You guys don’t really know me over here, but I’m a faneditor named Spence. Some info on my Star Wars edits pops up over here from time to time. I have done Ep. II, III and VI, and my current projects are turning The Force Unleashed games into animated features and, coming more recently, a new and pretty extensive fanedit of Return of the Jedi.
I thought you all might be interested in hearing about it, so I’m going to put my cutlist over here. Also, over at FE.org's forums there’s a pretty extensive thread discussing it, with preview clips and more information.
Here’s what I originally wrote over there, with my cutlist included. Let me know what you think.
I’ve also been sending out some more extended test clips for people who are interested. I’d be happy to give you the link to those via pm, but you have to provide feedback!
I’m looking forward to getting more involved on this forum in the future!
Return of the Jedi is my least favorite star wars movie. 4 and 5 are great as is, and there’s prequel edits that make them work. Jedi has really never been right for me. I’ve tried to edit it twice, and neither of those satisfy me. Apparently, they didn’t satisfy much of anyone . By the way, I’m aware of the bad quality of my version 1, and it will not repeat here. Also, that’s why I did a version 2, so leave the poor first guy alone, will you?!
My quest has always been to figure out what that element of the film is that keeps it from succeeding. I assumed it was the ewoks, as I really dislike them, but its not. The biggest problem with the movie is the lack of tension.
During the entire battle on endor, there’s not a single moment where it feels as of Han and Leia will not succeed. The humor of the sequence, the cuteness of the ewoks, its just really hard to think the empire will kill all the Teddy bears and capture our heroes.
Their success is what Lando and the fleet are depending on. So if Han seems like he’ll obviously win, this feeling stretches to the fleet as well.
The only tense sequence is between Luke and Vader. Its the core or the story, and there are real moments of darkness and doubt within it. Except, since this whole sequence happens on the Death Star, it’s essentially meaningless, as regardless of what happened, they would’ve all been blown up anyway.
Having seen the new edit of phantom, Shadow of the Sith, I realized how rearranging the ending can really help with the tension. everything has to feel as if our heroes will all fail.
The set up for the movie is totally different, as per the new crawl. Luke’s been training with Yoda since shortly after ESB. Chewy was already captured when he and Lando went to Tattooine at the end of ESB, and Lando has managed to get under-cover inside the palace. Leia grows restless waiting for Luke to return, and goes to rescue Han herself.
Luke is forced to use a simpler plan, sending the droids in with his lightsaber, then going in himself to break everyone out. It clears up the original completely stupid and illogical plan.
No Boba Fett. He isn’t at Jabba’s. There’s really no reason for him to be there, and it gets rid of his silly death.
No Rancor. Our first action scene is Luke being a full on Jedi, and beginning is all build up to that.
Lots of trims to Han being an idiot. Removed all of his jealousy toward Luke. The love story was resolved in ESB, so his jealousy just makes him seem foolish.
Lots of trims to the Ewoks. They’re still likeable and kind of cute, but not over the top. you can kind of believe they succeed in their battle now, with the way it is cut.
The emperor’s throne room is moved to a big Star Destroyer instead of on the Death Star, so Luke’s battle still has meaning. This Star Destroyer does not blow up in the battle. Lots of establishing shots and additions to make this very clear.
The battle is totally reordered for pacing, making it appear that the rebellion is losing the battle up until after the emperor is killed.
We get the release of winning the battle, then go to Vader’s death, so the sequence never slows down. Because they were on the Death Star, the emotional beat with Vader had to happen before the Death Star explosion, but it totally ruins the pacing. Now, that doesn’t matter, because they aren’t on it.
New ending with a little more emotional resonance. The final shot of the movie is now Luke burning Vader’s body, bringing the whole saga full circle.
Some musical call backs to the prequels.
An exact cut list below, though there are too many little changes for me to list (or remember) all of them:
-ADDED new opening crawl. Title is still RETURN OF THE JEDI. (thanks to L8wrtr)
-MOVED Dagobah sequence to right after the first Death Star scene.
-CUT Yoda confirming Vader is Luke’s father.
