Star Wars - Episode II: The Republic Divided
As with Shadow of the Sith my goal with The Republic Divided is to trim out the inexplicable story elements, improve the quality of the characters by relieving them of annoying and/or frustration dialog, and in general, improving the tone and pace of the film. When all of this clutter is removed, a respectable movie emerges, with Palpatine quietly setting all the pieces for his master-stroke which unfolds in Episode III.
Also, Dwight Fry, Hebrides, Elbarto1, BionicBob and TV’s Frink provided invaluable feedback on the original release. THANK YOU.
Everyone in the community who chimed in on the thread, thank you and I hope you enjoy the final product.
Lastly, thank you George. That I take the time to modify these films speaks to how deeply the Star Wars universe affected me growing up.
Special thanks to Rogue-theX for his amazing cover, to Q2 for his assistance with HD editing, and NJVC for the sweet menus and hard work in making the HD remastered releases so slick.
- NTSC DVD-5
- NTSC DVD-9
- AVCHD (DVD-9)
- Blu-Ray (BD-25)
Audio Commentary (All Release Formats)
About this fanedit vignette (BD and Dual Layer DVD)
Deleted Scenes (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 announcing Coruscant inside the Naboo Cruiser
- Cut ‘We made it’ dialog
- Cut Cordé’s dying words
- Cut 1st half of dialog in Chancellor’s office about their not being enough Jedi and the Dark Side clouding everything.
- Trim dialog throughout the Chancellor’s office
- Trim dialog inside elevator
- Cut most of Jar Jar introducing the Jedi
- Trim dialog throughout meeting with Padme, including creepy lines about being beautiful, antagonism between Anakin and Obi-Wan, and Anakin’s whining afterwards
- Cut Jango giving Zam poisonous bugs
- Trim dialog between Anakin and Obi-Wan while bugs are making their way to Padme
- Trim speeder chase in half, Anakin no longer loses his saber
- Cut most dialog outside of nightclub (resolves saber issue, plus more antagonism between Obi-Wan and Anakin)
- Trimmed nightclub sequence, eliminate Anakin POV shot, gratuitous cameo shots.
- Toned down Anakin’s anger while interrogating Zam
- Removed Obi-Wan’s Ric Olié moment “Toxic dart”
- Removed contradictory Yoda line about Padme having to listen to them.
- Cut the entire sequence from Padme giving authority to Jar Jar and Anakin and Padme’s conversation as she packs.
- Cut the entire conversation in skybus between Padme and Dorme.
- Cut ‘we’ve got R2′ joke
- Cut entire Diner sequence and Library sequence
- Insert portion of deleted landing platform scene
- Trim dialog between Padme and Anakin on refugee transport
- Cut entire Yoda/youngling scene
- Cut entire sequence of Anakin and Padme arriving on Naboo and seeing the new Queen
- Insert deleted scene of dinner at Padme’s (with dialog trims)
- Cut Obi-Wan dialog about their missing planet Kamino
- Re-cut Kenobi’s visit on Kamino to support new sequence of Anakin/Padme scenes on Naboo.
- Trimmed conversation with Prime Minister so as to not have Obi-Wan completely give away that he has no clue what is going on.
- Trimmed confrontation between Jango and Kenobi. No more “I’m just a simple man…”
- Trimmed Obi-Wan’s report to Windu and Yoda, and cut out their discussion after they dismiss Kenobi
- Trim out most of the Jango/Kenobi fist fight.
- Trim the various scenes between Anakin and Padme to remove both the forced nature of the story-line, as well as their resistance. Also cut the giant tick-cows and of course the conversation at the fireplace (though the opening footage is still used with a new purpose
- Cut creepy shot of Anakin having his nightmare.
- Lightly trim conversation on balcony about his nightmare
- Trim chase through Asteroid belt
- Trim conversation between Wato and Anakin
- Trim conversation between Anakin and 3PO, and Anakin and Owen
- Trim conversation between Anakin and Shmi as she dies
- Cut out ridiculous cartoon voices of varios Separatists as Obi-Wan listens in (nearly cut for cut of Attack of the Phantom)
- Trimmed Yoda and Windu’s conversation about Skywalker in pain
- Trim/restructure Dooku’s interrogation of Kenobi (cut out Darth title)
- Massively restructure Anakin’s break-down in the Lars homestead garage
- Cut R2 receiving message from Kenobi
- Trimmed funeral sequence to focus on Anakin and remove over-the-top dialog/delivery
- Cut Padme’s “R2? What are you doing here?”
