There have been many after-the-fact edits of the Star Wars prequels made over the years—some without Jar-Jar, some where no one speaks but Jake Lloyd, whatever George Lucas did today—but few if any of these edits have been done by actor Topher Grace. Until recently, anyway, as self-proclaimed film geek Grace reportedly gave himself a crash course in editing by compiling his very own cut of the Star Wars prequels, combining footage from all three movies, a few scenes from the original trilogy, and even some dialogue and music from a Star Wars audiobook and episodes of The Clone Wars, then stringing them all together into one streamlined movie. Final run time: Around 85 minutes, or the approximate length of a single conversation about the Trade Federation.
And whaddayaknow, according to /Film writer Peter Sciretta (who saw a private screening), Grace’s Star Wars III.5: The Editor Strikes Back still manages to tell a complete, surprisingly moving story of Anakin Skywalker’s rise and fall even while making some severe cuts—namely, everything about blockades or taxes or whatever, that whole cloning subplot, the myriad debate scenes in the Galactic Senate, midichlorians, “Noooooo!” and pretty much the entirety of The Phantom Menace, including all of Jake Lloyd’s scenes and most of Jar-Jar, who’s here reduced to a single line of dialogue. As it turns out, many of these things were not entirely necessary.
Anyway, you can read a thorough description here of Grace’s version, which Sciretta proclaims “probably the best possible edit of the Star Wars prequels given the footage released and available”—and which, of course, you’ll probably never actually get to see, unless George Lucas goes on some sort of nitrous bender or something. Incidentally, this marks Topher Grace’s second appearance in Newswire today, which means that the Midwest can expect rain soon.