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The Clone Wars: Refocused - A complete series edit inspired by the Mandalorian [RELEASED: 2/5 seasons + 3 bonus episodes] — Page 30

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Oh yeah. I haven’t thought about my episode zero yet but it’s a very easy edit. I’ll do it after my first six episodes but before the next season properly begins, either before or after my little break.

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Been a bit busy lately and haven’t had time to watch any more yet, but I love the idea of how you’re restructuring “The 501st”! My guess would be to include at least part of the first training session, and then do the second later on. It may run a little longer, but I feel like that will be better context for the audience. Rather than just watching and thinking, “Well, they say they’re bad, but they can’t be that bad, right? Oh no, they actually are,” if we start with them messing up, it adds legitimacy to their in-fighting. Classic “show-don’t-tell” mentality.

If you’re trying to cut down on Act 1 more, perhaps just cut the scene with Lama Su entirely? It’s more important for the context of the war at large (“Wowzers, we’re sure making a lot of clones!”) than for anything pertaining to the actual Domino Squad, since clearly they’re not deficient.

Seriously can’t wait to watch it!

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I’m getting close. I have all the scenes tight now, I’m just trying out different orderings and seeing whether I prefer doing two training sessions or one.

I think I’d like to keep the Lama Su scene because it also establishes why that small pod of clone DNA is such a valuable target. Though I agree it’s the least important scene I currently have in the running.

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EddieDean said:
I think I’d like to keep the Lama Su scene because it also establishes why that small pod of clone DNA is such a valuable target. Though I agree it’s the least important scene I currently have in the running.

Not very important to this particular story but it also foreshadows/ties with Lama Su and the Kaminoans’ mindset in the Order 66 arc.

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OK, since I think my Clone Cadets part will need a bit of community refinement, I’m going to post it here.

It’s probably worth you knowing that the (basically final) Rookies and ARC Troopers segments play for a combined 37 minutes excluding credits.

Here’s version 1, which is the one-attempt version (9 min 30 sec), which goes:
Issues > Failed Test (combined from original tests #1 and #2) > Wrap-up
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YbrurWwbZXIDgEJ7ceiyYyPuEY10B9cp/view?usp=sharing
This one is shorter, and could possibly become a pre-credits opening, which would allow me to use the intro text to be explicit that their failiure has sent them to the Rishi moon listening post. Doing this will help transition between the two parts, though there are still a lot of scenes here so it may feel too much of a wait until the opening credits. If the opening credits come first, I can mention that Domino have just failed their final practice test, though I do kind of feel like this one feels a bit off without seeing the initial failiure, as MikeReese suggested.

Here’s version 2, which is the two-attempt version (11 min 30 sec), which goes:
Failed Practice > Issues > Failed Final Test > Wrap-up
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1IhVOlEBd-gFoW3nn8bk_Mcy-3rvH4D67/view?usp=sharing
This one is longer, and at 11:30 is probably too long to lead into the credits, so it’s probably right this comes after the credits and straight into ‘two weeks later’. I might put ‘2WL’ over black, but I also might just put it on blue text over the establishing shot from Rookies. This one is more dependent on the opening making it explicit that the cost of failiure is maintenance or listening posts.

In both cases, the Issues and Wrap-up sections are the same.

Issues goes:
Domino are told off by Bric > Fives and Echo (though we don’t really know it’s him) ask Shaak Ti for reassignment > Shaak Ti and Lama Su talk about stretching DNA > Hevy is convinced to stay by 99
I think this works OK. I’ve trimmed all scenes a little to make them a bit more implicitly saying “Domino Squad suck”.

Wrap-up goes:
“That’s an automatic fail” > Bric and Ellis complain (recontextualised to be more explicit discussion of failiure) > Brief shot of clones loading onto ships > Hevy says goodbye to 99
(The very next scene however I cut it will be ‘Two Weeks Later’ and scenes on the Rishi moon where they’re complaining about being bored.)
I think this works well. Obviously there’s nothing explicit to say their failiure is final, so I’ve tweaked these scenes to try to make them land as hammering home the failiure more.

I’m interested in feedback on:

  • The versions - which one feels best?
  • The positioning of the opening credits relative to the Clone Cadets part of this arc? Before (cold open the intro text) or after (intro text then clone cadets then ‘two weeks later’?
  • Any issues with any of these scenes?
  • Any issues with the flow between scenes?

