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Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker - Saga's End Edition (4K VERSION 2 WIP)

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 (Edited)

UPDATE: 12/20/2020 - I learned a lot with V1 having never done anything like this before. I bought FCPX and went to work learning by trial and error (mostly error). Now that I am pretty comfortable with the overall edit I want to challenge myself to see if I can present it in the highest possible quality—4K. That said, I do not have an HDR-capable rig end-to-end so I will be experimenting with 44rh1n’s guide: Working with 4K Blu-Ray rips in SDR

Possible issues that I may run into center around the excellent work of Hal9000, skeenera, jonh, and poppasketti that may or may not upscale well. Those are going to make or break this version of the edit so I will evaluate them closely.

Most tweaks to the re-edit (outside of the presentation format) will be minor so feel free to PM me for links to your preferred version once V2 has been completed.

Final thought/request: if there are any members who have seen V1 and the alternative opening recently linked to in the comments and have strong feelings about which version they would prefer to see in V2 please share below. Thanks!


First and foremost a hearty thanks to Hal 9000 and the contributors to the Ascendant thread. This edit would not be possible without all the wonderful discussion and the work of editors far more experienced and talented than I am. Specific members are credited for their contributions below.

VERSION 1 INFORMATION:

Run Time: approximately 127 minutes
File Size: 11.387 GB .mp4
Resolution: 1080p
Audio: 5.1 .aac and Stereo .aac
Technical: No chapter designations or subtitles
Availability: PM me for the link. Please note that by requesting a link you agree you own the HD version of The Rise of Skywalker.

SUMMARY:

This will not be everybody’s definitive edit. It is a conservative, Rey Palpatine cut that seeks to heighten tension and increase emotional payoff. The kiss stays. Ben dies. Honestly, the foundation of this edit lies mostly in trimming, shuffling, and re-contextualizing–not so much in majorly reimagining. See below for the complete set of changes and the reasoning behind them.

CHANGE LIST (Ver. 1 - 12/12/2020)

  • Changed Crawl to provide context for state of the galaxy and to imply why the response to a call for help would be drastically different later

  • Removed Palpatine reveal in crawl and reinforced notion of internal conflict within the First Order

  • Reserved ‘Mustafar Minute’ for later and opened instead with Rey training to center her as the protagonist and give weight to her ‘be with me’ moment in the climax

  • Intercut training course sequence with ‘Mustafar Minute’ footage and soundtrack to demonstrate force bond is active between Rey and Kylo and to give Rey a glimpse of the Sith Wayfinder

  • Stayed with Rey after training course to show her vision triggered a recollection of something she had read in the Jedi texts

  • Shortened research sequence to be able to transition into the spy mission (post chess scene)

  • Interrupted message download as enemies approach with JJ-style smash cut to give sequence a brief cliffhanger and increase tension

  • Trimmed Leia and Rey interaction to remove awkward lightsaber exchange/continuity issues and create a natural transition back to the spy mission as they appear tense at hearing the falcon hasn’t reported in yet

  • Removed lightspeed skipping sequence but harvested unused engage/disengage hyperdrive clips to visually and audibly strengthen the transition to and humor of Poe’s “everything’s on fire delivery”

  • Removed Rey’s “what’s the message” and cut instead to Kylo’s journey to Exogul as this is as late in this edit that I could logically push the Palpatine reveal

  • Overlaid Fortnite broadcast on the raising of the Sith fleet and intercut a brief, strategically-timed glimpse of the transmission to General Pryde as well as General Leia dropping headphones and looking distraught to indicate the message was widely disseminated and that it confirms the intel from the spy

  • Removed ‘secrets only the Sith knew’ line from the Resistance briefing as it felt less like a natural reaction and more like obvious exposition

  • Removed ‘16 hours’ line as well since it felt like an artificial and unnecessary motivation when the stakes are already well established with the return of Palpatine and the looming threat of his fleet

  • Reserved C-3PO and R2-D2 parting goodbye because it felt unnatural and as if its only purpose was to telegraph C-3PO’s later sacrifice which, instead of setting it up, actually only served to cheapen it

  • In the spirit of something imagined being greater than something seen I removed Leia and Rey’s last interaction on Ajan Kloss and instead used flashes intercut with Rey standing alone looking pensive to increase the emotional impact of what is to be their final goodbye

  • Removed “Ghouls”

  • Utilized previously cut vision sequences to underscore Rey and Kylo’s attempts to hurt each other via personal traumas while using their force connection on Pasaana

  • Removed “They fly now”

  • Trimmed Rey’s recognition of Ochi’s ship to remove the tonal mismatch of her brief look of glee and instead focus on her connection to the ship

