“probably the best possible edit of the Star Wars prequels given the footage released and available”
April 3, 2012 4:38 AM   Subscribe

Topher Grace Edited The ‘Star Wars’ Prequels Into One 85-Minute Movie and We Saw It Grace’s Star Wars III.5: The Editor Strikes Back still manages to tell a complete, surprisingly moving story of Anakin Skywalker’s rise and fall even while making some severe cuts

The result is an 85-minute movie titled Star Wars: Episode III.5: The Editor Strikes Back. It should be noted that the Star Wars prequel trilogy is almost 7 hours in total length, and the shortest film (Episode 1) is more than 51 minutes longer than Grace’s fan cut. What this means is a lot of footage ended up on the editing room floor, and a lot of creative choices were made in the editing process. And the result? Topher Grace’s Star Wars film is probably the best possible edit of the Star Wars prequels given the footage released and available.

Details of the edits here.

Currently Grace has no plans for additional screenings.
posted by dubold (108 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
Given the trajectory of fan expectations and reactions to the prequel trilogy, I think the best possible edit is probably the 5-second one that ends things after the 20th Cent Fox fanfare.

I still would like to see this though. Maybe Topher can seed it to one of the fan-edit sites?
posted by kmz at 4:44 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd watch that.

*leak leak leak leak leak leak leak*
posted by flippant at 4:56 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Good to see Topher doing some midlife career change training.
posted by fairmettle at 4:57 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


lol: "Topher". Seriously.
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:02 AM on April 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


So he did all this work, isn't going to release it in any way? It doesnt matter if its fantastic or terrible or somewhere in betweeen, if a tree falls in the woods...
posted by yeti at 5:03 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


tell a complete, surprisingly moving story of Anakin Skywalker’s rise and fall even while making some severe cuts

"even while"? I'd say "only by".
posted by DU at 5:08 AM on April 3, 2012 [13 favorites]


I still think there's potential to do something with the prequel trilogy but I think the task of meaningfully improving the prequels has its limits, instead I think the content could be better used to add weight to Return of the Jedi.

If done much like Godfather part 2, the prequel footage could give an interesting layer of reflection for Luke about who his father is and about what choices he must make. Done in RotJ it would allow people to retain the twist end of ESB and give additional satisfaction to Vader overthrowing the Emperor.

Whether the footage is good enough to use and whether it's possible to insert the prequel stuff in suitable places isn't something I ever explored but I think that combined with some trimming of the Ewoks make for a satisfying recut.
posted by AbsoluteDestiny at 5:21 AM on April 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Topher Grace is a damned tease.

If no one dares to leak the edited film, the least he can do is release the extensive list of edits that he made so that someone can reassemble the movie from its component films. That cannot possibly be any violation of copyright since he wouldn't be publishing anything more than timestamps and durations.
posted by cotterpin at 5:28 AM on April 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Done in RotJ it would allow people to retain the twist end of ESB and give additional satisfaction to Vader overthrowing the Emperor.

See also: The Machete Order.
posted by AzraelBrown at 5:36 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


lol: "Topher". Seriously.

What? His full name is "Christopher" and he doesn't like "Chris."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:37 AM on April 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Better than "Risto."
posted by gottabefunky at 5:57 AM on April 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


This is great! After recently discovering the existence of the despecialized editions of chapters 4-6, this will solve the ethical boondoggle of the existence of those nasty prequels.
posted by Theta States at 6:00 AM on April 3, 2012


What? His full name is "Christopher" and he doesn't like "Chris."

STRING THAT MOTHERFUCKER UP
posted by mightygodking at 6:01 AM on April 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh, and I'll second the notion: torrent or it didn't happen.
posted by Theta States at 6:02 AM on April 3, 2012


What? His full name is "Christopher" and he doesn't like "Chris."

TOO BAD CHRIS!
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:13 AM on April 3, 2012 [13 favorites]


When I was a teenager, I once went to a meeting of a fanfic club (mostly women and men in their 30's and 40's) for the Dragonriders of Pern universe. The club had voluminous member materials, including a guide to naming people.