- Trim conversation in Chancellor’s office to remove ‘If only Senator Amidala were here…”
- Massively restructure Droid Factory sequence. No flying R2. No 3PO. No trapped Anakin
- Reinsert scene of Padme demanding Kenobi be set free.
- Restructure pre-arena conversation between Anakin and Padme
- HEAVILY recut arena battle, too much to list.
- HEAVILY recut Battle of Geonosis, including entire removal of Geonosian War room
- Cut Nute Gunray leaving from the same hangar bay as Dooku
- Trimmed conversation between Kenobi and Dooku
- Trimmed lightsaber battle between Dooku and Anakin
- Trimmed duel between Dooku and Yoda, including the saber duel (HUGE thank you to BobGarcia for providing special effects shot which removes Dooku’s saber as he runs up the gantry)
Recently I decided to revisit the Star Wars prequels again, after a good 2 or 3 years of having not watched them. However, I knew that I wouldn’t want to watch the theatrical cuts again, so I thought I’d give L8Wrtr’s prequel trilogy another watch.
Of all the prequels, Attack of the Clones is probably the film I have the most problem watching. The theatrical cut is full of terribly written dialogue which makes the love story between Anakain and Padme a complete failure, plus Lucas’ handling of the teenage Anakin is clumsy at best and he comes across as unlikeable and basically a pain in the ass.
L8wrtr’s fanedited version is a complete revelation , it really is. Not only does he somehow manage to make the romance between Anakin and Padme more natural and almost believable, he also manages to bring out more from Hayden Christensen’s performance. More is indeed less when it came to the dialogue that he had to deliver, so the fanediting here is quite sublime and adds considerable weight to the characters and their plight.
There are so many intricate nips and tucks here that it’s impossible to mention them all, but basically trimming down the action sequences and excising needless plot exposition are two of the key factors here. The story is still convoluted, but is far easier to follow and appreciate than it was in the theatrical cut. Plus, the droid factory sequence is hugely improved and as for the Yoda/Dooku scene – that now works a treat and feels more natural.
The only real downside here is just one edit which involves Padme and Anakin when they are looking longingly into each other’s eyes in front of the fire… it’s so quick that the scene just doesn’t work and in my humble opinion should have been removed altogether. Such as shame, as the rest of the edit is basically perfect.
The Republic Divided is an excellent fanediting achievement though and is the only way I like to watch Episode II now. Great work L8wrtr.
This is a close 2nd for my go to Episode II edit, although I may have to watch Hal9000's again to be sure.
Quality was good, but not quite as good as I'd expect for a blu ray, though still better than dvd. Some other edits just seem crisper.
Editing was top notch bar a couple of things. At the start of the film there were a few odd issues that I noted:
- Strange green lines flash just after disclaimer
- 20th Century Fox logo flashes just after L8wrtr logo
- Backdrop for open Star wars logo is very pixelated
- A ghost of the starting crawl flashes up at around 2:27 (blink and you'll miss it)
Other than that there was just one jarring transition - the very short scene with Anakin and Padme in the fire lit lounge.
On a personal level I missed the action sequence between Jango and Obi-Wan, Padme shouldn't say "... Truly, deeply..." and the droid factory is a visual abomination.
Narrative seemed more cohesive than in most edits, though due to the source material it can never be perfect.
Overall, highly enjoyable. Something L8wrtr nails with this and Phantom Menace is pacing. Both are mercifully short without there being anything particularly noticeable missing. The films just plod along in a very entertaining manner despite the absence of an interesting plot and before you know it they're over - and you feel relatively satisfied.
Good stuff. Now, onto Episode III...
