Topher Grace Edits the STAR WARS Prequels into One 85-Minute Movie! Steve’s Thoughts plus a Video Blog Discussion

     March 7, 2012


Since the VCR first entered people’s homes, many consumers have tried to edit Hollywood films.  As the technology got more advanced and computer software became more powerful, fan edits have become commonplace with “fan trailers” popping up on YouTube every day.  In fact, every week I get at least a dozen emails asking me to watch a fan-trailer.  But while fan trailers are commonplace, trying to edit three movies into one eight-five minute film is not.  But that’s what Topher Grace did with the Star Wars prequels, and shockingly it really worked!

Let me back up a second.

Last night, Topher Grace invited about 50 people to a one-time showing of his version of the prequels.  While you may think there is no way to make the three films work as one coherent movie, Grace accomplished it with only a few minor flaws.  His combined prequel trilogy moves quickly and omits huge chucks of story in favor of action and streamlining the narrative events of the prequels.  Gone are the politics, General Grievous, Jar Jar Binks (except for one shot), the clone army, and about 99% of the first movie.  More after the jump.

Topher-GraceHis version of the film has a new opening crawl asking people to forget about the prequels as you know them.  He then offers a new beginning that says politicians are being targeted for assassination and it’s up to the Jedi to set things right (or something like that).  As the movie begins, we get an establishing shot of a planet and then the city, and almost immediately we are watching Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon fight Darth Maul at the very end of Episode 1.   It should be noted we see none of the hangar and Amidala.  Instead, the film starts on the high platforms leading into the small hallway and the final battle scene.  It’s a hell of a way to start with the film.

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.  But while there are some well-choreographed lightsaber battles in Lucas’ version of the prequels, Grace cut them unless they fit into his version of the story.  It was an interesting choice, but it worked.

Topher-Grace-Star-Wars-prequelI do have a few complaints about Grace’s version. I think the eight-five minute running time moves a bit too fast and an extra five or ten minutes of dialogue might help you care about the characters a bit more.  Obviously it’s hard for me to judge his version with virgin eyes since I’ve seen the prequels too many times to count.  But the guy sitting next to me at the screening was having a blast and I think he had never seen Lucas’ version.

Something else to know about Grace’s version is that he used deleted scenes, alternate music and other tricks to help tell the story.  One great use of a deleted scene is where Padme takes Anakin to meet her family and you get a real sense of their blossoming love.  It definitely adds to the story and I’m left to wonder why Lucas cut it from the original release.

Star-Wars-Episode-III-Revenge-Of-The-Sith-Darth-VaderBut for me, the highlight of the film is the very end.  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.  It’s a perfect way to connect the prequel to the original trilogy and it works perfectly.

I could write more about the experience, but shortly after the film ended I recorded a video blog with Peter from Slashfilm, Alex from First Showing and director Kyle Newman (Fanboys).  Over twenty minutes, we discussed what we thought about the movie, and at a certain point, Newman and I had a rather lively debate about the prequels.

While I hope Grace changes his mind and shows his version at Comic-Con or another venue, I do know that for the foreseeable future, he’ll be asked about this during interviews.  Here’s the video blog:



Around The Web
  • lovetron

    Torrent that shiz.

    • cloxlider

      dude, you really should get out more..

      • lovetron

        you really should stfu

    • cloxlider

      dude, you really should get out more..

      • Jay McKells

        You’re about as sharp as your mum’s double-chin, and I can tell you’re chubby.. Sad times cloxlider.

    • Miles Bennett Dyson

      He really should… which I believe sooner or later someone will.

  • Christ

    Was he super coked up?

  • HitlerHair

    To seek revenge Lucas will edit Venom out of Spider-man 3.

    • marajadewannabe

      where’s the ‘like’ button. i love this comment. LOL

  • Singularity

    Sounds great.

    I always thought it was confusing to have two separate Siths; one in Episode I, and then another in II and III.

    For continuity, the series always should have had one major overt villain, in addition Palpatine. Not two.

    Certainly not three, if you count Grievous… whom he axed as well, it seems.

    Obviously, this amount of condensing comes at a pacing cost… but for those who are familiar enough with the story, this Cliffs notes minus bad decisions could be really entertaining.

    When can we see it?

  • tweek

    Wanna See!!!!

  • Stinky

    I’m glad Frosty posted this… but the very petty person inside me is angry there’s no link to it.

    Definitely the most random blog post title I’ve seen all day.

