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Star Wars: The Last Skywalker Awakens - A sequel trilogy "mega-edit" (RELEASED) — Page 5

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 (Edited)

Over the last wee while I’ve been working on this project again and cleaning up bits and pieces here and there, preventing some shots changing aspect ratio, smoothing out audio transitions, that kind of thing. I’ve also been looking at a couple more substantive edits:

1. Walker sounds on Crait

This edit both masks out the First Order shuttle approaching the blast doors and adds the sounds of slowly approaching walkers and TIEs to the establishing shots with Leia. This better stitches up the disconnect between the approaching ships in the theatrical (Finn is already with the Resistance) and provides some quite evocative juxtaposition, Leia staring out into a tundra, the sounds of fascist machinery closing in:

https://streamable.com/uqznwk

2. No more dagger screams

I’ve been trying for a while to remove the connection of Rey’s psychometry with the murder of her parents, and more strongly to the Death Star and the Sith whisper MacGuffin from TRoS: Ascendant. I’ve achieved this by both editing around the “no” screams in the cave, and adding a vision of the Death Star in Ren’s quarters on Kijimi.

2A) No “no” screams in the Pasaana cave: https://streamable.com/5r05z9

2B) Death Star vision on Kijimi: https://streamable.com/qiaazu

Star Wars: The Last Skywalker Awakens (a sequel trilogy mega-edit)

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bbghost said:

1. Walker sounds on Crait

This edit both masks out the First Order shuttle approaching the blast doors and adds the sounds of slowly approaching walkers and TIEs to the establishing shots with Leia. This better stitches up the disconnect between the approaching ships in the theatrical (Finn is already with the Resistance) and provides some quite evocative juxtaposition, Leia staring out into a tundra, the sounds of fascist machinery closing in:

https://streamable.com/uqznwk

Chills.

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Can I have a link to this edit, this looks really good

I like fanedits

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 (Edited)

I am pasting this rambling manifesto here as a keepsake, and for anyone in these forums who for some reason wants to read 2,000 words on why I made this edit and how I approached it, now that it’s complete. Read at your own risk!


From a Certain Point of View​

DS

Star Wars premiered in 1977 as a nearly perfect film. So wholly self-contained was its story it needed no sequel, no prequel, no appendices, no expansion. It did, however, make enormous amounts of cash, so inevitably it got all of these and more, coming to form a large portion of the blueprint for serialized fiction and media franchises for the next half a century.

Star Wars is still, to me, watching a VHS copy of Return of the Jedi in 1994 taped off of Saturday night TV; ads, Lotto and all, bits of the sand barge fight lost to bad tape. By 1997 I had worn the tape out completely, just in time to be introduced to the concept of fan editing as George Lucas released the Star Wars Special Editions… These Special Editions, along with decades of expanded universe media, the exponential complexity of technology, remakes, remasters, director’s cuts, video game modding, retcon, side-canon, headcanon and the construction of modern fandom culture have all encouraged fans to engage Star Wars with a sense of modularity and malleability that’s only grown as more changes are made to the original films themselves, even under new ownership.

Later, I was inspired by other fan editors and their efforts in transforming and recontextualizing Star Wars, shaping their own visions of what it meant to them, just as Lucas continued to do with his own work. Granted, the often combative mentality with which a sizable portion of “the Star Wars fandom” takes to this stuff can be off-putting at the best of times. But in between all of that is a thoughtful and creative community, collaboratively making sense of all the disparate elements that make up Star Wars.

An Old Hope​

Hands

The themes of Disney’s Star Wars sequel trilogy were made clear from the outset. As The Force Awakens transformed the events of prior films into diegetic myths and legends, a story very much preoccupied with our own connection to the nebulous, mercurial world of Star Wars began to emerge. This metatextuality is embodied through its characters: in Kylo and Rey’s reverence for and respective interpretations of their forebears’ deeds, analogising the audience’s relationship to Star Wars itself. Through images and symbols: the Skywalker lightsaber and its family’s legacy, Rey living among the bones of her grandfather’s empire, Vader’s helmet, prayed to by Kylo as an object of almost religious significance.
While Lucas’ own infinitely referential image systems served as a foundation for this new era of Star Wars, it became a kaleidoscope of familiar faces and motifs, colliding in a chaotic cosmic dance of semiotic friction and synthesis, the familiar becoming charged with new context, metatext, intertext.