Continuing on from L8wrtr's wonderfully watchable "Shadow of the Sith" comes my 2nd go-to in the ever-elusive "perfect SW prequel fanedit series " search. I like L8wrtr's takes on the first two films more than any others; they fit right in with Lucas's "jazz riff" comment on the significance of the first two movies, but now they actually do feel like jazz riffs, lead-ins. If you follow the canon chronology of Star Wars, after this film comes the "Clone Wars" TV series (some fine edits from smudger9 to be found over there) and, with that, a lead character we actually grow to understand, care about, and find worthy of the title of ANAKIN SKYWALKER.
...and with that, let's discuss what fanedits of "Attack of the Clones" have in common - they're all trying to outwit, outrun, and otherwise nullify, neutralize, and make a persona non grata the CHEESE, the CORN, the serious stupidity that forever marks the prequels as their own worst enemy. Lucas had the world in the palm of his hand, and he blew it.
But not entirely. There's a reason why we care so much - there's so much mythology that Lucas filled in, probably more than we give him credit for. We were all rather clueless before the prequels "me so"-d themselves all over the damn place; now that the cat is out of the bag we forget how mysterious it all was the 16 years of waiting between ROTJ and TPM. Attack of the Clones suffers from almost as much clawing-your face-in-horror idiocy as its predecessor, but we live in an interesting era where, truly, the best criticism of a movie is to make another movie. That L8wrtr has done.
What's improved enough to recommend this one over all others?
1 - the usual first act scenes eliminated - esp. that diner. Right from the get-go this film was in trouble with that opening line - "We made it!" Now it's gone. Love how restrained Anakin is w/ Padme.
2 - Many fanedits take some really unorthodox approaches to that Naboo courtship horror. This edit takes the simplest approach - just eliminate the "sand-speak." No need for day-for-night, or halfway editing the dialogue - just jettison the obvious. I do enjoy the left-in waterfall fascism silliness - just two kids slugging out half-baked political ideas. The fact that Padme and Anakin is the focus of the story arc is exactly right.
3 - all action-based set pieces - Obi-Wan's visit to Kamino, the asteroid chase, the droid factory - they're all edited in order to keep the excitement there, but not outright deleted.
4 - the Battle of Geonosis is the diamond in the rough from Attack of the Clones. This entire sequence - from arena-execution stuff to the final chase across the dunes - is astonishing. L8wrtr gets the appeal and keeps what is necessary, allowing it to feel like a rich, full climax - the first battle of the Clone Wars. We are very far away from the juvenility of the Naboo battle in the first movie.
What could have been fixed (these are nitpicks. I'm so happy with the edit I don't really care about these that much, but I'll mention them anyways).
1 - there are a couple of edits that feel really abrupt - the Kamino translation-death scene, the lone couple of shots of the fireplace sequence, etc. The scenes really rocket and the Lucas-wipes are a little overwhelming as we cut between Naboo and Obi-Wan.
2 - the opening chase could have kept some of the good-natured banter between Obi and Anakin. I think the lead-up to the eventual betrayal (esp in context w/ the entire Clone Wars series) must include the nature of their closeness, even in it's corniness.
3 - There are some really, really forced moments on Geonosis between Padme and Anakin. Lucas, you must show, not tell - and having Padme say "I love you, truly, deeply" or whatever instead of us being able to feel it as naturally as the weather is really evidence of GL's waning abilities. Watch David Lynch's "Wild at Heart" - expository dialogue between the two leads on their love for one another serves to reinforce what we already know and feel. Here, it's as if GL is panicked we don't get it (which we don't, at that) and needs Padme to try and shove some feeling into this stone robot of a romance. The KISS that follows, when Anakin saves her on that beast-thing, is in a handful of "worst moments of all time" in Star Wars. A lot of this stuff could have been jettisoned. Isn't it OK for us to know and feel how crazy-in-love Anakin is for Padme, but not necessarily the other way around? Couldn't "not knowing" Padme's feelings be part of the insecure streak that causes Anakin to gradually lose all rationality? I mean, regular, non-Jedi teenage Earth boys are basket cases when first romances come around, largely due to not knowing truly and fully the other's feelings. Leaving the dialogue and the KISS in there isn't bad (again, this is a nitpick), but it would certainly keep Padme's entire character, personality, and motivations just a tad on the secretive side. If that makes the story seem more like "Raging Bull", well, so be it! Maybe Padme would need another scene or two removed in this film and the third to continue that arc of possibility. Perhaps the build-up of having her emotions distant and removed would add another angle, and a believable one, at that, to Anakin's 11th-hour choke-hold.
