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Star Wars - The Vader Confidential Edits - Episode I Completed and Available!

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 (Edited)

***Episode I is now complete and available. PM me for links.***

Hey everyone,

My name is Pagz. I've been lurking around these boards for the better part of a decade now. I've never truly had much of a presence on the boards, I'd chime in every so often, take part in the odd debate, occasionally ask for advice on video editing, but for the most part I've been pretty quiet.

For the past 4 years now I've been engaged in a personal project. I've started and restarted this project as my skills have improved and my understanding of storytelling and pacing has been honed. I've been keeping it to myself for the most part, but having returned to the boards and seeing the really sterling work that has been done, I thought it might be time to share. My talents and abilities only go so far, but I think the approach I've been taking is worthwhile. As such, I offer it to one and all to do with what you will. This board is a real melting pot of ideas and inspiration, and I can't resist being a part of that.

My approach has been to view the Saga as a whole, but taking the Original Trilogy as the source from which all else derives. It's the OT that captured most, if not all of us. The prequels pained me because it was readily apparent that George had no interest revisiting the OT in order to maintain continuity. There are so many glaring oversights and outright errors in the Prequels that could have been solved by spending a day watching the OT with a pad and pen and jotting down notes on significant points and references.

What George failed to do, we as fan editors have taken up. We all have different outlooks, different approached, different ideas about what is important. What follows is my mission statement if you will of how I am approaching this task.

To me, one of the greatest moments of the OT is the reveal in Empire that Darth Vader is Anakin Skywalker, Luke's father. As a child that realization blew my mind. I consider it to be one of the most significant moments of the Saga, and certainly a significant moment in the history of film. As such, my overriding purpose in making my edits is this: Preserve the Secret.

The prequel trilogy totally negates the dramatic impact of that moment. There are now generations of kids who were denied that reveal. They saw the Prequels first. They've known all along that Vader is Luke's father. When Vader drops that bomb on Luke it no longer carries any impact. What was once an "Oh My God!" moment has become a "Yeah, I knew that 3 movies ago, get on with it" moment. That is entirely unacceptable to my mind.

The preservation of the secret requires a few things. First, Anakin's "death" in RotS needs to appear final. As such in my edits the scenes of Anakin's rescue and transformation into Vader will be cut entirely. Secondly, the name of Darth Vader. It's a pretty big give away. My way around this is to make Darth Vader a Sith honorific as opposed to a unique name. In my edits Darth Maul is renamed Darth Vader, thus making Vader the title of Palpatine's apprentice, and not unique to Anakin alone. Thus when Vader is introduced in ANH, the audience can assume this to be the new Sith apprentice.

Certain lines in the OT will require deletion or trimming as well. For example: Obi Wan can no longer refer to Vader as having been a pupil of his, because the audience knows that Obi Wan only ever had one apprentice. Luckily, that particular piece of dialogue is delivered while on a shot of Luke repairing Threepio's arm, so it is easily excised.

The secret of Vader's identity now protected, there is one other revelation from the OT that the prequels render ineffective: That Leia is Luke's sister. In fact, it's clear watching ESB that even Obi Wan was originally unaware of Leia's existence, as is demonstrated in the scene where Luke departs Degobah to rescue his friends. "That boy is our last hope" says Obi Wan as he watches Luke's X-Wing lift off. "No, There is another." replies Yoda. Some might argue that this doesn't necessarily mean that Obi Wan was unaware, but to me that feels a little fatuous.

This one is considerably more difficult to maintain, and may in fact be impossible. If it is to be maintained then the Birth of the twins can no longer be shown in RotS. If anyone has any suggestions as to how to achieve this I'm all ears :)

That still leaves the discussion regarding splitting up the children. This ties in with another issue. Padme can't die in RotS. Leia's remembrance of her "real" mother in RotJ requires that she was a minimum of 2 to 3 years old at the time of her mother's death, and that's being generous. What I have it in mind to do is to work that conversation so that Bail Organa is taking Padme and Leia with him to Alderaan. Padme in hiding as a retainer and nanny to the royal family, Leia as the apparent daughter of Bail and his wife. Tricky, but there's enough dialogue from bail in the movies where he uses Padme's name that the lines could be doctored enough to give that impression. In Bail's final scene where he delivers Leia to his wife, my intention is to cut away from the shot a little sooner, hopefully leaving the viewer with the impression that the woman is Padme and not Bail's wife. The shot is far enough away that the woman's face is not recognizable. Perhaps the inclusion of Bail saying her name might seal the deal, if I can swing that.

