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The Clone Wars: Refocused - A complete series edit. [SEASON THREE COMPLETE!] — Page 10

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 (Edited)

I think that’s an accurate take, sade.

Interestingly, if you look at production codes, it looks like the whole series was created in seven blocks of 26 episodes, which would have been released as eight or nine seasons. And for the final arc we go from episodes in the mid sixth block right to 7.21-7.24 for the Siege of Mandalore. But what I find interesting about that is that it might imply that there were originally two episodes to follow it. Perhaps an extended form of the final scene? We’ll probably never know.

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Crystal Crisis on Utapau [Unfinished Episode] - Excludable - Complete Cut

This one’s unfinished, so while it has voice, SFX, and music, the video is made up of entirely placeholder graphics and almost no animation. So while it’s not great to look at, on the other hand it’s an interesting look at the process. I don’t think you could ask anyone but the most committed and tolerant fan, so into the Complete Cut it must go.

In terms of the story, it’s unfortunately yet another four-episode arc with a lot of padding which feels like more of the same, with yet another Grievous fight with no jeopardy. The interesting elements are that Anakin and Kenobi discuss Ahsoka - though there’s little meat to this discussion - and that the macguffin is a massive Kyber crystal. For the first time chronologically we learn that kyber crystals are both lightsaber crystals and used in superweapons, with this heavily hinting that they’d use this for a Death Star (or similar). But we get that information elsewhere, or it’s not particularly important.

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S07E01-04 - Bad Batch Arc - Unsure

Tricky one to make a call on. I like this arc, though it does need trimming. The heart of it is of course the introduction of the Bad Batch, and Rex’s relationship with Echo. Echo looking nice and emaciated is cool - again we’re humanising clones. The natives are pretty same-old.

Aesthetically it’s not much - lovely lighting, but it’s on dull planets with the goofy Techno Union aesthetic and some weird new flimsy battle droids.

I’m really not sure on this one.
In favour of quality cut: A nice callback to our opening episode via CF99; new clones are interesting; development of Echo; nice Anakin/Padme scene; has everyone but the big three so I guess you’re putting them all to bed here.
Against inclusion in quality cut: Echo was last seen in the Citadel which isn’t very strong; very much a backdoor pilot; might not want to focus on brand new clones this near to the end; Anakin and Rex aren’t very interesting in this; it doesn’t escalate the war mysteries or other plots; it kind of becomes a Mace Windu episode at the end.

I’m actually tending towards not including it in the Quality Cut, since it’s neither core to Ahsoka/Maul/Mandalore, nor is it one of the more interesting episodes that comes this late in the show’s chronology.

I reckon you’d cut out all the native stuff. Start with the intro of the Bad Batch, have them learn Echo’s location, go straight to Skako Minor beginning at the elevator, fairly snippy Echo rescue, show them jumping onto the keeradaks (why? can’t explain well but they’ll have to just go for it), then wipe back to Anaxes for the return and second fight there. You’d lose a little character dev for the Bad Batch but they’re not really the focus unless they’re getting their own show, in which case they’ll repilot anyway.

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EddieDean said:

S07E01-04 - Bad Batch Arc - Unsure

Tricky one to make a call on. I like this arc, though it does need trimming. The heart of it is of course the introduction of the Bad Batch, and Rex’s relationship with Echo. Echo looking nice and emaciated is cool - again we’re humanising clones. The natives are pretty same-old.

Aesthetically it’s not much - lovely lighting, but it’s on dull planets with the goofy Techno Union aesthetic and some weird new flimsy battle droids.

I’m really not sure on this one.
In favour of quality cut: A nice callback to our opening episode via CF99; new clones are interesting; development of Echo; nice Anakin/Padme scene; has everyone but the big three so I guess you’re putting them all to bed here.
Against inclusion in quality cut: Echo was last seen in the Citadel which isn’t very strong; very much a backdoor pilot; might not want to focus on brand new clones this near to the end; Anakin and Rex aren’t very interesting in this; it doesn’t escalate the war mysteries or other plots; it kind of becomes a Mace Windu episode at the end.

