So I’m a pretty amateur editor, so don’t expect too much. But…
There’s been so many fanedits of Revenge of the Sith, and I’ve appreciated and enjoyed a great deal of them, but I’ve never been able to find one that I’ve truly felt was my ideal RotS. And for one reason: The Clone Wars animated series.
The Clone Wars, once you get past its initial suck, really does wonders for the prequel era. Sure, it may not adhere to the OT 100%, just by proxy of following the prequels, but it does make up for those OT Ben Kenobi lines of “He was a great pilot, and a good friend…”- It gives us an Anakin Skywalker that is all of those things and is truly one of the most compelling Star Wars characters ever.
Matt Lanter/TCW depict Anakin very differently than Hayden Christensen and Lucas did; he’s a charming, swashbuckling, but mature jedi/general/teacher/pilot/friend - with a dark side that manifests itself in ways more interesting than bratty whining and naive creepiness. Knowing that THIS guy falls to the dark side is tragic, and seeing him inch further and further away from the Jedi Order as the show progresses is incredibly compelling.
Watching all of that build in TCW and then going into RotS almost makes RotS work - but Anakin is a completely different character. Theoretically, TCW should be able to complement the movie nicely for those who put the time in - but there’s too much suspension of disbelief at play to connect Christensen to Lanter.
Every edit I’ve seen hasn’t been able to do this (mostly b/c idk if they’ve really tried to) without me thinking to myself, “Well you could’ve done this or left in or out that.” So for this edit, I’m going to try and make an edit that reasonably connects RotS and TCW, specifically in the case of Anakin. The structure is essentially like HAL’s in terms of how Anakin’s motivations are presented, and which extraneous scenes and expositions were removed, but Anakin is depicted differently, and just to keep it canon, Padme still dies.
For starters: TCW!Anakin is 10x the man Christensen was. Christensen still seems too unconfident and naive, and less competent - Obi Wan consistently scolds and lectures him throughout the movie as if he was fresh off of being a padawan! Anakin had his own padawan and is the inspiring, capable leader to the 501st! Even if you hadn’t seen TCW, he has a reputation as Grevious mentioned. So obviously, I’m cutting out every time Anakin does something stupid or naive or just young-ish. A lot of this is in the opening:
- he doesn’t feel the need to sidetrack to save Oddball or whoever that was, he knows how war works
- Obi Wan trusts him way more in saving his life and doesn’t act fed up by his “antics”
- he doesn’t need to be reminded of the shields being up
- Not just in the opening, but every single reference in the film - bar for one from Yoda in the last act - of Obi Wan training Anakin has been removed. So Obi Wan doesn’t reply in surprise when Anakin suggests “Patience”, “All because of your training”, “[I haven’t been very appreciative] of your training”, “I have trained you since you were a small boy”, and “Don’t lecture me, Obi Wan.”, etc. Not that he didn’t train him, but Anakin and Obi Wan’s relationship is supposed to have evolved past mentor/mentee. They’re equals - brothers - and have been for a while now. These mentions are super expositional, anyway.
- Agency. No Palpatine goading and blatant manipulation.
At the same time, I’m going to maintain a sense of fun and swashbuckling in Anakin, which I know a lot of people have cut from their edits for being dumb. But I do believe there needs to be some levity in depicting Anakin pre-fall and his close brotherly relationship with Obi Wan. It’s more tragic to see the close friendship deteriorate this way.
Even if they’re dumb, I decided to leave in:
- “This is where the fun begins.”
- Cheerleader Obi Wan and Anakin
- The elevator sequence(s) (+I added in the “Roger Roger” Anakin and Obi Wan do together after slicing up the droids)
- “Shorter than I expected.”
They have very limited time together before it gets heavy for them, so I tried to make every “fun” moment between the two count.
Anakin can still be more wise and matured than he was in AoTC with all of that still there. I’ve made him much, much more confident, casual and zen-ish than he was portrayed in the original cut. He reacts to things and acts like Lanter!Anakin would.
- He doesn’t brag about his powers doubling.
- He isn’t a creep about stuff with Padme.