Though both shared their origins in old adventure serials and Lucas’ other esoteric interests, the original trilogy dealt largely in Arthurian and Campbellian mytho-religious space fantasy, while the prequel trilogy focused on realpolitik and cautionary tales about the dogmatic hubris of American hegemony. The sequel trilogy, however, struggled to find its place among this mélange. Much has been said already about The Last Jedi’s gesturing at systems of dark capital that fund both sides of the eponymous war in the stars, only to be ‘undone’ by the appearance of the Final Order’s gargantuan fleet in the next film, unbound from any considerations of logistics or commerce (to say nothing of the preceding Starkiller Base with its dizzying scale and power). This to-and-fro reads very much as Star Wars in search of an identity.

What do the new Jedi look like as an institution of political power? What is the underlying ideology of Rey’s Jedi order, and how is its vision of “order” informed by or differentiated from that of old? After the Final Order’s defeat, how will the victorious Resistance reckon with the systems that gave rise to the Empire and the First Order in the first place? What does it mean to consider the humanity of each and every stormtrooper? How do we as an audience contend with the often racist anthropological inspirations of Star Wars? What good is a fantasy about being on the morally right side of perpetual warfare in a contemporary media landscape where this is virtually the only narrative being sold to mainstream audiences, and a world in which perpetual imperial war seems almost inevitable? (Not that it didn’t in the 70s for targets of America’s ire, but that’s another rant.)

While The Last Jedi itself was not particularly “subversive” in a thematic sense, it did pave the way to further these ideas in a possible and alternate Episode IX. I was excited initially at the prospect of opening a proverbial Pandora’s box, at a potential rattling of Star Wars’ foundations and seeing how it might change. But, ultimately, Disney’s films were disinterested in these questions. They eschew the material almost entirely in favour of the insularly mythic, characters often feeling like pawns of fate destined to restore the status quo rather than agents locked in a conflict, fighting for a new world among the ashes of the old. Lucas’ original three films also shared this disinterest, hence the collective balking at the prequels’ hard tonal shift, but they rarely, if ever, gestured otherwise.

And if I’m being honest, it’s difficult to envision what a multi-billion dollar tentpole media product from the Disney corporation that attempts to engage with such questions in any substantive way even looks like. Perhaps, in the end, it was for the better that the sequel trilogy bent back on itself in an ideological loop. Perhaps the box should have stayed closed for good. Perhaps this is a failure of imagination on my part. Perhaps in a better world where the call had gone to just about anyone other than Colin Trevorrow, Derek Connolly, JJ Abrams, or Chris Terrio, we might have the answers.

The Scavenger​

Scavenger

So, in lieu of any overarching materialistic themes, questioning of power structures, subversion of the series’ mytho-religious template, or interest in a wider political scope, what remains is the turbulent internality of our two main characters: Rey Skywalker and Ben Solo. Integral to their stories are the aforementioned reverence for the events and characters of the original trilogy, as well as broad thematic notions of belonging and familial attachment.

Some may argue that metatext is nothing but “pure laziness,” and there is an undeniable ubiquity to the Found Family theme in modern pop culture. But Star Wars has always been built on archetypes, and the zest with which the new cast took to their roles, coupled with a ready-made formula of industrial light and magic and John Williams’ pleasantly heavy-handed romantic score, makes it all just about work.

Rey’s meandering quest to find meaning in life and belonging in the galaxy, looking to Luke Skywalker and the Jedi for both, is the rails on which the whole cart rides. Grappling with the Jedi order’s legacy and how it became interpreted by later generations becomes central to Rey’s journey, and Luke’s. The Jedi shunned “emotional attachment” for fear it could lead one to moral ruin, or lead them away from their true purpose as ascetic, monastic, celibate enforcers of state power. Inevitably, their refusal to acknowledge this fundamental part of the human experience led to Anakin’s downfall, and the Empire’s rise.

