With modern PC technology, fans are able to edit popular movies in ways that could never be dreamed of some years ago. It’s been done with big movies many times before, probably most famously The Phantom Edit which was a heavily edited version of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. We have even had anti-feminists trying to edit women (and their overall importance) out of the recent Star Wars films for some inane reason I fail to grasp.
Personally, I am of the opinion that fan edits are only ever done well, when they do not change any basic components of the released movie (i.e. taking the scenes and just putting them in a different order), like when it comes to something like The Phantom Menace, I don’t think it’s possible to edit a movie at this stage in a semi-professional way. When you want to fundamentally change that much about a movie, you need to start at the script level.
I myself, at one point, uploaded an attempt to rewrite the script of The Phantom Menace many moons ago, and therefore I find that a far more rewarding exercise to show what could have been done differently with a film. Yet we still get fan edits all over YouTube of varying quality, usually, because fans are unhappy with the version of the movies that the director or producers gave them.
Anyway, this leads me onto the video below which was shared to me over email by one of our own regular comment section posters Rad4Cap, after getting into a discussion on one of our other Star Wars articles. After I watched it we ended up having an email chat about how The Last Jedi ended and why we both felt it was out of tune with other Star Wars movies. I figured the crux of that discussion was probably worth sharing with all our other readers.
The video below shows an edited ending to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and the purpose of this edit…well watch it first, It won’t take long:
Now, I wonder if people are thinking the same thing as me. It really depends on how you viewed the story of Luke Skywalker in this movie. For me I felt the urge to scream “Nooooooo!” like Darth Vader when the edit cut off at the point it did. Why? Honestly, I think this guy really hit on something I couldn’t put my finger on, but at the same time, I think he ruined it by changing Luke’s fate. To be fair to the person who uploaded the video, his purpose was to show how easy it would have been to change the edit of The Last Jedi to have Luke remain amongst the living Force after the sudden and tragic news of Carrie Fisher’s passing. Now, I am not going to get into that here, but you passionate people can discuss that to your heart’s content in the comments section below. Personally, it was far from my biggest gripe with this movie, but I know it’s the biggest problem with The Last Jedi for others.
However…what I think this did was define exactly what was wrong with the ending to The Last Jedi in my eyes. As soon as the film finished my first thought was how the ending shot and cut to titles just didn’t feel like a Star Wars film at all. After all, every single Star Wars movie prior to this has ended with a shot of the main character or leads (in general) over music as the camera pans out to titles. As Rad4Cap said and I agree, this was part of it feeling like a serial and helped to both define where our leads are at the end of this chapter and anticipating what happens to them next time out. We both felt that having the shot of Luke slowly rising up to fade away in the twin sunset would have been a far more emotional ending and kept within the theme the previous movies set.
If Episode IX is going to be the unofficial end of the Skywalker saga, what better way to end it, than showing a small boy look to the stars and feel the pull of the Force guiding them from humble beginnings. It would say, “Hey, the Skywalker saga might be over, but don’t worry, the Force is alive and well and there are new stories to be had in this universe.”
I wonder if that was part of the reason why The Last Jedi felt like a final part of a trilogy to me rather than a middle chapter? There may well be other factors, but it certainly contributed to this feeling for me, personally.
Once again, I have to wonder, just how into Star Wars Rian Johnson was? We can criticise George Lucas on many things, but the man always directed great closing shots. Even though The Phantom Menace was, in my opinion, his worst ending shot, I would argue that Attack of the Clones has the best closing montage of any Star Wars film including the Original Trilogy. The Last Jedi just does so many things differently we didn’t need to see, having a different way of ending the movie is not innovative or fresh, it’s immersion breaking and works only to highlight the irregularity of this movie. i.e. For me, it’s change for change’s sake and it’s very easy to have the same events played in a slightly different order for much better effect.
Here is the last three minutes or so of Attack of the Clones just to remind yourself of how good that closing montage sequence was as the Imperial March kicks into full gear:
With all that said, in my opinion, and that’s all I claim, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has the worst closing shot of any Star Wars movie to date, if you disagree, come at me below. Now I wish someone would edit the film and whilst not change anything, just switch things around to be able to end on that shot of Luke disappearing into the Force as the titles roll, just to see how it feels done this way. Maybe there is an editing hero out there for me somewhere?
Chime in and debate away, you’ll find me in there debating with you.