Every time I watch the ‘Star Wars’ prequels, I do a good amount of disapproving head shaking. My friends and I discuss at length what we would do to have made them better. And while we do a whole lot of talking, we never really do anything about it. Topher Grace of ‘That 70s Show’ and ‘Spider-man 3’ fame actually did something about it.
Recently, Grace got interested in the art of film editing, and as an exercise to practice his skills, he decided to take all three movies of George Lucas’ lesser trilogy and combine them into one movie. Once completed with his little project, he invited about 50 of his industry friends to a private screening room to view his creation, which he titled ‘Star Wars: Episode III.5: The Editor Strikes Back’. It was also noted that this event was to be a one night only type of thing and Topher had no plans of screening it again, online or in person, or in a larger venue like Comic Con, mostly because George Lucas probably wouldn’t allow something like that to happen.
Among the invited guests were writers from two of my favorite movie news sources, /Film and Collider. Both sites recount the events of the night and go into detail as to what Grace did with the film. They report that he used footage from all three movies, a few cuts from the original trilogy, some music from ‘The Clone Wars’ television series, and a dialogue bit from Anthony Daniels’ (C-3PO) audio book recordings. He even created his own opening crawl sequence for his cut of the film that asked people to forget about the prequels as they knew them. It then goes on to say that politicians are being targeted for assassination and it’s up to the Jedi to set things right. From there, after some establishing shots, he starts his film with the Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon vs. Darth Maul lightsaber battle at the very end of Episode 1.
Peter Sciretta of /Film points out that Grace was able to do a whole lot by removing a few central aspects like the politics, the clone storyline, and about 99% of ‘The Phantom Menace’. Sciretta goes on to say that Topher’s version was the best fan cut of the film that he’s ever seen. I’m just glad to hear that he cut out all but one shot of Jar Jar Binks.
It’s quite unfortunate that Topher doesn’t plan on releasing it online. After reading the in-depth reports of the cuts, even though it has it’s flaws, this sounds like something that I, along with the rest of the ‘Star Wars’ fandom, would appreciate the hell out of.
To find out exactly what went down in Topher Grace’s version of the ‘Star Wars’ prequels, go on over to /Film or Collider to read their accounts of the night. Below is a video reaction after the screening from /Film’s Peter Sciretta, Collider’s Steve “Frosty” Weintraub, First Showing’s Alex Billington, and ‘Fanboys’ director Kyle Newman.