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The Clone Wars: Refocused - A new approach inspired by the Mandalorian

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WHAT IS THIS?

Many Clone Wars edits to date have edited the TV show into movies focusing on one or two major arcs - but I respectfully believe a different approach is needed. Inspired by the enjoyability of the Mandalorian, The Clone Wars: Refocused is going to present the most important and most enjoyable elements of the entire Clone Wars as an episodic experience intended to maximise enjoyment, both as its own story, and for those seeking a supplement to new canon like the Mandalorian.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?

  • MANDALORIAN fans will enjoy a strong focus on Ahsoka Tano and Mandalorian culture throughout, the journey of the Darksaber, some important development for Boba Fett, and an exploration of Sidious’ interest in force sensitive younglings - I’m making a ‘Mandalorian cut’ just for you!
  • PREQUEL fans will enjoy a deeper exploration of Order 66 and Anakin’s fall, new layers to Obi-Wan, and the shades of grey and introduction of third parties which make this predictable two-faction conflict anything but.
  • WIDER CANON fans will enjoy the constant threat of Darth Maul, and closer looks at Saw Gerrera, Moff Tarkin, all your favourite bounty hunters and the force itself, and a deep exploration of Clone identity and culture, including Delta Squad and the Bad Batch (soon to have their own TV series)
  • Fans of goofy humour, villains losing their menace, and the bland CG of the early seasons will regretfully find themselves poorly served by this edit, since there will be some limited removal of episodes which are both not important and hard to enjoy. (Justification can be found in the first few pages of this thread, though I welcome your input.)

WHAT ARE THE PROJECT’S PRIORITIES?

Importantly, I want quality of experience to be the most important metric. Inspired by the Mandalorian, episodes will be as long- or as short- as they need to be, in order to pace each story in the best possible way to enjoy the most emotionally resonant and exciting moments without filler or cringe. Similarly, the show as a whole will present the episodes in a new, more compelling order - which doesn’t break canon - but which presents the episodes in a way that gives the best pacing and variety, while allowing some of the more important elements of the show to remain in focus, building in anticipation and excitement over time.

HOW WILL YOU ACHIEVE THIS?

  1. Engage with the community throughout, to gain insight and ideas, and to challenge and validate my own assumptions and decisions.
  2. Review all episodes in chronological order, identifying where episodes can be grouped into arcs (representing events, not locations or characters in particular), and categorising them as relevant to either VITAL, IMPORTANT, DESIRABLE (i.e. top tier fantastic), EXCLUDABLE (i.e. skippable - the remainder), or OBJECTIONABLE (get rid altogether).
  3. Reorder the whole, first to emphasise the core plotline (Maul and Mandalore), then to pace and vary the rest, ensuring no continuity is broken. (You’ll be able to basically start watching from here if you want to - a lot of this project will just be presenting the whole in a different way.)
  4. Present the reordered whole in an easy-to-understand way for four audiences: Those wanting context for the Mandalorian, those wanting the most high-quality TV show they can, those wanting the most content that ties to existing continuity, and those wanting as much Star Wars as possible.
  5. Establish a set of standards for presenting episodes themselves, with titles and credits evocative of quality, and produce the basic grouping of each new (possibly grouped) episode.
  6. Produce edits in priority order. These will be where merely watching the whole in the new order would incorporate a mandatory-but-low-quality episode, or an episode which was somehow be broken by the reordering. Some of this may require butchering less important episodes ‘for parts’. The first episode will be a major one of these, introducing our key characters and focusing our attention on the forthcoming key plot.

WHAT SOURCES WILL YOU USE?

The project will incorporate the highest quality available versions (including AI upscaled and regraded) of the majority of the Clone Wars CG series, the ‘Crystal Crisis’ unfinished episode, the Tartakovsky Clone Wars 2D microseries, and the Son of Dathomir Audio Comic (which is necessary to a core plotline, but presented well).

CAN I CONTRIBUTE?

Please contribute however you like - up to and including editing! In this thread, I try to braindump as much as possible, in order to involve others in the process and for the interest of potential faneditors. If you’re interested in the history of this project I urge you to read through to see the thought processes involved - please feel free to dig any up to challenge any of them! The original first post, including the idea which a few of the posters below are responding to, can be found here: https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/the-clone-wars-best-of-both-worlds-a-different-approach/id/80467/page/7#1388992

WHERE’S THE TRACKER?