One section under "naming" showed you how to alter conventional, common names (in the U.S.) into exotic fancy "Pern" names. "Topher" was on the list and it's all I ever think of when I see this actor or his name anywhere: middle-aged people in 80's Southern California, drinking tea and eating fig newtons, trying to discuss their slashfic in a room with a bunch of stranger's children.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:14 AM on April 3, 2012 [16 favorites]


Hris?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:15 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I were Grace I'd change my last name to Sakes, call myself Christ, spend my nights ordering things for signature delivery and spend my days feigning being offended at delivery men. Yet another reason why I should never be a bored rich guy. Someone send Grace a copy of Godfather III.
posted by any major dude at 6:16 AM on April 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


KEEP THE CHRIST IN CHRISTOPHER
posted by dubold at 6:16 AM on April 3, 2012 [11 favorites]


Xopher
posted by kirkaracha at 6:20 AM on April 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


middle-aged people in 80's Southern California, drinking tea and eating fig newtons, trying to discuss their slashfic in a room with a bunch of stranger's children.

Sometimes I get nostalgic for Livejournal.
posted by verb at 6:21 AM on April 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


STOP
posted by sklero at 6:30 AM on April 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Good lord, even as a teen I couldn't read more than about 10 pages of a Dragonriders of Pern book. I can't even imagine Pern slashfic combined with fig newtons.
posted by DU at 6:31 AM on April 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've got a buddy named C'pher. Topher isn't that weird.
posted by Vhanudux at 6:31 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, who remembers Harper's Tale? Anyone?

Bueller?

I'll stop now
posted by verb at 6:36 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


So he did all this work, isn't going to release it in any way?

There's this crazy little thing that we like to call copyright that might get in the way.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:39 AM on April 3, 2012


All this effort - wasted on Star Wars. Sci-Fi fans and movie-making professionals should get together and crowd source a new epic. There's so much passion and talent out there that pretty much any effort will surpass the prequels in terms of quality.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:41 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


So..."That 70s Show" was a documentary?
posted by Legomancer at 6:42 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm skeptical.

The Phantom Edit and Attack of the Phantom were supposed to make their respective films 'better' -- watchable even. If memory serves correctly The Phantom Edit removed about 20 minutes from the film and Attack of the Phantom cut nearly 40 (!) but I was still fidgeting in my seat waiting for them to be over.

On the other hand, the original Phantom Menace Trailer clocked in at around 2 minutes and I remember being totally pumped for that so maybe that's about the right length for that picture.
posted by mazola at 6:46 AM on April 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


lol: "Topher". Seriously.

Well you're going to love his son's name: Topher, Episode II
posted by mullacc at 6:47 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Topher Grace is one of those celebrities that I truly hope will succeed. I'm not sure why, it's not like he's ever done anything that I really could get behind. Venom was cool I guess. Everytime I see him I'm just like, "Topher! Fuck Yeah!"
posted by Think_Long at 6:50 AM on April 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


Actually, what really impresses me about the edits is that anyone was able to pay enough attention and retain enough of what happened in the prequels to map out how a compelling story--or just a mildly entertaining movie--could be made from what's in them. All I remember is the costuming of Amidala, and mostly because people kept giving me the dolls.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:54 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


lol: "Topher". Seriously.

At some point, at some level, isn't every name made up? I do wonder about whether the pronunciation rhymes with "Gopher" or "Guffer".
posted by Renoroc at 6:58 AM on April 3, 2012


I think it's the director's prerogative to go back and reinvent a movie.
posted by George Lucas at 7:01 AM on April 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


If only the power of Anonymous could be turned upon the task of freeing The Editor Strikes Back. That would be a good case for white hat hacking.
posted by Argyle at 7:01 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Better than his street name

Toe-4
posted by stormpooper at 7:09 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tojam.
posted by KingEdRa at 7:12 AM on April 3, 2012


At some point, at some level, isn't every name made up? I do wonder about whether the pronunciation rhymes with "Gopher" or "Guffer".

It rhymes with gopher. He's gone by Topher his whole life.
posted by ORthey at 7:14 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Next thing you know there will be girls who call themselves Tina!
posted by buriednexttoyou at 7:23 AM on April 3, 2012 [13 favorites]


What? His full name is "Christopher" and he doesn't like "Chris."

STRING THAT MOTHERFUCKER UP


My name's Christopher. I hate it. Hate the name, hate what it means, hate that there are tens of millions of people my age with the same name so we have confusion about which Chris somebody meant. Fuck it. He chose to be called "Topher"? Fine by me.

PS: My mother, when I was very little, would refer to me as Topher the Gopher as a nickname. This was in 1975-1979, long before Mr Grace was famous.
posted by Edison Carter at 7:24 AM on April 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Another point: "Topher" may also have saved him some grief when it came to a "professional name." I'm not sure whether SAG is the same way (correct me if I'm wrong), but the Actors union will not let two members to have the same "official" name listed. So if there already was a "Chris Grace", he'd have to have changed it anyway. The odds of there being another "Topher Grace" on the member rolls were probably nil.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:28 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Grace is a pretty charming fellow. I'd rather watch him than LeBeouf anytime. Topher, as a name is probably holding him back, about now. Christopher Grace has a pretty good movie star ring to it. So much so that it's probably already on the actor's union books. And he'd have to buy it out.