I’m actually tending towards not including it in the Quality Cut, since it’s neither core to Ahsoka/Maul/Mandalore, nor is it one of the more interesting episodes that comes this late in the show’s chronology.

I reckon you’d cut out all the native stuff. Start with the intro of the Bad Batch, have them learn Echo’s location, go straight to Skako Minor beginning at the elevator, fairly snippy Echo rescue, show them jumping onto the keeradaks (why? can’t explain well but they’ll have to just go for it), then wipe back to Anaxes for the return and second fight there. You’d lose a little character dev for the Bad Batch but they’re not really the focus unless they’re getting their own show, in which case they’ll repilot anyway.

If it were me, I’d put it in continuity or complete for the reasons you listed above. Only reason to think about continuity is Anakin/clone character development. But it’s not necessary for the quality arc.

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OK, that’s the full series run through and considered whilst holding this project’s goals in mind. My key takeways:

  • Good God, when the Clone Wars is good, it’s excellent
  • Good God, when the Clone Wars is bad, it’s horrendous
  • However there is, definitely, a best path through it which highlights all the best and massively minimises the bad, whilst missing nothing important. Which means, of course, that there’s huge value in a quality focused cut.
  • Less is more. Many of the episodes are overly padded, especially when the show settled into four-episode arcs, and they’re paced around 22 minutes times four, not 88 minutes. Most should end up punchier in the 45-60 minute range.
  • Ahsoka is absolutely the heart, with incredible character development, and a range of good relationships.
  • Rex also has great development - though most of his episodes are in clone heavy arcs, not all of which are consistently great.
  • Quality is all over, though - let the other characters shine too, when they get a really good episode.
  • Almost all separatist villains lose their malice through serial failiure, and almost all separatist designs are visually uninteresting.

So here’s the next steps:

  • Take a little break. I’ve not done anything else with my free time since I made the original post.
  • Read over this thread and my other notes all myself again, to refresh. (Now is a great time for anyone who’s interested to feel free to think through the notes too, and/or offer up any thoughts to help frame the next stages.)
  • Review the now-polished list of episodes. Create an initial test chronology - pacing Maul equally, then Mandalore and Ahsoka’s development throughout, then best quality episodes.
  • Probably do a few focused watches to challenge that. I don’t really need to question the Mauldalore stuff because that’s all staying and it has its order, but I’d like to focus on Ahsoka’s development and make sure I have a solid growth for her that focuses on all her best episodes in the right order. I’d also like to consider Rex/Clones a bit more closely. I need to work out quite how much Rex is a core character, and if so, which arcs and relationships best support his development. Finally, plug in the other bests, and do a little checking of other episodes to make sure they’re worthy or not.
  • I’ll also use this time to pull together and sort some of the additional assets I’ll need for credits.
  • Then, get to cutting. I might break from the second rewatch to get at least a pilot episode out to you guys first, so we can discuss that and I can take your refinement notes as I watch. So it’ll be pilot episode first (Cloak/Lair), then onto the priority ones in chronological order. I’ll try to set myself up an editing pipeline where I can churn out the simple aggregate+polish episodes while I’m working on the more technical edits of those that need closer attention.
  • Once I’m confident I can maintain the momentum, I’ll advertise the weekly watch and start releasing episodes.
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Lifeincontext said:

If it were me, I’d put it in continuity or complete for the reasons you listed above. Only reason to think about continuity is Anakin/clone character development. But it’s not necessary for the quality arc.

Yep, it’s definitely Continuity Cut, because it’s relevant to other shows. I’m just wondering if it’s important/desirable enough for Quality, which I think it isn’t.

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EddieDean said:

S07E01-04 - Bad Batch Arc - Unsure

You’d lose a little character dev for the Bad Batch but they’re not really the focus unless they’re getting their own show, in which case they’ll repilot anyway.