(This post used to feature a progress tracker / chronological ordering. I’ve moved it to a master document to save space - PM me for a link)

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I’ve been looking for a streamlined, easy to digest way of watching the whole series. This seams like the one!

Peace is a lie
There is only passion…

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I knew where you were going with this not long after I started reading this. It seems obvious that editors shouldn’t be beholden to the typical runtimes of television or movies, beyond convention.

It just seems natural to edit based off what works best for the story, whether it be 30 minutes or 2 hours+.

It should be pretty straightforward for one editor to go through and edit these episodes together based off story-arcs. It would be cool though to see different editors contribute to the project by tackling different arcs of the series. It could be a cool way for a lot of people to work together on something.

I would like to play around with editing Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars to minimize contradictions with the Filoni’s Clone Wars series. I think something liked his may already exist, but I think it would be interesting to break it up into a few separate episodes.
Part One could all fit into one longer episode, then the Battle of Coruscant could be its own shorter episode (like one regular episode of The Clone Wars), and the Nelvaan arc could fit somewhere in between Season 5 and 7 as another standalone episode (you would have to alter the ending to not make it take place right before Anakin and Obi-Wan find out about the Battle of Coruscant). Another shorter episode. So, I think this idea would fit pretty well with this project.

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I agree. Not to disrespect any of the amazing and ambitious fan editing projects on the forum right now (props to all of them, I could never make that many edits)… but I’ve always felt trying to adapt the Clone Wars into individual movies simply doesn’t work. All too often it feels like putting two disconnected story arcs together: that’s part of the reason I moved away from my original plans following Maul, when I planned out an Ahsoka related Season 1 and 2 edit but couldn’t get it to flow properly. TCW is designed to be episodic.

A more open-minded fanediting project, where each episode can be as long or as short as possible, is honestly the best way to watch TCW. Even as someone who owns all the Seasons on DVD and frequently rewatches my favorites on Disney +, I’ll admit there’s lots of filler in the show that could be cut for a better viewing. Definitely the smartest and most flexible way to approach things.

Maul- A Star Wars Story

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Well, it’s encouraging that nobody seems to think I’m mad for considering this yet. Thanks for the initial feedback on the idea, folks.

In that case, I’m going to get to work. I’ve long had a spreadsheet of notes on the Clone Wars chronology and various edits, so that gives me a good start, and I’ve got NumeralJoker’s edits, so I can switch out the old episodes with arcs, to give me the basis for each new episode.

First step now is to take each episode in turn and review it on its merits. Is it worth keeping? And if not, are there scenes or elements worth holding on to?

I started last night with the TCW movie. The Christophsis arc is decent enough, and necessary to introduce Ahsoka, but the Hutt baby arc is just horrible. It has too much “Snips”/“Sky Guy”/“Artooie”, the Hutt baby is in almost all scenes and isn’t funny or cute, it’s almost all action which is either bland or wooden, it’s Tattooine yet again (and terrible looking), it’s too early in the war for the Republic to be having to compromise and deal with gangsters, Ziro is a jarring character, Jabba loses his malice, and Padme seems incompetent.

I think, for all of these reasons, it absolutely has to go.

The Christophsis elements, like I say, are fairly decent, though I wouldn’t keep the content about a clone turning traitor. We’ve only just seen the creation of the clone army, I don’t think one of our first deep dives into the clones should be showing their failings. The Deserter did it better.

Any other thoughts there folks?

Finally, on sources: I’ll use NumeralJoker’s 4K AI Upscaled sources, but probably just the 1080p versions. With respect, 4K is probably overkill- and importantly one of the things NJ does after his upscaling is a full colour regrade, which you still get with the 1080p versions. I’ve been watching in 1080p and they seem absolutely stunning. Any objections?

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Thanks for the mention! However, putting our (me, expanded universes and smudger) edits down to boost the appeal of your edit might be a bit tasteless. Sounds great though.

Completed Edits: Star Wars- The Clone Wars I-VI

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I apologise if it at all came off as a criticism of your edits, Kanemedhurst. I’m not trying to belittle any of the fantastic effort and technical achievement anyone else has done. I’ve been watching and enjoying two-ish-arcs-as-a-movie edits for at least eight years.