(Checks) Yep, the Christopher Graces go up to at least "V" at IMDB.
posted by Trochanter at 7:29 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oops empress.
posted by Trochanter at 7:30 AM on April 3, 2012


All I remember is the costuming of Amidala...

Cutting that scene, the podrace and striding around on rooftops could alone count for 3-4 of the cut hours.
posted by DU at 7:42 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


One thing this re-edit, or any of them, doesn't address is Mr. Plinkett's well made point that telling Darth Vader's pre-story isn't that good of an idea in the first place.
posted by Trochanter at 7:49 AM on April 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


One thing this re-edit, or any of them, doesn't address is Mr. Plinkett's well made point that telling Darth Vader's pre-story isn't that good of an idea in the first place.

Amen. If anything, that prequel should have been about the arrogance and tragic mistakes of Ben Kenobi.
posted by lumpenprole at 7:53 AM on April 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


One section under "naming" showed you how to alter conventional, common names (in the U.S.) into exotic fancy "Pern" names. "Topher" was on the list and it's all I ever think of when I see this actor or his name anywhere: middle-aged people in 80's Southern California, drinking tea and eating fig newtons, trying to discuss their slashfic in a room with a bunch of stranger's children.

But that doesn't even work for a Pern name. They're almost always amalgamations of you mom and dad's name, unless you're a dragonrider, in which case you get a nice contraction right in the middle. Vhanudux's C'pher would be much more apt.

I mean, geeze, people.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:54 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't remember if I read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius before or after Grace became well known, but Dave Eggers' brother apparently goes by Toph.

As for the edits, I'm in the redo camp. Is canon canon if it sucks?
posted by teekat at 7:55 AM on April 3, 2012


I've got a buddy named C'pher.

Lemme guess — his parents are from Pern? Around where I live we got a bunch of Pernese immigrants back in the 80s and now you see names like this all the time.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:58 AM on April 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


As for the edits, I'm in the redo camp. Is canon canon if it sucks?

Well I mean we get the term canon from the Bible, which would be might more tightly paced if it didn't have all those pesky begats. So, probably.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:58 AM on April 3, 2012


C'pher

Sounds like a nobody.
posted by Edison Carter at 8:00 AM on April 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


Well I mean we get the term canon from the Bible, which would be might more tightly paced if it didn't have all those pesky begats. So, probably.

Episode 1, King James Edition.
posted by lumpenprole at 8:01 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's no pyramid...
posted by Trochanter at 8:03 AM on April 3, 2012


YAHWEH: John the Baptist never told you about your father.

JESUS: He told me enough! He told me you killed him!

YAHWEH: No. (pause.) *I* am your father.

JESUS: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
posted by Edison Carter at 8:04 AM on April 3, 2012 [20 favorites]


JESUS: He told me enough! He told me you killed him!

YAHWEH: No, but I do have a task for you. We should talk about that at some point.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:13 AM on April 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


When I was a kid, I thought it would be pretty cool to be a "cannon lawyer," until someone corrected me.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:20 AM on April 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


"corrected you" about what? Because being a cannon lawyer would be awesome.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:25 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


JESUS: He told me enough! He told me you killed him!

YAHWEH: No, but I do have a task for you. We should talk about that at some point.


JESUS (to PILATE): If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.
posted by Edison Carter at 8:40 AM on April 3, 2012 [9 favorites]


I think the discussion of midichlorians is way off.

The idea of midichlorians totally sucks, and the justification for leaving them out of the cut should be *that they suck*, not that knowledge of them was lost to the Jedi. Plus...no freaking way the Jedi *just forget* about midichlorians...because there are no books... Of all the terrible ideas in the prequels, I thought that was the most terrible. Worse even than Jar Jar Binks. The very supernatural awesomeness of the Force in the midst of an otherwise-technological universe was part of what made Star Wars so very, very cool. Sticking in some pseudo-scientific place-holder explanation gains nothing, and loses something very important.
posted by Fists O'Fury at 8:44 AM on April 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


Topher Grace is a damned tease.

If no one dares to leak the edited film, the least he can do is release the extensive list of edits that he made so that someone can reassemble the movie from its component films. That cannot possibly be any violation of copyright since he wouldn't be publishing anything more than timestamps and durations.


