Star Wars - Episode III: Dawn of the Empire
Second, I wanted to complete my correction of certain story elements which I felt were in conflict with the OT, particularly flying R2, the title of Darth, and of course the removal of midichlorians.
Lastly, and specific to this edit I wanted to strengthen the story of how Palpatine twists and manipulates Anakin into viewing the Jedi as dishonest, as well as fill out the story with the Birth of the Rebellion deleted scene.
Specific to the story of Episode III, my goal was to make Dawn of the Empire a more compelling, tragic and emotionally satisfying take on Revenge of the Sith. In bigger terms, it’s my hope that the totality of the L8wrtr PT will help enhance viewings of the OT by creating more engaging characters that the viewer can care about, so that the OT’s emotional strings have more weight and impact, particularly with the final chapter of Return of the Jedi.
This edit would not have been possible but for specific contributions by the following:
Angel was crucial in providing 3 matte backgrounds critical to restructuring the initial confrontation between Yoda and Palpatine.
Q2 provided critical assistance in the workflow for upscaling the dvd deleted scenes.
njvc is responsible for the slick menus motion files, static menu images plus tons of further assistance.
Rogue-theX worked tirelessly on the cover art, thank you from the bottom of my heart Rogue, you are a true gentleman.
Additionally, two editors work served as inspiration and blue-prints for two specific scenes. Their original work deserves recognition:
Dark Force Rising by Kerr set the standard for the pivotal scene between Mace, Anakin and Palpatine.
Revenge of the Sith by Corgicar provided the inspiration of Obi-Wan’s fateful victory over Anakin.
Everyone at Fanedit.org who contributed to this to the in-the-works thread, you are too many to list year, but watch the credits! Your support and belief in this project were inspiring.
Lastly, and with all sincerity, thank you George. Star Wars is one of the most positive and powerful influences of my childhood.
- NTSC DVD-5
- NTSC DVD-9
- AVCHD (DVD-9)
- Blu-Ray (BD-25)
About this fanedit featurette (BD and Dual Layer DVD)
Trailers (BD and Dual Layer DVD)
- New Title and Crawl establishing Count Dooku as the leader of a Separatist movement threatening Civil War.
- Cut un-needed dialog during introduction of Obi-Wan and Anakin
- Cut Vulture droids leaving the Invisible hand and making droid noises.
- Cut Buzz Droids entirely
- Cut “Did you see that the shields are still up!” sequence.
- Cut all droid groans and dialog during hangar bay sequence
- Cut R2 catching communicator
- Trimmed Grievous dialog “Just as Count Dooku Predicted”
- Cut entire action sequence of the Jedi making their way to the observation deck
- Cut entire R2-D2 in the hangar sequence
- Cut Dooku’s flip
- Cut “Sith are our specialty”
- Cut “My powers have doubled… the harder the fall” banter between Anakin and Dooku
- Cut poor choreography of Obi-Wan lunging to ensure that all three sabers hit the same pre-determined spot
- Trim Obi’s run up the stairs
- Cut Palpatine’s “Yeah!”
- Cut the last part of the platform falling on and sliding Obi-Wan
- Re-sequence interaction of Dooku kicking Anakin to the floor/throwing Obi-Wan/bringing down the platform
- Cut Dooku’s taunting of Anakin (Anakin is now already in full attack mode after possibly having seen his friend killed)
- Cut Palpatine’s urging Ankin to kill Dooku,
- Trim Palpatine’s dialog about the Sand People and his mother.
- Re-cut entire elevator/Invisible Hand plummeting towards Coruscant sequence to remove as much falling and Grievous as possible
- Trimmed Ray-Shield section, remove R2 shocking SBD and getting kicked.
- Trimmed dialog between Grievous, Kenobi and Anakin
- Removed 99.9% of droid noises during bridge escape sequence
- Changed Grievous’ maniacal laugh to “Jedi Scum!” as he flees in the escape pod.