  • Joe

    Next up…..LOTR.

  • Teinen

    I would love to see a LOTR that mirrors the structure of the books. And also cuts out the women, at least Liv. Sorry ladies.

  • noodles

    All you guys – Including Grace – need to get laid! Get a hooker if you have to but please get laid! I like to check this site for upcoming movie updates but the constant bitching against George Lucas is PATHETIC! So please – get a hooker and get laid!!!!!

  • Dolby

    “I always thought it was confusing to have two separate Siths; one in Episode I, and then another in II and III.

    For continuity, the series always should have had one major overt villain, in addition Palpatine. Not two.”

    Agreed about the one sith through all the movies idea – Darth Maul didn’t need to die. If anything, him killing Liam Neeson and escaping would have set up a great sub-plot for Ewan MacGregor in the following movie.

    Speaking of sith…I always felt bad for Christopher Lee, his character is so poorly underwritten and ultimately meaningless/nonsensical… it just seemed like a waste of the actor’s abilities and screen presence. Although, his character having a cape and living in a huge castle-like structure complete with flying creatures was a nice nod to his Dracula/Hammer days.

  • Teinen

    I always took the multiple Siths as sort of showing all the sums of Vaders parts. Tall and stiff like Dooku, part machine like Grievous, and just straight evil looking like Maul. If you combine all 3 you essentially get Vader. Plus, after loosing Maul Palpatine is looking for a replacement, if Maul survived he probably wouldn’t have had the interest and plan to lure Ani to the dark side.

  • Singularity

    If Darth Maul had killed Qui Gon Jinn, captured Kenobi and started the Clone Wars all by the end of Episode II, then in Episode III any revenge would have been sweeter and Vader assuming the title would have been more profound.

    As it is, Sith apprentices in the PT are a dime a dozen. Vader was just the longest lasting of the three.

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  • slask

    i will watch it, but i do think it doesn’t work well… the new trilogy stands on his way.

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  • Sand

    I’d be interested to see this but I still feel the whole thing would best be scrapped and rewritten. Anakin and Obi-Wan make similar choices that yield different results, shaping their characters in opposite ways, though even with the Force they’re too busy to acknowledge it. Then when it comes time for the big turn it’s just like Bak Mei betraying the Shaolin to the Manchu empire. Vader sells out his brothers to be the baddest guy around but oops: you got dumped in some lava, bud. That’ll learn ya. Leave out the kid crap, the prophecy, midichlorians, the boring politics and make the Jedi the mystic badasses Obi-Wan hints they were in New Hope. What could have been…

  • SV7

    Would love to see it! Hope it becomes available.

    I did a fan edit of Ep1 and took 40 min out. You can’t make it a good movie, but you can make it slightly more exciting and less stupid. It is astounding how badly that movie is edited (and shot, scripted, acted – sorry).

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  • Gobo

    For movies apparently that no one likes they sure do get alot of traction.

  • Stevo the Magnificent

    COOL! I’ve always heard suggestions on how to make the prequels better, but it never occurred to me to combine all three movies into one movie, in hindsight, it really is a natural fit, considering Lucas stated that 80% of the backstory all ended up in Episode III – which begs the question as to what the heck the preceding four-and-a-half hours was about!? Still, that 85-minute running time might be too tight, a solid two-hour-plus running time would be better, make sure you get everything in you need to not just tell the story but tell it right, and let the story breathe…

  • ManWithThePlan

    The real trouble is George Lucas wrote himself into a corner by having the Trilogy be Episodes 4, 5, and 6, thereby having to stretch the backstory over three further movies, unfortunately that backstory did not have enough meat on the bones to justify another trilogy. The Trilogy installments should have just been titled and not numbered episodes, with the backstory (which George Lucas has admitted 80% of which all ended up in Episode III) consisting of a single, epic movie of around three hours, just my opinion anyway…

    • ManWithThePlan

      … just one more thing I forgot to mention, the backstory movie would be titled ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’, for that is the entire narrative axis the backstory turns on (no trade blockades or boring politics or long, boring, completely unnecessary expositional scenes), just serious, epic, emotional, gripping, and dark storytelling of the highest order, with Lawrence Kasdan penning the screenplay and Paul Verhoeven directing, OH BABY!!!

      • Renaldo the Heel

        I agree about Lucas writing himself into a corner but if he’d had something to add instead of marking time for two or three movies how amazing would those movies have turned out?