Or you know this could just be a pretty good cover and excuse when it's "accidentally" "hacked" and "leaked" online and Topher is "really upset about that."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:48 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I . . . actually don't mind the midichlorians.

That's the first time I ever said that. Phew, that felt liberating. It just felt to me perfectly in line with what I've read in soft-SF before, where at some point you learn things are more sciencey than they seem. I think some parts of the execution were crap (if you're going to go SCIENCE![tm] than I think it's stupid to tack on a virgin birth with no explanation. Gotta be consistent.) But the offense over the idea felt misplaced to me. It's a pretty standard SF idea.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:49 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


PhoBWanKenobi--

Yeah, I get where you're coming from. But that feels like...well...*here I am with a whole new kind of tale...it doesn't fit into familiar categories, and and fails to do so because it's cool!*...

Nah, just kidding. It's one of the regular kind...
posted by Fists O'Fury at 9:00 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cannon Lawyer prosecutes the cases brought by Axe Cop.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:02 AM on April 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


the least he can do is release the extensive list of edits that he made so that someone can reassemble the movie from its component films.

I would love to see this, too, and no, doing so wouldn't even approach a copyright infringement.

That said, it would apparently be more than just timestamps, as it apparently incorporates material from multiple sources, so your documentation would be, "Now grab this deleted scene from this other disk and start that at 12:09:03 and then..."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:04 AM on April 3, 2012


That's the first time I ever said that. Phew, that felt liberating. It just felt to me perfectly in line with what I've read in soft-SF before, where at some point you learn things are more sciencey than they seem. I think some parts of the execution were crap (if you're going to go SCIENCE![tm] than I think it's stupid to tack on a virgin birth with no explanation. Gotta be consistent.) But the offense over the idea felt misplaced to me. It's a pretty standard SF idea.

Pre-midichlorians, Star Wars was a fantasy universe where anyone could, with willpower, focus, training and determination, have access to incredible power and use it to shape the world for good or for ill.

Post-midichlorians, Star Wars became a fantasy universe where a vanishingly small number of people, through accident of birth, have access to incredible power and use it to shape the world for good or for ill.

I preferred the first. The second feels a bit too much like home.
posted by Shepherd at 9:07 AM on April 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


Pre-midichlorians, Star Wars was a fantasy universe where anyone could, with willpower, focus, training and determination, have access to incredible power and use it to shape the world for good or for ill.

And before AIVAS, Pern was a place where dragons were magic, you know? I think a shift from fantasy and SF can be handled well. Not saying this was (or that McCaffrey did it particularly well, either), but I still think it could have been done in a way where it was not just terrible.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:10 AM on April 3, 2012


Pre-midichlorians, Star Wars was a fantasy universe where anyone could, with willpower, focus, training and determination, have access to incredible power and use it to shape the world for good or for ill.

Post-midichlorians, Star Wars became
Harry Potter.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:11 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Interesting, I guess. But haven't a million (well, at least a couple hundred) people already done this? Why is it news that Topher Grace did it?

lol: "Topher". Seriously.

His name is actually Christopher grace, but there was already someone with that name in the screen actors guild, so he had to go with something else (to avoid credit collision)
posted by delmoi at 9:14 AM on April 3, 2012


I . . . actually don't mind the midichlorians.

That's the first time I ever said that. Phew, that felt liberating. It just felt to me perfectly in line with what I've read in soft-SF before, where at some point you learn things are more sciencey than they seem.


Begone, blasphemer!!!

Just kidding, but I think a big part of the original starwars 'mythology' was the idea of "The Force" as some kind of holistic/mystic thing, reducing it to some kind of biological thing seems tacky-ish.

And the thing is, it was a major change to the metaphysics of the universe just so they could have a hand-held scan thing rather then just saying "I feel the force is strong with him".

And the thing is, they didn't even need to do that. The story would have been better if, say, there was some kind of crystal or something and they said they had no idea why it worked, but it did. They could even have said that it takes place on some quantum level that can't even be studied due to uncertainty laws or something.
posted by delmoi at 9:31 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


yeti: "So he did all this work, isn't going to release it in any way? It doesnt matter if its fantastic or terrible or somewhere in betweeen, if a tree falls in the woods..."

There's an established fan edit scene, but they attract lawsuits, and trade mostly underground. By going public as he did, there's no way for him to put his edit out under his name and take credit for it and not at least come under scrutiny from Lucasfilms. Notably, Lucas seems to have tolerated fan edits, but comes down hard on anyone else making money from the Star Wars franchise.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:35 AM on April 3, 2012


PS: My mother, when I was very little, would refer to me as Topher the Gopher as a nickname. This was in 1975-1979, long before Mr Grace was famous.

