Star Wars: A New Hope: Revisited
Q – A few years ago you started on a path not that many have taken, you made your own fan edit of Star Wars: A New Hope. What were your motivations for starting on that project?
A – Originally it was only meant to be a colour-corrected version with a few minor tweaks here and there to remove the more offensive Special Edition additions. When I first posted about my edit over at OT.com, that’s all I wanted to do. But it began to grow. I started to learn how to do work in After Effects as I had never touched the program before, and then I discovered what was possible with this program. The more I learned the more I realized I could possibly make my own “special edition”, with visuals that would help blend the OT with the PT without ruining the story and feel of the movie.
Q – What are the major differences in your edit compared to the original?
A – Well it has to be the visuals. I did do a few minor re-edits of some scenes, but the visual look of ANH:R that is the major difference. [See the Visual Comparison shot-by-shot here]
Q – Where did you get the different sound, music and HD film quality for the edit?
A – I used the anthology CD soundtracks, the restored mono mix by “belbucus”, and sound effects I gathered from both the web and that I had gathered from various sources myself.
Q – In what program did you do your edits and how long did it take before it was complete?
A- I used Sony Vegas for the editing part and Adobe After Effects for all of the effects work. ANH:R took around 2 years to complete.
Q – You worked for the most part alone, but you did have help to create one of the biggest new battle scenes in the film, what can you tell us about this?
A – A guy called Will created the CG TIE fighters for the approach shot and also the new Death Star schematics. Everything else I did myself.
Q – Did you experience any setbacks whilst working on the film?
A- Yes, I had some major hardware failures and lost a section of the work I had completed due to a hard drive death. People rallied around and helped me get the equipment I needed to carry on. The edit would not have been possible without their help and generosity, and I will be eternally grateful.
Q – How has the Star wars community responded to your work?
A – It’s been both bad and good. I’d say the majority is positive but I’ve had some pretty severe negative reactions. When you start receiving death threats because I messed with an iconic film it does get a bit scary.
Q – Did you expect to get this much positive fan response when your finished your edit?
A – No. I thought it was just going to be a small edit that a few may like but would be forgotten after a while. I never through it would become anything like it has.
Q – Star wars: Revisited has been out on the web for free some time now and there have been talk about how this is legal, please ease our minds: is it legal?
A – Fan edits are a legal grey area. I don’t know if they are legal or not. We do these edits for free and make them freely available, but do stipulate that you must own the official DVD versions in order to have a copy of the edits. Lucasfilm have largely been quietly supportive of Star Wars edits in that there haven’t really been any cases of them shutting down or prosecuting anyone for an edit, and for that I am thankful. It is just a hobby and nothing that would ever rival the official versions. I really don’t agree with people that sell fan edits and every copy I sent out of ANH:R, which is now into its hundreds, I paid for the costs myself and refused any offers off people offering to pay for postage.
Q – You have earlier said that there might have been a scene or two you weren’t that happy with, will you go back and redo anything after you have completed Empire: R?
A – Yes, there are a few things I was never happy with but, because I still have 5 more movies to complete with each one taking longer each time, it’s highly doubtful I would ever go back and redo the edit and make a version 2 (or special edition. lol). I have been asked numerous times if I will be releasing ANH:R in HD, but this again is highly doubtful as I would have to start from scratch. If I ever did do a HD version then I would probably fix the things I wasn’t happy with i.e. the “lightsabre” needle, a couple of the mattes, the interior death star colouring now that I have a better knowledge of colour correction and not having the music during the lightsabre duel, also adding com chatter during the new battle scenes.
Q – For those fans who downloaded the DVD-9, how many Easter eggs were there and how did you come up with the idea for them?
A – There are 2 Easter eggs. All I can remember was that I had the TV on in the background and it was an episode of Benny Hill and at that time I was working on the chasm scene. I just thought it would be fun to use the music with a speeded up version of that scene.
Q – You played with the idea of killing Jar Jar Binks in one of your deleted scenes, where did this idea come from and why was it cut from the film?
A- That was all just a joke. I was messing about with an extended explosion scene and I needed characters for the ground shot, so I used a Bail shot from AOTC & Jar Jar, just for fun. This shot was never going to be in the movie, but I did toy around with the idea of the rest of the sequence. But I ultimately decided against it due to Obi-Wan’s line “…cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced…” This really pointed to the fact that the planet’s destruction was instantaneous, so an extended scene would never work.
Q – Did you cut in scenes from other movies or TV series for this edit?
A – Yes, I used an explosion from the finale of [Stargate] SG-1 for Alderaan. Anything else I used was from other Star Wars movies.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back: Revisited
Q – You jumped straight on the band wagon so to speak after completing SW:R to start work on Empire: Revisited. What are some of your plans for this edit and how will it differ from the original?
A – (too much to cover. lol)
Q – You hand painted the SW:R DVD cover did you not? Whatever made you go into such project detail? And can we expect something like that for Empire: R?
A – I wanted something different for the cover. I didn’t want to use existing artwork so I decided to paint it myself. I will be doing the same for the whole saga.
Q – When do you expect Empire: R to be ready for release?
A- Sometime mid to late 2011.
