I know I’ve been very vocal about my opposition to prequel edits that try to preserve the ESB reveal (I think the saga is best when watched in release order), but NeverarGreat made a suggestion in a prequel rewrite thread that I think is the best way it could possibly be pulled off. Basically, the idea is that Anakin’s turn to darkness is more subtle and politically motivated, and Obi-Wan has another, already evil apprentice who serves as the main villain of Episode III. At the end of the movie, both Anakin and the evil apprentice appear to die, leaving the audience to wonder which apprentice became Vader (and hopefully think it’s the one who isn’t Anakin).
So, I figured the idea was neat enough that I should figure out how to implement it in an actual edit. Giving Anakin a less extreme turn was fairly easy (several edits have already gone down that route), but contriving an evil apprentice that never existed in the actual movies was much more difficult. That is, until I came to a realization: General Grievous could be turned into Obi-Wan’s apprentice.
I know that sounds like the dumbest idea ever, but just hear me out. Several editors have already come up with the idea of redubbing Grievous into Darth Maul seeking revenge, and the way they approached it is very similar to the way I want to approach Grievous. An old enemy from Obi-Wan’s past was severely injured in a fight with him years ago, and as a result, they were implanted into a cyborg body. My idea is basically the same thing, just with Grievous having an additional reason to hold a grudge against Kenobi.
Throughout the movie, Grievous’s voice and speech patterns would be altered to sound much more similar to Vader: a deep baritone with semi-British touches, accompanied by flowery language and the same ways of referring to characters as Vader (Kenobi as “Obi-Wan”, Sidious as “Master”). This, accompanied with toning down the Vader-isms in Christensen’s Anakin performance, should hopefully make the audience automatically assume that Vader is Grievous in a new body, especially when Obi-Wan refers to him as a pupil that turned evil.
So, is this a good idea, or the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard? I’m not sure, but I think I just cracked the code to “saving the reveal”.