Near as I can tell from Google*, Topher is an infrequent New Englandism that dates back as far as the 18th century. As such it does have some Preppie overtones.

* Because Google's "Custom Range" widget is broken, and has been ever since I got G+. This is seriously beginning to piss me off.
posted by dhartung at 9:38 AM on April 3, 2012


The story would have been better if, say, there was some kind of crystal or something and they said they had no idea why it worked, but it did.

Sounds like the Kaiburr Crystal.
posted by The Tensor at 10:01 AM on April 3, 2012


Pre-midichlorians, Star Wars was a fantasy universe where anyone could, with willpower, focus, training and determination, have access to incredible power and use it to shape the world for good or for ill.

That's what floored me -- how the Force changed from intergalactic kung-fu to fantasy it's-in-the-blood magic. That sets up the dichotomy between Obi-Wan and Han Solo's take on "hokey religions and ancient weapons."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:22 AM on April 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


He used footage from all three prequels, a couple cuts from the original trilogy, some music from The Clone Wars television series, and even a dialogue bit from Anthony Daniels’ (C-3PO) audio book recordings. He even created a new opening text crawl to set up his version of the story.

When I read that part, I instantly wished I was sitting in the editing room with him so we could have included cuts from the Holiday Special as well. It is awesome that you cut out all that Jar-Jar and Jake Lloyd, but did you add in any BEA ARTHUR?
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 10:27 AM on April 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Only if it's this Bea Arthur.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:30 AM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's the director's prerogative to go back and reinvent a movie.


You have only begun to discover your power. Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy.
posted by Darth George Lucas at 10:47 AM on April 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


WHAT.
posted by Theta States at 10:51 AM on April 3, 2012


the least he can do is release the extensive list of edits that he made so that someone can reassemble the movie from its component films

It's kind of outlined in the IGN article. If you're cutting down 7 hours of movie to 85 minutes, I'm not sure you need timestamps. You just need guidelines.

I think it goes something like this: Nothing in Ep I except the final Darth Maul scene (needed to keep Obi Wan's promise to Qui Gon). Only scenes with Anakin from Ep II. Nothing on Kamino, nothing on the Senate floor. Only the Anakin scenes from Ep III. And:

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. And I always did wish Yoda arriving on Dagobah had 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.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:55 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Man, you guys should see 83 minute cut of all three prequels that I made. I call it SWpre-X. They are awesome! It makes them so much more fun to watch, fans would pee their pants if they saw i. But they won't. Because I won't release it.

But trust me, it's the real thing.
posted by Vindaloo at 11:10 AM on April 3, 2012


Post-midichlorians, Star Wars became a fantasy universe where a vanishingly small number of people, through accident of birth, have access to incredible power and use it to shape the world for good or for ill.

You know, I just realized the reason I've never given a crap about the midichlorian thing is that I always assumed it worked this way.

When Han is spouting off about "hokey religions", Obi-Wan doesn't turn to him and say "Hey, Smartass, maybe if you applied yourself to something for once, you could have godlike powers, too." No, Luke gets to be the Jedi because his daddy was. And later, Yoda says there's another who, of course, is yet another Skywalker scion. It's been implied from the beginning that there was some kind of genetic component to Jedi-hood.
posted by Freon at 11:11 AM on April 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


...the actual word "Midi-chlorians" is excised.

/me does the trash compactor.
posted by furtive at 11:12 AM on April 3, 2012


Obi-Wan doesn't turn to him and say "Hey, Smartass, maybe if you applied yourself to something for once, you could have godlike powers, too."

Somewhere, Lucas changed his mind about this, because I believe that's the intent of the training scene aboard the Falcon. In the original script of Episode IV, the Force is described with the terms "believe, religion, devotion, training, learning." Luke is presented with doubt -- Solo dismissing the very existence of even the possibility. "It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense." And then Obi-Wan disproves it by urging Luke to "Let go your conscious self and act on instinct."

These are all words and phrases used to describe things like Buddhism, Taoism, etc., and they would be immediately apparent to audiences at the time familiar with both 70s religion trends and the first wave of kung fu movies and the Kung Fu television show.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:31 AM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


1. Haven't we had this exact same post, AND some of the exact same comments a month or so back?

2. Machete order FTW

3. I completely support the derail of this topic into Dragonriders of Pern
posted by darkfred at 12:30 PM on April 3, 2012


Fanedits previously (MetaFilter self-link).