Now that I've covered the major continuity issues, on to matters or personal preference and story.

Episode 1 has a lot of problems. So many that I wrote a 50+ page exhaustive review of the film discussing them :p The first issue is dialogue. It's mostly terrible. The Neimoidians are particularly bad. I've redubbed them using a Japanese language track of the film. My trade federation now speak Japanese. I've subtitled them, replacing their dialogue in order to make them considerably more menacing and calculating. No more bumbling. Along the same lines as the Magnolia Fan edit Balance of the Force. Also, no more midichlorians or Virgin birth. I'm deleting the entire "chosen one" subplot of the prequels.

Jar Jar is another issue. I've deleted much of his capering and replaced his dialogue with a mashup track of the Italian and the Spanish language track for Jar Jar. I also lowered the pitch of his voice to try and make it less goofy sounding. Jar Jar is also subtitled now, though he has much less dialogue than before. I've attempted to maintain his role as comic relief, but more in keeping with the tone of the OT. I've written Jar Jar as a sarcastic and cynical wise ass.

I also deleted the entire Gungan city/planet core sequence. It was completely unnecessary. Why would the invasion force land on the opposite side of the Planet from Theed? Makes no sense. Now the Jedi and Jar Jar leave the forest and the next time we see them they're entering the city (using the very end of the deleted waterfall scene). It now appears that they have followed the invasion force and snuck into the city during the fighting.

Battle Droids. I have removed almost all battle droid dialogue. No more roger roger. I've also deleted as much capering and comic relief involving the battle droids as possible.

The escape from Naboo. cut the scene of Obi Wan telling Jar Jar to stay out of trouble. Cut the scene where R2 bumps into Jar Jar, The droids now deploy wihtout any capering. Lost the lines "we're losing droids fast" and "That little droid did it!". Cut out the line "the hyperdrive is leaking" hyperdrives do not leak :p Cut out the entire scene of Artoo being introduced to the queen and being rewarded as well as Panaka complaining about the tatooine plan. Entirely redundant, he's already expressed his concern to qui gon in the previous scene, we don't need to hear him say the same thing again, especially when there will be no debate on the matter.

I've started rambling about my edits, which was not my intention, but I'll leave it to give you a basic idea of what I've been doing. My over all intention with Phantom Menace is to make it much more serious and dark while removing continuity issues with the OT. A new opening crawl will address some of those issues. For instance, Obi Wan is no longer Qui Gon's apprentice. The opening crawl will reveal that Qui Gon is overseeing Obi Wan as he completes "The Trials". This will explain why Obi Wan never mentions qui gon in the OT and why he tells Luke that Yoda was his master. The opening crawl will also be more explicit about the nature of the trade federations embargo of Naboo. Like Magnolia Fan, I'm favouring the notion that the trade federation are slave traders and that Naboo has recently been instrumental in abolishing slavery in the Republic.

Episode II. I'm taking a lot of cues from the phantom editor here, who made what I consider to be the best episode II edit I've yet seen. the only changes I'll be making revolve around Dooku being a sith lord, and the use of the name Darth Sidious. I've found all of the Sith names in the prequels to be embarassing. The emperor will never be referred to as Sidious in my edits of the saga. Further, I will be cutting the film to make Dooku a good guy trapped by impossible circumstances. He tries to talk reason to the jedi, but they aren't listening. He duels Anakin and Obi Wan because he must. I'm going to attempt to remove the force lightning, hopefully turning it into a force push. I'm also dropping the Yoda/Dooku duel entirely in favour of the Phantom Editor's much more elegant sollution.

Further I will be rotoscoping in a Yellow lightsabre for Dooku. In RotS again Dooku will be using a yellow lightsabre. I will replace his dialogue where he claims to be looking forward to the duel with the much more neutral "just because there are 2 of you, don't assume you have the advantage" line from the Episode III video game. Much of Dooku's dialogue was purposefully written to be able to cut both ways, they merely abandoned the idea, where as I will be taking advantage of it. Dooku is in essence the founder of the rebel alliance.

Dooku's death will also be much quicker. There will be no hesitation on Anakin's part and no goading from Palpatine. Anakin will catch Dooku's sabre and in one fluid motion decapitate him. The idea being that Anakin can't control his passions. He allows his anger to flow when he shouldn't. My attempt is to make Anakin's fall seem inevitable, rather than Palpatine basically duping him into it.

