Last month I received a cryptic e-mail inviting me to a private screening of a new Star Wars film edited by Topher Grace — which is funny because I had no idea there was a new Star Wars film in the works, with or without Grace’s involvement. I was told the screening was a secret private event arranged only for friends only and was asked not to talk about it beforehand. The event was held somewhere in the Hollywood area in a a screening room filled with filmmakers, editors, actors, actresses and only a few press friends. I was told I could blog about it afterwards if I wanted, so here goes…

For those of you who don’t know, Topher Grace is a film geek. He loves the Star Wars films, the Back to the Future movies and all the same signature titles of any film geek who grew up in the 1980s. He recently became interested in the editing process and wanted to learn more about the art form. Instead of cutting a short film, he wanted to use something he was more familiar with.

His idea was to edit the Star Wars prequels into one movie, as they would provide him a lot of footage to work with. He used footage from all three prequels, a couple cuts from the original trilogy, some music from The Clone Wars television series, and even a dialogue bit from Anthony Daniels’ (C-3PO) audio book recordings. He even created a new opening text crawl to set up his version of the story.

The result is an 85-minute movie titled Star Wars: Episode III.5: The Editor Strikes Back. It should be noted that the Star Wars prequel trilogy is almost 7 hours in total length, and the shortest film (Episode 1) is more than 51 minutes longer than Grace’s fan cut. What this means is a lot of footage ended up on the editing room floor, and a lot of creative choices were made in the editing process. And the result? Topher Grace’s Star Wars film is probably the best possible edit of the Star Wars prequels given the footage released and available.

Whats most shocking is that with only 85 minutes of footage, Topher was able to completely tell the main narrative of Anakin Skywalker’s road from Jedi to the Sith. While I know the missing pieces and could even fill in the blanks in my head as the film raced past, none of those points were really needed. Whats better is that the character motivations are even more clear and identifiable, a real character arc not bogged down by podraces, galactic senates, Jar Jar Binks, politics or most of the needless parts of the Star Wars prequels. It not only clarifies the story, but makes the film a lot more action-packed.
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This is almost too much fun. Jason Geyer, a writer for Action Figure Insider, has posted a huge gallery of rejected Star Wars merchandise. How did he come upon these hidden gems? Simple, he helped to create them. In the late Nineties, he and a co-worker were two of the largest Star Wars fans working at a promotional merchandise company who had Pepsi as one of their clients. You’ll probably remember that Pepsi and Star Wars had a massive marketing campaign beginning with Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and while only a few products actually got made, the list of ones that didn’t is far more exciting and impressive. Can you say Floating Landspeeder Can Koozie?

After the jump, we’ve got ten of our favorites as well as a link to a page where you can see about six times the number shown here. Read More »

While most of my memories leading up to Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace were positive, the best one I have as a direct result of the movie was falling off a chair from laughing so hard at the video review by Red Letter Media. The 70-minute evisceration of the film is a work of unparalleled genius and turned the review persona of Mr. Plinkett into an internet legend.

With the film being released in theaters this weekend, Red Letter Media couldn’t pass up the chance to get a few more views by following George Lucas’ lead and converting the review to 3D. Check it out. Read More »

I feel like the late Nineties was such an innocent time to be a film fan. Geeking out over your most anticipated films wasn’t about microscopic dissection, it was about simple passion and possibility. And no other film sparked our interest like Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Sixteen years in the making, George Lucas‘ return to the Star Wars universe was going to be the event we’d tell our kids about. To this day I’ll never forget the first time I saw the trailer, the teaser poster, or heard Duel of the Fates. I’ll always remember the feeling of elation when I finally had that opening day ticket in my hand, the goosebumps as the Lucasfilm logo came on the screen and the screams that reigned down when the crawl finally began.

I’ll also never, ever forget the thought that involuntarily popped into my head five minutes into the movie when two Jedi were swimming underwater. I thought, “What the heck is going on here?”

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is being re-released in 3D on February 10 and five new posters have surface that are so incredibly cool, it made my consciousness revert back, just for a second, to how I felt on May 18, 1999. Read More »

There’s only so much that we can get out of seeing a 3D trailer in 2D, especially when the film in question is something as well-known as The Phantom Menace. But on the off chance you didn’t see the trailer for Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace 3D on screens this weekend in front of The Three Musketeers, you can now check it out below. Read More »

Oh, look, there’s a poster for the post-converted 3D re-release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. This poster is missing three key elements. Two are among the worst aspects of the film, Jar-Jar Binks and Jake Lloyd as young Anakin Skywalker. Also absent is the best thing about the movie: Liam Neeson.

See the full image below. Read More »

George Lucaschanges to the Star Wars Blu-ray set have drawn some ire as of late, but let’s be real — these things are still gonna sell like hotcakes. While Lucas’ alterations really will turn off some of his fans, it’s probably a safe bet that many more will shell out for them anyway, even if they’re grumbling as they do so. With that in mind, here are six ads for the Blu-ray that try to put you in a more positive state of mind about the updated releases.

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Not that it ever really went away, but we’re about to get another big dose of Star Wars. Star Wars: The Complete Saga is coming to Blu-ray on September 16 and the marketing blitz will soon begin and continue right through the holidays. Then, once that’s over, the first (and maybe final) Star Wars 3D film will be ready to hit theaters when Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is released in 3D on February 10. Today brings news on both of those fronts. Yahoo has released a new trailer for the Blu-ray set and Bleeding Cool has the latest on the 3D conversion. Watch and read the updates after the jump. Read More »

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