  • Removed Snap, Rose, and Leia scene and instead cut straight to BB-8 falling through sinking fields to preserve pacing and, again, remove an awkward and unnecessary exchange

  • Removed the Knights of Ren helicopter shot

  • Insert dark throne vision with the transport explosion sequence to fully commit to and drive home eventuality of Rey Palpatine

  • Remove Finn and Rey exchange because her inner turmoil and the fear of her vision is explored better later. Also, Finn’s characterization is weakest here with him immediately pardoning Rey for killing Chewbacca as well as seeming out of tune with her in the ensuing conversation which actually undermines all of his force-sensitivity implied throughout the movie

  • Removed the Millenium Falcon being towed to Ren’s command ship as the crew already discusses that the First Order would be waiting for them if they tried to return to it on Pasaana. Plus, it makes for a nicer reveal later when they are making their escape during the Kijimi sequence

  • Removed the immediate Chewbacca reveal to increase tension and emotional payoff when Rey senses his presence later (on a side note I really wish it had been Finn who sensed it and that they used it as a moment to conclude his ‘I never told you’ subplot)

  • Removed reference to 8 hours left for same, previous reasons given

  • Removed Zorii’s “I want to see your brains in the snow” line and left it as incredulous, non-verbal communication

  • Removed Poe and Zorii scene which only served to ‘no-homo’ Poe and introduce yet another mcguffin.

  • Trimmed C-3PO’s “from the Southern shore” line as that has been rendered irrelevant in later edits

  • Removed scene of Poe treating C-3PO like trash, receiving the previously cut captain’s medallion, and flirting with Zorii because it’s offensive and it unnecessarily breaks up Kylo’s arrival on Kijimi

  • Removed Ochi’s ship interior sequence with use of the medallion to keep the action moving—not everything needs an on-screen explanation. It’s not like the storm troopers approached to salute a high ranking officer who would have had such a medallion. They immediately asked for credentials which belies the use of a free-access token anyway so clearly there was some confusion that could have just as easily been from an unscheduled ship docking

  • Trimmed ‘I’m the spy’ scene to remove another reference to ‘I never told you’ subplot. Once is unfortunate. Twice is egregious.

  • Moved “Wayfinder’s there” to moment camera pushes past Rey while staring at the Death Star wreckage for the first time

  • Added a musical passage from ‘Approaching the Throne’ to Rey holding Sith dagger. Between that and the intense staring at the dagger intercut with staring off to the wreckage it is pretty heavily implied she is sensing the location of the Wayfinder thus fulfilling the ‘only this blade tells’ premise previously set up

  • Removed the Goonies-style impossible compass/dagger sequence

  • Joined the water skimmer sequence directly with the wreckage interior and Rey’s search for the Wayfinder while omitting the second shot of Rey skimming into the wreckage for pacing reasons

  • Cut directly to Poe and Finn confrontation from Part one of Kylo and Ren’s lightsaber duel since the Leia footage was used in a previous position. This has the added benefit of removing Maz’s bizarre exposition/narration while also preserving the tension built in the previous sequence. Now Finn’s allusion to Leia knowing what Rey is going through strengthens his force-sensitivity subplot and more elegantly sets up Leia’s involvement later

  • Continued directly with the scene where Jannah tells Finn there’s another skimmer both for logical story-flow purposes and because it presented a good opportunity to increase the tension by using Samuel Kim’s Battle of the Heroes/Duel of the Fates mash-up

  • Made modest edits to the Kylo and Ren lightsaber duel part two sequence for scoring purposes to to imply passage of time allowing for Finn’s arrival

  • Mixed Samuel Kim’s score for maximum effect but dropped to environmental sounds only to provide buffer for tonal shift in last phase of the duel

  • Added Palpatine’s previously cut line “Kill the girl…end the Jedi” to moment where Kylo is about to strike Rey down but is suddenly interrupted by Leia to imply that what she used all of her strength to do was not just call out to her son but also to break Palpatine’s grip on him. This works really well since Palpatine had previously stated that he has “been every voice [he has] ever heard inside [his] head”

  • Used forum suggestion to re-arrange the force healing sequence in order to have Rey first say that she wanted to take Ben’s hand and then heal him. This change, while small, helps sell the romantic entanglement and justify the kiss heard round the world

  • Removed Rey running away and taking off in Kylo’s Tie as well as Finn witnessing her leaving to imply him staring off is another force sensitive moment with him feeling Rey’s inner struggle instead of watching his friend abandon them in the middle of trying to save the galaxy

  • Used a previously cut hyperspace sequence to bridge the end of the Death Star scene with the beginning of the Farewell to Leia scene since it had the right tonality and allowed things to breath

  • Removed Palpatine’s transmission to General Pryde because it was used earlier, the destruction of Kijimi is being excised altogether, and, again, not everything requires an on-screen explanation. Hux is dead. Kylo has abandoned the First Order. General Pryde has already been shown to have loyalty to Palpatine. It’s not like I removed the all important sequences of him being guided through the nebula or how this massive Sith Fleet was manned. It’s just logical that he would show up in command at the final battle and frankly any attempt to explain here only interrupts the impact of the characters dealing with the loss of Leia.