General Grievous will no longer be General Grievous. General Grievous is Darth Vader (darth maul). This wil not only establish the emperor's habitat of rebuilding his apprentices when they've been brutally maimed, but will also ad a much deeper emotional resonance to the final duel between Kenobi and grievous. This will require some effects work on a few shots with close ups of Grievous's eyes. Also I will be re-recording grievous's dialogue with a voice actor so that it will more closely match Darth Maul from episode 1, with some electronic reverb to make it more cyborg like. I will also rewrite most of Grievous's dialogue, as it was pretty bad.

I'm also cutting out the buzz droid sequence as it makes no sense and just slows down the pacing of the opening. They're jedi, one force push or force crush and all those droids are taken care of. Making the jedi forget they have the force in that scene is just stupid. All of Artoo's slapstick will be deleted, as well as the capering in the elevator. The elevator will now take the Jedi directly to the chancelor.

I'm still working out how to handle Anakin's fall. as it stands in the movie, Anakin is required to be the stupidest man in the galaxy to agree to join Palpatine. I need to edit the film in such a way to make Anakin seem more willing and less like he's been tricked.

I need to go through the film again when I get closer to editing episode three, I'm hoping there might be a way to Make Anakin seem like he's succumbing to the desire for more power. I'll be editing down the final duel a lot, it's far too bloated and filled with corny dialogue.

I want to salvage some of the scenes I'm cutting from RotS to use in the OT. When Obi Wan talks about Vader being more machine than man, twisted and evil, I'm hoping to insert a semi-transparent image behind them of the scene of Vader's reconstruction. I had also hoped to include some Padme shots and the some pieces of the funeral during the scene where Leia is remembering her mother (the inference being that the little girl in the funeral procession is Leia) but I'm pretty sure that there just isn't enough time during that peice of dialogue to do that effectively.

Anyway, I think you all probably get what I'm going for here. I'd love to hear any feedback or suggestions. I don't promise to heed all suggestions, but I want to hear them regardless ;)

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I made the suggestion in a variety of threads that when Yoda refers to "the other" he could refer to Vader/Anakin.

Leia doesn't fulfill the narrative role of the other hope.

It might be possible to add "Perhaps" to Ben's ghosts reveal to Luke about a sister.

Yoda and Obi-Wan have very different approaches to teaching Luke in the OT.

Ben opens the door to the Force for Luke by giving him a weapon and showing him how to use it, Yoda tries to take the weapon away and show Luke a wider world where weapons are not necessarily the solution (which is why I wince so when I see PT Yoda throwing his sword around like a maniac).

From Ben's point of view Leia could be another hope, another potential student who could be trained if Luke failed.

Yoda with a wider view can see the possibility of Anakin throwing Vader and Palpatine down a hole if inspired by compassion of his son, willing to die for the good man buried inside all that technology, which is why I wince when Yoda tries to encourage Obi-Wan to kill Anakin in ROTS (Yoda insists Luke faces Vader but Ben insists Luke kills Vader, just like Palpatine does).

Ben's ghost is still Ben, he doesn't know everything just because he is a ghost and he may not know exactly what Yoda had in mind so having Ben say, "Perhaps the other he spoke of was your twin sister" isn't a nonsense.

When Anakin does return I think it would be obvious that "the other" was him so there wouldn't be any need to hammer that over the audiences head in the way Lucas seems to need to do in the PT.

As for removing the student line in ANH, it does change the dynamic between Vader and Ben in their duel possibly in a fatal way.

The sense that this is a rematch and Vader is convinced that he has bested his former master is an important dynamic that I think needs to be maintained because it has a pay off with the mystery of the vanishing corpse.

Vader is still smug about killing Ben but and it pains me a bit that we never get any sense of doubt from him after kicking the empty robe but ultimately it's Vader's revenge for whatever put him in that suit.

There are other ways of obscuring who or what Vader is without removing the line but they can't be achieved with editing alone.

One would be to make Obi-Wan already a Jedi Knight in TPM and have Qui-Gon just another Jedi who is paired up with Kenobi for that mission.

The council could then object to Kenobi taking on Anakin not only because of their doubts but also because he already has a student (who could be seen as an alternate Vader candidate).

