What is it?
This is an edit of the Prequel Trilogy and Original Trilogy that aims to tell the most central story of the Star Wars saga, the story of Anakin Skywalker, within three films. It integrates the emotional core of the PT, Anakin’s downfall, into Luke’s story. It does this through a remix of the PT with the OT. Multiple timelines is a storytelling technique that has been used in many films and TV shows (most recently in Westworld) and that back and forth structure is how I’ve chosen to tell the two stories.
This edit also has a secondary goal, which is to improve the PT. It does so by cutting out most of the dull politics, eliminating irritating characters and character moments, reshaping entire character identities, trimming and replacing dialogue, rearranging scenes, and cutting out large swaths of scenes featuring unnecessary CGI. At its core, the goal is to tell a focused story about how Anakin was found and what made him fall to the dark side, and not necessarily on how the Empire rose to power.
Who is it for?
My objective for this project is to share the good parts of the prequels with non-Star Wars fans and those who haven’t seen the PT. Basically, I want to share the story of the Skywalker destiny, which I feel is the heart of the series, with friends and family who have only seen the OT, or only TFA. Anakin’s story in the PT, despite being clunkily told, does add gravitas to ESB and ROTJ. This is something I want to share with non-fans without exposing them to the terrible and off-putting parts of the PT. However, it’s also for existing Star Wars fans to experience a much improved version of the PT in a new way.
Why not do a simple PT edit? Why taint the OT?
The reasons for that are twofold:
- a) Stripping the PT down to what I would consider its essentials leaves about an hour of content per film, so separate edits could not work, though I highly respect Hal and others who have done an admirable improvement on the films.
- B) All of the edits I’ve seen that put all three of the PT into one film feel disjointed. Though that is something I could potentially do with what I’ve kept from the OT, I felt it would be more compelling (and more original) to let viewers experience the complete story in a trilogy.
Wouldn’t this give away a lot of the reveals of the OT?
This has been something I’ve actively worked to avoid. Anakin falling to the dark side is something that will be hinted at in the flashbacks only in the second edit (Ep 2 of TAS) and will be first revealed in the ESB portion of it. Same goes for the Leia reveal. Yoda will also not show up in the past scenes before his identity is revealed in the OT.
What sources did you use?
I used the standard Blu-Ray editions of all 6 films and Harmy’s Despecialized to replace some of the baffling CGI additions. I’ve also used newer Star Wars films and other sci-fi movies to update some of the special effects. I am aiming to use a color-corrected version of the OT (from NevervarGreat) as the base when that becomes available.
You updated the OT’s special effects?
Yes, I’ve added new versions of the Alderaan and Death Star explosion, as well as stolen a shot or two from TFA and RO. I’ve also kept some of the SE changes with regards to CGI for locations, vehicles and ships, and removed changes where it detracted from the scene (like the Greedo scene). I kept the SE CGI because I want the two eras of the project to feel more like one whole (I’ve added more grain to the PT for the same reason).
What other major changes have you made?
- The overall plot has been changed. It is now about the Queen on the run from an organization called the Trade Federation led by the shadowy Sith who wants to kill her. Her Jedi protectors are on a mission to take her back to her planet and end up on Tattooine for repairs, where they find Anakin. After they escape, they find her planet under occupation and fight to take it back. Coruscant and the council do not appear at all.
- Padme isn’t the Queen anymore. She’s the Queen’s right hand, an extraordinary talented handmaiden who the Queen hears the counsel of and who will go on to become Senator.
- Jar Jar is just a minor character who got caught up with the Jedi. His role is explained away and dialogue is changed.
How long is each film?
While I’ve kept the minimum amount needed from the PT to coherently tell Anakin’s story, the resulting films are still fairly long, though within feature film length. I’ve just finished the first of my planned edits, blending episode I into episode IV, and it clocks at around 2 hours, 50 minutes, though the next two will be a little longer.
Is this out?
V0.9 of Episode 1 is out and going through beta. If you’re interested, I can send you a link. I would love any feedback you have. Episode II featuring a remix of AOTC and ESB will be out later this summer.