-CUT Obi-Wan’s ghost visiting Luke on Dagobah.
-CUT Lapti Nek/ Musical sequence.
-CUT Boba Fett from every scene of the movie.
-CUT frog guy eating a rodent in in the Jabba’s palace wide shot.
-CUT Leia as Boussh handing Chewy over to Jabba.
-MOVED Liea freeing Han from carbonite to after Dagobah.
-ADDED Luke sensing his friends are in trouble when they get caught by Jabba, using shots from him feeling Kenobi’s presence on Dagobah.
-REPLACED all of Jabba’s subtitles, to give him more personality and help with my cuts.
-RECOLORED 3PO when Jabba catches Han/Leia, so he appears to be a different droid. In this chronology, he hasn’t arrived yet.
-CROPPED 3PO out of many shots in this sequence.
-ADDED shots of Luke flying away from Dagobah from ESB, making it appear that he is headed for Tattooine.
-MOVED Han and Chewy in the prison cell to after Luke leaves Dagobah.
-CUT Han being filled in by Chewy on what’s going on.
-MOVED Droids arrival to after prison cell scene.
-CUT 3PO’s dialogue about Lando and Chewy never returning.
-CUT Eye droid (IDroid?) At Jabba’s gate. 3PO knocks, begins to walk away, and the door opens.
-ADDED Leia chained up with Jabba during the scene with the droids.
-CUT/CROPPED any shots that show Leia not being there.
-CUT much of Luke’s message to get to point faster.
-CUT 3PO not knowing about Luke’s plan to give them to Jabba.
-CUT the end of the droid scene, ending it now with 3PO’s “We’re Doomed!”
-MOVED Emperor’s arrival at the Death Star to after the Droids in Jabba’s Palace.
-MOVED Luke’s arrival to right after Emperor Death Star scene.
-ADDED Day time establishing shot of Jabba’s before Luke arrives.
-CUT Luke choking the pig guards. That would get him at least 2 dark side points.
-CUT all of Bib Fortuna’s dialogue with Luke. We don’t know he’s doing the mind trick until he repates things to Jabba.
-CUT much of Luke’s dialogue with Jabba. The only lines kept are “I must be allowed to speak” “You will bring Captain Solo and the Wookiee to me” and “You can either profit from this, or be destroyed. It’s your choice, but I warn you not to underestimate my powers.”
-CUT Rancor sequence. Moved some shots and dialogue from Jabba to make this transition work.
-CUT the droids interacting on the sail barge.
-CUT Luke and Han dialogue scene on the skiff.
-REPLACED original Sarlaac and sounds in every shot (sourced from the GOUT DVD.)
-CUT “3PO, tell that slimey piece of…” Now Han just says “He’ll get no such pleasure from us!”
-CUT a few shots of everyone looking at each other before Luke walks the plank.
-CUT Threepio on the barge from action sequence.
-CUT some of Han’s dialogue.
-CUT many little things in the Skiff fight for pacing.
-MOVED 3PO and R2 falling off the barge to after Luke fires the canon at the deck. Now it looks like they jump off just as the explosion occurs.
-CUT leaving Tattooine after “I owe you one”
-MOVED Rebel briefing to after they leave Tattooine.
-CUT Han’s dialogue with Lando. “Well look at you, a general…” etc.
-CUT some of the dialogue after Han is announced as leading the Endor away team to remove some cheese.
-CUT the beginning of Han and Lando talking about the Falcon, so it feels like we come into the middle of their conversation.
-MOVED the shuttle arrival at Endor to right after they leave the Fleet.
-ADDED Death Star establishing shot to smooth transition between these scenes.
-CUT some of Han’s shenanigans and other dialogue from the Faking the Code scene. Now the focus is mainly on Luke and Vader sensing each other.
-CUT “Hey, it’s me!” sequence.
-ADDED music to Speeder Bike chase. (thanks to Rogue-theX)
-CUT Leia passing out after she falls off of her speeder bike.
-CUT most of Wicket’s first scene. We just see him walk up to Leia with his spear.
-CUT Luke finding Leia’s helmet.