Q – You had a two-part cameo [the hand on the cantina floor and a face in the crowd during the ending scene] in the previous film, will you be in this one as well?
A – Yes, I have a very small cameo in ESB, but you wouldn’t know it’s me.
Q – Would you be willing to let people who has worked in the Star wars saga to have some kind a cameo or star in the film(s) again?
A – Oh yes, but only if it could be added without drawing the attention of the scene.
Q – Will you be building any set pieces or ships for this edit? If so what?
A – Many. I have the Fine Molds Millennium Falcon and I will be building a scale Hoth Hangar to fix some matte issues; Building a full scale Wampa puppet/suit; New Asteroid canyon set to replace the badly composited original; backpacks, vests & other items for the Hoth Troopers for new footage that is to be filmed and a lot of other small things.
Q – What made you change your viewpoint on the ION cannon scene, from keeping the bolt original red to making it blue?
A – I wanted this weapon to look like it’s a different type of weapon to a laser. Looking at the electrical arcing on the Star Destroyer after it’s hit just made me want this to look like an electrical weapon and the blue really helps to give this a new feel.
Q – The Wampa scene was redone and updated by Lucas for the SE, will you do any alterations to the scene?
A – All of the SE Wampa shots are gone. The editing is going back to how it was originally, with new shots with the new wampa I am making. I feel like the original way the scene was done was perfect. The wampa was always a mysterious beast that we only got glimpses of. Adding the SE wampa took all that mystery away and just stood out as “look it’s a new scene”, but ultimately didn’t work
Q – Are you going to make any major changes to the Hoth battle’s sound and visual effects?
A – The battle is going to be a little bigger and the new audio track will enhance this. More subwoofer rumble and effects coming from all around you to make it feel like you are right in the middle of the battle.
Q – In the final trailer we can see a hologram of Emperor Palpatine and from the way the way he looks it seems to be taken from “Return of the Jedi”. What made you change this part and how did you manage to create this new scene?
A – (haven’t finished this shot yet and I’m still working on ways of doing it so i can’t answer this yet)
Q – Will you be happy to add fans in costumes to your edit, to expand on scenes, characters or have larger background action / scenes?
A – Yes, I have a whole 2nd unit filming extra location shots and characters against green screen for background shots and for the battle. Ming and his team have been invaluable to this edit. This guy and his team have enabled me to do things I really would never be able to achieve without them. They have my eternal thanks.
Q – You often reply to fan questions on the Original Trilogy forum, have fans helped you or contributed to your edit in any way?
A – Yes, their input and help has been invaluable. From help to get the materials needed to complete a project like this to posting ideas and mockups including pointing out any mistakes. Without their help then this project would be a lot smaller and it wouldn’t be the movie I wanted it to be.
Q – Fans have often asked if you will be adding your comments to Empire: R, any thoughts on that?
A – Yes, i have been asked a few times about doing an audio commentary for the DVD’s but it isn’t something i would really like to do.
Q – Can we expect any Easter eggs for the Empire: R DVD?
A – There probably will be but this time the DVD release will be a little different. It will be a 2 disc version. All the extra features will be on a separate DVD-5. This way, if someone only wants the 720p version they don’t have to download the whole DVD-9 for the extra features. I don’t know what will be going on the extras disc just yet apart from a making of documentary-style featurette.
Q – How much does it cost to make an edit like this: time, money and effort!?
A – ESB:R has cost a fortune to do so far. With building al the extra stuff the materials really don’t come cheap. It’s run into thousands of [British] pounds so far.
Q – What would you say is the most challenging thing you had to create or redo for this edit?
A – Well so far it’s been the costumes and accessories, but i think it’s going to be the Wampa.
Q – Have you thought about adding more alien characters to the rebel alliance?
A – No, that’s not something I really want to do.
Q – The question everyone seems to have asked at some point: at the end of Empire what do we see out the window, a forming star or a galaxy?
A – Even though an explanation has been given that it’s a galaxy, I look at it as a forming star. It’s quite symbolistic. The rebels have lost their base and they are having to start from scratch, so the star represents a new beginning.
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi: Revisited
Q – What can you reveal about this so far?
A – Not much, to be honest. I won’t start the planning stages until ESB:R is completed but it will have a new ending.
Q – I guess there will be a lot of miniature work for this film?
A – Yes, there will be. I want to replace some of the mattes with miniatures go give a greater depth to certain shots. I’ll be building a Jabbas palace exterior miniature so i can get some different angles and camera movements.
Q – Any plans for Jabbas palace you can reveal? will there be any change to the Max Rebo band or the Rancor monster?
A – The dance number (Jedi rocks in the SE) will be gone. It doesn’t fit in the movie very well. I think that this scene should have more background style music, like in the cantina.
Q – Will anything change in the Endor forest moon battle?
A – Yes, there will be more sequences filmed with Rebel troops and hopefully Stormtroopers. The rebels just seem to disappear and all the action is with the Ewoks. I want to cut out some of the Ewok stuff and have the audience see the true struggle the Rebels are facing on Endor.
Q – You have earlier said that the Space battle scenes in Rotj:R will be BIG, care to elaborate?
A – You will see more B-wing and A-wing action, new pilots to flesh out the battle and a different destruction of the Executor.