By now, we could make a whole new Internet devoted entirely to blogs, forums and comments sections on how to "fix" George Lucas' oft-maligned Star Wars prequels. We all make a hobby out of complaining about Episodes 1, 2 and 3, but Topher Grace—who played Star Wars superfan Eric Forman on That '70s Show—actually did something about it.
Tuesday night Grace hosted an exclusive, 50-person screening of an 85-minute recut he did of all three prequels using an opening text crawl of his own design, deleted scenes and even alternate music. Yes, you read that right: all three prequels in less than an hour and a half.
Grace claims it was a one-time-only kinda thing, and that no one will ever see it again, but Collider's Steve "Frosty" Weintraub was at the screening and was willing to sum it up for those of us who want to see this thing vicariously.
Apparently, Grace started by omitting "about 99% of the first movie," picking things up at the epic lightsaber duel between Darth Maul, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi. That eliminates most of the child Anakin story (assuming he kept any of the later pieces) and nearly all (except one shot) of Jar Jar.
"After the quick start, Grace's version of the prequels focuses on a few things: the Anakin/Padme relationship, Obi-Wan trying to figure out who is trying to kill the politicians, and a ton of the action," Weintraub wrote, though he does note that Grace cut some big action scenes—including lightsaber duels—when they didn't suit his purpose.
Among the deleted scenes that Grace slipped back in to the flick is a sequence in which Padme takes Anakin to Naboo to meet her family, which Weintraub said "definitely adds to the story." But the most interesting part of this re-cut seems to be the new ending.
"Instead of having Anakin scream 'No!' as he learned that Padme died, Grace's version shows Anakin getting the Vader costume put on and the film ends with Vader in the center of the screen looking evil," Weintraub said. "It's a perfect way to connect the prequel to the original trilogy and it works perfectly."
The idea that someone could reduce approximately six hours of movie into an 85-minute re-cut and actually improve it is definitely far-fetched, but short of re-shooting all three prequels it seems like the only option for "fixing" them would be to pare them down significantly to omit all the offending bits. Sadly, we may never know for sure just how well Grace's version worked, but it does at least say something about the power of fan ingenuity.