In both the original trilogy and the sequels it’s this attachment and familial belonging which makes our heroes strong, leading to Vader and Kylo’s redemption, Rey’s awakening and resurrection, and Palpatine’s defeat(s). Luke’s self-imposed exile and detachment from his loved ones, a warped reflection of that Jedi dogma, refuted spectacularly by the end of The Last Jedi, and again less elegantly in The Rise of Skywalker, also serves as an extension of these intertwining ideas about legends and family. He goes on to inspire the galaxy to fight back, and helps his sister Leia in guiding Rey toward peace and purpose.

Kylo Ren interprets Darth Vader’s death not as a redemption back to the light, but a failure to achieve an absolute hereditary hegemony; a Skywalker dynasty that would overthrow Palpatine and “bring order to the galaxy.” His character arc weaves a characteristically chaotic line, torn apart between light and dark, progressing, regressing, heroically sacrificing, and it’s the Vaderfication of Ben Solo that results in some of the sequels’ most compelling filmmaking. Adam Driver also just does “sexy bad boy you can definitely fix if you just love him hard enough” extremely well, which helps.

Yes, some disappointing moves certainly were made on the part of the filmmakers. Arguably among them was the decision to make a recursive and metatextual story of the sequels from the outset, rather than search for new stories, untethered from what came before, free to graze upon new narrative pastures. But that’s not what ended up being made, and among the rubble and detritus of good ideas questionably executed is where we find the bits and pieces that resonate with us.

A New Order​

Order

Thus it became these kernels around which my edit centred itself. At first I began by hacking away brazenly, then carefully rebuilding, adding, removing, re-adding, slowing, quickening, adjusting, shifting, borrowing. All of which still begs the question: why have I made this in the first place? After seeing The Rise of Skywalker, in all of its inglorious, messy wonder, the urge to make an encompassing 3-films-in-1 edit came about more as a compulsion than a formalised idea. It became a space in which to play around with and externalize the myriad feelings and ideas about Star Wars that lingered in my brain (as this manifesto apparently has). This dovetailed conveniently with video editing becoming an increasingly necessary skill elsewhere in my life, giving me an opportunity to learn the tools involved and feel out in practice some of the more intuitive aspects of the craft.

One of the more repeated concerns people have about the sequels, due in large part to the tonal inconsistency between films and Abrams’ “texture over substance” style of filmmaking, is if you step away and take your head out of it all, the whole thing begins to fall apart a bit. My solution? Never take your head out. Embrace the sense of leaden fate, of destinies being fulfilled. But who would even want to watch a five and a half hour long fan edit of three Star Wars movies? Well, me, for one. Assuming you’ve read this far, also you. Other than that it’s not really my concern. Because despite their shortcomings, these films are still inescapably Star Wars. And they are dear to me.

As I’ve said above, the aim was never to excise every single thing I found “distasteful” about the films and leave the remainder as is, nor to “fix” the trilogy. I sought to prune and sculpt the sequels into something that better reflected my past hopes for what was yet to come, my mourning for what never was, and my joy at what endured, all while hopefully creating a final product that is cohesive in and of itself. Billy Dee Williams’ returning performance, for example, is… not good, God bless him, but I kept his role in as it forms the basis for a lot of plot and character propulsion in Rise. “Rey Palpatine” still sorely reminds of what could have been, in another story, but as a final chomp of the ouroboros’ tail it makes a sort of dramatically ironic sense, which I chose to lean into.

Conversely, I adore Finn, who should have been brought to the fore as another protagonist, not left waiting in the wings of someone else’s story. I wanted to see entire films about his and Poe Dameron’s escapades. I do want to see shelves filled with stories about Zorii Bliss, Amilyn Holdo, Jannah, Rose Tico, Phasma, Lor San Tekka, etc, and I’m sure some of those are out there in the new extended universe. But in editing down this Star Wars story about Star Wars, cuts had to be made, and many of these characters wound up in the margins. This, however, is not an indictment of any of them, and I strove to keep intact the essence of the remaining characters: Snoke as a force-wielding homunculus of a cruise missile, aimed squarely at the surviving Skywalkers; Finn as a brave soldier who comes not only to fight, but to live for the people he loves; Poe as a cocksure yet charming ace pilot, learning how to be a leader from those around him.

