I wanted to make a new thread for a very specific idea I had, since I felt it didn’t fit in any existing thread. Whether or not I go through with it or not I’m still not sure, but honestly this wouldn’t necessarily be an ambitious endeavor. I wanted to get some thoughts from others regarding it.
I am, like others, still grappling with how I feel about The Rise of Skywalker, and if it is actually salvageable from a fan-editing perspective. I think I will always have that desire for a cohesive nine-film saga, and I would love to help make some changes to TROS (I personally would love to help make an alternate ending for the film). BUT, it honestly could be years until we get edits (specifically for the prequels and sequels) that make for a consistent and satisfying version of the saga as a whole, and currently I am going back and forth if any TROS edit would ever be totally satisfying for me.
With that in mind, I’ve had this idea for two stand-alone films that would act as thematic bookends to the Original Trilogy. The Prequel Trilogy would be replaced with a single Prologue film, and the Sequel Trilogy would be replaced with a single Epilogue film. Neither film would be a 3-in-1 edit, instead it will simply take from each trilogy what it needs to tell one story.
Let’s start with the Prologue.
Rather than taking the typical 3-in-1 approach for prequel edits, this film will mainly consist of Revenge of the Sith, potentially with brief flashbacks within dream sequences. One of the main functions of this edit would be to make a single prequel film that keeps contradictions to the original trilogy to a bare minimum. For example, Qui-Gon will never be referred to (or seen) as Obi-Wan’s master. We won’t be given any scenes or context that contradicts the way Old Ben describes the relationship between Owen and Luke’s father. Padme will survive, like in Hal’s LOE. No mention of the prophecy or the Chosen One. I might not have Anakin’s mother even be mentioned or seen. Basically, I want the audience to be able to watch this film and try to forget the prequels as we know it, and then fill in the gaps between this and the OT with their own imagination. Sure, we won’t see Obi-Wan recruit Anakin and take him away from Tatooine to become a Jedi, but we don’t really see that in the prequels anyway, do we? By not showing what Lucas gave us in TPM and AOTC, the viewers can imagine how Anakin and Obi-Wan met based off the relationship we see and what we are told in the films themselves.
Now some might ask, “RogueLeader, if this is meant to be a prologue to the OT, should it really show Anakin become Darth Vader, since that is the main twist of The Empire Strikes Back?”
Honestly, I do think this is a fair point. Personally, I felt the whole point of the prequels was to show how Anakin fell to the dark side and became Darth Vader, and removing that wouldn’t leave much left of interest. I don’t think I would do anything radical, but at the very least I would be willing to toy with the idea of having Anakin still fall to the dark side, but never be referred to as Darth Vader, and the last time we see Anakin is Obi-Wan leaving him for dead on Mustafar. While it may be obvious to us that Vader is Anakin, the removal of those connections might be enough to throw off a younger viewer to not anticipate the reveal in V. Sure, we would know Obi-Wan is lying to Luke when he tells him “[Darth Vader] betrayed and murdered your father”, but your hypothetical first-time viewer might think the truth is that Obi-Wan killed his father, but is hiding that horrible truth from him, and Darth Vader is actually another one of Obi-Wan’s students that sided with the Empire after the fall of the Jedi Order. Plus, it would remove the question of how Palpatine built Vader’s suit so quickly, and we also could remove “NOOOOoooOOOOoooo!” But I don’t know though, because you would also run into the issue of Luke and Leia and their birth in ROTS. I would definitely like to hear thoughts for and against this idea. I think editors have always expressed interest in a version of the prequels that “Saved the Reveal”, and this could be a good opportunity to do that.
George Lucas himself has basically said 80% of the Prequel Trilogy’s story is really in Revenge of the Sith, and to be honest I don’t think that other 20% is really necessary. Sure, it adds some interesting ideas and context, but maybe Revenge of the Sith actually would work better without it.
I will definitely take ideas from editors like Hal 9000, NFBisms, Octorox and DominicCobb to better match tone, aesthetic and characterization with the Original Trilogy.
Now to the Epilogue.
This one might be a little more radical and a little less straightforward than my idea for the Prologue. First of all, this film will not include anything from The Rise of Skywalker. Instead, this film will be almost completely focused on Rey’s journey in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, fit into one movie. And one of the ways it will make that focus immediately apparent is to use one of Nev’s abandoned ideas for Starlight and open like this (password: fanedit). The film’s opening scene will be the wonderful montage of Rey’s life on Jakku, and we will follow her as she meets BB-8, the mysterious Resistance soldier Finn (who she later learns is a rogue stormtrooper), the monstrous Kylo Ren, and the legendary Luke Skywalker. Since there is very little time gap between TFA and TLJ, I’m hoping that fusing them together will feel rather natural. In order to fit both films into the runtime of a single movie, this edit will also remove several subplots many fans feel to be the weaker aspects of the Sequel Trilogy, such as the majority of Finn and Poe’s subplots in The Last Jedi, and, potentially, the super-weapon aspect of Starkiller Base.
Many have commented on how they felt The Last Jedi could’ve been an ending to the saga on its own, and I agree. While the ending is rather open-ended, I think it works well as a thematic conclusion to the Skywalker story, and just like the Prologue will leave what happened before the Prologue up to the imagination, this Epilogue allows for the audience to envision whatever happens after the Epilogue as they see fit. Star Wars can live on in each of our imaginations, but the important lessons of the original trilogy are reiterated in this final film.
I suppose you could say the goal of this idea is to boil down the strongest aspects of the Prequel and Sequel Trilogies into their own standalone films that can function as bookends to the Original Trilogy, rather than complimentary trilogies on their own. In a way, this helps keep the Original Trilogy as the focus of the saga, and the “bookends” as extra films that aren’t necessary, but add to the overall story. Another added benefit is that people can choose if they want to include both films into their viewing, or just one. Maybe they like the Sequels, but hate the Prequels, or vice versa. The Prologue could even be watched between V and VI as an alternate Machete Order viewing. But at the same time, both the Prologue and Epilogue could work well together by balancing each other out. An important element to me is that it keeps the saga balanced, rather than having something like one 3-in-1 prequel, but then a Sequel Duology or whole trilogy with the OT mashed in between. That just feels unbalanced to me. With this idea, it is simply five films. The three original films, plus two bookend films.
And another thing you may ask is, “But RogueLeader, the Original Trilogy opening crawls say 4, 5, and 6. Won’t people wonder about 1, 2 and 3?” If I decide to do these edits, I think I would eventually make versions of the OT that have no “Episode” subtitle, and just the film title. But we can cross that bridge when we get to it.
Anyway, I would love to hear if anyone has any thoughts on these ideas. Honestly this idea was inspired somewhat by my own laziness, and the idea of editing just two films is much more appealing at this point than editing at least six, if not more. I really think we could condense the best aspects of each trilogy into one movie each with a little bit of brainstorming.