First of all, hello (again, to old friends).
I’ve been toying with the idea of edits and I’ve started in earnest on Episode I.
What interests me most is reordering and recontextualizing scenes. Who knows how far I will make it so I am making this thread for three main reasons: as a self-motivator, for advice, and for others to take any ideas they think worth trying for their own work.
I am making compromises along the way because (1) I want to minimize choppiness (2) I don’t have skills for everything I might want to do, and (3) in theory I want to preserve GL’s overall vision, up to and including Jar Jar - it’s a fun challenge to see how well that can be done.
[Source: TPM bluray]
The Beginning of Episode I:
A new crawl. The Trade Federation is occupying the planet of Naboo and the Republic has dispatched Jedis to negotiate.
From the crawl, pan down to the Trade Federation ship (Attack on Theed theme plays) with ships headed toward Naboo, then the line of troop transport vehicles headed to Theed, their procession in the City, Amidala watching from the window.
Cut to Trade Federation ship scene, exterior then interior, where Gunray is telling Palpatine, “the invasion is on schedule, my Lord.” This scene plays out as normal up until Palpatine says about Amidala, “controlling her will not be difficult.”
Cut to Theed palace, throne room scene (omitting Palpatine hologram) where Amidala talks about they need to rely on negotiations rather than engaging in military action, etc (rejiggering the scene to make it fit the new storyline). Amidala looks weak, seeming to fit Palpatine’s description. Governor Bibble exasperatedly asks “and where are the Chancellor’s Ambassadors?”
Cut to the Jedi ship making its way to the Trade Federation ship (omit pre-boarding call with Gunray). After Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are brought to the conference room, there is lots of reordering and trimming for the sake of the new storyline and for maintaining tension. After the Jedi flee the droids (omitting the fast run and mention of ventilation shafts), Amidala calls Gunray and tells him she believes the ambassadors have arrived, Gunray says he has no idea what she’s talking about.
Cut to Qui-Gon talking to Obi-Wan about stowing aboard ships and meeting below.
Big and miscellaneous changes:
A couple of big changes I want to make down the road relate to Darth Maul. I will omit his going to Tatooine. The first encounter with Maul will be on Corcuscant. After the balcony scene with Palpatine and Maul, taken from earlier in the film, we cut to Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan speaking on Coruscant. Perhaps the balcony scene where Obi-Wan is asking Qui-Gon to not defy the council, or else the landing pad talk before they are set to return to Naboo. Digital magic places them in the power generator space where they are confronted by Maul mid-discussion. They fight, ending when Qui-Gon knocks Maul off the bridge and Maul seems to fall into the abyss (rather than onto another bridge). This is followed by parts of earlier scene where Qui-Gon tells the council about the threat he encountered and the council says they will look into it. I’m trying to figure out if I can make the council discussion a night scene to work better for the changed narrative (and not that Qui-Gon waited until morning). No idea how well any of this will work technically (or if I can do it) but think it greatly improves the story.
On Naboo, Maul shows up again, a surprising menace, acting so cool because he is still alive. They fight in the hangar as normal, with Maul kicking Obi-Wan to the floor before entering doorway with Qui Gon, then cut to the force field hallway. Some digital magic to obscure power generator background in a couple of shots.
Another big change is having the spat between Sebulba and Jar Jar occur while Qui-Gon and crew are just looking for a place to buy the parts they need. Anakin steps in to save Jar Jar and by end of scene, there is an inserted line from Qui-Gon about needing parts followed by Anakin’s statement (taken from later) “c’mon, I’ll take you to my place.” This makes the whole train of events, including meeting Anakin more organic. AND makes the story more in tune with GL’s declaration that “Jar Jar is the key to all of this.” There is limited material to work with but I think it is feasible. Minor edits in Watto’s shop scene also makes this work.
