Video Blog: Topher Grace's 85-Minute Cut of the 'Star Wars' Prequels
by Alex Billington
March 7, 2012
Last night I was invited to a secret showing of "Star Wars: The Editor Strikes Back". It was actually just an experiment spearheaded by actor Topher Grace, as he said in the intro that he has given terrible notes in "post" before and wanted to learn about the process. So he edited together all three of the Star Wars prequels into one, short 85-minute movie, focusing mostly on Anakin's arc and his path to the Dark Side, while retaining all the important details. It will probably never be shown again but was a fun look at how someone could re-cut the prequels for a much more satisfying experience. It was honestly pretty damn good.
The small, private screening was attended by about 50 people, mostly other actors, filmmakers and editors from the industry, very few press. After the screening we met up with Kyle Newman, director of Fanboys (who knows his Star Wars better than just about anyone), as well as Peter from SlashFilm and Frosty from Collider for a video blog discussion on the experience and this revised cut of the prequels. Of course, opening the book on a discussion about these prequels is almost a trap itself, as the debate will never end, but we get into it briefly. This is a fun one to watch, especially if you're a Star Wars fan (like all of us are):
Our video blog (above via Collider) features quite a good discussion between Kyle and Frosty (which was fascinating), but we all get to voice our opinion. I'm one of those die-hard Star Wars fans who grew up with the original trilogy (on VHS) and mostly enjoyed the prequels, but didn't think they were anywhere near the originals, by any means. I actually like Episode I one quite a bit (for the pod race, Darth Maul), but was surprised with this edit to find how many scenes with Anakin were much more resonant brought together. His story is much clearer and it gets right down to the meat of Star Wars, the relationships between Anakin & Padme, and Anakin & Obi-Wan, and how he ends up becoming Vader. And how it ended in this - perfect.
This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, mostly for legal reasons but also because this was Topher's first experiment in the editing world (he's planning to re-cut Close Encounters of the Third Kind next). I really wish others could see this as well, not that it would necessarily change many opinions, but it was just such a unique experience to see all of the (mostly disliked) prequels from an entirely fresh perspective. If this is what we'd seen instead of those movies, I think fans would be much, much happier. But alas, this particular version will now have to live on as legend amongst geeks, perpetuated by our fervent discussion.