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(9000 Series) Star Wars Episode II: The Approaching Storm

Hal9000

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episode_2_itunes.jpg

Cover artwork by user OnlyOneKenobi

**For those authoring the BluRay version to disc with TSMuxer, you need to select “Do Not Insert VUI/SEI Data."**

Synopsis
The second of the revamped '9000 Series,' The Approaching Storm delivers a re-crafted perspective on Star Wars Episode II in keeping with the drive of the original trilogy of films. Unnecessary 'galaxy shrinking' cameos from classic characters have been cut-down or removed. Anakin and Padme are depicted as realistic adults developing romantic feelings for one another. The political plot is made more straightforward and graspable. Superfluous action is subdued to make the film more story driven.


Intention
By stripping away extraneous tangents and bolstering attention to character development, this edit seeks to improve the original film. The original trilogy is regarded as the template toward which the prequels strive. The prequels are made to submit to the continuity and drive of the originals to the degree possible.




The following three goals are held in balance.
 
  • Bend the prequels to the story continuity of the original trilogy and the impressions it gives.
  • Improve the prequels in and of themselves, as films, through conventional 'FanFix' methodology. The pacing is improved, dialogue trimmed, and characters are developed better. This is the most readily apparent of these three goals that can be seen in The Phantom Edit, for example. The edits should be viable as films on their own.
  • They ought to be functional as replacements for the original versions. This means leaving the film's thoroughly "prequel" nature unaltered, respecting the broad strokes of Star Wars orthodoxy, and avoiding making changes that would betray to the audience that they're watching a fan edit. In other words, none of the other two listed goals should put undue stress on the goal of producing something that would have been suitable to have been released in 2002.


Running time is about 118 minutes.

Cuts and Additions:


 Cuts and Additions (An asterisk, *, signifies a change for V6):
 
The primary source material is a preservation of the HDTV version by OT.com user Schorman.
 
New title crawl, courtesy of Sir Ridley.
 
Camera pans down, rather than up, after the crawl, to maintain continuity with the other five films.
 
Removed Captain Typho's lines before the ship blows up. 
 
Trimmed Corde's death. 
 
Added deleted scene where Padme addresses the Senate. This establishes some context for the political content of this film, as well as Padme's post-Queen character.
 
Trimmed the scene in Palpatine's office to remove unhelpful dialogue.
 
*Reinstated Jar Jar greeting Obi-Wan and Anakin at the elevator
 
Anakin's inappropriate compliments are trimmed in favor of making it a relatable awkward moment for him. It doesn't give Padme pause. 
 
In the interest of downplaying Obi-Wan and Anakin's antagonism, their discussion about their roles in front of Padme is trimmed to get to the point. 
 
Anakin does not talk to Jar Jar.
 
Removed Jango talking to Zam, to save his reveal for later and remove redundancy. 
 
Removed scene where Obi-Wan and Anakin merely bicker. 
 
Tightened Padme's reaction to Anakin slicing the poison slugs.
 
Tightened up the speeder chase to remove overly dumb moments, dialogue, and physics.
 
Anakin doesn't lose his lightsaber, and Obi-Wan doesn't lecture him about it. 
 
Cut Windu's instructions to Anakin. It's more effective characterization if Anakin decides to talk to Palpatine himself. 
 
*Reinstated Jar Jar being given responsibilities as Padme prepares to leave.
 
Removed Anakin complaining about Obi-Wan to Padme. Padme consoles him, and they acknowledge that Anakin has grown up. Padme's only initial barrier to him has been dissolved.
 
*Reinstated the original ending to the packing scene
 
*Reinstated a truncated version of the Dex’s Diner scene
 
*Added two lines of dialogue from the removed scene where Anakin and Padme meet with the Queen to the refugee transport scene
 
Anakin doesn't mention attachment being forbidden. This on its own doesn't change anything drastically, but it's not necessary to define the universal 'Jedi Way' so narrowly.
 
Added deleted scene where Obi-Wan and Mace talk on the landing platform. 
 
Used extended arrival scene on Naboo.
 
Added first deleted scene of Padme with her family, replacing conversation with the new Queen. 
 
Removed Kaminoan prime minister listing numbers of clone units. It lessens the power of their reveal in a few scenes.
 