If Grievous' death is less obvious and his lines were dubbed to suggest a more personal relationship the audience may be misdirected to think that he is the rejected student and is moved into a new suit (the Vader suit) after being defeated by Obi-Wan.

Ben refers to Vader as A former pupil not his only pupil so that could serve as enough of a misdirection to pull a new audience in a different direction.

I suggested that Grievous' corpse be retrieved to gain cyborg innovations to build the Vader suit and it could be in the medical lab where Vader is born which would plant the idea that Vader is Grievous reborn and not Anakin reborn.

That requires more work but it maintains as much of the OT as possible and puts the weight of changes onto the inferior PT material.

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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That's a really good thought. I never considered that Anakin might be the other. I think in all likelihood this is probably imbuing the line with more meaning than was originally intended, but there's nothing wrong with that. Happy accidents and all. Like the way Obi Wan reacts when Luke asks how his father died, originally the hesitation and look were meant to convey that Obi Wan was trepidatious about having to reveal the details of his death to Luke. Now it appears like Obi Wan is considering how to tell Luke without revealing to him that his father became a genocidal monster. When ESB was written Leia wasn't Luke's sister and wasn't going to be. According to Gary Kurtz they had instead envisioned a sibling that had been hidden outside the galaxy. It wasn't until Jedi was written that the Luke Leia connection came in to being and that line in ESB took on that possible implication.

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The 'other' line was delivered portentously because it was intended to be the set up for the final trilogy.

In the final play when the sister and Leia were merged into one character Leia doesn't actually play a major role in the finale, 'other' than being the trigger for Luke snapping and going right to the edge of the cliff before coming back again.

The only character that carries that degree of potency in that duel to retroactively justify the manner of that line is Vader himself.

He saves Luke, he kills the Emperor and he saves his true self.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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Pagz, your ideas sound fantastic! It sounds like one of the most important edits yet. Count me in as very interested in this project. General Grievous and Darth Maul being the same person is a mindblowing idea!

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You flatter me ;)

I'm going to try to put together a comprehensive list of the changes I'm making, including the new dialogue I've written. It's an ever evolving process as I learn how to do things or I find new inspiration or have my eyes opened to new possibilities or ideas as to what exactly is possible with these edits. Watching AdyWan's Revisited edit of ANH was very eye opening for me.

It's entirely possible this thread might turn in to a rambling collection of my edit ideas as I have them :p

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Those look like excellent threads, I'll be perusing them over the next couple of days.

 

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I hope you succeed Pagz.... Honestly your ideas seem to be a combination of many of the hopes of people on this thread. Have you completed any editing? How will you be achieving the effects shots?

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I've started the project several times now.Initially I started with Revenge of the Sith because it was freshest in my mind and the one that was bothering me the most. I had about half the film edited when my computer died on me. So back to square one and started again. This time it went faster and smoother as I had learned a lot from my first attempt.  Unfortunately real life reared its ugly head in the form of my mom having a heart attack and the project got shelved for a while. Eventually I came back and decided that I was going to start from the beginning and work forward, and that's when I started work on the Phantom Menace.

Right now I'd say I'm about 75% complete on TPM as far as the physical edits and dialogue replacement go. My next step will be effects. Luckily there's not a lot for me to do in TPM besides a new opening crawl.

AotC will be harder as my intention will be to, for the most part, recreate the Attack of the Phantom edit. If there were a DVD quality version available I'd use that as my base, but alas if there is I've been unable to find it.

The impending release of the BluRay Saga also gives me pause. Do I continue with my efforts now, or put them on hold until I have HiDef source material? I'm also curious as to what tweaks George and the crew will have implemented this time around. I fully expect the Yoda puppet in TPM to have been replaced at the very least (footage of the CG Yoda replacing the TPM puppet can be seen in the Documentary Empire of Dreams).

For the sake of consistency and because the TPM Yoda puppet was laughably terrible, I'm considering waiting for the blu release to see if they've made that switch.

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I'm wondering if they're going to remaster the TPM deleted scene in high Def as well, there are shots in the deleted scenes I'm using in my edit.

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I like your ideas.

Still a better viewing edit for the sake of enjoyance and stability and not only from fixing story is that you have to consider about changing the languages of the aliens so constant. Even worse if you have half of the movie with english subs. If you have the choice and the option to redub characters do it in english. Even more to british english like OT is.

