-Explain the Clone Wars: some flashbacks, or text.

-Introduce Padme: yeah, this is needed.

Of course you have to decide wether to use mostly ROTS, or if you want to show different parts of the prequels and place time-jumps during the movie…

Italian faneditor.
EDITS LIST:

  1. Chronological Revenge of the Sith: https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/CHRONOLOGICAL-REVENGE-OF-THE-SITH-RELEASED/id/60388
  2. CHOSEN ONE - A Star Wars Story: https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/THE-CHOSEN-ONE-A-STAR-WARS-STORY-RELEASED/id/60721
  3. SHADOW OF THE PAST (A Phantom menace edit): https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/SHADOW-OF-THE-PAST-A-Phantom-Menace-edit/id/65473
  4. KEEPERS OF THE PEACE (Attack of the Clones edit): https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/KEEPERS-OF-THE-PEACE-Attack-of-the-Clones-edit/id/66617/page/1#1274835

During free time I follow politics, I’m an euroskeptic and I have a YouTube channel for trailer and tributes.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsWtMZobefiq04JNuS2jFLQ?view_as=subscriber

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I think the first part of the crawl is key to the ‘missing parts’ in Ep III I would talk about Anakin and Kenobi being on a very important mission and that he hasn’t seen his true forbidden love Padme in a long time. The crawl in Ep 4 is pretty vague so there’s no need for a lot of depth. Bringing in scenes from ep 1 and 2 will probably feel weird and out of place, like a lot of 3 in 1 movies from the prequels it feels weird to start with the Maul fight and then just 10 years in time after only 5 minutes in the movie. But that’s my personal opinion ofcourse.
As title I always liked ‘The Fallen Jedi’ and if you want to make it a stand alone movie you can name it ‘The Fallen Jedi - A Star Wars Story’

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also, maybe you could not kill Padme as it will fix the issue in Ep 6 where Leia still remembers her mother, there’s a good clip in the ‘Revenge Of The Cut - Fan edit of Star Wars Revenge Of The Sith’ topic in a reaction from HAL9000 with this result: https://vimeo.com/258836776

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That sounds like a good idea

I can answer almost all questions anyone might have about the Sith from Star Wars Legends, and please do PM me for the bd25 DEED(Despecalised Editions), as I have this version, though I can’t answer technical questions about them. Auntie Derry/Rumpelstiltskin.
Do not go gentle into that good night, Though wise men at their end know dark is right, They
Do not go gentle into that good night. “Star Wars is a buffet, enjoy the stuff you want, and leave the rest.” - SilverWook Feel the love.

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I have recently completed an edit of L8wrtr’s Revenge of the Sith fanedit that I feel matches what you’re all describing here. In my “re-fanedit” I have created a new crawl to establish Dooku and the Clone Wars and have removed all references to the previous two prequels. These include all references to Shmi Skywalker and the Chosen One prophecy, as well as removing some dialogue during the Dooku ideal that references Attack of the Clones. I’m still perfectting my crawl But I thought I’d share to let you know that it is (hopefully) possible.

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This is what I landed on for a crawl that I’m finally happy with:

“The Clone Wars have raged across the galaxy for three years. Under the leadership of the ruthless Count Dooku, thousands of star systems have revolted against the GALACTIC REPUBLIC.

In a stunning move, Dooku has ordered the fiendish droid leader, General Greivous, to sweep into the Republic capital and kidnap Chancellor Palpatine.

As the Separatist Droid Army attempts to flee with their hostage, two JEDI KNIGHTS, guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, lead a desperate mission to rescue the Chancellor…”

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adobewan said:

This is what I landed on for a crawl that I’m finally happy with:

“The Clone Wars have raged across the galaxy for three years. Under the leadership of the ruthless Count Dooku, thousands of star systems have revolted against the GALACTIC REPUBLIC.

In a stunning move, Dooku has ordered the fiendish droid leader, General Greivous, to sweep into the Republic capital and kidnap Chancellor Palpatine.

As the Separatist Droid Army attempts to flee with their hostage, two JEDI KNIGHTS, guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, lead a desperate mission to rescue the Chancellor…”

I like it. Any thoughts of making this Episode 2, while Rogue One could be Episode 3? Or are you just eliminating the Episode #? I Look forward to seeing the final product.

