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Star Wars - Episode III: Dawn of the Empire by L8wrtr


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Episode III: Dawn of the Empire


(Cover Art by Rogue-theX)

Dawn of the Empire is the combination of multiple, complimentary goals. In the broadest terms my goal was to bring my fanedits of the Prequel Trilogy full circle, maintaining the same principles regarding dialog, pacing and removal of ineffective humor in order to create a tone throughout the PT that is more compatible with the Original Trilogy. Second, I wanted to complete my correction of certain story elements which I felt were in conflict with the OT, particularly flying R2, the title of Darth, and of course the removal of midichlorians. Lastly, and specific to this edit I wanted to strengthen the story of how Palpatine twists and manipulates Anakin into viewing the Jedi as dishonest, as well as fill out the story with the Birth of the Rebellion deleted scene. Specific to the story of Episode III, my goal was to make Dawn of the Empire a more compelling, tragic and emotionally satisfying take on Revenge of the Sith. In bigger terms, it’s my hope that the totality of the L8wrtr PT will help enhance viewings of the OT by creating more engaging characters that the viewer can care about, so that the OT’s emotional strings have more weight and impact, particularly with the final chapter of Return of the Jedi.

My critical changes to Revenge of the Sith can be group as follows:

  • Clean up the opening rescue sequence
  • Shift Palpatine’s manipulation of Anakin to be proactive rather than reactive, planting the seeds of doubt and discontent rather than feeding on already existing ones.
  • Balance the story and improve Padme’s character by restoring the Rebellion plot.
  • Recut Anakin’s fall to now fit naturally with the improvements made to his initial seduction.
  • Cut the ridiculous jumping and tight-walking elements that distract in the simultaneous final duels, particularly Yoda and Palpatine.
  • Modify the end of the Yoda/Palpatine fight so that Palpatine ends with the upper-hand, forcing Yoda to run.
  • Streamline the closing wrap-up for improved pacing and emotional impact.

