Edits that add fan film footage aren’t really my cup of tea, but for some reason your thread sparked my imagination so I thought I would share some ideas with you. I definitely think it will be impossible to blend fan film footage seamlessly with the original, but I think if you, and anyone who watches this, can accept that, then we can have a lot of fun with it at the very least.
I think there might be a few more ways that can help make the difference feel a little less jarring.
You’re already looking into ways to regrade the fan film footage to feel more “filmy”. I’d definitely say keep doing research on that.
I’ve never tried this before myself, but another way you might be able to make the CG space battles blend more with the original footage is to cut frames out of the CG footage. I think sometimes the new footage looks too smooth in comparison, so maybe experimenting with that could find something that works well. The ships in some of the new footage move a lot faster than in the theatrical film, so slightly slowing some of those shots down might help make it feel more consistent.
There is a bit of deleted material you could use to help extend the runtime of the film, if you’re basically wanting to make a Return of the Jedi: Extended Edition with as many deleted scenes and new scenes as possible, with overall pacing being less of an issue.
You can probably notice that a lot of the deleted scenes are extremely grainy. Having old grainy footage AND new footage next to each other will likely be very jarring, so maybe you could add a ‘grindhouse’ grain to the entire film, which would be easier than trying to clean all of that footage up.
And I know you said you are going to remove many of the silly moments to your edit, but I would definitely would suggest being a little picky regarding what you remove, since you’re going for a long runtime. So if any of the Ewok antics are somewhat passable for you, I would consider keeping it in. I would definitely keep Wicket and Leia’s first scene together considering that is worth a few minutes of runtime. I know you plan on using Ady’s ROTJ and Tydirium fan film footage, but it could be years before either of those will be complete, so if you want to release this anytime soon, I would suggest making a version of this edit without those in mind. Because of that, I think there is a lot from the Ewoks that I think you could still use during the battle.
Some notes regarding the test clip you showed:
That shot of the inside of the Falcon flying around the Star Destroyer is not high quality enough to use in this edit at all, I would suggest cutting it.
I’d also suggest not using that music you’ve inserted the latter half of the clip. I honestly would only use music from the original trilogy, and MAYBE the Shadows of the Empire soundtrack or Gordy Haab’s Battlefront soundtracks if you were just desperate.
I would also use less, or none, of the X-Wing interior shots with the fan film actors. I feel like it doesn’t match the way the pilots in the OT were filmed. I did like seeing the Rodian pilot that is in the original cut of that fan film.
If you should be picky about anything, it should be less with ROTJ itself and more of the fan films, in my opinion. Because, if I understand you right, your thesis statement for this edit is “To create a greater sense of scale to Return of the Jedi to make it a more epic finale to the original trilogy.” While we want to add more to this last film, I know you still want it to feel like Return of the Jedi. Obviously deleted scenes fit rather well already, but more would need to be done to the fan films in order to accomplish that. Obviously regrading them is a good first step, but I also would add film grain, use ONLY OT music (and maybe Shadows of the Empire/Battlefront), cut shots that don’t fit the ROTJ cinematography when you can, and TOTALLY rebuild the audio from the ground up using OT sound effects.
So with that in mind, here are some ideas I have for you.
This is definitely a radical idea, but I think this could help add to the runtime and add to the sense of scale.
Originally, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, was going to start with a opening montage of battles happening across the galaxy. We see a fragment of this with the Order 66 montage. From what I understand, we would’ve originally seen most of these planets in that opening montage, then later return to them for the Order 66 sequence.
Maybe you could implement this idea into ROTJ for your added runtime, as well as to add a sense of scale to the Galactic Civil War. I was thinking you could build this idea off of the Special Edition ending of the film. In that ending, we see a montage of Bespin, Naboo, Tatooine, and Coruscant all celebrating the death of the Emperor. So maybe we could see these planets being attacked/liberated by the Rebellion at the beginning of the film in a 3-5 minute montage.
You could use footage from Destroyer to show Bespin being liberated, and some footage from Battlefront 2 for Naboo. It might be hard to seamlessly blend game footage with other footage, but you can try.