Even if they do repilot (I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the unproduced Kashyyyk arc to be bumped into the new show), they are not going to explain in great detail how did Echo end up with the Bad Batch and why he’s in the state he’s in. But then again, I hold the Citadel arch in a much higher regard than you seem to do, so I might be biased.

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Oh aye, sure. But bear in mind I’m not taking anyone’s Clone Wars away from them, it’s all still there if they want it. I’m just producing a companion recommended order and some optional alternative edits. When the Bad Batch TV show drops, I’ll probably take my Clone Wars Bad Batch arc and just call it S01E00 of that series.

My goal with the recommended ordering is to present the theoretical ignorant new audience with the absolute best of. The key, for them, will be that if they didn’t know a given episode existed, would they miss it? Obviously that’s going to be subjective, but we’ve got plenty of time to wrestle here over which episodes are most worthy. And those who know best even after I lock it down will be easily able to modify my ordering.

And the Citadel arc is definitely one I’ll try to review with fresh eyes, since a couple of people have said they hold it in fairly high regard.

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Final thoughts before I put this down for a little while:

My plan is to modify opening and closing screens.

For the opening, I think I need a track with less bombast than the current one, which matches the bombastic nature of the newscaster narrator. In my edit, I’m not going to preserve him, since I get far more flexibility if I use text I can control - this gives me more flexibility in what I cut from edits so I think it’s worth doing. It also makes us take a breath and contextualise what we’re about to see. In terms of music I intend to go for a little military, a little weary, a little sadder, and let the opening text have a more somber tone. It may be that the current closing credits track is a bit more suitable, or I might go darker still.

For the closing, I’m going to redo the credits over imagery from each episode’s episode gallery / BTS gallery on StarWars.com. This’ll be much more like Mandalorian, which has those lovely bits of art.

Here's an example

This will be over particularly dark, ponderous music - I want us to take a beat after each episode and really digest it. I think the best track for this might be the prelude to Order 66 music which slowly builds throughout the third episode of the final arc. This would serve us nicely because it’s dark and ominous - welcome since we know the inevitable conclusion of the Clone Wars and mentally it draws us toward that end - and also because, when we later hear it in the episode itself, fuck me is it going to be tense. (And luckily, of course, the episode actually pays off that tension.) A similar one would be this: https://youtu.be/cNO3aNksUzg?t=1498

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EddieDean said:

For the closing, I’m going to redo the credits over imagery from each episode’s episode gallery / BTS gallery on StarWars.com. This’ll be much more like Mandalorian, which has those lovely bits of art.

Here's an example

This will be over particularly dark, ponderous music - I want us to take a beat after each episode and really digest it. I think the best track for this might be the prelude to Order 66 music which slowly builds throughout the third episode of the final arc. This would serve us nicely because it’s dark and ominous - welcome since we know the inevitable conclusion of the Clone Wars and mentally it draws us toward that end…

I’m a big big fan of this, music is the way I connect to tv shows and movies, especially Star Wars. Having that subtle change in the intro and outro for each episode would help to maintain the darker atmosphere provided by the inevitability of ROTS and Order 66. I don’t know if you’re asking for suggestions on tracks to use, but there were a couple I found that might fit! They sound similar to the one you posted in terms of something more low key and emotional:

https://youtu.be/I4wlUYUtuR8 (around 43 seconds)

https://youtu.be/JsSHw6nJ2pU

I am no Jedi

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Track suggestions absolutely welcome! Glad you agree- I think “packaging” is important. It sets the mood, it focuses you on the emotional beats.

I especially like the first one you shared for the opening, it’d work over the CLONE WARS logo followed by a couple of short introductory sentences.

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EddieDean said:

Final thoughts before I put this down for a little while:

My plan is to modify opening and closing screens.