- Trimmed dialog as they prepare to land the ship, leave best lines for Anakin.
- Tightened crash-landing sequence a tiny-bit, reaction shots etc..
- Cut references to buzz droids during Anakin and Obi-Wan’s conversation
- Cut Jar Jar’s one line.
- Cut Mace’s line about Grievous being a coward and always running and hiding.
- Re-cut the “I’m Pregnant” scene to cut out needless exposition and so that Anakin is actually happy upon hearing the news.
- Transition directly to the balcony scene (move Grievous talking to Palpatine to later in the movie.)
- Trimmed balcony scene as much as possible
- Cut visuals during Anakin’s nightmare sequence
- Cut Anakin’s avoidance in talking to Padme on the lower balcony, trim dialog overall.
- transition to Anakin missing the briefing scene.
- Cut Anakin asking if that’s a bad thing. Loss of line makes his character more confident, forceful and a bit blind.
- Transition from Obi-Wan informing Anakin he’s been summoned to Opera scene
- Cut out first half of the Opera scene about Grievous’s location and related dialog, come in as he reveals his fears about the Council to Anakin (so he is now declaring it before Anakin is told to spy on him)
- Modify dialog to cut both Darth and midichlorians.
- Transition from close of scene directly to Anakin talking to Yoda about his dreams of death.
- Trim out dialog which makes it difficult to believe Yoda can’t see the underlying problem/threat in Anakin.
- Transition to Palpatine’s office
- Trim Anakin’s hesitancy about promotion
- Transition to deleted scene of Yoda, Obi-Wan and Mace (slightly trimmed dialog)
- Transition to Jedi Council informing Anakin he won’t be a Master
- Tone down Anakins angry reaction
- Re-cut reaction shots so that Obi-Wan gives Anakin a disapproving glare, and Anakin sees it.
- Transition from Obi-Wan delivering Anakin’s assignment to Deleted Scene in Bail’s office (trim dialog)
- Transition to Gunship carrying Yoda, Mace and Obi-Wan (trim dialog about not trusting Anakin)
- Transition to Grievous/Palpatine sequence. Uncut.
- Transition to Yoda on Kashyyk and Jedi Council meeting where Anakin reveals location of Grievous
- Cut Ki-Adi Mundi stating that a Master with more experience is needed.
- Cut Yoda almost getting hit.
- Transition to deleted scene in Padme’s apartment. Trim dialog slightly.
- Transition to Anakin seeing Obi-Wan off.
- Trim dialog
- Transition to sounds of Anakin’s 2nd vision. Again no visuals.
- Trim dialog between Anakin and Padme about finding a new power to save her.
- Transition to Obi-Wan departing Cody and his Star Destroyer
- Transition to Deleted scene of Palpatine’s office and the petition of the 2000
- Cut dialog about sensing betrayal in Padme
- Cut to Obi-Wan arriving on Utapau
- Trim dialog about warriors, now is the time, and is he bringing additional warriors
- Replace lizard’s squawks with more threatening/less annoying creature-sounds
- Cut out squealing Manga-Guard under fallen machinery
- Re-sequenced dialog between Kenobi and Grievious
- Cut Grievous taunting Kenobi when he is obviously losing.
- Cut Obi-Wan’s over-telegraphing his Force-push
- Cut out droid scream as Grievous runs him over.
- Replace Lizard audio
- Slightly trim dialog between Palpatine and Anakin after Anakin delivers update
- Tighten Kenobi chasing Grievous, remove lizard audio
- Cut end of Grievous’ death howl.
- Slightly trim dialog between Mace and Anakin
- Speed up Palpatine’s attack on Jedi Masters/trim out silly aspects of Mace/Palpatine fight.
