Star Wars - Revenge of the Sith: Rebalanced
by Noah Bronstein / Siliconmaster
Revenge of the Sith: Rebalanced is a fan edit of Episode III that sets out to attain the following goals:
Keep the best parts while trimming substantial amounts of droid slapstick, exposition, and bloated editing.
Shift Anakin’s fall to the dark side away from Padmé, and toward Palpatine.
Learn from existing edits, use the best of their ideas, and fine-tune each and every scene.
Make as seamless and professional an edit as possible. So many fan edits have great ideas, but you can tell if the music is a little uneven, or if the rhythm of a sequence gets off balance. I wanted to create a version that you could watch without knowing anything changed. If an edit, however ideal, resulted in a noticeable glitch, it had to go.
History and intention:
This project began as a modification of Hal9000’s “Labyrinth of Evil” edit, but its scope expanded quickly. At first I meant only to re-insert the Yoda/Palpatine fight. Then I began replacing every shot with the raw blu ray source, which looked a lot better than the HDTV source Hal9000 used. Bit by bit it became its own entity.
I loved Hal9000’s brilliant re-edit of the elevator/Artoo/Anakin-and-Obi-Wan-get-captured sequence near the beginning of the film. I’ve extended the Artoo shot and removed the lightning zap, so now it feels better.
I tried my best to keep as much of the original flow as I could. When Anakin is brooding in the council chamber, we get some on-the-nose Palpatine whispers. Instead of cutting the shot completely to remove Palpatine’s voice, I used the soundtrack to fill in the gap, keeping the scene intact. Another example is the introduction of Obi-Wan’s lizard on Utapau. Instead of cutting the entire introduction sequence, which included an establishing shot of the upper level, I trimmed the absurd 360-panning shot of Obi-Wan riding the lizard.
I’d like to think that this edit is a balance between the best of community fan edit ideas and the goal of only changing what can be fixed without drawing attention to itself. Ideally all changes are invisible.
The Council Scene
There are three variants of 1080p/5.1 MKV (5GB,10GB,30GB) and a fully functional 34GB blu ray disk with menus. The Blu Ray also features a 100% rebuilt intro based off the 2005 DVDs. Unfortunately I don’t have time to do subtitles for the full edit, so there are none. Apologies to anyone hard-of-hearing.
Update: Thanks to OriginalTrilogy user VaderLovesU, I now have a high-quality 3GB H265 re-encode of my 30GB H264 MKV. It is by far the best option for smaller download sizes, and is hosted alongside the other versions.
Disk menus in action: https://youtu.be/eiS2Rr68wp4
Edit by Noah Bronstein aka Siliconmaster.
Additional VFX by Adam Burrows. Design and 3d Support by Alex Campuzano. Special thanks to Kate Bronstein, my lovely wife who put up with this project for 18 months. Additional thanks to Ifafudadi, Sean Giblin, and Nick Mangieri, who served as my Editing Council to give advice on various changes.
Thanks to Hal9000, JasonN, L8wrtr, Q2, AEMovieGuy, Corigar, Kerr, ADigitalMan, Slumberland, Stankpac, TM2YC, Spence, Father Merrin, Sithlord, and The Cutter. Without their ideas and fan edits over the years, I never would have been able to tackle this project. Thanks especially to Hal9000’s commentary track, which discussed the fan editing community and their ideal versions of a lot of the scenes.
Sources: Revenge of the Sith Blu Ray, Hal9000’s “Labyrinth of Evil”, Revenge of the Sith soundtrack.
Edited with Premiere, After Effects, and Audition.
Blu Ray Menus made in Cinema 4D with Corona renderer.
Nearly every scene has been reworked in some fashion if it was possible without being obvious. The following are all the changes I can remember now, but there are probably quite a few subtle ones that slipped through the cracks.
Original film name and opening crawl.
Removed Grievous coughing as much as possible.
Buzz droid sequence trimmed to keep things moving more quickly. Some additional dialogue bits removed that seemed superfluous.
Dialogue between Obi-Wan and Anakin adjusted where possible to make it more of an equal relationship- Obi-Wan trusts Anakin’s instincts (most of the time).