  • Removed the destruction of Kijimi. If it had been shown to galvanize the free worlds of the republic against the threat of a new imperial regime then it would have been left in. As it stands it is really only used to deal a crippling morale blow to Poe. His existential crisis is better served coming from the loss of Leia as his arc has primarily been around assuming the weight of command and now it all falls to him. Kijimi is saved.

  • Used Ben’s expression after his interaction with Han to imply he senses Rey’s emotional state and to transition to her whereabouts

  • Used forum suggestion to remove Luke’s revelation that Leia knew Rey was descended from Palpatine and used musical cue to suggest that he only just intuited the information through the force. This adds dignity back to both Luke and Leia’s characterizations

  • Used skeenera’s visual FX with Leia’s saber re-colored purple in tribute to Carrie

  • Cut straight from the raising of the X-Wing to Poe’s goodbye to Leia. Flowing from the resistance mourning, to Ben, to Rey, and ultimately to Poe gives the loss of Leia and Carrie the time and space it deserves without dragging. Also, since his interaction with Zorii was cut this helps elevate Lando’s appearance and the advice he gives

  • Overlaid C-3PO’s dialog that was cut earlier with the restoration of his memories to give a brief, but earned moment of poignancy between him and R2-D2 without entirely sacrificing the humor

  • Removed ‘Holdo maneuvers’ line. Sorry Merry.

  • Poe’s final Resistance briefing now comes off as the rousing speech it was meant to be instead of sounding like a shallow parroting of words from a mostly irrelevant secondary character. Sorry Felicity.

  • Intercut Leia becoming one with the force with Rey’s arrival on Exogul immediately after the Resistance departs Ajan Kloss.

  • Entire sequence of Rey being allowed through the Sith Fleet has been removed as it deflates the tension and is unnecessary. The twist of Palpatine wanting Rey alive was just revealed by D-0

  • Trimmed ground crew landing to cutaway from the visual innuendo of Jannah’s “you had a good teacher” line and improve the abrupt musical transition in the existing scene

  • Removed Palpatine’s “that’s what I want” line and all ensuing exposition regarding Sith possession in that scene to leave his motivations at corrupting Rey and finally ending the Jedi

  • Overlaid Leia’s previously cut line “Rey, never be afraid of who you are” as Rey lays feeling defeated. The tear and inhalation are the perfect reaction to hearing her former master’s words which are exactly what she needs to be able to center herself and achieve one-ness with all past Jedi thereby bringing Leia’s lesson full circle

  • Overlaid Leia subtly whispering “always” with Luke

  • Utilized Jonh’s show-stopping visual FX of the force ghosts in the final confrontation that give the climax the weight and emotional payoff it was in dire need of

  • Added lo-pass filter to scene of throne room destruction to match the tone of the visuals and reduce the awkwardness of the musical selection

  • Slowed Ben becoming one with the force and altered music cue to give Rey and the audience a beat to grieve (Leia’s scene used previously)

  • Removed references to Rey surviving and people rising up all over the galaxy. I have no strong aversion to the scene as is but I feel like the following scenes resonate that much more when not knocking you over the head with the previous points

  • Removed Poe and Zorii flirting in the victory celebration and slightly reshuffled shots to time certain moments to more appropriate musical cues

  • Used the entire Tatooine ending sequence from the HAL9000 Ascendent cut with incredible work from poppasketti and Jonh as I couldn’t improve on it in any way—perfection

  • Used skeenera’s custom LUTs to taste throughout to give the whole project a professional look without the weird blue-green cast present in the theatrical edition

If you care to discuss, dissect, or dissent I am totally open to criticism. That said, my primary objective is to contribute something enjoyable. May the force be with you…always.

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

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Well this sounds rather damn fantastic! I don’t know if you discussed this elsewhere on the forums so it’s come out of nowhere for me, but it sounds great. I haven’t seen TROS since it appeared in the cinema - I was waiting for a Rey Nobody cut or the broken lightsaber VFX for Hal’s, but the cuts you describe sound very well thought out, so think it’s about time I give this a shot. Please PM a link!