- Model Palpatine/Mace/Anakin sequence after Kerr’s version
- Heavily trim initial dialog between Anakin and Palpatine after Mace is thrown out the window
- Cut “including your friend Obi-Wan Kenobi”
- Replace Lizard audio as Kenobi approaches Cody, and is blasted at once Order 66 starts
- Re-cut and re-score Order 66 to remove repetitive delivery of the order, inter-cut Yoda sensing the deaths real-time and cut amount of time it takes Mundi’s and Sacura’s troops to fire on them.
- Cut padawan’s dialog as Anakin enters the council chamber
- Cut Bail’s “And so it is…”
- Trim initial dialog between Padme and Anakin on her balcony.
- Modify Yoda’s dialog on the Tantive IV
- Cut R2 popping out of Anakin’s fighter
- Cut Kenobi/Yoda assault on the Temple Guards
- Trim Kenobi/Yoda dialog in Temple Hallway
- Cut Yoda line about Clones in relation to not figuring out the re-calibration
- Trim dialog between Yoda and Kenobi after watching security hologram
- Cut Anakin’s line about seeing her ship
- Trim dialog between Padme and Anakin, more focused, eliminate his hesitancy when he says he can overthrow the Emperor.
- Add crunching sound as Anakin chokes/crushes Padme’s neck
- Trim dialog between Kenobi and Anakin
- Cut and re-sequence initial confrontation between Yoda and Palpatine. No Force-lightening, now throwing Palpatine into a chair, and first half of lightsaber fighting in the office.
- Cut Anakin and Kenobi fighting on high-wire
- Leave only 11 seconds of Yoda/Palpatine saber-dueling in Senate chamber
- Cut Emperor’s reaction time as Yoda hurls a pod back at him
- Re-cut final Force-lightening stand-off on floating pod. Yoda is overpowered blasted off the pod, falling to the Senate floor while Palpatine remains on the Pod.
- Cut Kenobi/Anakin dialog while on hovering platforms/robots
- Cut ‘Higher ground’ conclusion, mimic Corgicar’s quick leap/cut solution.
- Cut Padme talking to Kenobi in the medical bed of the ship
- Cut Palpatine and troops looking for Anakin and the order to get a medical capsule
- Cut Padme’s dying from losing the will to live, she’s just dying.
- Re-cut the entire end-sequence to provide better pacing and more emotional conclusion to the film and the PT. Remove all Padme crying in pain and dialog, remove all Vader dialog after “Yes Master”. Cut entire sequence on the Tantive IV and integrate deleted DVD scene of Yoda arriving on Dagobah.
L8wrtr's editing is the *cleanest* (least noticeable) of any ROTS I've seen, but in the end, I think the edit is not quite as good overall as the original cut of the film (*despite* the many welcome improvements).
The Ani-Obi-Dooku duel is excellent; unlike the original cut, you now really get the sense that Dooku simply *knows* that he'll be able to defeat the two Jedi the same way he did on Geonosis...what he didn't expect was how powerful Anakin would have become (especially when fueled by anger). L8wrtr's edits convey this much better; Anakin is in rage mode, beats Dooku, and simply cuts his head off and immediately regrets it (Palpatine's famous but silly "DEWIT" line is gone). This works much better because it fits with the instinct he has toward merciless revenge we saw in AOTC (as opposed to fairly silly urging by Palpatine). The edits here are perfect. Bravo, L8wrtr.
Unfortunately, The choice of putting the famous opera scene here is jarring, and simply doesn't work. I think I can appreciate L8wrtr's intention, but having Palpatine rescued by the Jedi and then two scenes later (literally overnight) telling Anakin that the Jedi are planning to betray him comes off as forced and silly. It also diminishes the context of their meeting... The day after the attack, Palpatine makes a request to the Jedi that Anakin should hang out with him at an opera for no reason? The original placement of the scene worked much better; here it's simply jarring.
In fact, L8wrtr's decisions in reshuffling the sequences regarding the Anakin-as-a-double-agent plot simply don't work and the narrative flow is less logical than in the original.
