I am currently working on an edit of Return of the Jedi. The prequels have been edited to the point where I can be satisfied watching them with certain edits. However, I’ve never been able to find an edit of Return of the Jedi. A few have been released, but they either go too far or don’t go far enough for my taste.
I won’t be making any radical changes to the story. I’m just approaching it as an editor, cutting out the bulk and bad moments while keeping the story intact. Definite changes include:
*Tried to remove all close ups in Jabba’s Palace that show a muppet-looking creature. This includes ALL close ups of that stupid pet jabba has with the annoying laugh. (sorry, I don’t know his name.)
*Leah and Chewie are already in Jabba’s palace when 3po and R2 get there. This serves two purposes: 1. Makes 3po’s line earlier make sense: “Lando and poor Chewbacca never returned from this awful place”. I may have been misunderstanding this line my whole life it’s entirely possible, either way it still makes it make sense. 2. Allows me to get rid of the awful “thermal detonator” scene. (well, the whole scene wasn’t awful, but all the close ups and mock dramatic shock and bobba fett pulling his gun to a big musical cue are unbearably campy for me and I’m willing to sacrifice the whole scene just to remove those shots, and because I couldn’t figure out a convincing way to fix that moment and still keep the scene intact) Also this makes it just as much a surprise to the audience when this mystery bounty hunter starts thawing him out, and to Han when he finds himself sharing a cell with Chewie.
*NO MUSICAL NUMBERS. Neither Jedi Rocks nor Lapti Nek.
*Possibly restoring sarlaac pit to pre-97 state, haven’t decided if it’s worth the slight drop in video quality to splice in De-Specialized footage (this will be 1080P), but it might blend well enough if I’m careful enough when upscaling it to 1080, so I’m leaning toward yes.
*Tried to cut down on the “campiness” of the rebel briefing scene. There’s a mock up of this somewhere in the thread
*I am not going to try to remove the ewoks from the film. I am going to try to make them more tolerable. I will try to cut down on their cutesy moments and focus more on their abilities as warriors. Also, the scene with Leah and Wicket being introduced will probably be removed as this makes it a surprise when she turns up later.
*General trims and snips throughout to remove over-campiness and make it a less cheesy film and closer in spirit to ANH and ESB.
*Many more small trims that aren’t worth mentioning, if you were one of the lucky people to see the rough draft that I put out like 5 years ago you might remember some of them.
*keeps the se ending, obviously getting rid of “NOOOO” and Hayden as Anakin. Those go without saying. Also most likely using the 97 sound mix in this segment to get rid of wesa free
*Global and automatic (and slight) color correction algorithm to match the colors to Harmy’s color corrected version. Just doing a global automatic correction, I don’t care so much for restoring the exact theatrical colors as theatrical authenticity goes out the window for a fanedit, but it does make it look more natural. The difference is small, which is good enough for me. Also gives me the added benefit of being able to easily cut in despecialized shots if I decide to remove the sarlaac beak.
*This edit will use the 1993 uncompressed pcm audio as a base most of the time. For scenes that require tricky editing the 2011 mix will be used due to the discrete channels letting me remove dialogue but keep music and ambient effects, which will make editing much easier. But scenes without a ton of editing and anything where sound effects are heavy (blaster fights, lightsaber, speeders and ships etc) I will do my best to use the 1993 mix as it subs the best for things like this and has the most power. (it won’t be released as lossless audio but it will be at a very high bitrate) as I feel those mixes are the best for the entire trilogy. Much more power and better eq than the SE mixes. (although I will sometimes splice in audio from the 2011 track at edit points due to it’s discrete channels giving me the ability to mostly mute the dialogue while keeping the score and ambient sound effects in tact therefor letting me have longer and smoother audio transitions) Due to this, the main audio track for this will be 2.0 Dolby Surround. But worry not as it will be surround. As long as you have pro logic or something similar you will still get full surround sound. I will also provide a 5.1 upmix for those without pro-logic, but the 2.0 track will be the default and most recommended due to it being able to sound good on both stereo and surround systems, and also because it will be a 384 kbps 2.0 ac3 that is encoded DIRECTLY from a lossless pcm capture of the 1993 laserdisc mix so the audio quality will be very, very good. Basically lossless for most ears. Whereas the upmix will be a 448 kbps re-encode that has 6 channels. (meaning less bitrate for each channel). It will still sound very good, but should only be used if you don’t have a matrix upmixer for surround.
Also this will use telecines version with re rotoscoped lasers and sabers as a base. Footage from despecialized will be used to restore sebastian Shaw, and possibly remove the sarlaac beak. Haven’t decided yet, but if so it will be upscaled to 1080p but it’s already very high quality for 720p so it won’t really be noticeable for a few quick shots, same for Sebastian Shaw.
Upon release I plan on unleashing it as: 1080P BD25, 720P AVCHD, possibly 14-15 or so GB 1080P MKV, and a DVD5.
The BD25 and DVD5 will have menus and maybe some minimal bonus features. I’m thinking maybe the section of Empire of Dreams pertaining to Jedi, and some fan documentaries and some trailers and possibly deleted scenes. These will all be highly compressed and in SD so as to not eat up room for the main feature, as they will only even be included here for convenience sake if you feel like watching them after watching Return of the Jedi. If you actually just want to watch these you’ll be better off finding the original sources for them.