Among the numerous fanedits, there are already four different all-prequels-in-one-movie edits:
* Star Wars 30’s serial edition (or silent edition; also available: dusty version) [132 minutes]
* Rise of the Empire [~240 minutes]
* Shadow of the Old Republic [147 minutes]
* Fall of the Republic [~180 minutes]

Compared to those runtimes, 85 minutes sounds quite brisk. Furthermore, consider that the full runtime of the 3 prequels is 418 minutes, so he cut over 5 and a half hours off of the three movies, keeping only 20 percent of the three prequels.

More on the cuts made by Topher on Collider.com.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:19 PM on April 3, 2012


JESUS (to PILATE): If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.
posted by Edison Carter at 5:40 AM on April 3 [4 favorites +] [!]


EXT WIDE: Golgotha, dusk

GRAVELLY NARRATOR: They called him ... the Prince of Peace

SFX: Golgotha explodes in 200 foot fireball

GRAVELLY NARRATOR: They lied.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:40 PM on April 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


"Yippee-ki-yay, Mary Magdelene!"
posted by Edison Carter at 2:12 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


darkfred: " 3. I completely support the derail of this topic into Dragonriders of Pern"

I'm still blown away that Ron D. Moore was in charge of bringing this to TV on The WB, and how it never made it to production.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:31 PM on April 3, 2012


And before AIVAS, Pern was a place where dragons were magic, you know?

Even with all the references to the starships that brought them there, and to lost technology, and the bits where they said that the dragons were bred from the fire-lizards by their high-tech ancestors?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:23 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


SCENE
EXT: GETHSEMANE

JESUS (TO ROMAN SOLDIERS): These are not the disciples you're looking for.

SOLDIERS EXIT, STAGE RIGHT.

...later...

SCENE
EXT: TOMB, DAYBREAK, THE STONE BREAKS ASUNDER AND THE PEACES ROLL AWAY FROM THE ENTRANCE. JESUS EMERGES, BACKLIT, WEARING BLOODIED AND TORN SHROUD AND GRAVECLOTHES

JESUS: Braaaaiiinnns!
posted by 1f2frfbf at 3:27 PM on April 3, 2012


PIECES, dammit. My brain is making bad puns without telling me!
posted by 1f2frfbf at 3:28 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Even with all the references to the starships that brought them there, and to lost technology, and the bits where they said that the dragons were bred from the fire-lizards by their high-tech ancestors?

Well, Star Wars was full of starships and androids. So neither were exactly high fantasy before the heavier technological elements were introduced, you know?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:30 PM on April 3, 2012


that prequel should have been about the arrogance and tragic mistakes of Ben Kenobi - more Ewan McGregor! Always! (Srsly, that would've been awesome.)
posted by epersonae at 4:51 PM on April 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Somewhere, Lucas changed his mind about this, because I believe that's the intent of the training scene aboard the Falcon. In the original script of Episode IV, the Force is described with the terms "believe, religion, devotion, training, learning." Luke is presented with doubt -- Solo dismissing the very existence of even the possibility. "It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense." And then Obi-Wan disproves it by urging Luke to "Let go your conscious self and act on instinct."

These are all words and phrases used to describe things like Buddhism, Taoism, etc., and they would be immediately apparent to audiences at the time familiar with both 70s religion trends and the first wave of kung fu movies and the Kung Fu television show.


I dunno. If literally anyone could have done the same shit given enough devotion, training, etc., then why bother with Luke? In order to get the whole small-town-boy destined-for-greatness thing off the ground, you need a reason to believe that Anakin's son is inherently special and worth tracking down and etc. The implication always seemed to me to be that there was some heritable component, even if you couldn't actually take advantage of it without training and so on.

I still thought the midichlorian thing was a little dumb. But the problem for me was that it was working too hard to explain something I'd never demanded an explanation for. I'd always assumed that Luke had inherited some Special Thing from his father; it's just that I didn't really care one way or another about the technical details of that Special Thing.

Actually, the Pern analogy sort of works here. For me, the most embarrassing thing about that series wasn't the high-tech backstory — it was all the painstaking zoological detail about dragon mating patterns. I don't care about the timing of dragon estrus and the probabilities of different egg color combinations or whatever. Just write the damn sex scene and get on with the adventures and quit overexplaining this shit!
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:16 PM on April 3, 2012


My name's Christopher. I hate it. Hate the name, hate what it means, hate that there are tens of millions of people my age with the same name so we have confusion about which Chris somebody meant. Fuck it. He chose to be called "Topher"? Fine by me.