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PM sent. There wasn’t any discussion leading up to the release because I was late to the game and became inspired after haunting the Hal 9000 Ascendant thread. If you’ve got multiple watches in you that is an excellent cut as well.

EDIT: I saw too late that you were already referencing Hal’s work. Either way—highly recommend.

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

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I’d love a PM too. Lots of well thought-out tweaks here, it sounds like. I’m curious to see how well the Samuel Kim music works, also - it was often suggested and dismissed in previous discussions due to being synthesised and not really in Williams’ style, but this is a very stupid movie so I can see it benefitting from some really bombastic music.

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Can I get a link as well? Sounds amazing.

Peace is a lie
There is only passion…

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PMs sent! I’ll be honest, there’s probably a cardinal sin or two committed with respect to standard Star Wars conventions but I really just leaned into what felt right for being what it is (for me in any case).

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

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Huh, this actually sounds really good! You’ve made some really creative edits and I’d love to see how they play out. Bummer about cutting the Poe/Zorii flirting scene, though… I always thought Oscar Isaac was hilarious in that moment. But I guess it makes sense since it looks like you’ve removed most of the romantic aspects of their relationship.

I’d love a link!

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It’s totally a personal preference thing because I agree Poe’s performance was not the problem. It just felt like an eleventh hour addition to really drive the last nail in the coffin for Finn-Poe shippers. If she had been introduced earlier I probably would have just left it.

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

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Also, PM sent!

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

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Hi,
This sounds great!

If you could please PM a link I would love to watch your edit!
Thanks very much!

😃

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PMs sent!

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

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Hi,
This edit sounds great. Can I get a link? Thanks!

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PM sent!

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

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I’m not sure if you’re looking for feedback on this here, but I just started watching this. I really liked the way it opened- on Rey, intercut with Kylo, straight to the wayfinder in the book- all really good stuff and a far better opening. But I thought each individual shot in that sequence, and the following sequence of Finn and Poe shooting through Kijimi, felt very short.

I can’t remember the original version of all of this, since the last time I saw the movie was on launch, so I don’t know quite what you’ve got to work with, but I’d throw my vote behind spending a little longer on each shot and switching shots a little less.

I don’t want that to sound too critical, because it really did hit a LOT better than the original did.

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I love feedback. I’m a feedback monster so no offense taken at anything. In fact, I’d like to thank you for your kind words about the opening. It certainly did feel more natural even though I didn’t have an establishing planet shot to work with. Perhaps I’ll learn blender or something and create a new opening for V2. Anyway, I digress…

Regarding the tempo of the intercut shots there were some visual cues I attempted to align to communicate the connection and I only have so much score to work with (the way I have it overlapped right now). That said, if it comes off as too frantic then that undermines my larger goal of pacing the first act. I’ll take a hard look to see if I can do it better. Also, do you feel having Rey and Leia’s exchange in the middle of the spy sequence is what’s contributing to your impression of choppiness? I’d love to hear more of your thoughts!

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

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PM sent!

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

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No, I thought the Leia exchange felt really natural where it was. I think it was mainly the Finn and Poe sequence where it started to feel choppy, perhaps because it came on the back of (good value) intercutting of other scenes, so by then you’re mentally juggling a lot of information. That scene was high on chaotic action but low on context so it might not be totally necessary? Perhaps a wipe might imply time passing to bring us to the falcon’s arrival at ajan kloss?

But yeah, nice opening and intercutting, and the opening crawl was miles better than the original too.

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I see. I can extend the Rey and Leia exchange but that reintroduces the weird handing back and forth of the lightsaber as well as the continuity issue later of some shots where she has the saber and others where she doesn’t. It is a minor gripe though so if wiping from that to Rey running to meet the crew returning with the falcon improves flow I am all for it. I’ll do a mock up later to see how it sits to lose the back half of the spy sequence.

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

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I’ve put together an alternate opening that builds off a previous suggestion regarding the overall pacing. At first blush it does appear to flow well and I do like it but I wonder if it makes sense to cut so much of the action in the first act. We’re beginning to stray from show don’t tell territory into imply don’t show. Anyway—things to ponder. Thoughts are definitely welcome.

https://vimeo.com/492339134
Password: fanedit

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

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Major project update added to original post

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

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May I have a link please also?

Resurgence was already an improvement on the original, and I look forward to seeing how this compares!

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PM sent!

Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.

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Can I get a link? and if you have 4K… oh baby… haha.