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jrs81 said:

adobewan said:

This is what I landed on for a crawl that I’m finally happy with:

“The Clone Wars have raged across the galaxy for three years. Under the leadership of the ruthless Count Dooku, thousands of star systems have revolted against the GALACTIC REPUBLIC.

In a stunning move, Dooku has ordered the fiendish droid leader, General Greivous, to sweep into the Republic capital and kidnap Chancellor Palpatine.

As the Separatist Droid Army attempts to flee with their hostage, two JEDI KNIGHTS, guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, lead a desperate mission to rescue the Chancellor…”

I like it. Any thoughts of making this Episode 2, while Rogue One could be Episode 3? Or are you just eliminating the Episode #? I Look forward to seeing the final product.

I will stress that the VAST majority of the work on this edit was accomplished by L8wrtr. As for an Episode number, right now I have kept the number 3. I do like the idea of Rogue One being a part of this new prequel trilogy but I’d like to wait until there’s a third film that I really enjoy before making that change.
The edit is now completed, PM for a link.

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Anakin Starkiller said:

I personally can’t stand the idea of Rogue One being Episode III.

The characters just don’t match up. Anakin has what is effectively a glorified cameo, Padme is dead, and Obi-Wan is entirely absent. It’d be the equivalent for ROTJ getting rid of Han, restricting Luke to a cameo, and having Leia be on the other side of the galaxy absent.

However, RO could work as a trilogy of anthologies leading up to A New Hope. The first would be a three in one PT which explains Anakin’s backstory. The second would be Solo, explaining Han’s backstory. And the last would explain the plot of Episode IV. In that sense it could work- but not as a proper episode to the Skywalker Saga.

Vader, a 7 in 1 edit of the entire Star Wars Saga

Maul, a clone wars edit

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OutboundFlight said:

Anakin Starkiller said:

I personally can’t stand the idea of Rogue One being Episode III.

The characters just don’t match up. Anakin has what is effectively a glorified cameo, Padme is dead, and Obi-Wan is entirely absent. It’d be the equivalent for ROTJ getting rid of Han, restricting Luke to a cameo, and having Leia be on the other side of the galaxy absent.

However, RO could work as a trilogy of anthologies leading up to A New Hope. The first would be a three in one PT which explains Anakin’s backstory. The second would be Solo, explaining Han’s backstory. And the last would explain the plot of Episode IV. In that sense it could work- but not as a proper episode to the Skywalker Saga.

The Anthology idea is exactly what I was thinking. Have Revenge of the Sith be the beginning. I personally wouldn’t want Solo as the middle film because I thought it was as bland as TPM. And then end the Anthology trilogy on Rogue One

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I personally think the idea of a trilogy of standalones would work really well (Revenge of the Sith, Solo and Rogue One). The only thing that will have to change is the appearances of the villans for simplicity sake. For example: Dooku can be cut all together in ROTS and Grievous can have his lightsaber scenes cut; leaving Sidious as the main villan in the movie. Also if Maul is not featured anywhere else in the trilogy his cameo can be cut.

Of course the main problem is Solo will end up being the outlier film with very little connection to the main Star Wars arc…

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I’ve actually edited EP3 (and some of EP1) into a ‘Vader’ standalone and i think it works quite well. PM me for a link. I have the whole edit up on vimeo but can’t post a link here.

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adobewan said:

OutboundFlight said:

Anakin Starkiller said:

I personally can’t stand the idea of Rogue One being Episode III.

The characters just don’t match up. Anakin has what is effectively a glorified cameo, Padme is dead, and Obi-Wan is entirely absent. It’d be the equivalent for ROTJ getting rid of Han, restricting Luke to a cameo, and having Leia be on the other side of the galaxy absent.

However, RO could work as a trilogy of anthologies leading up to A New Hope. The first would be a three in one PT which explains Anakin’s backstory. The second would be Solo, explaining Han’s backstory. And the last would explain the plot of Episode IV. In that sense it could work- but not as a proper episode to the Skywalker Saga.

The Anthology idea is exactly what I was thinking. Have Revenge of the Sith be the beginning. I personally wouldn’t want Solo as the middle film because I thought it was as bland as TPM. And then end the Anthology trilogy on Rogue One

TPM is not bland! But Solo definitely is.