This is a general list of cuts, order may be slightly off and many of the finer points are not listed​
- New Title and Crawl establishing Count Dooku as the leader of a Separatist movement threatening Civil War.
- Cut un-needed dialog during introduction of Obi-Wan and Anakin
- Cut Vulture droids leaving the Invisible hand and making droid noises.
- Cut Buzz Droids entirely
- Cut “Did you see that the shields are still up!” sequence.
- Cut all droid groans and dialog during hangar bay sequence
- Cut R2 catching communicator
- Trimmed Grievous dialog “Just as Count Dooku Predicted”
- Cut entire action sequence of the Jedi making their way to the observation deck
- Cut entire R2-D2 in the hangar sequence
- Cut Dooku’s flip
- Cut “Sith are our specialty”
- Cut “My powers have doubled… the harder the fall” banter between Anakin and Dooku
- Cut poor choreography of Obi-Wan lunging to ensure that all three sabers hit the same pre-determined spot
- Trim Obi’s run up the stairs
- Cut Palpatine’s “Yeah!”
- Cut the last part of the platform falling on and sliding Obi-Wan
- Re-sequence interaction of Dooku kicking Anakin to the floor/throwing Obi-Wan/bringing down the platform
- Cut Dooku’s taunting of Anakin (Anakin is now already in full attack mode after possibly having seen his friend killed)
- Cut Palpatine’s urging Ankin to kill Dooku,
- Trim Palpatine’s dialog about the Sand People and his mother.
- Re-cut entire elevator/Invisible Hand plummeting towards Coruscant sequence to remove as much falling and Grievous as possible
- Trimmed Ray-Shield section, remove R2 shocking SBD and getting kicked.
- Trimmed dialog between Grievous, Kenobi and Anakin
- Removed 99.9% of droid noises during bridge escape sequence
- Changed Grievous’ maniacal laugh to “Jedi Scum!” as he flees in the escape pod.
- Trimmed dialog as they prepare to land the ship, leave best lines for Anakin.
- Tightened crash-landing sequence a tiny-bit, reaction shots etc..
- Cut references to buzz droids during Anakin and Obi-Wan’s conversation
- Cut Jar Jar’s one line.
- Cut Mace’s line about Grievous being a coward and always running and hiding.
- Re-cut the “I’m Pregnant” scene to cut out needless exposition and so that Anakin is actually happy upon hearing the news.
- Transition directly to the balcony scene (move Grievous talking to Palpatine to later in the movie.)
- Trimmed balcony scene as much as possible
- Cut visuals during Anakin’s nightmare sequence
- Cut Anakin’s avoidance in talking to Padme on the lower balcony, trim dialog overall.
- transition to Anakin missing the briefing scene.
- Cut Anakin asking if that’s a bad thing. Loss of line makes his character more confident, forceful and a bit blind.
- Transition from Obi-Wan informing Anakin he’s been summoned to Opera scene
- Cut out first half of the Opera scene about Grievous’s location and related dialog, come in as he reveals his fears about the Council to Anakin (so he is now declaring it before Anakin is told to spy on him)
- Modify dialog to cut both Darth and midichlorians.
- Transition from close of scene directly to Anakin talking to Yoda about his dreams of death.
- Trim out dialog which makes it difficult to believe Yoda can’t see the underlying problem/threat in Anakin.
- Transition to Palpatine’s office
- Trim Anakin’s hesitancy about promotion
- Transition to deleted scene of Yoda, Obi-Wan and Mace (slightly trimmed dialog)
- Transition to Jedi Council informing Anakin he won’t be a Master
- Tone down Anakins angry reaction
- Re-cut reaction shots so that Obi-Wan gives Anakin a disapproving glare, and Anakin sees it.
- Transition from Obi-Wan delivering Anakin’s assignment to Deleted Scene in Bail’s office (trim dialog)
- Transition to Gunship carrying Yoda, Mace and Obi-Wan (trim dialog about not trusting Anakin)
- Transition to Grievous/Palpatine sequence. Uncut.
- Transition to Yoda on Kashyyk and Jedi Council meeting where Anakin reveals location of Grievous
- Cut Ki-Adi Mundi stating that a Master with more experience is needed.
- Cut Yoda almost getting hit.
- Transition to deleted scene in Padme’s apartment. Trim dialog slightly.
- Transition to Anakin seeing Obi-Wan off.
- Trim dialog
- Transition to sounds of Anakin’s 2nd vision. Again no visuals.
- Trim dialog between Anakin and Padme about finding a new power to save her.
- Transition to Obi-Wan departing Cody and his Star Destroyer
- Transition to Deleted scene of Palpatine’s office and the petition of the 2000
- Cut dialog about sensing betrayal in Padme
- Cut to Obi-Wan arriving on Utapau
- Trim dialog about warriors, now is the time, and is he bringing additional warriors
- Replace lizard’s squawks with more threatening/less annoying creature-sounds
- Cut out squealing Manga-Guard under fallen machinery
- Re-sequenced dialog between Kenobi and Grievious
- Cut Grievous taunting Kenobi when he is obviously losing.
- Cut Obi-Wan’s over-telegraphing his Force-push
- Cut out droid scream as Grievous runs him over.
- Replace Lizard audio
- Slightly trim dialog between Palpatine and Anakin after Anakin delivers update
- Tighten Kenobi chasing Grievous, remove lizard audio
- Cut end of Grievous’ death howl.
- Slightly trim dialog between Mace and Anakin
- Speed up Palpatine’s attack on Jedi Masters/trim out silly aspects of Mace/Palpatine fight.
- Model Palpatine/Mace/Anakin sequence after Kerr’s version
- Heavily trim initial dialog between Anakin and Palpatine after Mace is thrown out the window
- Cut “including your friend Obi-Wan Kenobi”
- Replace Lizard audio as Kenobi approaches Cody, and is blasted at once Order 66 starts
- Re-cut and re-score Order 66 to remove repetitive delivery of the order, inter-cut Yoda sensing the deaths real-time and cut amount of time it takes Mundi’s and Sacura’s troops to fire on them.
- Cut padawan’s dialog as Anakin enters the council chamber
- Cut Bail’s “And so it is…”
- Trim initial dialog between Padme and Anakin on her balcony.
- Modify Yoda’s dialog on the Tantive IV
- Cut R2 popping out of Anakin’s fighter
- Cut Kenobi/Yoda assault on the Temple Guards
- Trim Kenobi/Yoda dialog in Temple Hallway
- Cut Yoda line about Clones in relation to not figuring out the re-calibration
- Trim dialog between Yoda and Kenobi after watching security hologram
- Cut Anakin’s line about seeing her ship
- Trim dialog between Padme and Anakin, more focused, eliminate his hesitancy when he says he can overthrow the Emperor.
- Add crunching sound as Anakin chokes/crushes Padme’s neck
- Trim dialog between Kenobi and Anakin
- Cut and re-sequence initial confrontation between Yoda and Palpatine. No Force-lightening, now throwing Palpatine into a chair, and first half of lightsaber fighting in the office.
- Cut Anakin and Kenobi fighting on high-wire
- Leave only 11 seconds of Yoda/Palpatine saber-dueling in Senate chamber
- Cut Emperor’s reaction time as Yoda hurls a pod back at him
- Re-cut final Force-lightening stand-off on floating pod. Yoda is overpowered blasted off the pod, falling to the Senate floor while Palpatine remains on the Pod.
- Cut Kenobi/Anakin dialog while on hovering platforms/robots
- Cut ‘Higher ground’ conclusion, mimic Corgicar’s quick leap/cut solution.
- Cut Padme talking to Kenobi in the medical bed of the ship
- Cut Palpatine and troops looking for Anakin and the order to get a medical capsule
- Cut Padme’s dying from losing the will to live, she’s just dying.
- Re-cut the entire end-sequence to provide better pacing and more emotional conclusion to the film and the PT. Remove all Padme crying in pain and dialog, remove all Vader dialog after “Yes Master”. Cut entire sequence on the Tantive IV and integrate deleted DVD scene of Yoda arriving on Dagobah.​