On the other hand, the inclusion of multiple deleted scenes with Padme, Bail Organa, and Mon Mothma is MOST welcome. This and L8wrtr's masterful editing of the opening sequences are the best overall changes of the edit.
There are many more subtle edits throughout the rest of the film that are for the better, including the Mace vs Palpatine duel and Anakin's submission to Palpatine.
On that note, L8wrtr's done a good job tweaking Palpatine's face change so that it now seems clear that his *true* form is revealed once Anakin slices off Windu's arm and he unleashes his "unlimited power."
My biggest problem with this film is something that L8wrtr unfortunately leaves in (while Lucas deserves full blame for the scene, it's disappointing that L8wrtr left it unchanged): Anakin murdering little Jedi kids, a scene that's ridiculous and utterly unbelievable (to the point of being laughable), not to mention absolutely unnecessary. The fact that Anakin helped kill Windu and is now leading an assault on the Jedi Temple is enough for the audience to know that he's become a villain. The scene where Bail watches clonetroopers kill a Jedi adolescent is enough to convey that ALL Jedi in the temple were killed (including kids). The fact that Anakin personally murders human children who trusted him makes all of his subsequent dialogue with Padme completely ridiculous: Later on, Padme learns that he's a child murderer and then says that she loves him and just wants his love....uh, lol?? If it weren't for that scene, everything that happens later would make perfect sense. Again, the scene's existence is Lucas' fault, but if I could only choose one scene to remove from the original cut, it would be this.
Speaking of which, we would be able to assume that once Anakin is in the Vader suit, he's capable of any and all evil if it weren't for the fact that L8wrtr inexplicably removed Palpatine telling Vader that Padme is dead. This (like some of the earlier reshuffling) simply breaks the film for me...because it leaves the audience absolutely unable to answer the question of why Vader wouldn't travel to the ends of the galaxy to find Padme unless he knew with certainty that she were dead. I can understand removing "NOOOOO (Do not want)," but I can't understand removing Vader's explicit understanding that Padme is dead.
That said, the throat crunch noises on Padme's neck, no more "I have the high ground" (seamlessly edited), no more "she's losing the will to live" BS...all very welcome changes.
Unfortunately, the last bunch of edits are problematic; I can't fathom why L8wrtr removed the conversation about separating the twins, that Luke has family on Tatooine, etc. Why was this removed? No reason whatsoever as far as I can tell. Instead, we're shown what feels like a much more random bunch of scenes that come out of nowhere with no explanation at all.
Yoda landing on Dagobah: Not needed, and should have remained the cutting room floor. We still get Obi-Wan's baby drop-off service; perhaps starting the scene where he's already with Beru and handing off Luke would make more sense (we could then assume that they'd already been talking for some time). Palpatine, Vader, and Tarkin with Death Star under construction: Completely unnecessary and (very) silly... Disappointing that this wasn't removed, but I don't fault L8wrtr for the scene's existence.
Ultimately, L8wrtr's version of any particular scene could be considered superior. The point is that the totality of L8wrtr's edits make for an experience which, despite welcome improvements in particular sequences, is simply not *quite* as logical in narrative progression and ultimately not quite as good as the original overall.
The current king of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith edits. It's not perfect: both Hal9000 and Kerr have executed individual moments and scenes better, but this is the best edit overall. There's some weird compression during the scene where Obi-Wan confronts Anakin on Mustafar, and a few particular decisions that I have quibbles about but this is still my preferred version of Revenge of the Sith (a movie I do have an irrational fondness for). Can't wait for V2!
L8's ROTS edit is the go-to version of this movie, it addresses every problem fans had walking out of the theatre in 2005. Everything is very well done in this edit, and the fan-editor's commentary is definitely worth checking out. Although I still didn't find myself enjoying the movie very much, this is just my biased mindset. One thing that still bothered me though is that Padme still died at the end (not from a broken heart thank god) and this leaves a continuity error but still, well done!
