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Favorite Edit of the Year (FEOTY) 2020 Awards are here.
The Phantom Editor was the one who stared it all....
Here is an overview what Topher did, a summary and probably the closest we can get to what he did.
I have summarized and re-ordered the article:
You may have heard about a small, semi-underground screening this week in Los Angeles of Topher Grace's re-edit of the Star Wars prequels, and I was lucky enough to be among the audience who saw the one-time only screening of what was dubbed "The Editor Strikes Back."
Grace's intent was clear: Focus almost entirely on Anakin, his relationships with Padme and Obi-Wan and how he is corrupted and turned to the dark side by Palpatine.
Grace's take on Star Wars is an incredibly streamlined version of the prequels storyline, condensing all three films into an 85-minute running time:
The Phantom Menace is the most severely affected, For instance, cutting out Phantom Menace means there are still references to Anakin and Padme knowing each other years before that have no context:
- Pretty much the entire film is cut out save a shorter version of the classic Darth Maul lightsaber battle, which opens the entire story, and Obi-Wan's promises to Qui-Gon (and then Yoda) that he will train Anakin.
- Jump to the adult Anakin with Obi-Wan, the latter of whom is clearly meant to be several years older than in the scene before (and has grown a beard and has longer hair!). As non-Star Wars in style as it might be, it might have helped to put some kind of "10 years later…" title card or such to ease the transition.
While the brunt of "The Editor Strikes Back" is made up of Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, there is still a ton of completely excised material, including:
- several subplots and supporting characters.
- Kamino is gone completely
- Yoda shows up with the Clone Troopers, but there is no greater significance given to who and what the Clones are.
- Just about all the political scenes are gone
- You don't see the Senate chamber until Yoda and the Emperor have their battle inside it.
- Jango Fett only appears briefly in the Geonosis footage
- Boba Fett and General Grievous don't appear at all, though Grievous is still mentioned in dialogue.
- The Phantom Menace so edited out, along with most of the political content from the whole series, Jar Jar only appears in a single scene, greeting Anakin and Obi-Wan when they arrive to speak to Padme at the start of Attack of the Clones.
Grace actually used some deleted scenes from the DVDs and reincorporated them, sometimes to very good effect:
- It was nice to get a bit more personal with Padme by having her and Anakin go to her home on Naboo and meet her family.
- Yoda arriving on Dagobah has been kept in Revenge of the Sith, which Grace puts back in here.
- A large section of the fandom will also love that while the great scene with Anakin and Palpatine at the Opera remains, including Palpatine's insinuation that either he or Darth Plagueis are responsible for Anakin's very existence, the actual word "Midi-chlorians" is excised.
- it should be noted, Grace cut out some of the moments from the love story in Attack of the Clones (Anakin's line about sand and the two frolicking about in a field for instance) that are the most criticized, while still retaining the core of the two trying to resist and then giving into temptation.
There are other elements though that are certainly a bit strange though, thanks to having so much cut out:
- Count Dooku's role is reduced considerably and after he meets with Darth Sidious (from the very end of Attack of the Clones), he is never seen again – meaning there is no closure to the character.
- I believe Grace actually cut out any references to Dooku himself being a Sith lord (none of his lightsaber battles are included), so you could argue he was "just" a high-ranking flunky of Sidious, but it's still odd.
One thing is for sure:
Even with the complicated relationship some have with Star Wars these days, this series still inspires people in a lot of different ways. You don't take the considerable time and hard work to do what Grace did, for something that will only be shown publicly one time, for a series you don't care about.