BluRay SL

BluRay and Dual Layer DVD:

  • Commentary Track
  • About this fanedit Featurette
  • Trailers
  • Motion menus
  • Chapter menus
Single Layer DVD

  • Commentary Track
  • Motion Menus
  • Chapter Menus

This edit would not have been possible but for specific contributions by the following:
Angel was crucial in providing 3 matte backgrounds critical to restructuring the initial confrontation between Yoda and Palpatine.
Q2 provided critical assistance in the workflow for upscaling the dvd deleted scenes.
njvc is responsible for the slick menus motion files, static menu images plus tons of further assistance.
Rogue-theX worked tirelessly on the cover art, thank you from the bottom of my heart Rogue, you are a true gentleman.

Additionally, two editors work served as inspiration and blue-prints for two specific scenes. Their original work deserves recognition:
Dark Force Rising by Kerr set the standard for the pivotal scene between Mace, Anakin and Palpatine.
Revenge of the Sith by Corgicar provided the inspiration of Obi-Wan’s fateful victory over Anakin.

Special Thanks:
Everyone at Fanedit.org who contributed to this to the in-the-works thread, you are too many to list year, but watch the credits! Your support and belief in this project were inspiring.

Lastly, and with all sincerity, thank you George. Star Wars is one of the most positive and powerful influences of my childhood.

The original In-The-Works thread can be sifted through here.
Love the cover art!
What Q2 said. Hell of a swan song for both you and Rogue! Congrats! :)
The Force is strong with this one..... ;-)
This looks like a great cut list. I'm really excited that you integrated some form of the Yoda Palpatine battle, I always thought there might be a way to salvage some of it. I have one question though, what is your vision of the relationship between Palpatine and Dooku? Every time I see a version that cuts Palpatine urging Anikan to kill Dooku and Dooku's ensuing look of betrayal I wonder what the author is trying to say about the relationship. To me, since they are shown to be in cahoots at the end of The Republic Divided, shouldn't there be some explanation as to why Palpatine allows Dooku to be killed during this false rescue? Shouldn't Dooku realize in the end that this was Palpatine's plan all along? Anyway I'm looking forward to watching this as soon as I can! Take a hard earned break this weekend.
An excellent observation Jerick. My earliest workprints left Palpatine's prompting Anakin to do so. I do feel that the look on Dooku's face expresses his disbelief and realization that he was just another pawn. The original screenplay actually had him beginning to say "But Ma.." as Anakin slices his head off, which I think was intended to directly address your point. My guess is though that it came off as being too obvious and should have made Anakin question what was going on and that in the editing room they decided the look was enough.

In terms of my edit, it was a trade-off, and I feel that there is still an explanation. By having it be the final act of Anakin's anger which was unleashed by the possible death of his mentor, it cements for the audience that Anakin is already on the edge emotionally, and also makes for a more suspenseful and action-based sequence. Also, when Palpatine address Grievous, he states quite simply that Dooku was a necessary loss so that he could get a younger, more powerful apprentice.

I think that when you see it play out that you'll see it flows quite well actually.

May the 4th be with you!
Thanks for the explanation, I'll enjoy viewing it from a different perspective!
Is the AVCHD sans bonus features?
the AVCHD will have commentary track but no menu, courtesy of njvc.
I'm really looking forward to this, I loved Shadow of the Sith and the Republic Divided!
nightstalkerpoet said:
Eagerly awaiting this :) Any plans for Bluray Case sized cover art?

DVD and Blu-Ray dlcs already available on Star Wars .info page. (Since last night actually) Unfortunately for me I still don't see the AVCHD.

AVCHD is uploading as we speak, DLC will be available sometime this evening.
L8wrtr said:
AVCHD is uploading as we speak, DLC will be available sometime this evening.

Awesome. I'm looking forward to it. :icon_cool:

Can't wait to watch this evening. Thanks in advance for this, L8. My first born will never know of any different version of the prequel trilogy.
L8wrtr said:
AVCHD is uploading as we speak, DLC will be available sometime this evening.

Thanks for encoding an AVCHD :)
Yes, it's going to be dl now so I can watch it on bank hol monday. Sah-weeet!
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