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File: Topher Grace arrives for the European Premiere of his latest film 'Valentine's Day' in London's Leicester Square February 11, 2010.
Star Wars fans may be known to be a bit obsessive, often going to elaborate lengths in service to their fandom. There's a large community of fans who make their own edits of the films, with notable versions like "The Phantom Edit" and the "Despecialized Edition". Well, there's now a celebrity to add to their ranks: Topher Grace (of "That '70s Show" fame).
Topher decided to reedit the three Star Wars prequels into one 85-minute movie, which is 51 minutes shorter than even the shortest of the prequels ("Episode I: The Phantom Menace"), and 333 minutes shorter than the three put together (something for all you numerology fans out there).
He screened it in Hollywood for filmmakers, editors, actors and press friends in what's at least allegedly a one-time-only screening. I am now rooting for this piece of obsession to make its way online somehow, but given harsh words George Lucas has previously had for fan edits and how publicly this is tied to Mr. Grace, I'm pessimistic about getting a prequel of a more sane length than the ones that were actually made.
As a blogger who attended the screening wrote, Topher recently became interested in editing, but instead of making his own short film he decided to use something he was more familiar with and also felt it would be good practice to use something with a lot of footage and edit it down to feature length. He also used a couple of scenes from the original trilogy, music from "The Clone Wars" TV show and dialogue from audio books narrated by Anthony Daniels, the voice of C-3PO
So what got cut? For the most part, it was "the politics, the clone storyline, and the majority of Phantom Menace." Yeah, that sounds about right. It opens with the Episode I lightsaber battle against Darth Maul and reduces Jar Jar Binks to just one line of dialogue.
Topher apparently doesn't plan to stop here; he's also working on a remix of Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," and is encouraging others within his group of actors, editors and filmmakers to make their own remixed films.
This is apparently what rich Hollywood nerds with too much time on their hands do. I've never wanted to be one of them more.