This is an excellent edit, very well done.
There seemed to be some visual compression issues on the lava scenes, likely due to the MPEG-2 encoding (Y U NO use h.264?), but other than that the picture and sound quality are great.
Editing is very well done, trimming unnecessary bits and slight reorganization of scenes.
The extras are missing on the Blu-ray but are available on the DVD.
L8's Episode III is a masterpiece. I see the entire saga in a new light and it helps fit in much better with the OT than Lucas ever tried to accomplish.
The version of Anakin that was in Lucas's head but never portrayed on screen is in this cut. I never thought that I would care for Hayden as Anakin, but here, with thoughtful editing, is a nuanced performance. Much like in Episode II, which was a revelation for the character, Anakin's outbursts are much more restrained towards the Jedi. It obvious that there is something mentally wrong with Anakin. He's almost autistic is in his dealings with people and his strict desire for conformity and following strict order. Anything that disrupts that can be seen as a threat and his previous alliances may go by the wayside in support of a specific order.
Gone is almost all of the unnecessary humor aboard The Invisible Hand. It's a lean-mean action sequence that tells its story and gets the job done. There's no messing around with R2, no obvious Palpatine is evil beats, and the saber battles feel more at home within the OT than ever before. This does bring up the one slightly odd edit in the film, which is the truncated introduction of the Jedi to Grievous. There are a few cuts that don't quite work, but I ultimately have no great issue with them. By the time you realize something is off, we're onto the next action sequence.
L8 is a master of pacing and putting the Opera House scene much earlier in the film helps solidify Anakin's actions early on in the film. He's a man who is being pulled apart in multiple directions and it is a careful ballet at work here. He has a vision that his wife will die in child birth and he seeks to save his future because he couldn't save his past. At the same time, he is aligning himself with Palpatine because the Chancellor is the only man who can help save Padme. While the Jedi are telling Anakin to basically be glad that his wife will die in childbirth, they also want Anakin to spy on the only man who seems to care for Anakin's plight. At the same time, the man who gives him this mission is his near-brother, Obi-Wan. There are so many power moves at play that Anakin ultimately chooses his love for his wife and family, all the while not knowing that Padme is making behind-the-scenes plays to end the rule of Palpatine.
That's right, Padme Amidala is a founding member of the Rebel Alliance. George Lucas is a moron for having something so surprising and so profound and then eliminating it from his movie in support of having a woman stay at home and make babies. Wow.
I never thought that I would say this but the politics are what really make this Star Wars film for me. Something that was so confounding and boring in the theatrical versions are molded into a piece that is not only understandable, but interesting! It really helps ratchet up these prequels into a more adult fare.
There's too many changes to count here and since it has been years since I watched the theatrical version of Episode III, it was really difficult to see what was cut. The Jedi Purge is handled very well. It's slightly difficult to understand what exactly happened to Yoda, but you can connect the dots. I understand that L8 wanted to save the Yoda has a lightsaber reveal for the Palpatine fight (which plays much better in this version), but his defensive move against the Clone assassins is one thing that I do miss.
Mustafar is just plain amazing. The very odd banter between Obi-Wan and Anakin is gone and only the critical lines remain. Sure, some of it was Ewan McGregor's best work in the series, but it is ultimately not needed. That final blow by Obi-Wan is shocking in its execution. It's unexpected, even by someone who has seen the film before. I would love to see that moment with someone who has never seen Episode III. You would jump out of your seat by how brutal the cut is.
That's what I really came away with from L8's Episode III. Brutal. It's an unforgiving film that is by far the darkest the series has to offer. There's very little levity here and that's almost all gone by the end of the first act. Through a master edit, Episode III comes away as Lucas's best film since the original theatrical Star Wars in 1977. It's too bad that he didn't see what he had and chose to muddy the waters with too much dialogue and removing sequences that are critical to his saga.