-CUT some of everyones stupidity standing around looking at the Ewok’s trap. Chewy now goes straight for the meat.
-CUT some of the end of the Levitation scene. I don’t really need to see the heroes happily reunited yet again.
-MOVED Luke walking outside to earlier in 3PO’s story.
-CUT 3PO’s story after “Yes, R2, I was getting to that.” Removed rest of that scene.
-CUT some of Leia’s dialogue about her mother. She didn’t really know anything about her, as she died two minutes into Leia’s life.
-CUT Han coming outside at the end of this scene.
-CUT Vader’s dialogue about it being “Too late for him now”
-CUT some of the Ewok on the Speeder bike.
-ADDED shots from ESB of a shuttle flying to The Executor and landing, which moves Luke/Vader/Emperor scenesto a Star Destroyer rather than the Death Star.
-CUT “Bring those two down here!” When 3PO distracts the Imperials.
-CUT many Ewok scenes. Anything involving traps or over-cutesy stuff is gone.
-ADDED Death Star into the viewport in the throne room, so Luke can see it next to the battle.
-CUT “Witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station!”
-ADDED Reversal of the shot where Luke/Vader clash sabers in front of the Emperor, so it looks like they lift them up again.
-MOVED all of the Vader/Luke fight to immediately after they clash sabers.
-ADDED new music to fight to make it more exciting, sourced from TPM.
-CUT Emperor’s dialogue during the scene.
-CUT Luke kicking Vader down the stairs and him walking back up.
-CUT all dialogue from Luke jumping to the rafters to Vader throwing his saber. Now he throws it at him immediately after he jumps out of the way.
-CUT some of Vader walking down the stairs.
-CUT Luke responding to Vader while he’s hiding.
-MOVED some of the fleet battle to after “So be it, Jedi.”
-MOVED Leia and Han trying to open the door to after “we’ve gotta give him more time!”
-MOVED Chewy and Ewoks taking the ATST to after the extra blast doors close.
-CUT some bits of the ATST takeover to make it less comedic.
-MOVED Leia being shot to after ATST sequence.
-MOVED Vader’s redemption to after Han’s “I’ve got an idea.”
-MOVED Han taking the bunker to right after Emperor’s death.
-MOVED Han running from the bunker and the explosion to right after they set the charges.
-CUT Han’s reaction to the explosion.
-MOVED “The shield is down, commence attack!” to right after explosion.
-CUT the Executor being destroyed. The Rebels still attack it.
-CUT some of Vader’s lines during his death, and used new music over the scene.
-CUT Leia and Han’s dialogue about Luke. Now they look up at the explosion and kiss.
-CUT Wicket interrupting their kiss.
-MOVED Celebrations around the galaxy to after Leia and Han kiss.
-CUT Endor Celebration, other than one shot that pans down from the fireworks.
-MOVED the funeral pyre scene to the end, new music to make it fit better.
-ADDED Iris transition to credits after the camera pans up from Luke to the fireworks.
-ADDED a couple of extra credits at the end for me and everyone who has helped me with the edit.
There’s also a plan to do some slight color correction, mainly to make Vader’s saber look less pink.
I’d like to entertain any other ideas anyone would like to submit, so feel free to throw some stuff out! Also, there’s some preview clips all throughout the thread, but they’re all tests or works in progress, so nothing is finalized in them yet. Some of them I know I won’t be using, but will be included on the DVD.
Speaking of which…
PLANNED SPECIAL FEATURES:
Full length commentary track
Clips of ideas I abandoned and a little discussion about them and why they were not used.
A Basic Fan Editing Tutorial, basically a video version of ADM’s tutorial. Great for noobs!
Previews for my upcoming edits.
“George Lucas Can’t Win” a short opinion piece by me on George Lucas’ decisions when making the Star Wars films. It’s a little essay I wrote a while back that I was going to turn into video. This will be on the disc if I can finish it in time, if not I’ll just youtube it. Basically, it’s a little bit of understanding about Lucas and his “bad decisions” in regards to the Star War saga. I guess it’s defending him a little bit, but it also attempts to make sense of his thought process.
I agree with almost all of these edits.