For the opening, I think I need a track with less bombast than the current one, which matches the bombastic nature of the newscaster narrator. In my edit, I’m not going to preserve him, since I get far more flexibility if I use text I can control - this gives me more flexibility in what I cut from edits so I think it’s worth doing. It also makes us take a breath and contextualise what we’re about to see. In terms of music I intend to go for a little military, a little weary, a little sadder, and let the opening text have a more somber tone. It may be that the current closing credits track is a bit more suitable, or I might go darker still.

For the closing, I’m going to redo the credits over imagery from each episode’s episode gallery / BTS gallery on StarWars.com. This’ll be much more like Mandalorian, which has those lovely bits of art.

Here's an example

This will be over particularly dark, ponderous music - I want us to take a beat after each episode and really digest it. I think the best track for this might be the prelude to Order 66 music which slowly builds throughout the third episode of the final arc. This would serve us nicely because it’s dark and ominous - welcome since we know the inevitable conclusion of the Clone Wars and mentally it draws us toward that end - and also because, when we later hear it in the episode itself, fuck me is it going to be tense. (And luckily, of course, the episode actually pays off that tension.) A similar one would be this: https://youtu.be/cNO3aNksUzg?t=1498

Yes, yes, and yes! Really glad to hear you’re losing the narrator (which you mentioned some time ago, but I never chimed in), both for the reasons you listed previously and above, but also because it is just so jarring, especially for someone like myself who is coming from live-action canon into this new medium, which is shocking in and of itself. The episodes I’ve watched before in trying to get into TCW have always had me tentative from the moment NewsMan starts talking. I totally appreciate the original intent to include that as a constant within TCW: it sets it apart from other media, it has a similar feel as the original Flash Gordon-esque serials of way-back-when, etc. But since the approach you’re taking with this fanedit is more somber, character-driven, and forward-looking, I think the bold choice to remove his narration is not only a boon to your creative freedom in establishing each of your episodes, but significantly aligns the entry point for each episode with the new tone you’re setting.

Again, just a dude and his unpolished thoughts. Others who have fallen in love with TCW as-is may well feel the choice is too far a deviation from the soul or gestalt of the show. I can’t say one way or the other, but as one of the few of us following along who hasn’t actually seen more than 3 episodes of TCW, I certainly am excited for your approach and think it will make a meaningful impact on the viewer experience of the show.

And yes too for all your other musical choices. SO looking forward to this!!

EDIT: One more thing – the decision to have credits over concept art is brilliant. One of my favorite things about Mando and I routinely watch all the credits solely for this reason.

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I don’t mind the narrator myself but I agree this refocused approach would be served better for a more dramatic opening and end credits.

Ideally the end credits theme would have a bit of Ahsoka and the clones’ themes. They aren’t only the core protagonists of the series, but also victims of the war. If you are considering Samuel Kim tracks I’d say you could add a mix of these two:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCTGo9RNVs8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrdRHO7ekU4

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Absolutely glad to hear you are removing the narrator. It’s one of the things I’ve always disliked about TCW.

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Tartakovsky final arc (kidnapping of Palpatine) - Excludable

Realised I had skipped this one.

It’s good fun, like all Tartakovsky is, but to be honest I feel like by this point the tone would interrupt the darker tone the series has settled into, so I think it’s best kept to one side.

It also would need to interrupt the Siege of Mandalore directly, which I’m sure most would agree is a bad idea.

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Just been rewatching Ahsoka’s introduction with my daughter and since there’s only really about 10-15 minutes of meat in that episode I’m wondering if I might make that just the opening of a more Ahsoka focused episode, rather than intercutting with the Rookies arc.

Rookies ends up with Anakin vs all the villains, so might mix more cleanly with a solo Ahsoka episode like Cloak. I’ll have a think.

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What about using the Star Wars opening from the Mandalorian? Then you could have an opener for each episode/movie and do a Clone Wars logo splash screen like Mandolorian has/Rogue One.

