A couple nights ago, a small group of people — including Peter Sciretta of /film — attended a private screening of an 85-minute movie called Star Wars: Episode III.5: The Editor Strikes Back. The film was cobbled together from the three Star Wars prequels (including a deleted scene), a few bits from the original trilogy, a piece of dialogue from Anthony Daniels’ (C-3PO) audio book recordings, some music from Clone Wars, and a new text crawl at the start.
Perhaps even more amazing than how well the 85-minute fan film reportedly told the story of Anakin Skywalker’s journey fall from Jedi to Sith was who edited the film and held the private screening: Topher Grace. Yes, the kid from That 70s Show who played Venom in a Spider-Man movie we pretend didn’t exist. Turns out, he recently took an interest in editing, so he practiced on the sci-fi movies he likes. And how good was this fan edit?
Topher Grace’s Star Wars film is probably the best possible edit of the Star Wars prequels given the footage released and available. Whats most shocking is that with only 85 minutes of footage, Topher was able to completely tell the main narrative of Anakin Skywalker’s road from Jedi to the Sith. While I know the missing pieces and could even fill in the blanks in my head as the film raced past, none of those points were really needed. Whats better is that the character motivations are even more clear and identifiable, a real character arc not bogged down by podraces, galactic senates, Jar Jar Binks, politics or most of the needless parts of the Star Wars prequels. It not only clarifies the story, but makes the film a lot more action-packed. [/film]
Bonus: Jar-Jar only had one line (necessary to introduce the Queen) and Jake Lloyd (the little kid version of Anakin) was completely absent, something Jake Lloyd would probably prefer anyway. Sciretta was told this would be the only screening of Grace’s experiment. Any other showing of the footage would require permission from George Lucas, which is unlikely. That wouldn’t stop Topher Grace from, say, posting a list of timestamps and such. Hint hint.
So we can’t watch the movie, but there’s a good run-down of what it covered (and thankfully left out) at /film. Rumor has it Grace plans to edit Close Encounters of the Third Kind next. One suggestion: dub in the scene from Better Off Dead where John Cusack is sculpting the mashed potatoes. It’s very meaningful.
I want more like this!
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