Bear in mind that this is still rough, so many scenes could do with refinement or trims. When I’m editing, I always produce the full-fat maximum-content version first, then cut it down from there. Though please still feel free to nitpick from here, it’ll help direct my focus.

(It’s no extra work for me to now turn this into two versions of the full episode, so I’m going to produce both versions as full episode review cuts as I gather feedback)

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I feel both are too long for cold opens.

How about you use the first failed excercise as a cold open, then show intro credits and blue text (implying that if they don’t pass they will end up on moon-guard duty), then go to version 1

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That is not a bad idea at all! Really, really good shout. Kind of a best of both worlds. Brilliant input, thank you.

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The opening text should really come before CC, although having read Ice’s suggestion I totally agree with it. It would do wonders pacing-wise, yet setting a precedent for this episode distinctiveness with the later time-jump.

I honestly found Option 2 really commendable as it currently stands and I wouldn’t like to lose the first practice scene. I think having it helps establish visually the important aspects to remember of the main clones (Hevy is hotheaded, Echo plays by-the-book, etc.) and serves as a better introduction for 99, Shaak Ti and the drill instructors. And I felt it flew really well as an opening act, I never noticed how the ten minutes almost flew by, so its length shouldn’t be a concern. Moving the scene with the clones and Shaak Ti to earlier felt seamless and it led smoothly into the talk with Lama Su. It could have been like this in the original episode with no issues.

I feel the final test could have use for an additional establishing shot at the beginning (also the ARC Trooper’s lines sound a bit low, a minor nitpick). Also I’m divided on if 99’s pep talk works best before or after the failed test. Putting myself in the place of a newcomer, it could be a bit jarring or anticlimatic if after this emotional moment the squad unceremoniously fails anyway. It could also transition better, continuity and thematically-wise, from 99 overhearing the drill instructors to meeting Hevy and lifting his spirits.

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Thanks Kalee. Glad you thought it was smooth, I picked up some new techniques for audio editing in this episode, which both lets me create nice transitions and gives me a good tool to use if I get a bit stuck in future.

Did you feel like the ending was conclusive? Like it was obvious they’d failed, and that they were getting shipped out, but maybe not as soldiers? I can’t imagine a more explicit edit of the available material, but I’d like to know if it at least feels up to a good standard.

Agreed on the final test, I’m sure I can fit a spare establishing shot in there.

Regarding Hevy’s attempted desertion, I think the only options for where to put it after the second test would pose problems. If it comes right after the second failiure, it interrupts Bric and Ellis talking about the failiure, which I think would make the fail less explicit. And if it goes after that, it would need to flow directly into ‘goodbye 99’, which has different lighting. So I think it has to go before.

You’re right though that it’s a slightly hopeful scene, it almost goes too far in setting up Hevy’s return as the magical turning point which’ll fix Domino Squad. I don’t know if I can take any of that away without losing the lovely 99 stuff.

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Just to be clear, my version with only one test still has all of the exposition from both tests. They’re merged into one test which covers all of the main beats of both, ending in failiure.

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Knight of Kalee said:

EddieDean said:
I think I’d like to keep the Lama Su scene because it also establishes why that small pod of clone DNA is such a valuable target. Though I agree it’s the least important scene I currently have in the running.

Not very important to this particular story but it also foreshadows/ties with Lama Su and the Kaminoans’ mindset in the Order 66 arc.

Really interestingly, there’s an infirmary in the Clone Cadets concept art, and a fully animated single shot of shirtless clone models being tended to in the fully modelled infirmary, which only appears without SFX in the newsreel. And it features a medical droid that looks like an early version of the one that Fives eventually rides over the Kamino ocean on.

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EddieDean said:

Did you feel like the ending was conclusive? Like it was obvious they’d failed, and that they were getting shipped out, but maybe not as soldiers? I can’t imagine a more explicit edit of the available material, but I’d like to know if it at least feels up to a good standard.

Yeah, it serves well enough as a conclusion to the opening act, and the farewell between Hevy and 99 is enough to make it bittersweet rather than downright depressing. I wish there was a way to convey more explicitly than they are going to serve as glorified security force rather than not be a part of the army altogether, though granted there’s no further available footage so I’m fine with they way it stands now.

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At least I’ll be able to make it explicit in the crawl that failure equals listening post, then TWO WEEKS LATER we’re at a listening post.