What I’m trying to convey here is that the approach of attempting to adhere to a movie length presents its own particular challenges which - however well they’ve been handled by other editors like yourself - can be avoided if we don’t consider ourselves beholden to the movie length idea. And that to date, as far as I can tell, Clone Wars editing has focused on the movie length approach.

I mention other edits including your own for three reasons: Firstly, by way of comparison, because none of these edits exist in isolation, and all edits learn from and acknowledge one another even if they approach the shared goal via a different path. If my edits are good, they’ll be good because of all the work that came before them, not in spite of it. Secondly, because knowledge of these edits gives context to my theory. And thirdly (and leastly), because demonstrating an awareness of other approaches within this problem space establishes some credibility, which can be helpful when trying to foster input from other forum members. But on that last point, there’s a difference between establishing credibility (which is non competitive) and looking to boost appeal or to put down others (which is).

Of course, anything we produce is going to be subjective. I’d guess that far more people would prefer a series of movies highlighting the key arcs than would prefer a TV series of random lengths. But there’s no competition in this space - every time any fan edit gets released, the community as a whole benefits.

Either way, I hope that helps you feel like I’m not trying to compete or criticise. You’ve put a lot of thought into your edits so I’d absolutely welcome any input you wanted to give towards this project.

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Kanemedhurst said:

Thanks for the mention! However, putting our (me, expanded universes and smudger) edits down to boost the appeal of your edit might be a bit tasteless.

What? How is he doing this in any way? He’s saying that the approaches other edits have taken didn’t work for him so he’s going to try a different approach. He’s not saying the edits are bad or that the editors taking these approaches have done a bad job.

If you’re going to be working on projects in a highly collaborative area like fan edits (or any other creative endeavor), you gotta have thicker skin than that, man.

a trolling bantha

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This sounds like a great idea. I recently watched ATLA for the first time, which has very little filler and good pacing, and it made me wonder if there was a way to rewatch TCW with a focus on quality over quantity. In the past I’ve attempted to stick together a TCW movie with Anakin as the POV/focus and lots of timeskips, but because of the issues you’ve laid out re: movie edits, it had awful pacing and was an inferior experience to just watching the episodes I picked in order.

I feel like the biggest problem with TCW’s pacing is the last two seasons. This is somewhat unsurprising, given the show was cancelled for six years and then briefly uncancelled. There’s no real way to deal with a key part of Maul’s storyline being in a comic, though.

How do you intend to deal with the newsreels within arcs? IIRC, TCW often has later episodes of an arc take a different perspective, given context by the newsreel, or has something happen in between episodes of an arc. I’ve never seen Smudger or NumeralJoker’s edits so I apologise if this is basically a solved problem already.

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That’s a good thought on pacing sade, so I’ve added to my plan “8. Make any changes necessary to better pace the series as a whole”. I think my approach needs to be to first make the best episodes I can, and then to look over the show holistically.

(I appreciate, at this time, that effectively I’m saying I plan to have a plan - but you’ve gotta start somewhere, and I’d like to do this top-down.)

Regarding newsreels, I’m not sure. Consistency will be important, but again, I think quality must come first. Off the top of my head just now, the approach which gives an editor the most flexibility would be opening crawls or Solo-like text, because it’s text you can use to give whatever context is necessary, rather than demanding an edit be made around available sources.

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Just addressing some of the earlier comments too -

idir_hh: I don’t know exactly if I’d call this streamlined, since I’d like to keep as much good content as possible. But I’d hope it’s at least particularly digestible, by measure of each episode being as good as possible.

RogueLeader: Agreed on Tartakovsky’s. It’s great in a different way to TCW, but still very welcome. It’s especially necessary to introduce Ventress and Grievous, and to get Anakin knighted. But it’s also just a whole load of fun, and establishes that anthology feel of the clone wars nice and early. I’ll find its proper chronological placement and where to break or group the episodes, but probably not touch it much beyond that.

Solemn.Philosopher: Thanks for the arc grouping list! It reminds me of one issue I’ll need to consider, that of the Domino Squad episodes. Because they’re an arc, but they are split by other episodes chronologically. I forget exactly how much time is implied to have passed between episodes, but I appreciate it’s more than just back to back. It would make sense to present them together, and very early (since it establishes some clone culture early after their introduction) but if they depend on time passing then that needs solving. Again, I’m brought back to Smudger’s, who used it as an alternative to the baby Hutt arc, but also used the intersplicing of both this and the Christophsis arc to give the sense of time passing to both. I’ll still interrogate all of the episodes involved, but I’ll probably end up favouring opening with Smudger’s - though I may replace what video I can with NumeralJoker’s.