- Less questions being asked in most situations. Portrays confidence, and intelligence. (He catches on to Palpatine quicker without one question; he moves ahead of him suspicious and the next thing he says in the scene is “You’re the Sith Lord!”)
- He doesn’t say “…It’s unfair!” in response to the Master rejection
- He doesn’t whine about it to Obi Wan or call it insulting - that scene starts with “Anakin, you have been given a great honor…” Anakin’s clearly still angry, but he doesn’t verbally lash out too much. Much less petulant.
The most important part of this is his turn, though. I’ve been a little wary because I may have made Anakin TOO likeable and clear minded prior to his turn. But the thing is, TCW!Anakin when he was angry, acted just like Darth Vader. He was authoritative, brutal, cold, and menacing. The problem with RotS and a lot of its edits is that: Anakin turns to the dark side but he’s, like, insane. And weird. Evil!Anakin wasn’t like Darth Vader, he was just an evil emo schizophrenic child killer. To remedy this, I’ve tried to make Anakin in his right mind almost entirely throughout.
- Killing younglings is gone. Gradual turn and all that.
The big one is his dialogue. He starts talking like a full on villain as soon as he rises in the original. Like moustache twirler. I removed dialogue that made it sound like he was having a ton of fun being the bad guy, or anything that made him come off as too eager, or too 100% convinced in what he’s doing.
- He doesn’t villainously remind Palpatine to kill the jedi “spread across the galaxy”.
- He doesn’t tell Padme that he isn’t going “betray the Republic” or casually mention lots of Jedi being killed or that hopefully Obi Wan is still cool; b/c he has no illusions. Creepy villainous “Have faith my love…” gone. As well as any other instances of creepy soft Christensen in this scene.
- “Very good, my lord” is too much I R EVUL NOW, so that’s gone.
- Padme/Anakin Mustafar convo trimmed to be power hungry enough to freak out Padme, but not at the same level of crazy.
- “…then you’re my enEMy” gone, “You will tryy…” gone.
- “I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN…” “FROM MY POINT OF VIEW…” gone.
- “You underestimate my power!” gone.
This way, Anakin and Darth Vader are still essentially the same person. He doesn’t have to act like a bipolar weirdo, he just has to act like Anakin, but doing terrible things.
Like I said, though, aside from this focus on Anakin, I ended up doing a lot of what HAL did, because he got the closest to what I wanted. Dooku isn’t mentioned before he shows up, the political motivations introduced first, Obi Wan vs Anakin is more personal, etc. I probably could have just edited his cut to be completely honest, would have saved a lot of time, but there are differences (ones I haven’t already mentioned):
- “I sense a plot to destroy the jedi” line isn’t in mine.
- “There’s great conflict in you, Anakin” line isn’t in mine.
- “There is much fear that clouds your judgement” line isn’t in mine.
- I left in and moved up the scene of Padme and Anakin discussing his dream right after he has it. Except this time, it’s not right after he has it, it’s after Palps gives him a reason to doubt Padme, so his brooding is about everything that has happened thus far, about the Jedi, the childbirth death, the dark side, etc. Telling Padme about his dream is kind of like him momentarily reaffirming his trust in her, and it acts as a more subtle, sweeter replacement for that scene in the original where’s all paranoid about Obi Wan and acts weird and evil and blatantly tells Padme that he’s found a way to save her. Anything to make his fall sadder.
- Yoda lands on Dagobah before Leia is on Alderaan. Padme funeral is still there, so this was the next best spot. It felt like it was going way too fast if I had just put it where HAL did; we just saw Yoda talking to Obi Wan.
TLDR; Almost done with a TCW/New Canon fitting Revenge of the Sith.
Here’s a test clip (Original first, mine second):
I added Anakin’s Theme from TPM into this last Obi Wan/Anakin scene before things go bad. Since I tried to reflect their bond as much as possible, adding this nostalgic score to when Anakin was innocent - as a requiem to their relationship - was fitting. And it ends on subtle Darth Vader notes, which works a lot better than the unrelated transition music in the original.
I’ll post more clips later; the elevator scene with the deleted footage was pretty hard to integrate, and I’d be open to suggestions and help with that.
Also a more cohseive chronological cutlist.