Amen. Another Christopher here. Sometime around 1970, for a good five or more years, new parents thought "Christopher" was just the bee's knees. For my age, it's the #1 male first name, by far. One of my grade school classes had three Christophers, and another had four Christophers. From about that point on I was almost exclusively referenced by my last name, except by my family.

Topher is a cool name. This Chris wishes he were a Topher. Would've made me more individual, anyway.
posted by zardoz at 5:37 PM on April 3, 2012


One of our little MefightClub injokes is about the ridiculous number of Chris's we have, many of us having been born in the Christopher-window in the late 60s to early 70s.

I don't have any problem with having a common name. If anything, it might have pushed me when I was young to stand out from the crowd thanks to things I did and said, rather than my parents' effort (or lack thereof) in choosing a name for me, so I'm cool with it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:38 PM on April 3, 2012


...it was working too hard to explain something I'd never demanded an explanation for.

Surely that's the whole enchilada right there. More Star Wars? Sure! Laboriously answering every unanswered question, removing every ambiguity from the first movies? No. Don't need it. Coming in in the middle was the joke of the first movie. It was a 40's serial where you'd missed the first episodes. It didn't matter who everybody was -- you knew the types. And you pretty much could guess the story. Didn't matter. That was the point. A nice, clever, gentle joke.
posted by Trochanter at 7:51 PM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would like all of you to shut up about his damn name and get to work putting up a torrent of the movie.
posted by mhoye at 8:16 PM on April 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


In order to get the whole small-town-boy destined-for-greatness thing off the ground, you need a reason to believe that Anakin's son is inherently special and worth tracking down and etc.

Except that was all likely created after the fact -- decades after the fact, actually -- and crafted to fit the previous films. As the saying goes, the facts were fixed around the policy.

I have a hard time believing that 1970s Lucas knew -- knew! -- that the reason Obi-Wan just happened to live near Luke was because he secretly knew Luke was Anakin's son and since Jedi power is inherited, he should stick around but he can't stay too close because a) he'll attract the attention of the Emperor's forces (but he doesn't really know that the Emperor has lied to Darth Vader about the disposition of the children) and b) Luke's uncle and aunt are still pissed about the way that Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan left Shmi Skywalker behind on Tatooine when...

Do you see where Lucas's credibility starts to break down? This isn't planned in advance. He made it up as he went along, changed his mind and went down a different path.

Another point for the making-it-up-as-you-go argument: The "Episode 4" moniker wasn't even in the original theatrical release.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:42 PM on April 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


He made it up as he went along, changed his mind and went down a different path.


I find your lack of faith disturbing.
posted by Darth George Lucas at 3:13 AM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't have any problem with having a common name. If anything, it might have pushed me when I was young to stand out from the crowd thanks to things I did and said, rather than my parents' effort (or lack thereof) in choosing a name for me, so I'm cool with it.

My common first name didn't affect my uniqueness whatsoever. I just don't like the goddamn name.
posted by Edison Carter at 6:53 AM on April 4, 2012


I would like all of you to shut up about his damn name and get to work putting up a torrent of the movie.

It's my damn name too, so PLBBBT
posted by Edison Carter at 6:53 AM on April 4, 2012


Metafilter: working too hard to explain something I'd never demanded an explanation for.
posted by KingEdRa at 9:51 AM on April 4, 2012 [3 favorites]


Except that was all likely created after the fact -- decades after the fact, actually -- and crafted to fit the previous films. As the saying goes, the facts were fixed around the policy.

I have a hard time believing that 1970s Lucas knew -- knew! -- that the reason Obi-Wan just happened to live near Luke was because he secretly knew Luke was Anakin's son and since Jedi power is inherited, he should stick around but he can't stay too close because a) he'll attract the attention of the Emperor's forces (but he doesn't really know that the Emperor has lied to Darth Vader about the disposition of the children) and b) Luke's uncle and aunt are still pissed about the way that Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan left Shmi Skywalker behind on Tatooine when...


In the early drafts, the Force, let alone Luke, wasn't even in the story. The Force as shown changes and expands in the first three films, shown to be mostly mental (with the exception of Darth strangling Admiral Motti,) in Star Wars, to the telekinetic and speed enhancing powers in Empire Strike Back. So even the nature of the Force wasn't set in stone, but in all three of the original trilogy it is stated and shown how important training, practice, and character traits like will, determination and faith are more important than anything else.