    Who gives a shit.

  • Barry the Nomad

    Oh shut the hell up about the racist characters.

    Kyle Newman is awesome for being the voice of reason throughout this whole video.

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  • A

    The whole PT was a waste of time, even if it had been written and directed competently which it wasn’t, there’s no drama knowing none of these characters will die or be in real jeopardy so its what?! A few flash backs woulda been enough and our minds can fill in the rest. I really didn’t need to see Anakin as a punk kid or punk teenager even. The Clone Wars..OMG stop with it already!

  • BeenBag

    I get the impression that this “Topher edit” isn’t all that good. Just watching the video review you can see it on their faces they’re trying their hardest to be nice.

  • Spacelord

    Enter the film making experts, who know everything and think that their opinions are all fact. Instead of trying to ‘fix’ what someone else has done, why not start from the ground up and write / direct your own movie? This visual ‘DJ’ schtick has turned into a very tiresome and cliché scenario.

    Write your own stories, create your own characters, film it and then let the ‘experts’ tear it a new asshole, in true modern day fashion. You cannot change the past, but you might just be able to help shape the future.

    • Marquis de Durr

      It’s cute when a little kid pretends to be an adult and it’s amusing reading your post.

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  • Bubbles

    I agree with Spacelord: do something original and stop trying to fix films already in the can – good,bad, or Star Wars. Maybe this is a reaction to the tremendous amount of “rebooting” in the film industry right now? Or Topher Grace is a sad loser who can’t get work and is trying to stay relevant.

  • SaschaD

    As much of a fan I am, I really cannot read or hear about it anymore. And as much as I hate Lucas for his crap called Prequels, Im just done with that part of being a SW fan. I wasted so much energy of my life bitching and whining about Lucas’s Ego trip aka “Greedo shoots first” like BS, that im at a point where i will once in a while pop in ESB or ANH and just enjoy it. The rest just isn’t worth it.

    How do you polish a Turd? Personally, I think you cannot.

    Let it rest.

    • Tmo


    • Dictionary

      You just read about it again. You just bitched and whined about the prequels. You’re not going to let it rest.

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  • Singularity

    To Bubbles and Spacelord:

    I can kind of get the exasperation with the mash-up, remix universe. It takes a lot less work to slice something up, and put it back together in a different order.

    That said, I think a lot of great stuff has come out of peoples’ desire to edit and perhaps improve upon works in the pop culture. It’s kind of like open source software…

    As long as folks aren’t trying to profit off another’s work without the right to do so, I’m highly encouraging of people remixing movies and music to add their own take.

    Chances are, it will never replace the original work, or even make a dent in its legacy. But along the way, it may be fun.

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  • Kelly

    This made me love Kyle Newman more than ever. THANK YOU for defending the prequels! There is good in them, if we only know where to look/have the right perspective. :)

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  • Death Metal Nightmare

    boring. the saga is written to be a complete Myth – not a whiny-baby attempt to recapture some “pure star wars experience” you think Lucas ruined or “stole” from you.

    hacking the films up to just make an aesthetically cool “action flick” is boring and shows what this lame sitcom actor gets out of it.

  • C.Hughes

    Why not re edit the Lord of the Rings trilogy instead? Remove that god awful Liv Tyler and those ridiculous walking, talking trees. The rest of the goddamn move was OK.

  • jF Duke

    This ISN’T a new idea– there are tons of us who started re-editing our own versions of these movies YEARS ago… why does an idea like this only gain merit and attention when a celeb does it? Any one of us could post our own versions better than Topher’s and I guarantee you everyone on sites like this would either ignore it or bash the audacity of “another fan” trying to pomp their opinion.

    We wouldn’t get credit. You know how many at-home pc edits there are that combined the prequels with a start and finish the same way?

  • fungoo

    I can understand wanting different versions to watch for different moods, but I like the prequels as is. If I were going to do anything, I would mute the score whenever music was recycled, and I would restore unused music cues to their proper places. I would also like to see the more linear version of the Phantom Menace reel 6 with John Williams’ music used as recorded. The only thing that feels a little disjointed is all the hacking and shuffling of the score.

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  • thegodemperor

    If you can’t get Topher to “leak it” or something.. I call bullshit this even really exists.

    • BoyYouBestGrowUp

      It really does exist, I’ve seen it…

    • BoyYouBestGrowUp

      It really does exist, I’ve seen it…

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