A 46-minute fan edit of Star Wars: The Last Jedi made the Internet rounds recently and has been widely derided – and deservedly so. Billed as The Last Jedi: De-Feminized Fanedit [sic], this version has received due scorn because it eliminates the female characters from Rian Johnson’s film, making Episode VIII “safe” for men to “enjoy.”
But this isn’t as simple as all women being edited out. While it’s true some of the key female characters are excised altogether, others remain in the film but in a severely reduced capacity. This ill-conceived cut actually achieves something worse than just a ‘Star Wars movie with no women’ – it’s an unseemly and pathetic attempt to make a Star Wars film where ‘if there must be women when it’s unavoidable, they must be weaker and subservient to the powerful male characters.’ A case in point is how Kylo Ren is re-edited to be less conflicted and much more physically powerful than Rey, whose own power is totally diminished. In their tandem fight scene in Snoke’s throne room, Kylo is edited to easily take out the Praetorian Guards while Rey struggles with dispatching just one.
But there’s a lot more to this bizarre edit than the simple removal of female characters. Let’s further look at the ways the De-Feminized Fanedit butchers The Last Jedi.
FEMALE CHARACTERS UNDERMINED OR ELIMINATED
It’s hard to say what’s worse: how in the fan edit some of The Last Jedi‘s female characters are killed off or how others were wiped from existence altogether. Straight up, Leia is killed by Kylo Ren during his attack on the Raddus, with no Leia Poppins moment. Her demise here seems to address a common fan complaint about Leia’s use of the Force to save herself, but doing so unceremoniously ends the character who is arguably the heart and soul of the franchise just so that Kylo Ren has now murdered both of his parents. Making things worse, prior to her death, Leia doesn’t scold Poe Dameron, in turn robbing him of his lesson about true leadership versus foolhardy heroism.
While Leia dies in this version, Vice-Admiral Holdo simply never was; she is excised from the film entirely, meaning that it’s Poe who pilots the Resistance flagship into its hyperspace jump that destroys Snoke’s Mega Star Destroyer – killing Dameron in the process. Also cut completely and robbed of a heroic death is Paige Tico.
As for Rose, she surprisingly survived being cut from the film entirely, but is still chopped to the point where she is a non-entity. Rose is never formally introduced and is reduced to a few random moments of irrelevance. In turn, Finn never tries to escape the Raddus to find Rey and the entire Canto Bight adventure is dropped altogether. Later in this version, Finn kills Captain Phasma after one blow, asserting that he’s much stronger than the female Stormtrooper captain, despite that being a complete reversal of their arc.
A DUMB LUKE SKYWALKER DEATH
Perhaps the worst change is done to a totally unexpected character. In the fan edit, it’s Luke Skywalker himself, not his Force Projection, who appears on Crait to confront the First Order towards the end. If that sounds like an improvement, it isn’t, because Skywalker dies horribly from the cannon fire barrage by the AT-M8s! This attempt to give Luke a “better death” than becoming one with the Force from the sheer effort of maintaining his illusion is just ludicrous; if Luke himself watched this cut, he’d no doubt say something like, “Amazing. Every edit you made was wrong.”
While there are so many positive things about Star Wars, the dark side of its fandom can venture beyond misguided into being outright disturbing. Thankfully, the De-Feminized Fanedit was received with mockery by The Last Jedi‘s director and (male) cast members. So, disgusting as it may be, at least it gave Rian Johnson, Mark Hamill, and John Boyega a good laugh.
Agreed. But let me add
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— @HamillHimself (@HamillHimself) January 16, 2018
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