Obi-Wan’s acrobatics trimmed during the landing scene on Grievous’s ship.
Dialogue and action trims as they prepare to find Palpatine.
Some dialogue trims before and during the Dooku fight.
Anakin barely hesitates when killing Dooku. It should be impulsive, representative of Anakin’s inner feelings. The moment he stops and ponders what he should do you lose that momentum.
Added a muffled explosion sound to improve the transition between space battle and the close up on the elevator buttons.
Hal9000’s brilliant switch-up of the scene where Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Palpatine get captured has been reworked with some additional VFX to make it work better. Nearly the entire elevator sequence is gone.
Droidless audio used from Hal9000’s edit (and originally taken from L8wrtr’s) since it worked so well. In the same sequence, Grievous says his one liner about abandoning ship as he throws his spear through the window, rather than later to himself.
Kept Obi-Wan and Anakin talking about old adventures- we need to see how well they get along before their friendship disintegrates.
Jar Jar’s line removed.
Anakin’s conversation with Padmé adjusted so he doesn’t seem oddly unhappy when he hears of her pregnancy.
Grievous Utapau arrival scene moved later, taking cues from Hal9000’s edit.
Deleted scene with Obi-Wan, Windu, and Yoda (thanks to Hal9000 for his upscale) inserted before the council scene so that we go into it with some idea of what’s going on behind the scenes.
Council scene re-edited to turn Anakin from a whining brat to someone genuinely taken aback by the Council. It should appear he oversteps, then quickly realizes his mistake and backs down, still to Obi-Wan’s disapproval.
All mentions of the Prophecy and Anakin being the Chosen One have been removed as carefully as possible, leaving scenes like “Anakin didn’t take well to his new assignment” with Yoda, Mace, and Obi-Wan intact.
Only the first nightmare kept, taking cues from Hal9000’s edit. Instead of talking to Padmé afterward, Anakin goes to speak with Palpatine. Shows his leanings even this early in the film.
While the Seeds of the Rebellion deleted scenes were initially included, it slowed down the pacing too much and they were removed again. Anakin and Padmé’s “I’m not the Jedi I should be” scene partially re-inserted to fill the gap between Obi-Wan leaving for Utapau and arriving from hyperspace. The opening nightmare is replaced by a reversed establishing shot from Attack of the Clones. Ending trimmed to remove lines about Anakin saving Padmé.
Trimmed multiple shots throughout film where there was nothing happening for a while. Examples are the awkward start to the scene with Anakin and Padmé sitting in her apartment, and the ridiculously long shot of Anakin strolling into the battle between Mace and Palpatine.
Trimmed Lizard reveal on Utapau enough to make it useful but not so much that you lose the establishing shot for the Separatist leader hideout.
Grievous runs away rather than losing entirely to Obi-Wan, matching his cowardly character.
Fixed Obi-Wan visibly falling on mats before his hand grabs the ledge. Similar change to Hal9000’s, but with additional VFX tweaks.
Removed Palpatine speaking during the scene where Anakin broods in the Council chambers. Used soundtrack music to bridge the hole to keep the same cuts.
Taking a cue from Hal9000, I kept the removal of “I AM THE SENATE” to result in the exchange: “Are you threatening me, Master Jedi?” “Not yet.”
Palpatine still flips over his desk because he should be weird and alien and insane looking.
While I really liked Hal9000’s approach to Palpatine’s transfiguration, I tried a few variations to make it less abrupt. We even tried a new VFX shot of his face transforming. Unfortunately I couldn’t quite make this one work inside my goal of seamless edits. Instead, I went with a heavily edited version of the original scene. I substantially reworked it to support Anakin’s genuine belief that Palpatine needs a trial and that Windu might just be going off the deep end. Anakin’s final act is still of selfishness, but his motivations ring more true than just needing Palpatine for his power. Ideally, this scene and its aftermath result in Anakin becoming Vader in name only. It isn’t so sudden because he himself doesn’t really feel the name is important. Only as he succumbs to his power trip does he fully embrace it, giving it meaning.
Palpatine no longer mentions Padmé when telling Anakin he is almost strong enough.