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EddieDean said:

At least I’ll be able to make it explicit in the crawl that failure equals listening post, then TWO WEEKS LATER we’re at a listening post.

Yeah, I can see that working.

A funny thing that came to my mind as I revisited Rookies, is that the opening newsreel states that the newer generation of troopers have to be rushed into warfare, with their training unfinished, because the Republic forces are too spread thin.
This clearly does not align with the canonical events in Clone Cadets but perhaps you could imply in Refocused that in order to keep on with the demands of the war, clone troopers that don’t finish their training have to enlist in service anyway, just not in actual combat.

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That’s almost exactly the wording I just wrote! 😉 I specifically highlight that they failed (to complete) their COMBAT training, implying that they’re still members of the army, just not fully trained field soldiers.

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EddieDean said:

That’s almost exactly the wording I just wrote! 😉 I specifically highlight that they failed (to complete) their COMBAT training, implying that they’re still members of the army, just not fully trained field soldiers.

Great, makes total sense! I just thought you could add the “Republic is in critical need of soldiers” explanation to this, as the original episode implied but was later contradicted by Clone Cadets.

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I also like the idea of making the practice test a cold open, and then going to the other stuff after that.

For the scene where Fives and Echo speak to Shaak Ti, I wonder if you could find a clean read of Dee Bradley Baker saying “Echo”. Then, when the camera is on Shaak It’s back, as she is standing there silently, you could have the line “Echo” play, then it cuts to the shot where Fives gives Echo a look, and then Echo says, “General, may we have a word with you?”

So it is like Fives is asking Echo to speak for them both when no one is saying anything. And it would make it clear that it is both Fives and Echo in that scene. Also, the last two or three shots of that scene where they don’t say anything are super awkward. I wonder if you could have the shot where she says, “You are where you need to be” then cut back to Echo and Fives, and transition from there. I don’t know if you left it this way because of an audio issue or just because that’s the way it was originally, but it feels weird!

You might be reluctant to do this, but I think you should cut the “Goodbye 99” scene entirely, and move the desertion scene in its place. Hevy has been hotheaded this entire episode, and after they failed their test, I don’t think it makes sense for Hevy to be so upbeat with 99 as he is leaving.

So they fail, it cuts to 99 overhearing their instructors talking about their failure. The lights in the bunks are dim, implying it is night. 99 hearing about how they failed their test makes him come back later that night to check on Hevy, because he knows how hard he’ll take the loss. In the next scene as the cadets are going to bed, sure enough, Hevy is going AWOL. 99 catches him, though, and argues for him to stay with his team. We don’t see Hevy leave, so we can infer that he didn’t. I think you could use that Kamino dawn establishing shot here (instead of before the final test), and show as the clones are boarding the Star Destroyer. It can fade to black on the final wide shot, and then we could get the TWO WEEKS LATER title card here, then go into Rookies.

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Yeah, I’ll hunt around a little more then. Someone must say it in a soft tone.

I’ll also look out for something for Hevy to say as he triggers the explosion. I cut out his “Do we take prisoners?” “I don’t”, because it’s a clumsy exchange, but I’d like him to say something like “99”, “Domino Squad”, or “Brothers”.

I could cut “Goodbye 99” and switch in desertion, I’ll give that a shot. Desertion is the stronger scene. One thing I won’t include is Hevy coming back and saying “I’m back with the squad”, because it’s way too heroic for the tone we’re after.

Agreed on Echo and Fives’ slow ending with Shaak Ti being a bit off. I left it this way since I’m still cutting down from all of the available sources, but I had thought it might work as a deliberately awkward moment, as if she’s just given them the cold shoulder. I’ll trim it though.

Right, I should realistically have a review cut out in a couple of hours. (Edit: Uploading is being a hassle, but it’s on its way.)

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Episode five is rendering and I’ve made some minor tweaks to other episodes, so in the following order I’m uploading:

  • Episode Three - Malevolence v1.1 - Cutting out that final black half hour (and making it episode 3 instead of 4)
  • Episode Five - The 501st v1.0 - Review cut of the full episode I’ve been discussing for the last couple of days
  • Episode Four - Cloak of Darkness - With alternate intro text to make it work better as 4 not 3. Now, Anakin’s not palmed Ahsoka off on Luminara, but after Malevolence (and until The 501st) he’s aggressively pursuing Grievous, so while he’s doing that Luminara’s covering her training.