Some miscellaneous changes: There will be no 3PO. No midichlorians. After Shmi tells Anakin to not look back, he does. I desperately want to change the podrace announcers. Let it be Max Rebo and Droopy McCool. Musicians need to make a living however they can and maybe that’s how they got Jabba’s attention. Changing the announcers is beyond me and maybe I will omit them entirely, I don’t know. There will be color grading and music changes.
I have two small Gungan scenes mostly complete (links below). For the underwater swim,the original music never worked for me as it has an ethereal and magical feel that doesn’t match grumpy Jedi following Jar Jar underwater for an uncertain purpose. A Mussorgsky tune has been adapted instead. I’m rather proud of the second clip as well, a few subtle changes.
I’m more excited about my ideas for Episode II but I think it will go better if I have Episode I worked out, at least as practice. Episode III is a big challenge but I have similar ideas for its alteration. I’ve been following the The Prequel Radical Redux thread which has ideas worth integrating.
Let me know your thoughts!
The Beginning of Episode II:
A new crawl. Opponents of the military creation act are being targeted for assassination. Jedi Knight Obi-Wan and his apprentice Anakin are in pursuit of the assassin.
From the crawl, pan down to Coruscant, ships flying, night side of the planet with the lights on the surface. Cut to surface, very possibly using the following scene from TPM: https://streamable.com/lcc1bh
Cuts from there to Obi-Wan and Anakin pursuing the assassin in their speeder. This provides a strong introduction to the characters, with cringier dialogue trimmed. Anakin tries his “shortcut” and loses the assassin, as Obi-Wan says. The scene cuts to Zam Wesell in her speeder escaping (along with the denouement in the music as it exists) as she removes her veil, now that she’s safe and for the audience to see her.
Cut to Padme’s ship arriving through the clouds, then to Obi-Wan & Anakin going up the elevator to see Padme. All kinds of trimming here of course! I am sure others have done many clever things with this scene that I will have to consult. It is hard not to reduce it to almost nothing. One little change I will make is after Padme says, “Ani? My goodness, you’ve grown,” Anakin responds “So have you… for a senator, I mean.” It makes a bad line feel more authentic, like he is awkwardly covering himself and not being a creep. Then the shot of Captain Typho looking uncomfortable and a simple awkward smile from Padme.
Padme is no longer the assassin’s lone target and the dialogue in this and other scenes is trimmed accordingly.
There is the meeting in Palpatine’s office somewhere, maybe here.
After Palpatine’s office scene with talk about Separatists, we cut to the base on Geonosis, separatists meeting around the table. Letting the audience have a clear idea what is happening is good!
We get to the Jedi protecting Padme in her apartment. I’m pretty sure it is snooker who has done some great work on this scene (I cannot find the post right now), eg makes it look like Anakin jumps out the window. In my vision Zam Wesell flies right up to the window to assassinate Padme and Anakin jumps onto the speeder where the speeder fight ensues. Obi-Wan rushes after in his speeder and lands where Zam has crashed to join Anakin at the club. Another suggestion I want to adopt is to omit shapeshifter talk, change line to “He is a she”/“In that case, be extra careful”.
Obi-Wan and Anakin go before the council, Obi-Wan instructed to investigate the bounty hunter and Anakin is to protect Padme.
Obi-Wan goes to the diner to find out about the saberdart. I think this scene can be charming with careful cutting of things that are too silly or repetitive.
Then we cut to first few seconds of “Star Wars: Underworld” footage showing a grungy lower level street. Cut to Anakin and Padme, incognito, eating there in a shabby cantina (ie what was the refugee ship).
We cut to Anakin speaking with Palpatine who promises to speak to Padme. There is solo shot of Anakin at the council in front of window saying it will be hard to get Padme to leave. That scene can be added here. (Mace Windu/Yoda do not orchestrate her leaving.) This is Anakin’s initiative because he cares too much for her and Palps is more than happy to oblige.
Anakin has a bad dream about his mother (taken from Naboo portion of the film). Cut to Padme getting ready to leave, all upset. The scene is trimmed and revised.
[And much, much more!]
The blue elephant in the room.