Anakin no longer kills younglings on-screen, so that his scene with Padmé afterward is plausibly believable and not terrifyingly psychopathic. The holograms later still show him killing older padawans, but it could be seen as him defending himself if they attacked in response to him hunting down their masters.
Exchange between Obi-Wan and Yoda in the temple has been adjusted so that Yoda does not order Obi-Wan to kill Anakin, leaving some element of hope.
Conversation between Obi-Wan and Padmé about Anakin NOT changed from the original, as much as I would have liked to. The music was just too obvious when I tried it.
Adjusted reunion between Anakin and Padmé to remove useless dialogue and focus on what matters. Anakin no longer makes a big deal out of saving Padmé since that was not his primary motivation.
Substantial dialogue edits throughout Anakin and Obi-Wan’s fight to match Anakin’s political leanings. “Freedom” removed from Anakin’s list of things he has brought with his new Empire, he has no illusions about this. “This is the end for you my master!” also removed, as well as “I hate you!”
“High ground” and “You were the chosen one” removed from the end of their fight.
Removed “Noooooo” scene entirely. The final shot of Vader that we need is his helmet lowering onto his face.
Padmé still dies (it’s a stupid plot point but I didn’t feel the scenes from The Other Boleyn Girl fit in enough to make it work here).
Yoda now goes off to Dagobah before the funeral, but after helping Obi-Wan and Bail Organa deliver her body to Naboo.
Jar Jar removed from Funeral Scene.
Credits added for myself, those who helped me, and the fan editors credited in “Labyrinth of Evil” plus Hal9000 of course. I left out those credited directly on “Labyrinth of Evil” because those were specifically for people who did VFX and audio work on that edit.
Audio tweaks to Padmé/Anakin scene post crash landing.
Adjusted audio in council scene to fix ambience dropping out.
Rebuilt 5.1 foley to replace the “Charge!” line from the droid on Kashyyyk.
Tweaked “Are you threatening me, Master Jedi?” audio cut to be less obvious.
Reduced audio overlap of blaster bolts at youngling removal cut.
Tweaked music edit at Yoda’s “I agree” line to be less obvious.
Hunted down and exterminated all audio pops scene by scene.
Fixed end credits jittering as well as a flash frame right as they start.
Added a fun surprise at the very end.
Adjusted blu ray menu looping.
Added a fade to the text during the blu ray main menu --> chapter menu transition.
Removed a stray audio clip from the council scene around 36:12. Only the MKV versions were affected.
Removed the final shot of Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Palpatine hanging in the elevator at the Artoo sequence because it was too obviously slowed down. Added a music cue to help sell the moment.
Escape pod scene audio transition fixed.
Adjusted audio edit during Anakin’s reunion with Padmé. Major music change at the transition from Padmé and Anakin to the Jedi Temple.
Adjusted audio transition from Obi-Wan leaving Coruscant to Anakin brooding.
Tweaked audio transition from Padmé and Anakin to Grievous’s ship.
Updated end credits.
Re-removed the stray audio clip from 1.2, which snuck back into v1.3.
Removed “She’s lost the will to live” from Padmé’s birth scene.
Blu Ray Menu Credits
3D Menu Art and Direction by Noah Bronstein
Design and 3d Support by Alex Campuzano
Models from scifi3d.com
Retouched by Noah Bronstein
Jedi Starfighter ETA-2
Jedi Starfighter ETA-2
Republic Attack Cruiser EP3 (Venator)
Daniel Broadway (Pixel Magic (ChiefLDS)) (Original Model)
Republic Venator Class Star Destroyer
Clinton Rowley (overState_NaturallyStoned) (Author)
Trade Federation Droid Control Ship
Burningham Studios (Original Model)
Preben Hermann (Rough Rider) (Total Conversion)
Trade Federation Droid Control Ship (version 2)
Mayer Matthias ([HB]Pride) (Original Model)
Tobias Schmidt (Zorbi) (Texturing)
Trade Federation Droid Tri-Fighter
Joscha Heusohn (Executioner_de) (Author)
Republic StarFighter (ARC-170 Fighter)
Willi Hames (Willi) (Original Model)
Coruscant City Block
Olivier Couston (Dr.Jones) (Original Model)
Ian Foster (Author)
Tobias Schmidt (Zorbi) (Author)