TLWR: A TV-to-movie edit of Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022) that is more tonally consistent, utilizing storytelling sensibilities unrestrained from Star Wars’ typical conventions, more in line with a grounded character drama.
Obi-Wan Kenobi as “prestige television” and not a mass appeal Disney+ blockbuster.
People liked my opening mock-up.
Basically, I liked the creative team behind this show a lot prior to release (Chow did “Something Stupid” from Better Call Saul, Kelley Dixon is/was a Breaking Bad/BCS editor, Oldboy’s Chung-hoon Chung on cinematography). I was expecting something comparable in caliber for Obi-Wan. At the very least, I would see some of that DNA peeking through.
A bit misguided in hindsight, what can I say?
So, I cut together that opening, approaching it through the storytelling language inspired by the best of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul montages, as a way to creatively articulate what I really expected for this show based on the team behind it. What I wanted.
With some support, I figure I can give the rest of the series a shot.
I’ll post any updates and brainstorming in this thread as I go along, and explain some of sensibilities for this. I’m not trying to make it some kind of BB-verse styled edit, but I think taking lessons from its storytelling is how I’m going to make the most out of the material. I do think Chow’s sensibilities as a director, at least for the character stuff, has been conducive to being arranged in this way. It’s a terrible name, I know - worse than “New Canon Cut” which was already so bad - but part of me wants to give her some credit I know many fans won’t.
Anyway, as far as some goals:
- Tighter, streamlined pacing. Really carving this baby up. I hope to get it down to more or less feature-length, and I think it’s doable.
- De-scoring/re-foleying scenes to really give this some [illusion of] subtlety and depth. It’s not that music is inherently showy and unsubtle - I love music for storytelling - but in this case, it distracts and muddles some of the directing. Additionally, it’ll provide a lot more freedom for me to re-arrange and recontextualize individual shots and entire scenes. Using these to create some more…
- Tonal consistency. The show goes back and forth between being goofy as hell and attempts at emotionally sincerity. There’s a lot of forced “hopefulness” that I also think needs to be earned over the course of the narrative, and not just whenever the show feels like it. The de-score helps a lot with this.
Still very tentative, still very experimental.
I just think it’d be fun to work through this with some of you, just don’t expect much haha. It wouldn’t be an NFBisms edit if it wasn’t needlessly ambitious and inevitably too specific to appeal to anyone
Will edit this post with a cut list and more information once it starts taking shape.
Obi-Wan’s Vision of Leia
CUT LIST / SEQUENCING FOR FIRST 20-30 MIN
Open on logos, ALTAIAGFFA, fade into Obi-Wan riding to his perch point overseeing the Lars homestead. De-scored, and removing any shot with his face until right before the title drop, where he expresses brief endearment and then sadness.
Music-less montage of Obi-Wan’s daily routine, sparse monotony becomes frantic anxiety as he recalls Anakin and the prequels. Obi-Wan wakes up to ask for Qui-Gon’s guidance.
From there, Obi-Wan visits the farm to drop off the starship toy. Directly off the back of the montage, Obi-Wan’s attempts at being in Luke’s life is more economically conveyed as a symptom of his being haunted by the past.
Cut from shot of toy in the night to toy being thrown at Obi-Wan’s feet. Owen and Obi-Wan have their discussion.
As Owen leaves, recontextualize Obi-Wan looking up from his momentary reflection as a reaction to the Inquisitors landing at Anchorhead from the beginning of the first episode.
- Shots of Obi-Wan’s reactions to Reva from [the removed] scene of Owen’s interrogation, are re-spliced into the scene where the Grand Inquisitor explains how they hunt Jedi to the bar.
- Shots that too clearly establish geography are removed so that the suggestion Obi-Wan is across the street lands better for a hypothetical first-time.
- All shots of the Inquisitors leaving the ship and walking down the street are removed until the the GI is first revealed, using a shot where the camera pans from behind the barkeep’s shoulder. Shots of the crowd watching them walk down the street, as well as the sound of their footsteps remain, to build tension.
- Nat sound and diegetic music foley’d in place of the bombastic score.
- Trimmed speech.
Nari doesn’t escape, the scene cuts as Reva swings her blade to the pedestal shot up to Nari’s hanging legs. Obi-Wan looks up at it in despair, close scene with spliced in closer of the [removed] later scene where Owen is standing next to Obi-Wan watching the Inquisitors leave. Instead of Owen saying “I didn’t do it for you” (which no longer makes sense in this context) he instead says “Keep your distance.” The GI just explained how they hunt Jedi, and they both witnessed how those teachings got one killed - their conversation about Obi-Wan’s “mistake” is immediately relevant and directly connected in the sequence.
Cut to Obi-Wan in the desert digging up the lightsabers. Whatever he’s being introspective about in this scene is now tied to his PTSD, the Inquisitors, and Owen’s cutting remarks. Rescored with more melancholic music from Jedi Fallen Order.
Using shots from episode 6, unused color corrected shots from earlier scene, and a Star Wars Rebels shot through the binocular effect, Obi-Wan revisits the perch to look at the homestead at sun-up[/down?]. Scene closes with Luke in bed.
Cut to Obi-Wan walking through town towards the shuttles. Rescored with a more bittersweet Jedi Fallen Order track, Obi-Wan hesitates and reflects before walking to the ship. In sequence, Obi-Wan is leaving now because he sees Owen’s side of things. Because the Inquisitors have now come close and if hunting him may come even closer. Because teaching Luke the Jedi way like he wanted might be dangerous.
Cut to Mustafar, Vader hears Obi-Wan and Padme, opens eyes. This establishes Vader’s headspace and puts it parallel to Obi-Wan’s. Everything that happens here is borne of their relationship.
Cut to Obi-Wan’s arrival to Daiyu.
Obi-Wan meditates, trying once again to contact Qui-Gon. Instead, he receives visions of a girl getting ready, at a party, running through the woods - then being kidnapped. (Shots from Leia’s cut subplot on Alderaan.) It comes into focus that this is Leia. Obi-Wan’s duty to protect the children he helped bring into the galaxy is evoked with a shot from ROTS.
Cut to the kidnappers’ ship, Leia is tied into a chair, the door closes.
Cut all references to Obi-Wan tracking a specific ship
De and re-scored entire Daiyu sequence to evoke a darker more seedy city.
- Jayvar’s Cantina + other Galaxy’s Edge tracks bass-boosted and reverbed as diegetic background.
- Spice Den brawl de-scored and re-foleyed.
- Replaced score with tracks from Jedi Fallen Order, Star Wars Visions, and the prequels.
Cut all instances and references to this being Reva’s orchestration, or Bail’s involvement. Obi-Wan and Leia escape the spice den and only deal with bounty hunters until they arrive at the port and see the Inquisitors. Trimmed much of Leia’s running away tangent.
…TO BE CONTINUED…
DISCLAIMER: I do not claim to know or understand what Deborah Chow was trying to do with this show, nor do I think what I’m doing here is some kind of “fabled original plan”. Nor do I have any sort of handle on her personal style.