Iris Out​

Iris

My own worst critic that I am, it’s still difficult to shake the feeling that somewhere along the way this turned into polishing a turd (TRoS), while getting crap on everything else in the process. But for good and for ill, The Last Skywalker Awakens is the result of following my emotional truth wherever it led.

The sequels are a familiar song in a different key, with a new and thumping bassline. Like any other series, they form a palette that grew with each instalment, gradually painting a picture in our minds that became whole only with time and hindsight, hues constantly shifting as emotion and memory intermingle. Memories from before we had the whole picture, from when we were still discovering (whether or not we liked the discoveries.) This is my mind painting. Or a greatest hits playlist with a few remixes on it. Take your pick.

Because Star Wars isn’t just about myth, or politics, or the Jedi, or workaday life among the scrapyards of great epochs past. It’s about the tension and conversation between all of these things. A balance, if you will. The DNA of Star Wars is the history of cinema itself. Deciding where that truth lies for you among the maelstrom of homage, self-reference and repetition is part of what it means to be a Star Wars fan.


Some of my favourite bits that didn’t make the change list: the cut from a disgraced Hux on the bridge of the Supremacy back to the vast negative space of Ach-To. Rey bullseye-ing that final rocket trooper. Learning where and how to place that damn crackling lightsaber sound. Cutting from D’Acy and Tyce’s kiss to Poe and Finn’s hug. The cut from Kylo’s wet glove to Rey’s sweaty brow. The wipe from Han and Leia at sunset to TIE fighters in the snow. “That is a big gun.”

Star Wars: The Last Skywalker Awakens (a sequel trilogy mega-edit)

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For anyone that was understandably intimidated by the single 30GB file that’s in the Google drive, I’ve now encoded and compressed this edit down to two separate H.264 files of around 4GB each.

If you have a link to the folder this should still work, otherwise drop a reply and I’ll send you a PM.

Star Wars: The Last Skywalker Awakens (a sequel trilogy mega-edit)

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I think I watched an earlier version but the links I have don’t work anymore, could you PM me the latest version?

Thank you so much and great work!!!

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After another re-watch with friends I’ve got a host of very minor issues I’d like to have a look at in the next wee while, mostly audio stuff. The project library unfortunately doesn’t fit on the SSD I host it on anymore so I’ll have to invest in a bigger one soon.

Once that’s done I should be able to do some final clean up and test out one or two more ambitious structural things in TLJ and at Exegol I’ve been rolling around in my head.

Star Wars: The Last Skywalker Awakens (a sequel trilogy mega-edit)

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bbghost said:

I should be able to do some final clean up and test out one or two more ambitious structural things in TLJ and at Exegol I’ve been rolling around in my head.

Which are…?

“The Dark Side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.”
-Sheev Palpatine, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

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CamSMurph said:

bbghost said:

I should be able to do some final clean up and test out one or two more ambitious structural things in TLJ and at Exegol I’ve been rolling around in my head.

Which are…?

So currently in this edit, we never actually see the second-to-last ship of the Resistance fleet being destroyed. It doesn’t matter so much because of the pace of the edit, but I’m considering restructuring things so that this is included, it’ll just take a fair bit of jiggering about.

At Exegol, I’m going to see if I can fudge the perceived amount of Resistance/rebel/civillian ships at the final fight by cutting back some shots post-Sith Lightning, and possibly cutting in a few shots of a wider variety of ships pre-Sith Lightning. Will see what I can do!

Star Wars: The Last Skywalker Awakens (a sequel trilogy mega-edit)

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Wow! I’m SUPER late to this party! I would LOVE a Link if it’s still available!

Thank you!