I think it's indisputable that Force use requires some training. Without it, at best, you're a bit more lucky or talented with certain things when you're "Force Sensitive." Otherwise, why would Luke need all that training in the first place? The lineage thing is maybe slightly more problematic, but that seemed more like, "Your father had a powerful kung-fu, perhaps he passed the gift down to you," like there was potential there, but without proper character and training, it would never be realized.

What I recall from my own (and friends,) opinions, and the EU (mostly in the form of the rpg,) from the early '90s was that Force potential was something that could be passed down, but did not require that it be so, and no one would know if you were truly Force Sensitive unless they themselves were a Force user, and you required hard training and mental fortitude to bring it out. Obviously, this is not "canon" but it makes a helluva lot more sense then testing positive for Force.
posted by Snyder at 11:48 PM on April 4, 2012 [1 favorite]


Things I would edit:

Cool lighsaber cutting through the door, OMG here come two Jedi, "We will not survive this."

Cute Anakin kid scene is edited and cut down to this: Obi Wan and Qui Gonn are on their way baxk from kicking some serious Trade Federation butt when they realize ship has been sabotaged. Land on Tattooine, go looking for parts and find whole town is basically shut down.

Darth Maul talking to mystery dude we all know is Palpatine anyway, sent to Tattooine to assassinate Jedi.

The two Jedi find the reason town is closed down: everyone is at the arena, avout to watch a pod race. Qui Gonn spots Jabba and knows the Hutts control this area, explains this to Obi Wann when both are just floored by a wild, uncomtrolled but incredibly powerful source of the Force. Qui Gonn realizes the cute little kid about to race is the source, bets everything on the kid versus Jabba tha Hutt.

Big pod race scene, cute Kid wins, they go to take him back to ship, attacked by Darth Maul.

Jedi tearass after Darth Maul, leaving little kid Anakin in the ship.

Darth Maul fight scene, dying Qui Gonn tells Obi Wann to train kid. Obi Wann had doubts even after seeing Anakin win pod race, but comes back to ship and Anakin has fixed everything wrong with it.

Obi Wann takes kid to council, Yoda is dismissive because he is too young and not ready to train anybody, while Anakin is too old to be trained, actually valid excuses rather than a little kid missing his Mom and being scared and then getting shamed because of it by the mighty Jedi Yoda.

Reluctantly, Council agrees to training after Obi Wann plays the, "Qui Gonn's dying wish" card.

Leaves out:
Watto, Jar Jar Binks, Queen Amidala crap, Naboo, mitochlorians, virgin birth, Jedi jist leaving Anakin's slave Mother on Tattooine to be mistreated, lots of bad dialog, war scene with armies we don't care about, treaty stuff, etc.

Second movie:
Introduces Natalie Portman as Senator because going from Queen to senator is moronic anyway.

Anakin meets her for firat time and is smitten. She is not so dismissive of him because she didn't meet him as a child and he is not nearly so sulky character in my version, more cocky, with impressive Jedi powers.

Palpatine encourages Anakin's cockiness and flouting the rules. He runs off with Natalie Portman to Tattooine to introduce her to his Mom, but Mom has been kidnapped. he kills lots of stuff, Mom dies.

Then they get embroiled in Trade Federation plot while Obi Wan is vusy actually doing Jedi stuff, like meeting Jango.

Big Colosseum fight scene. Anakin unnecessarily cruel due to cockiness, wanting to show off in front of his girlfriend.

Leaves out:
No Jar Jar ever. Half as many costume changes for Natalie Portman, tortured romantic dialog.

Okay, that's the first two movies done.
posted by misha at 8:03 AM on April 6, 2012


Ugh, that first part with the laser cutting through the door scene is kept in, since that's not clear.
posted by misha at 8:05 AM on April 6, 2012


Introduces Natalie Portman as Senator because going from Queen to senator is moronic anyway.

How are we going to know why Leia is a princess then? Wait. Does that mean Luke is a prince? Then again, an elected temporary queen can't have heirs. Or can they? Maybe Leia can tell us, after all she has some memories of her mother. Ack!

Nevermind.
posted by jabberjaw at 9:36 AM on April 6, 2012


Isn't Leia a princess because of her adoptive parents? (I mean, I would assume so, since she doesn't know about Amidala & Anakin anyway?)
posted by epersonae at 9:58 AM on April 6, 2012


Halloween Jack writes "There's this crazy little thing that we like to call copyright that might get in the way."

Yet another victim of the strip mining of the public domain.
posted by Mitheral at 7:02 PM on April 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


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