That raises another thought, though. If we’re no longer beholden to the movie format, are some arcs (like Domino Squad, and Maul’s return and ascent) better served as peppered throughout the show than in large arcs? Might making it more episodic make this feel like a more cohesive and developing war, than focusing on specific areas and narrative chunks for so long? Probably mostly not, though I think there may be cases when this is the case. I’ll have to make a judgment call (and ask you all for input) when faced with choices like that, with the top two priorities being episode quality and then show flow.

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One other thing I might end up doing is just adding a couple of tags to the episodes, for people who want to maybe watch a more trimmed version of the show. I’d probably use two main tags: VITAL would represent something unskippable if you want context outside of TCW, and SKIPPABLE would represent those retained but just not necessary for any broader context, and not particularly good. Those without either of those tags would be optional depending on how much you wanted to commit to. A final tag - GREAT - might represent those episodes which aren’t vital to the wider SW story or universe, but which are still just danged good.

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Ok I would like to apologize then for my comment. I see now that you were only trying to use others edit to compare and for no other reason.

The idea sounds great. Mandalorians way of story telling can significantly benefit the Clone Wars and having a mix of smaller, standalone episodes and more lengthy, show defining ones will be a great watch all round.

I think the tagging system will work well as almost a built in viewers guide. It’s gonna do the show a whole lot of good.

With my thin-skinned comment put aside, I wish you luck in this project.

Completed Edits: Star Wars- The Clone Wars I-VI

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No worries bud - thanks for saying, and for taking it well in stride. No harm, no foul 😃

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I remember there was a limited theatrical release of the first Savage Oppress arc that edited several episodes together into a feature . I never got to see it though as it was only available in very few venues .Here is one of the posters for it …https://movieposters.ha.com/itm/movie-posters/animation/star-wars-clone-wars-lucasfilm-2010-one-sheet-265-x-38-animation/a/161333-50443.s I also seem to remember seeing another poster for it with a yellow background , but can’t seem to find an image of it . Did anyone see this release in 2010 ? If so , how did it differ from the episodes that were aired after it’s release ?

https://screamsinthevoid.deviantart.com/

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EddieDean said:

One other thing I might end up doing is just adding a couple of tags to the episodes, for people who want to maybe watch a more trimmed version of the show. I’d probably use two main tags: VITAL would represent something unskippable if you want context outside of TCW, and SKIPPABLE would represent those retained but just not necessary for any broader context, and not particularly good. Those without either of those tags would be optional depending on how much you wanted to commit to. A final tag - GREAT - might represent those episodes which aren’t vital to the wider SW story or universe, but which are still just danged good.

I’m super interested in this idea, that way it’s easy for people to watch who just want the essential stuff or if people want to experience the show in a format with little filler. This looks like a great idea, best of luck to you! I’m excited to see how this turns out!

I am no Jedi

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The YouTube channel “Star Wars Story” has made tweaks to the 2003 Microseries to cohere with TCW and ROTS, and is friendly to OT.com. If you elect to include the Microseries, you might check it out and maybe enlist their work.

Also, I like the idea behind this. Help me finally get onboard with TCW.

Well done. I will disengage self-destruct initiative.

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I’m totally on board with this. The Clone Wars is possibly my favorite source of Star Wars entertainment along with the OT and the Mandalorian, but sometimes it gets a bit daunting to rewatch because of the out-of-order timeline, and specially all the filler and questionable arcs (i.e. D-Squad).

Though I like Kane’s and smudger’s 2-hour approach (perfect for movie nights); the Mandalorian has really gotten me accustomed to episodes of variable length. If this project pays off it will definitely make me revisit TCW much more often. So I’m looking forward to it!

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Thanks Knight of Kalee. It’s interesting how much simply presenting it all in an accessible way is perceived as valuable. I’ll see what I can do there to make purely accessing and understanding it as easy as possible.

Hal, I’ll check out that channel, thanks. Man, if I could have you enjoy the clone wars, that’d be a hell of a prize.