Boba Fett is not described as being a clone. He probably still is a clone, but the pacing is off when the movie pauses to talk about him when nobody asked. 
 
No fireplace scene. Instead, we have a sunset kiss that is interrupted by a scene transition. Scene has been regraded by NeverarGreat. 
 
Trimmed Obi-Wan and Jango's dialogue. 
 
When Obi-Wan reports to Yoda and Windu, removed Windu's perspective-less question about the assassination attempt. 
 
Removed dialogue about the Jedi not being able to use the force due to the dark side clouding everything.
 
Lightly trimmed the fight in the rain.
 
Tightened up the chase through the rings of Geonosis. Removed childish Boba moments, and sped up the pacing. 
 
Removed Threepio recognizing Anakin as "the maker."
 
Trimmed Cliegg Lars' dialogue that goes over the top to characterize him as a good guy.
 
*Removed dialogue between Anakin and Padme as he plans to search for his mother
 
Removed scene where Yoda senses Anakin's pain.
 
Removed Separatists' walking conversation with Dooku, including the reveal that Padme's assassination attempts stem from Nute Gunray's pettiness.
 
*Undid the change from Dooku talking about “ten thousand” systems to “a thousand”
 
Obi-Wan identifies Count Dooku as the mastermind of the assassination attempt, rather than Nute Gunray. 
 
*Replaced 3PO’s line about never having flown before, in order to complement a change made in ‘Cloak of Deception’ which gently implies a backstory for his character
 
Trimmed dialogue as Palpatine and company discuss what to do. 
 
Jar Jar doesn't fumble his words as he proposes giving Palpatine emergency powers. He also doesn't seem caught by surprise when his colleagues applaud him. He appears more competent.
 
*Reinstated Yoda hinting that he is going to visit Kamino
 
Threepio and Artoo stay on the ship and do not make their way into the battle. 
 
*Reinstated a truncated version of the droid factory sequence, though retained the deleted scene where Padme speaks with Dooku (FX of Anakin deactivating his now non-broken lightsaber courtesy of Sir Ridley)
 
Trimmed love confession scene to remove Anakin's surprised reaction, because they had not decided not to get together.
 
Trimmed Nute Gunray's dialogue during the Gladiator sequence.
 
Removed Threepio and Artoo from the battle, as well as trimming it up slightly. 
 
Removed Geonosian war room sequences in order to remove the unnecessary Death Star cameo. 
 
Lessened Obi-Wan and Anakin's antagonism after Padme falls out of the transport.
 
Removed the Jedi giving the clones military advice; this helps establish the clones as competent soldiers and the Jedi as being dependent upon them. 
 
Trimmed the duel with Dooku.
 
*Removed an odd two-second shot of Anakin in pain prior to seeing Padme laying in the sand
 
Yoda does not take out a lightsaber. I borrowed one brief shot from L8wrtr's edit. 
 
When AOTC first came out, I read somewhere that reversing the audio of Dooku's pilot droid sounds like, "Use the Force, idiot." 
 
Sidious does not address Dooku as 'Tyrannus,' and that title has been removed from the film.
 
Added credits for myself, workprint viewers, contributors, and acknowledgments of all other AOTC "FanFix" fan edits to date. 


Versions:

DVD5, 720p iTunes-compatible mp4, and 1080p BluRay-compatible mkv

Trailer: 
 

Hal9000

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As you can see, it's taking a long time to encode the 720p version. 2 days down, 4 or 5 to go. My MacBook is from 2008 and does not have a dedicated graphics card. It can do the job, but it takes... a long time.
 

Hal9000

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Compressor must have seriously overestimated the remaining time, because it's done! The 720p version can be found on the 'spleen.
 

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Watched, enjoyed and reviewed.

Now I just need to remind myself what I thought of Episode I: Cloak of Deception so that I can write a proper review for that!
 

Hal9000

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Thanks for the review! I'm glad it appears unedited, as you described. I'm curious what one thing you hinted at from Episode I you wished weren't cut.
 

zebramatt

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Jabba's cameo! :)

I know, I know, universe shrinking. Also, CGI Jabba. And there was waaaay too much of him in the theatrical. But... I actually thought it made sense that a Hutt would be there - the Hutts organise the event, and the races are obviously a pretty significant occasion in the gambling underworld - although whether or not it was Jabba wouldn't have phased me. Just nice to see the Hutts represented. It made the race feel like a bigger deal!
 