What cannot be salvaged -
Only one point to make, the obvious one: Like TPM, AOTC is awash in amateurish performances. On the good side, Natalie is still Natalie, though it clear her acting chops are getting better. Sam Jackson has a big role, nothing wrong here....Ewan is as reliable as ever. But Hayden's acting is the not-so-white elephant in the very small room. His irritating and embarrassing scenes are thankfully minimized, but it's quite telling when an ANIMATED series makes you feel like you're finally meeting the character. Seriously, the way the series handles the character is just fantastic (great voice acting). Here Hayden couldn't act his way of a potato sack, and the god-awful attempts at acting post-lessons or whatever in the third movie are just that - attempts at "acting". There is no character here, just a symbol. Maybe that's enough for some people, I don't know. Anyways, L8wrtr has gone a long ways towards trying to find essence of personality here (that's why i like the waterfall talk), but, good god, the kid doesn't react AT ALL to getting his ENTIRE ARM CHOPPED OFF. And no, I don't believe he is using "the force" to control his emotion. This is just BAD ACTING. And, yes, a weak central performance can kill the entire film. While L8wrtr clearly has that in mind, how can we ultimately hope to get around this? Shot of reshoots, we can't. For comparison, just look at Mark Hamill's brilliance in Ep. 4 & 5 - his ability to control emotion or express it in any way makes us totally forget WHO LUKE IS - a supremely cocky and arrogant kid who, by ROTJ, has some pretty strange perceptions on what being a "Jedi" is. We just picture Luke as the hero of heroes. That's what a great performance can do - create layers of contradiction, emotion, and mystery. Here, it's just the empty-shell symbol who doesn't like sand and 'slaughters them like animals'. It's about as deep as a puddle of spit.
Anyways, we got a movie worth seeing here after all's said and done. That battle of Geonosis is just amazing to behold, and I appreciate being able to not think about it's impending arrival - that means what I'm currently seeing onscreen is worth something. As I mentioned in my review of Shadow of the Sith, this one feels like what GL should have released if wanted us to get another snapshot-jazz riff experience before the real heart of the story came to be. Can you imagine the furor and feelings that would have flown about if he had released this exact version in 2002?
All I can say is WOW. I can't believe I actually enjoyed Attack of the clones! If you are someone like me who just wants to see better Star Wars films, look no further. This is a FANTASTIC edit. I only have minor gripes
Before you kill me for not giving this a good score, just let me explain.
I actually don't mind Episode II. It has many problems, but I can enjoy it for the sum of it's parts. Now, if you had asked me what I thought of this cut about a month ago, I would have said it was the best AOTC edit out there and recommended it without question. But then I had a closer look at The Phantom Editor's cut, and found it made many more creative choices than this. Then I watched Seciors, and saw, again, many more creative choices. Then, finally, I watched Trooperman's workprint edit, and really feel sorry for other edits, because his is so damn good and creative, it blows all other edits out of the water automatically, regardless of how good they are. So anyway, one thing I noticed in L8wrtr's edit was lack of originality. Most cuts here don't radically change up the story, or even the individual scenes themselves. I kind of just felt bored, seeing things taken out, with no re-arranging and dialogue changes.
Aside from lack of creativity, I also think some more cuts should have been made. For example, Zam's description of being a changeling was left in, as was Yoda sensing Anakin's pain. The garage scene is a hard edit to take in. I would either leave it in completely, or cut it out completely. The reason I would leave it all in is because the way L8wrtr edited it, it feels anticlimactic. He just says he killed them calmly and that's it. There's no drama. It feels worse than before.
The video quality was good, not great. It was nowhere near as good as the official Blu-Ray's and suffered from nasty pixelation from time to time.
Audio cuts were sometimes good, but sometimes hard to stomach. The transition between Palpatine's office and the bus landing was sudden. You could hear the audio fade out in the transition to the Dooku deleted scene. The transition between "aggresive negotiations" and the other Jedi was also really rough.
At the end of the day, it is a good edit, but feels like another forgettable cut, with no changes to the overall story. It also is a let down from Shadow of the Sith, my favourite Episode I cut.