OK, I’m starting work on this right away. I’d like this to be as collaborative as possible, so I’m going to braindump as much as I can in this thread, to get as much input as possible and to challenge my own opinions. I have the basics of editing down but I might hit places where I need to pick up a new skill. But here’s the promise: I’m going to see this project through to the end. I’ve got plenty of time, and I’m extremely motivated.

It might end up being somewhat of a living project (maybe new edits come out with better ideas, or new episodes get 4K AI Upscaled), but I’m on it.

Current step is a full watch-through of the series, AI Upscaled where possible, comparing individual episodes against fanedited ones where available, and assessing the quality of each element in isolation. I’ll share as many thoughts as possible here, especially around the episodes I think should be cut altogether, for the community to challenge.

And while it might appear here like I’m taking broad ownership of this project, and more than happy to produce the 49 edits, I’m absolutely on board with RogueLeader’s idea that this can be a community effort. Let’s at least establish some standards in order to present it all cleanly and coherently as one contiguous whole, but let’s absolutely edit this together where people would like to.

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One thought that I won’t need to make a call on for a while, but which is worth thinking about, is on the content which is a lot shorter but still good.

We all seem to agree that one of the principles should be ‘quality no matter the length’, and also that pacing the whole is important rather than just grouping for commonality’s sake, and that we’d like to preserve the feel of a wide-ranging frontier war. But at the same time, it might be nice to group some of the shorter content which adds texture but doesn’t have too much of a bearing on the overall plot, as one to four ‘Tales from the Clone Wars’ anthology groupings?

One of the advantages here would be that you could incorporate all of the very best single standalone scenes from otherwise excised or truncated episodes. All of the good five minute chunks, split by fades and intertitles, that would be pushing it if we were to say “here’s a five minute episode to follow the last hour-long episode”. I guess it’d almost echo the Tartakovsky series.

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What I didn’t catch yet is: do you will combine scenes/entire episodes with different qualities (720p, 1080p, 4K)? If so, i would think to hold onto the quality of the majority of sources works best. Less work to do (if everything is 1080p) and someone would decide to upscale everything to 4K. This someone wouldn’t have the hercules task to junk it to pieces and bring any scene to the same quality.
Of course there would be the work to upscale from 720p to 1080p beforehand, but it wouldn’t take as long as to 4k. At least I think, but if I’m wrong I would be happy to get corrected.

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I think I’ll cap out at 1080p, since it’s easier to work with (in terms of rendering time and storage space) and absolutely plenty good enough to watch, in my opinion. But I’ll aim to hit that where possible. Once cuts are made and worked out, it’s relatively straightforward to match up an improved video source to replace an older one, so if I later decide to backtrack on this decision, or upscaled sources of existing episodes are released, it’ll be low effort cost to make the change.

But there will be some episodes which stick out visually - The Tartakovsky episodes are a completely different style, the Son of Dathomir motion comic is completely unique, and I might include the Crystal Crisis arc even in its unfinished state, if it’s halfway decent. Story quality is master, I think.

But it’ll be important to establish some consistency to the episodes. Titles will probably be:

  1. Star Wars TV logo (that Mandalorian uses, with the blue and red droids and masks)
  2. The new Clone Wars logo used in season seven
  3. The individual episode title in blue on black (named after the arc, ideally as consistently as possible, though maybe swinging a little more towards naming the event in the war - The Battle of Cristophsis, The Second Battle of Geonosis, Crisis on Utapau, etc - where possible, to give a little more of a sense of the conflict?)
  4. A Solo-style blue-text single page narrative card to introduce the context for the episode

What would this exclude?

  • The now fairly famous up-front episode news style narration. This may be a bugbear for most. But being forced to use the existing narration would limit some of the options if I needed to get creative.
  • The ‘fortune cookie’ moral. I don’t know if anyone particularly loved these, but they didn’t add much value, I thought.

Credits would probably be a faneditor credit, a credit to the original faneditor and/or upscaler source (if relevant), wider fanediting thanks, then rolling into the episode credits proper.

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I really like the idea to include the recent Star Wars TV intro from the Mandalorian - would be nice if it included TCW characters, but I guess R2 and Threepio count. Have you considered doing a sort of cold-open? I feel like the Mandalorian has used them very effectively - every time the music swells and the logo and episode name appear, it’s hype. Seems like a good way to give a little signal to the viewer to pay attention (and/or a trick to cut bits of the episode). Of course, you’d have to put the introductory text before the cold-open, but Solo gets away with doing that.