Hal9000

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zebramatt, I was conflicted about removing Jabba from Episode I for the reasons you described. I wanted to cut down on weird cameos from the OT, and there's only so many that can be easily removed. Jabba's appearance (essentially as Ceasar) at the podrace makes sense, and isn't jarring. I kind of like it, though I felt it was objectively more in line with my stated goal to get rid of it. Plus, it's a nice thing to save for later as a ROTJ-exclusive. That isn't to say that I'm breaking my goal of leaving the "prequel" nature as is, but I think it could be similar to how they intentionally kept the hyperspace-jump-star-lines out of the PT.
However, as I mentioned in the Episode I thread, I'm also encoding a slightly alternate version just in case the new films make reference to the whole prophecy thing. There is no alternate version of The Approaching Storm, since there would only be one slight tweak I'd make anyway. But Episodes I and III will have a few references to the prophecy (and Anakin's baffling virgin birth), just so as not to leave a hole in the story if the sequel trilogy picks up on that plot thread. And while I was at it, I went ahead and put Jabba's cameo back in too, because I was conflicted about it to begin with. It'll just be an alternate version. I am honestly not planning on releasing the "contingency versions" right now, as it would be confusing and frankly unnecessary. I myself won't be watching them, unless the future developments of the sequel trilogy force me to. It would be a shame to have done all this work and have it be incompatible with future films, so I wanted to avoid that by exporting slightly tweaked versions while I had all the stuff out.

Episode I changes:
Brief discussion of Anakin's virgin birth (though without the line "I can't explain what happened.")
Jabba's cameo at the podrace is reinstated (because I'm partial to it).
Mace Windu brings up the prophecy during the first Council scene (but without reference to "the will of the Force.")
Qui-Gon uses the term "chosen one" when the Council refuse to allow Anakin to be trained.

Episode II has no changes, because it's not worth it. The only thing I even would do would be to keep a brief line about prophecy during the landing platform (deleted) scene between Windu and Kenobi. It's like an 8 second difference; not worth the render time and HDD space.

Episode III changes:
Reinstated mention of the chosen one prophecy during the Jedi traffic scene.
Reinstated veiled reference to Palpatine and/or Plagueis using the Force to create Anakin.
Qui-Gon's ghostly voice can be heard telling Yoda, "Finding him was the will of the Force... I have no doubt of that" toward the end of the film.

I did not include Obi-Wan's rant about the chosen one prophecy after his duel with Anakin, by the way. I think the scene is more effective if it's kept personal rather than religious.
 

zebramatt

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Yeah, that massaging back in of the prophecy could be a very welcome (and necessary!) revision come Episodes VII through IX (the "Sequel Trilogy"?), without breaking the flow of what you've already done in these edits. Sounds good!

As I say, if you ever did decide to revisit Episode II - and who knows how you'll feel in 2023 or whenever! - in addition to the very minor change you mention above, I'd love to see (1) "I've got a bad feeling about this" slightly better placed; (2) the audio in the arena improved; and (3) the Death Star reinserted, albeit even more briefly than before.

But I absolutely agree that there's no compelling reason for you to do that on the off chance that J.J. Abrams's, or any subsequent director's, Star Wars movies somehow make reference to the prophecy or the chosen one. Indeed, it might even make more sense to excise such references from the Sequel Trilogy if they don't sit well with the Original Trilogy, eh?

Oh, and good call on removing Obi-Wan's rant. The less whining from both Christensen and McGregor the better!
 