For Coruscant, I had a bit of a different idea. First, you could have an establishing shot of Coruscant city or specifically the Jedi Temple (which is now the Emperor’s Palace by the time of OT) from one of the prequels, then use footage from Rebellion to imply that they’re sneaking in to attack it. You could reuse the shot of the bomb at 1:05, then cut to something like this, one of the temple towers blowing up,then some of kind of Imperial reaction shot, then cut back to an exterior of the smoking Jedi Temple from Revenge of the Sith (perhaps the establishing shot used when Yoda and Obi-Wan sneak back into the temple). If that temple explosion test is too low quality, you could just have the shot of the bomb, then hard cut to a close-up explosion, then to Imperials running around or reacting to the explosion with klaxons blaring.
I wouldn’t worry about Tatooine since we visit the planet earlier in the film and they free Tatooine from the biggest crime lord on the planet!
You also could use some footage from Battlefront 2 to show Sullust being liberated, since the Vader mentions the Rebel fleet amassing near Sullust in the film. Maybe you could insert a shot of a volcanic-looking planet in the Rebel fleet establishing shot, or you could see a glimpse of it outside the hangar as they’re getting ready to leave. The Battlefront 2 campaign also has cool shots of the attack on Fondor shipyards that could be use for the montage, either implied as Coruscant or just a random shipyard. Not sure if they would fit though.
After this 3-5 minute montage (I would find one good music track to use for this montage to help you edit it together), I would cut to the first scene of the film with Vader going to the Death Star. And since we saw a montage of the Empire losing battles and being attacked, it might add to why the Empire wants to build another Death Star. The growing rebellion and the necessity of the Death Star could be touched on in a new opening crawl as well.
An additional idea could be to recontextuallze portions of Odyssey as them intercepting the information that they’ll use for the Battle of Endor. In the fan film, when he goes to the Imperial console, you could replace the visual information on the screen with something more relevant to film, like an image of Endor and the half-complete Death Star. Maybe this could be a short action sequence as a midpoint of the movie, right before the Rebel briefing. If you do this, you might want to remove any mention of Bothans from the briefing since we never see any.
For the Battle of Endor itself, I think what you’re trying to do now, by adding more to the space Battle, is good. You also could use footage from fan films like Scout and Bucketheads to add more to the ground battle as well. Again, this will take a lot of cutting and tweaking to make this not feel extremely jarring with the original footage.
There is also some deleted footage that could used for the battle, like the Mon Calamari or Sullustan Pilots, the shots of General Madine, or the Rebels on the Millennium Falcon. Maybe Madine can be killed by the Death Star destroying his ship.
Keep in mind that there are quite a bit of deleted scenes you can use throughout the film, too. If you want to beef up runtime I would use as much as possible. You could transition from the first scene of the film to Vader calling Luke as he builds his lightsaber. Reinsert the entire Moff Jerrjerrod subplot (also, audio of the Emperor giving him the command to destroy Endor does exist), and maybe use snippets from the sandstorm without the dialogue.
If you’re using the young Hayden Force ghost, perhaps you could do a flashback in the style of TLJ (with the sound effect that pulls you into the flashback) when Obi-Wan tells Luke the truth about his father. That way a hypothetical first-time viewer would get the context of what his father looked like before he turned, so they know that young man at the end of the film is the ghost of Anakin Skywalker. You could space out Obi-Wan’s dialogue a little to add extra time for the flashback and a few extra seconds to the overall runtime (you could also give the Prequel footage a filmic look during this sequence and try to use shots with little CGI). This could be done even if you don’t keep the young Force ghost, but just an idea.
This is all I can think of so far. Again, I think the big things to remember is to be forgiving when it comes to cutting footage from ROTJ, but be merciless when it comes to what you keep from the fan films. I would HIGHLY recommend rebuilding the audio for these fan films from scratch, and completely reinsert brand new sound effects and music that feel more appropriate to Return of the Jedi. This might also be necessary for snippets of the actual film in order to blend new and original footage together better.
Here is a longer video about trying to match the filmic look using digital footage. The latter half of the video focuses on the post-production side of things, and he uses Davinci Resolve, which is a free editing and color grading program that you could use too. This might be useful when it comes to trying to match the ROTJ-look. And since you’re using deleted scenes, I would look into using a grindhouse overlay for the sake of having a little more consistency.
If you’re serious about this, don’t wait for Adywan’s ROTJ:R or Tydirium, because it’ll probably be years before either are released. I would just to jump right into it!