Also if you wish to make your ideas in motion please clear if you want to make an edit with your style or the supposed style of george lucas if he was doing it right. that implies carefuly editing times, noticing the pacing adding fades and generaly add nothing more from the visual presentation that these movies offered. We rarely see subtitles, we see slowmotion only one time (thank zod) and the idea of overlaping images is a bit off for a SW universe movie. same goes to the flashbacks. You may want to analyse the episodes 4-6 to see how they did some things and how PT does it. Even the average time of shot per second counts to the feel of a movie.

Im not saying that you will do/intend to to these things in your edits but im like making a list of many things that the other editors did for the sake of story and they succeeded, but failed (IMO) to capture the feeling of star wars. Some things are not for this space opera please :P

 

Not want sound like promoting an edit but Trooperman's version/workprint with the redubing and the things that the characters are saying is the most solid part of this effort.

my 2 credits to the whole point of direction. Its pity so good ideas go to dust with poor decision of how they can be done fast and cheap.

 

-Angel

–>Artwork<–**

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I made the egregious error of watching RotS tonight with a thought towards how it will be edited when the time comes...

Wow man, I found myself saying "I'll have to cut that garbage" or "That's not necessary for the story" almost every scene, sometimes multiple times per scene. Disheartening.

RotS is just so bad and there's so little in it that's worth rescuing. Scenes can be saved individually, but the story as a whole is such a complete mess that it hardly matters. It's kind of funny in a way; RotS is widely considered the "best" of the prequels, and yet I find it to be the least salvageable. 

I've got a whole bunch of Ep III edits downloading as I type, hopefully I'll find some inspiration there. I've also been browsing the radical edits thread and there's a lot of really interesting stuff there as well.

Radical edits, of course, carry with them certain challenges. Changing the story of a film to such a dramatic level can be difficult or even impossible in some cases. Still, it's an interesting thought exercise if nothing else.

If I could do some really radical edits I'd want to do away with Anakin as a child altogether and start things off with a teenaged Anakin under the tutelage of Obi-Wan. Or perhapos even better, omit Anakin from the first movie all together and leave as just Qui Gon and Obi Wan.

I would also like the Empire to come into existence much sooner. It's always bothered me that according to the current timeline as established by the prequels, the Empire is only 18 years old in ANH. The impression I always got from the film, based on how the Empire operates, how people talk about it and how Obi Wan in particular speaks of it, was that the Empire had been around for a long time. I would have guessed 50 or 60 years.

If I were making movies from scratch I'd start my prequels with the Empire already in power while the Old Republic fights desperately to survive. But that's me.

I've been mulling over some notions in the Radical edit thread and I definitely think I'm going to implement some of them, many others I'd already decided on using ages ago. I especially like the idea of Naboo becoming Alderaan. That just makes sense. It ups the emotional attachment to the planet in ANH, and it gives the audience a through line for the saga, rather than having an important planet that just disappears in the OT never to be mentioned again.

I also quite like the Geonosis is Tatooine idea. It'll take some colour correction but I think it should be doable. Having the first battle of the clone war fought on Tatooine would also help tie into the whole idea that Uncle Owen is afraid Luke will go off with Obi Wan the way Anakin did.

Jango Fett. I absolutely hated the inclusion of Jango Fett and how he ruins the mystery behind Boba Fett. I definitely like the idea of turning Jango into Boba, and removing all scenes where he takes off his helmet and most if not all of his dialogue, and removing the kid. This one seems considerably more difficult to achieve. I would also not make him the clone template.

Someone made an interesting suggestion that Anakin should use force lightning on Padme instead of choking her. Initially I thought that was a terrible idea, as I've always felt force lightning should be an Emperor only kind of thing, but the argument they gave was really compelling. Firstly, there's the idea that part of the reason Vader chokes people to death is a subconscious anger over his inability to breath on his own any more. I'd never considered that but it's an interesting thought. More pertinent though is this: Having apparently choked Padme to death, would Vader continue to choke people to death? Would it not be a constant reminder of how he murdered his wife? Finally, and best of all, If he uses force lightning on Padme and thinks he's killed her, then when he watches the Emperor use lightning on his own son it's going to trigger some very deep emotional reactions. Now the question is can I produce good looking force lightning?

 

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Pagz said:

Radical edits, of course, carry with them certain challenges. Changing the story of a film to such a dramatic level can be difficult or even impossible in some cases. Still, it's an interesting thought exercise if nothing else.

