I posted this over at the Reddit fan edit sub to very positive response. A user commented on Youtube and encouraged me to create a listing here. While I’m new to the site, I’m well aware of OriginalTrilogy.com - please let me know if there’s a better / standard way information is usually presented.
My edit (sourced from the episode VII-IX blu-rays) drastically alters Rey and Kylo’s characters and completely changes the ending. I feel strongly that the first 6 movies are self contained. So my edit most appropriately resembles Rogue One or Solo in that it tells a less essential but still entertaining story in the Star Wars universe. Hence the title First Order, Last Jedi - A Star Wars Story.
My main goal
Tell a compelling, coherent Star Wars story in the space of one movie, cutting over seven hours of film down to just under 2.5 hours (though I never had to limit the length, I felt it cheating if it became longer than any existing Star Wars movie).
The second goal
To give Rey and Kylo proper character arcs. Rey’s acceptance of her destiny with the Force. Kylo’s descent to the dark side. To accomplish both, it was always my intent to remove Palpatine entirely.
The big picture / major changes
My story begins with the destruction of the republic. The remnants of the military and government by default become a resistance. Through Leia, Rey is already a Jedi in training. But she’s holding onto her past while uncertain where her destiny with the force leads. The first act is a condensed telling of Force Awaken’s second half with scenes from Rise of Skywalker inserted.
The second act has Rey seeking Luke’s help in fighting the First Order. The resistance goes on the run, constantly trying to buy time while they attempt to get word of the threat to their allies. Canto Bight is completely removed as well as the mutiny sub plot. Otherwise it’s a condensed version of Last Jedi with the misplaced humor softened or removed.
While individual scenes of Rise of Skywalker are used earlier in the edit, the third act is an absolute Frankenstein of RoS scenes. Rey has a final showdown with the now unredeemable Kylo Ren as the resistance makes a desperate attack on the First Order fleet, hoping their messages have reached the rest of the galaxy in time.
Total Run Time - 2 hours 23 minutes
Consisting of (approximately) -
23% Episode 7 (33 minutes)
51% Episode 8 (73 minutes)
20% Episode 9 (29 minutes)
Credits @ 8 minutes or 6%
I limited myself solely to footage from Episodes 7-9. The only manipulation I did was one scene of color correction (to match the look of Exegol), one reversed shot and one mirrored shot. I also inserted a couple lines OS (off screen) that helped with exposition. However, I allowed myself to use music and voice over from any Disney related Star Wars properties. Specifically, the opening uses music from Rogue One and VO from Mandalorian to give context to the rise of the First Order.
Character introductions are minimal or missing, so there is a certain benefit of having seen at least Force Awakens before watching my edit, though definitely not essential and my story vastly changes the plot and some of the characters. It’s sorta assumed you’ve seen the original trilogy.
As with any fan edit, especially one that remixes the original material so much, there are inevitable continuity issues. I avoided major characters being in two inconsistent places at once but some minor characters show up in the background in places they seemingly shouldn’t be. Also there are erratic costume and hair changes occasionally.
I made it a small goal to keep Kylo’s face concealed until Han confronts him. It was important to me to keep a sense of mystery about his appearance until that moment. I also added back the Luke mourning scene that was cut from Last Jedi. Such a great deleted scene!
I really made every effort to have high quality audio transitions between scenes. Without access to the music stems, there are limits to what can be done, but I’m satisfied with what I was able to accomplish here. It forced me to create some really engaging moments where sound drops out and it’s only music taking you through a short emotional section of a scene.
Similarly, I really strove to connect the emotional beats of the story together. When Rey is hitting her emotional lows, I wanted to match that with the resistance. I’m really proud of some of the cross cutting I was able to accomplish throughout.
My only disappointment is having to cut the bombing run scene from Last Jedi. There’s an earlier draft where I had it during the climactic battle and the tone was there but it dragged the ending a little long and cut Finn’s big moment. Plus, despite being edited with Exogol shots it still was a little jarring in how different it looked. Too bad because at least the bombs made more sense being dropped in atmosphere - and I love the emotions in that scene!
Random complaint - I did a similar (though less ambitious) Prequel trilogy edit a while back and noticed the overabundance of planetary transition scenes in those movies. George Lucas loves that stuff! The opposite was true with the Sequel trilogy. There was sometimes a frustrating lack of shots showing people moving from location to location!