Hal9000

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By the way, I've already taken your suggestion about Anakin's line in the arena by making that change in my timeline, so it'll be reflected if I end up ever re-exporting it. I don't plan to for such a small tweak, but it's done in case I forget.
I wouldn't want the Death Star plans in Episode II, because it seems bizarre to me. Ideally I'd remove it from III as well. But, failing that, we catch a glimpse of Tarkin and his brainchild at the tail end of the prequel trilogy, without complicating its prior history with no payoff.
And a goal I had was to let these be compatible with ongoing Stat Wars, as much as is possible without Palpatine's gift of foresight. I really hope that future films won't need to be fan edited. I'm sure they will, but I plan to stick with the original versions if they are at least good overall. (Like how I stick with Trek '09 rather than a fan edit because it's already a good movie, even if an edit can improve it slightly.) Thus, to me even a throwaway line in Episode VII about Anakin's prophetic background makes the "contingency versions" worth it. Because otherwise I'd be bailing a sinking ship and/or fighting the tides by constantly editing and filtering all the new content, which I'd rather just sit back and enjoy.
 

Hal9000

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1080p version on the 'spleen, and should be on .info within just a few days. With that, I'm done with Episode II. *fistpump*
 

DominicCobb

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I always think how much of a shame it is that Lucas never went through with Palpatine telling Anakin he's his father. It would, firstly, give meaning to the virgin birth, secondly, make Palpatine that much more of a diabolical mastermind, and lastly, give Anakin even more reason for devotion to Palpatine (imagine the scene where he stops Mace with the added layer that he's keeping him from killing his father).

More on topic: I have a question, I watched this a couple days ago (will write a review soon), and I noticed two of the deleted scenes seemed to have almost like the wrong frame rate or something? The scene with Padme in the senate and one of the ones on Geonosis (I forget which). Is this how the scenes were on the DVD/Blu-ray (I'm not familiar enough with them to know which).
 

Hal9000

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Hmm... They were from the DVD, so they aren't native 24fps like the main source. You might remember how the temp source for them was jittery during a test video of the podrace, but I did not notice any jitter in the final product. Would you describe it as jitter or more of a uniformly different feel to the frame rate?

EDIT: I went and looked at the scenes, and those two do indeed seem a little jittery. It's very slight, and I honestly don't know why it's there in some rather than all deleted scenes. Glancing at the ripped ProRes source, it's not like that. Why would Final Cut render some of a single file source jittery and not others? I'll see if I can't clean this issue up for a "contingency version." I might end up having to release them as a very slightly improved, but moreso just plain 'alternate', version. I think it's minor and might not be worth the confusion and bandwidth it'd cause to release a definite v2.

Thoughts on this?

FURTHER EDIT: Okay, I seem to have resolved the issue. I had ripped the deleted scenes a few different times for, y'know, reasons. So a different rip works much better for the affected scenes. Since it's so slight, I don't think I'll put out all 35GB that my edit of Episode II comprises. However, these issues will be corrected when I render a contingency version, which I will probably upload to the .info for anyone who is interested in it, though not torrented. Reason being that I can't effectively seed such an insane amount of data alongside what's already out there.
 

OnlyOneKenobi

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In response to the discussion on the previous page about Jabba The Hutt's appearance in Ep 1... IMO, all CGI Jabbas should be taken out for one simple reason - they look utter bollocks. Also nothing remotely like the huge, completely realistic puppet in ROTJ. I totally agree it probably is the one 'cameo' that makes sense out of all the OT, but blimey... when he 'slithers' on... embarrassing. Just my 2p's worth.
 

jamiemark

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In all honesty, if I've watched all of the other Star Wars prequel edits before, are these ones worth watching? I'm not a fan of the prequel trilogy at all, but have always checked out the different fan edits to see if there are any versions I would want to watch over again. Is there anything particularly different in these edits that make them worth me checking them out??
Thanks.
 

Hal9000

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I'll let someone less biased answer, but I'd suggest at least checking out Episode III when it's released next month.
 

Hal9000

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What are your thoughts about the frame rate issue during the deleted scenes where Padme addresses the Senate and when she confronts Dooku? I could re-export Episode II once I'm finished with III, and at least put it on the .info, if not also on the torrents too. But if no one cares, I might just not bother and only export the "contingency" version.
 

DominicCobb

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I, personally, would love a version that fixed the frame rate issue. This is my preferred Episode II. And that was really the only thing that bothered me. So, yeah, I'd like to see a version that fixed that. But if it's too much work for you, don't worry about it.

Also, I've been meaning to post a review, but I just stumbled into an absurdly busy few weeks for me, and I want to put some clear, rational thought into what I write. So that will be coming. Spoiler: the grade will be 9 point something.
 
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