If I could do some really radical edits I'd want to do away with Anakin as a child altogether and start things off with a teenaged Anakin under the tutelage of Obi-Wan. Or perhapos even better, omit Anakin from the first movie all together and leave as just Qui Gon and Obi Wan.

I also quite like the Geonosis is Tatooine idea. It'll take some colour correction but I think it should be doable. Having the first battle of the clone war fought on Tatooine would also help tie into the whole idea that Uncle Owen is afraid Luke will go off with Obi Wan the way Anakin did.

Jango Fett. I absolutely hated the inclusion of Jango Fett and how he ruins the mystery behind Boba Fett. I definitely like the idea of turning Jango into Boba, and removing all scenes where he takes off his helmet and most if not all of his dialogue, and removing the kid. This one seems considerably more difficult to achieve. I would also not make him the clone template.

Someone made an interesting suggestion that Anakin should use force lightning on Padme instead of choking her. Initially I thought that was a terrible idea, as I've always felt force lightning should be an Emperor only kind of thing, but the argument they gave was really compelling. Firstly, there's the idea that part of the reason Vader chokes people to death is a subconscious anger over his inability to breath on his own any more. I'd never considered that but it's an interesting thought. More pertinent though is this: Having apparently choked Padme to death, would Vader continue to choke people to death? Would it not be a constant reminder of how he murdered his wife? Finally, and best of all, If he uses force lightning on Padme and thinks he's killed her, then when he watches the Emperor use lightning on his own son it's going to trigger some very deep emotional reactions. Now the question is can I produce good looking force lightning?

 

If tou go with a full scale FX work trust me it will require more than a color correction to fix geonosis to tattoine.

Making geonosis a less orange pleasant place is a more good option tho. the geography doesnt match a bit apart the dunes.

Good luck with the boba thing.

Lightning with vader is out of the question for me but id like to see it if it can work.

Also lightning effect is the oldest thing that appears to TFN forums after the lightsaber.

 

Let us know if you have concepts in your head with images.


-Angel

–>Artwork<–**

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{I'm also posting this in the prequel thread}

Adding a cyan filter with brightness and contrast changes made a huge difference in the arena scenes. It didn't do much in the clone battle though. This is really the best it can look without resorting to rotoscoping.

In some places the removal of orange was wonderful, in others it was better to keep it in. I just wanted to see if I could do it in a few simple steps.

 

"The other versions will disappear. Even the 35 million tapes of Star Wars out there won’t last more than 30 or 40 years. A hundred years from now, the only version of the movie that anyone will remember will be the DVD version [of the Special Edition], and you’ll be able to project it on a 20’ by 40’ screen with perfect quality. I think it’s the director’s prerogative, not the studio’s to go back and reinvent a movie." - George Lucas

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The thing is, Tatooine is a big place. We don't have to assume that it looks uniform all over. I think those recoloured shots certainly would do the trick. The bigger concern for me would be the sky. If I can effectively make the sky blue than I'm all on board with making Geonosis into Tatooine.

The trickiest part to me is the editing the dialogue to reflect the change.

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Angel had a lot of interesting colour ideas for AOTC back in the day:

"The other versions will disappear. Even the 35 million tapes of Star Wars out there won’t last more than 30 or 40 years. A hundred years from now, the only version of the movie that anyone will remember will be the DVD version [of the Special Edition], and you’ll be able to project it on a 20’ by 40’ screen with perfect quality. I think it’s the director’s prerogative, not the studio’s to go back and reinvent a movie." - George Lucas

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Well, you could extract Anakin from TPM, and then change the crawl of AOTC so as to state that "Jedi Master Obi Wan Kenobi has taken a new apprentice". Or play with the parts somehow to get something different out of the edit

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I've been fiddling around with the opening crawl for Episode I today. Originally I was going to go with the title Balance of the Force, the long rumoured title of Episode I before the announcement came down that it would in fact be The Phantom Menace. Alas, it's already been used in the fan editing community and I want to be able to set my edits apart. Further, since I intend to remove the whole chosen one/prophecy nonsense from the Saga the title is no longer as relevant.

Right now I'm leaning towards The Coming Storm. However, I'm always open to suggestions.

Here's my opening crawl as it stands right now. Comments and criticism always welcome.

STAR WARS

Episode I

THE COMING STORM

It is a period of civil unrest. The Galactic Republic, which has stood for over a thousand generations, is in decline. Corruption, greed and apathy have taken root and evil is everywhere.

