As we reach day 6 on the 12 days of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (six Sith a scheming?), there’s a palpable buzz in the air. Star Wars fans are about to receive either the ultimate Christmas present or a lump of coal the size of Mt. Everest in their stockings. And whether you’re cautiously optimistic or believe George Lucas and the cast, you’re likely psyched for the return of Han, Luke, Leia, and crew anyway.
So what better way to prep for an awakening than by pumping up with the original six films in the Star Wars saga? Of course, some fans aren’t exactly thrilled with Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and the other prequels. That’s where JeremyMWest-Esquire’s “anti-cheese” prequels come in.
In past, many budding amateur editors have responded to the perceived travesty of the Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition and the prequels. The cult of Star Wars fandom has already produced a number of quality fan edits, such as Harmy’s Star Wars: Despecialized Edition. Now, as reported by Polygon, devotee JeremyMWest has crafted a thoroughly hacked version of the prequels which cuts out many of the corny elements many fans felt bogged down the prequel trilogy.
The cheese-free versions of the prequels don’t just stop at cutting the sluggish dialogue from Padme (even fixing her unnecessarily British inflections). West also removes all references to Midi-clorians, andchanges the vaguely racist Neimoidian and Gungan voices into alien languages with subtitles. His version removes scores of “whees, “whoas,” and insufferable “yippees” from the picture as well. Continuing on through Episodes 2 and 3, the intrepid editor slims down the often interminable romance scenes between Anakin and Padme, chops the overblown “Noooooo!” at the conclusion of Revenge of the Sith, and cuts it so Padme actually dies because of Anakin. For the curious, West includes a list of edits and variations with each video on his YouTube page.
Since no official remakes or reedits are on the horizon, West’s versions appear to be the best possible option for fans of the original films who still enjoyed aspects of the prequels (guilty as charged). Growing up with the go-go-go action of the original films often made the prequels feel like period piece documentaries – interesting but ham-fisted. The “anti-cheese” edits cut the fluff from the films, streamlining their run time and raising their tolerability index. It’s only a shame he couldn’t excise any and all traces of Jar Jar Binks – with this possible exception – but at least his edits made the clumsy Gungan more useful.
George Lucas loyalists and superfans of the original prequel trilogy may want to skip the “anti-cheese” edits, though. West’s cuts slimmed The Phantom Menace from well over two hours to roughly 90 minutes, razing the trip to the Gungan city and much of the over-the-top humor from the films. However, those of us who can appreciate a streamlined prequel trilogy already have our popcorn popping.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode 8 on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode 9 is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.