An Open Letter To Topher Grace

I am a bit of a Star Wars geek. Not necessarily the sort that has read everything the Extended Universe offers or has Star Wars tech spec books, but a bit of a geek none the less. I was lucky enough to be a young boy when the original trilogy films were released to the theatres and I saw them all in the theatre. I had almost every conceivable Star Wars toy as a kid from the action figures to the Death Star. I collected Star Wars bubblegum cards. It meant a lot to me as a kid. It means a lot to me now. Today I just ordered the lightsaber ice pop maker from Last Halloween I dressed as a Jedi, complete with Jedi robe and lightsaber.

When the prequel trilogy was made and released I was so excited and then so disappointed. Not disappointed because I thought George Lucas was evil or that he had somehow tarnished the Star Wars legacy, but because I loved the original trilogy and I so wanted those films to great too. Hell even just good. But they weren’t. They were terrible. They were too long. They were boring. They were poorly written. They were poorly acted. They made academy award winning actress Natalie Portman, one of my favorites, look like she couldn’t act her way out of a paper sack. The Phantom Menace was about a trade route dispute. Really? Wow, there’s a setup for a real thriller. Don’t even get me started on Jar-Jar Binks. And even when Revenge of the Sith was a decent film, it ended on that ultra cheesy “NOOOOOOOO!!!” from the reborn Darth Vader. Facepalm.

So when it was announced that Disney was buying Lucasfilm and as such would now own the Star Wars franchise and that they were planning to make a third trilogy, I didn’t say much about it. I wanted to take some time to see what happened. To mull it over in my own little brain. Its been about 10 days now since that announcement. I have chewed on it. I am ready to say… I like it. I am very excited to see what they do. I am very excited for the chance to go see 3 brand new Star Wars movies in the theatre with my son. I mean think about it, there is no way they could be worse than the prequels. The bar has been set so low by those films that they only need to be mediocre to be considered good. But I think they will be much better than that. With George Lucas taking a backseat consulting role, not writing, not producing, not directing. With Kathleen Kennedy in charge (if you don’t know her she was Stephen Spielberg’s right hand on almost every film he made, from E.T. to The Color Purple, Poltergeist to Schindler’s List). And if you look at what Disney has done recently, including Pixar, I think there is reason to be very optimistic. I don’t think Disney would allow being associated with more bad Star Wars movies.

I am also excited about the DisneyLand/World opportunities. To me, the thought of a future family vacation to one of those parks, with shiny new Star Wars attractions, rides, shows and characters wandering the park is fun fun fun.

So, what does any of this have to do with Mr. Topher Grace? He had the brilliant idea to edit the Star Wars prequels into one movie. He used footage from all three prequels (7+ hours worth), some unused DVD bonus footage, a few bits from the original trilogy, took some music from The Clone Wars television series, and even some dialogue from Anthony Daniels’ (C-3PO) audio book recordings. He also created a new opening text crawl for his version of the story. The result was an 85 minute movie “Star Wars: Episode III.5: The Editor Strikes Back”. He screened it privately for about 50 or so friends and film geeks. And everything I have ever read about it from the people who saw it is that it was really good. The film opens at the battle between Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul. The film focuses on Obi-Wan training Anakin, the relationship between Anakin and Padme and Anakin’s decent to the dark side. Jar-Jar Binks is seen only once, briefly. All the trade dispute nonsense and political story line (YAWN!) are eliminated. He discarded almost all of The Phantom Menace, you never see Anakin as a child. The film ends on the Darth Vader helmet being placed on Anakin’s head, his deliverance to the dark side completed. And no, there is no final, awful “NOOOOOOOO!!!”.  The result was an entertaining, well paced, action packed movie that was enjoyed by all who were lucky enough to have been invited to see it. You can read the details about that screening and the movie these privileged few got to see here if you want all of the nitty gritty.

The point of this post is that I, and probably legions of die hard Star Wars fans, would like the chance to see this edit. I know Mr. Grace has said he has no intention to release it publicly. That his intent was not to undermine George Lucas, but to merely play with something that meant something to him as well, to tinker with editing. But with the upcoming new Disney Star Wars trilogy it would be so great to see this version of the prequels. To wash the bad taste of the 3 full movies out of my mouth, even if just a bit. To get even more jazzed up about the prospect of 3 brand new Star Wars movies coming soon to a theatre near me.

Mr. Grace, I implore you. Do the right thing. You don’t even have to release it publicly yourself. Just look the other way, just for a few minutes, and maybe it could get “leaked” online. You know, Pam and Tommy style. If it happened to show up on torrent sites, who could blame you if you didn’t actually do it yourself? Please sir. As Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious) said to Anakin when trying to turn him to the dark side: “Use my knowledge, I beg you.”

– Steele



  1. YES! Yes, please! 😀

    Thank you for writing this letter.

    • Topher Grace does not have a Twitter account. I was hoping he did and I could send this to him. I am still hoping that just maybe something can happen. I sent this tweet, included the slashfilm acct that wrote the original story and added the hashtag #disneystarwars, hoping that some other folks might retweet it or something. I might have to set up a petition or a FB page. Here is the tweet I sent…

      @slashfilm I wrote this to Topher Grace, he has no Twitter acct. Help us get this to him! … #disneystarwars

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