The wicked Trade Federation has seized control of the Alderaan system with a blockade of deadly battleships. As the senate looks on the supreme chancellor calls upon the Jedi, guardians of peace and justice in the Galaxy, to resolve the conflict.

Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn, overseeing young Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi's trials of knighthood, has been dispatched to liberate Alderaan from the tyranny of the Federation and to restore freedom to the peaceful system....

 

Thoughts?

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I'd ditch and edit out all references to Obi-Wan not already being a Jedi Knight.

They could just be two Jedi paired up for the mission (one a bit more reckless and less experienced).

It would keep Obi-Wan as trained by Yoda exclusively and knock away many layers of EU nonsense to justify Qui-Gon as his Master instead.

In an ideal world he would have found Anakin and Qui-Gon would have remained on the ship and been the voice of caution but there is no way to do that without remaking the film from scratch.

Having the student kill the Sith Lord that bested his Master makes very little sense without many years between the two events.

I'd also make the blockade more personal (perhaps not the whole Trade Federation were behind it but they later get tarred with same brush, when the Delegate claims ignorance to the Senate he could be telling the truth) so instead you could put the blame on Nute Gunray, the greedy Viceroy Of Neimoidia.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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The reason I opted for having Qui-Gon be supervising the trials as opposed to them both being Jedi Knights is because of the many, many instances of Obi-Wan referring to Qui-Gon as "master". There's too many to cut out, and if they're both Jedi Knights it doesn't make sense for him to be addressing Qui-Gon that way.

By making Qui-Gon a Jedi Knight overseeing the trials it allows for Yoda to be Obi-Wan's actual master and gives us a reason why Obi-Wan refers to Qui-Gon as Master. It also ties in to the line "Don't center on your anxiety Obi-Wan..." which can now be inferred to mean Qui-Gon believes Obi is feeling anxiety over his trials.

 

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That's a better approach than the theatrical version but in ROTS a big deal is made of Council members being Masters and we know that Qui-Gon isn't a council member so presumably there are lots of people who hold the rank of Master who are not on the council but would be addressed as Master by someone of lower rank.

You wouldn't have to drop Obi-Wan calling him Master for them to still be both Jedi.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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I think, for me at any rate, it just feels off.

I definitely agree that Jedi of lower rank would refer to their superiors as "master" as a show of respect. Not unlike using the word "sir". But for Jedi of the same rank I'm just not sure. Something about being the same rank as someone but referring to them as "master" when they aren't actually a master seems off.

Here's something I'll need to address: in TPM Yoda refers to Qui-Gon as "Master Qui-Gon" when he delivers his report. That will have to go. I think George made a big mistake making so many Jedi Masters. It tends to feel like if you're a Jedi for X number of years you get to be a master automatically. I think the rank of Master should be very hard to obtain. As such the Jedi Council need not be made up entirely of "Masters" but could easily be made up of very experienced Jedi. It sure would be nice to come up with an intermdiate rank between Knight and Master. Perhaps Paladin or Templar.

One of the things I want to do is make it that Jedi Masters disappear and become one with the force when they die, that's part of what makes them Masters. None of this ridiculous communing with Qui-Gon crap.  So when Qui-Gon dies he doesn't become one with the force because he wasn't yet a Jedi Master.

I do want to keep the scene where Yoda confers upon Obi-Wan the rank of Jedi knight, as I like that scene and it's one of the few instances of Obi-Wan being "reckless" by taking on Anakin as his apprentice, the way he said he was in the OT but the way he almost never was shown to be in the PT. I just think it brings more interest to his character if he arrives at a "destination" at the end of the film, that being his ascendance to Knighthood.

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 (Edited)

Well, I see you have a global perspective of the PT as a whole, so regarding radical editing, there could be some mix of things between episodes. I think that putting "the siege of Alderaan" in Episode II could be a good call. Watching the saga as a whole, having the "battle space-destroy the ship" plot in Episode I sets that kind of action quite far from the OT and especially ANH. Even if it would require to edit heavily on cutting Anakid out of the scene, you'd get the clone stuff in EPI, somehow explain (the scrawl perhaps?) that the Army of the Republic can't get to Alderaan. Then have Anakin (EPII) be sent along with padme to Alderaan, and have them split up (Padme never follows Anakin to Tattoine)