Or maybe just use the opening crawl music from the movies?

TPM ROTJ ESB TFA TLJ TROS ROTS ANH SOLO RO ATOC
TFA:R https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/TFA-A-Gentle-Restructure-Released/id/50117
TLJ:R https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/The-Last-Jedi-Rekindled-Released-V3-UPDATE/id/61939
TROS:A https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/The-Rise-of-Skywalker-Ascendant-WIP/id/71835/page/1

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Yeah, I will be using the metallic Star Wars TV opening, but not the movie opening crawl music because firstly I won’t need that long a piece of music, and secondly because it’s not quite the right tone. Each TV show so far has stood alone and had its own musical identity and I’d like this to do the same- just not a bombastic one.

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EddieDean said:

Yeah, I will be using the metallic Star Wars TV opening, but not the movie opening crawl music because firstly I won’t need that long a piece of music, and secondly because it’s not quite the right tone. Each TV show so far has stood alone and had its own musical identity and I’d like this to do the same- just not a bombastic one.

Thats the perfect approach 😃

Just a random idea, why not use the old CW from 2003 opening title? 😉

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It’s a cute idea but it’s a little cartoony I think. I’ll go with the season seven one, where it finally reads “STAR WARS CLONE WARS” instead of “STAR CLONE WARS WARS”.

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EddieDean said:

Final thoughts before I put this down for a little while:

My plan is to modify opening and closing screens…

It is an awesome idea. They have really good artwork. Still have to read your other posts.
Regarding to start with ahsoka: it could work. As you said, the introduction for the clones is best attached with Anakin.

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Loving all these music suggestions, folks.

Octorox, thanks for your link - that’s very useful. It’s also great to see your justifications, that’ll be extra helpful. I haven’t read through the whole thing yet (work day for me) but I saw that you put “Can’t stand to see Ziro for even one second” so I can tell we have similar tastes. Looking forward to getting my teeth into it. (Interestingly enough, back a few years ago I made my friends a “so you want to watch the Clone Wars” document.)

CMMAP, just to clarify - I’m not suggesting I do a solo Ahsoka adventure for her introduction, more that I pair her introduction with one which then features her and Anakin, rather than mixing it with Rookies, which puts her to one side. I was then suggesting that Rookies itself (which might become episode two) could mix with a solo Ahsoka adventure, to keep her in the picture while we get through the battle of Kamino without her.

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Bit of progress on the actual editing: I’ve been able to solve the couple of issues I had with the full production pipeline, so I can now use lossless video and have access to the full audio tracks for more flexible editing.

For those in the know, who might be able to suggest something more elegant:

  1. I run the raw .mkv file through handbrake video converter, with lossy video (to make it convert quicker) but quality audio (AAC codec, 640 bitrate, 5.1 mixdown), which gives me an .m4v file with low quality video at variable framerate (unwanted) but the right audio channels. I can’t use handbrake for video because it won’t output at constant framerate.
  2. I load this into my Vegas 17.0 project, starting with 5.1 surround settings (so it imports correctly) but then changing it down to stereo bus mode (so it exports correctly).
  3. I run the raw .mkv file through tsMuxeR, now exporting only the lossless video file .264 with the original constant framerate.
  4. I load this into the project, delete the original lossy video track and couple of empty audio tracks, and change the project to the correct 23.976fps format.

That gives me lossless video at the original framerate and 5.1 channel audio to play with, and rendering it keeps everything in sync.

If there’s a better way though, please let me know.

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You could use ffmpeg for those things if you’re alright with a bit of command line. Getting audio would be “ffmpeg -i input.mkv -vn -c:a aac -ac 6 -b:a 640k output.m4a” and getting video would be “ffmpeg -i input.mkv -an -c:v copy output.mp4”, I think. I don’t know how Vegas would take those files, but they work well for me in Premiere.

Are you intending to only render it out in stereo rather than 5.1?