These’ll all be up across today.

(Still very aware I need to fix Episode One’s framerate issues, make the discussed tweaks to 1-4, and use the new McFibb credits for them all.)

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s01e05 - The 501st Legion (The Domino Squad Arc) - Review Cut Released

That’s it up in the spreadsheet now. PM for access.

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I’m still down to help redo the Episode 1 video track when you’ve got a final or at least mostly final cut locked in for it.

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Ah, thanks Sade. I finally managed to get a fixed video track thanks, and have been stitching it back over my edit. It’s nearly done, I’ll finish it when I come to do the polish pass when I have the new credits.

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Very nice job on that Domino Squad episode! Some early notes from me:

  • Just before we go to the crawl, there is a fade to black which I think could use some retiming. As it is, it fades slowly and we get just a brief glimpse of El-Les before going completely dark. This feels off. I suggest either fading earlier or later.
  • Someone already suggested dropping that brief scene with Shaak Ti and Lama Su. I think it doesn’t really add too much and it might be better to keep the focus on the clones.
  • When the clones escape the base, the droids report four clones having escaped. However, when we next meet the group, only three are present. This should probably be addressed in some way.
  • The reunion scene with 99 could also use some trimming. Echo mentions the generals receiving word of an impending attack, which seems a bit odd considering they themselves witnessed the separatist fleet moving in. Not sure what the options here are, though.

These are all fairly minor nitpicks. I think you managed to craft the three episodes into a solid narrative.

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Good points Wexter, thanks! I’ll take a look…

Importantly, is it better than consuming them in their original format? That’s my master metric!

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CLONE CADETS

  • The cold open was a great suggestion. Starting right into the action makes the episode engaging from the start, for a moment I forgot we hadn’t had any credits yet 😄 And the rest is history. I agree with Wexter regarding the timing of the fade to black.
  • Good call on adding Fives referring to Echo by name! The new establishing shots before the test fit really nicely and the transition flows great.
  • I’d say keep the talk between Shaak Ti and Lama Su, if just for the worldbuilding aspect and to give Shaak at least a bit of screentime.
  • Hevy and 99’s talk worked better than in the preliminary versions. Regarding the transition to Rookies, I’d say it would feel more natural with a couple seconds more of black screen with the “Two weeks later” card before the establishing shot.
  • On the matter of technical issues, Commander Colt’s second line of dialogue still gets lost among the sound mixing. The first one is corrected though 😃 Also, after Brick says “More like an impossible task”, a very faint line can be heard on the left channel of him saying “You can’t be serious, Eiles”. Is that supposed to be an unpolished part of the edit or is a remnant of a cut exchange? I’m leaning towards the latter.

ROOKIES

  • I kind of missed Cutup’s death. I know we don’t spend much time with him in this version but, still, it’s a brief scene that also sets up the threat of the Eel (this creature feels somewhat random in its current only appearance without having been established prior to it). Restoring it would also address the continuity error just created where 4 clones are said to have escaped but 3 are shown alive.
  • Are you still planning on adding a new pre-mortem line for Hevy?

As a minor thing that caught my attention, it’s interesting seeing how the show improved on the visual department over the years. Rex and Cody’s face suddenly look a lot smoothier and more expressive after the transition into “ARC Troopers” footage.

ARC TROOPERS

  • Fives and Echo suddenly having the blue-striped armor of the 501st is an easily forgivable continuity bug.
  • A minor thing but maybe you could try keeping Ventress’s line “Keep playing with your droids”. The exchange with Grievous would feel more natural. I like their rivalry and mutual teasing of each other.
  • The pacing of the battle really benefits from cutting the Obi-Wan swimming bit and the later half of the encounter with Grievous. However, since Obi-Wan now does not appear again after forcing Grievous to retreat, maybe you could cut right before he starts chasing after him.

CONCLUSIONS
All said and done, great work on this, and more importantly, I’d say an improvement over the presentation of the originals. The three episodes blended together are a much comfortable viewing experience and not only because there’s no need to jump between seasons anymore while binge-watching, but because the narrative really benefits from the merging, with each chapter working great as a well differentiated act and ARC Troopers in particular being a strong climax. Also I’d say having the Dominos fail their test at the beginning makes for a more powerful message and growth for Fives and Echo.