July 13, 2022


Just how many versions of Star Wars are there? A conversation with famed fan editor HAL 9000

Digital technology allowed George Lucas to realize his true vision for Star Wars...but it did the same for everyone else. The proliferation of affordable desktop video editing software in the late 1990s and early 2000s led to a new form of fan participation: the Fan Edit. And for the last 20 years, fans have made innumerable bespoke versions of the Star Wars films. THE PHANTOM MENACE without Jar Jar? REVENGE OF THE SITH where Padmé survives at the end? A NEW HOPE cut up to play like a black and white Republic serial? There's a fan edit for every taste (and to address every nitpick).

JOSH had the extreme pleasure to chat with one of the best fan editors around, HAL 9000, to discuss what motivates fan editors, how the community rallied around his fan edit of THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, as well as the legal and ethical questions involved with editing someone else's work (and intellectual property). And we ask the all-important question...what does George Lucas think of fan edits?

HAL 9000 can be found posting on the forums at originaltrilogy.com

Instructions to watch HAL's fan edits: https://www.reddit.com/r/fanedits/comments/7g7r9a/hal9000_star_wars_prequel_trilogy_fan_edits_now/

NEXT WEEK: All about TURKISH STAR WARS with filmmaker, writer, and film historian ED GLASER!





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[00:00:00] JOSH: Welcome to Trash Compactor. I'm Josh. And today I'm joined by a very special guest who I'll introduce in a moment, but you've heard a fan fiction probably, maybe even heard of fan films, but today on the pod, we're going to be talking about fan edits, a phenomenon subculture that you may not have been aware exists, but it certainly does.

[00:00:27] So I'm thrilled to welcome my favorite fan editor, HAL 9000 to the podcast to talk fan edits with me.

[00:00:34] HAL9000: Oh, hello. That's quite an introduction.

[00:00:38] JOSH: Well, I just want to say off the bat, I'm genuinely a big fan. Your prequel edits are my go-to additions of the movies to the point where. Like when I catch them playing on TNT or something. I get a little thrown off when I hear a line or see a scene that's not in your version because I'm so used to the rhythms of your cuts.

[00:00:56] HAL9000: I can, I can kind of relate to that in a way, but, you know, I appreciate you. I appreciate you saying that. Yeah.

[00:01:03] JOSH: So that said, would you be able to give a, definition of what constitutes a fan edit? Just for anyone listening, who's not aware of what that is.

[00:01:11] HAL9000: Yeah. Well, in your intro you mentioned, you know, fan films and fan fiction. Both of which, you know, the creator can do anything that they'd like more or less, maybe less so with the fan edit. But still, you're kind of building for on the one hand you're building from the ground up and there's total freedom.

[00:01:30] All you have are words to move around or, you know, w what have you, uh, with a fan that it you're limited to actual existing footage, um, much like a regular editor on a professional movie. You know, you have the, the footage that you have, and your job is to take that and spin the best, uh, quality thread that you can from the raw material.

[00:01:52] And fan edits and Star Wars have kind of been very closely associated, you know, their whole life's valleys. Like, I guess my fan that it, um, I have in mind kind of a, like a, a full feature length, um, proper movie, you know, an edit, like more like an alternate cut, maybe like a fan cut and what maybe would have been a more intuitive term.

[00:02:19] But just kind of taking something that already exists and kind of re-editing it remixing it, uh, just re cutting it, uh, you know, you'd have, director's cut of a movie or such and such cut, uh, you know, um, things like that, but, um, just it's, it's a broad term all the same, you know, you can have fan edits that take something that they view as problematic and try to, you know, quote unquote, fix it in some way, or just, just remix it, do something totally different with it.

[00:02:52] Um, but, uh, just taking an existing kind of finished film and doing something else with it, I think it'd be enough to call something a fan at it.

[00:03:01] JOSH: No, absolutely. I think you're, I think you're exactly right with that. And it's actually fascinating what some people, do with, I mean, in this case, we're talking about Star Wars movies, they turn them into silent films or they, they set them to different music. there was one that, you know, has a version of Star Wars that, makes it feel like a spaghetti Western.

[00:03:18] I guess it's really an extension, I guess you would say of like remix culture almost.

[00:03:23] HAL9000: Yeah. That's exactly what it is.

[00:03:25] JOSH: so, to go back a little bit, just out of curiosity, what is your personal history with Star Wars? It's obviously something that you care enough about to spend a lot of time re cutting, the film.

[00:03:36] HAL9000: it's been interesting. I was about nine years old when Phantom Menace came out, that was effectively my introduction to Star Wars. I I'd seen bits and pieces of the original movies before then. And that's, what's kind of what prompted me at that time to kind of get, get into those. And, um, back in those days, you'd go to blockbuster and rent them a few times before, you know, eventually get your parents to buy, buy a copy of the, of them on tape.

[00:04:08] And, uh, so I was aware by virtue of the shelf at blockbuster, that there was the original version of the original trilogy and the special edition version. So I had rented both and they were, I remember even as a kid going there and being like, Hmm, which one would I get this time? Um, so I think that was kind of the original idea that you couldn't help, but think about, Hmm.

[00:04:28] What do I like about each one? Uh, how great would it be to be able to cobble together, you know, kind of, um, version that. Um, they're just marries the best, best of both worlds there.

[00:04:40] JOSH: You actually just blew my mind there for a second. We're, pretty similar in age, like I think I have a few years on you, but, for you, the special edition has always existed alongside the, the quote unquote originals,

[00:04:51] HAL9000: and especially in that, that VHS, like the intro to the VHS had like a, you know, a little featurette about, you know, look how, look how great this is, what we're doing with $10 million or whatever, to spruce up Star Wars. And they have like a big, like, you know, demo reel of, of what's different. And you couldn't, you know, you couldn't miss it.

[00:05:08] JOSH: no, that's true. So, you know, one of my later questions, I was going to be like, why Star Wars? Like, why, where did this phenomenon originate? It's kind of George Lucas. Who planted the seed of the idea that there are multiple versions of this movie that can exist.

[00:05:23] HAL9000: I think you're right. it's not that I've never done any tinkering with back to the future, for example, but, uh, back to the future is one of the few just real gems of, of movie history. That w that was a franchise. And yet never got screwed with later. Never had like a fraudulent syncable decades later, at least not so far.

[00:05:44] Um, and so I would honestly say that Back to the Future films are, well, at least the original bank of the future is probably my single favorite film ever. And, um, it it's it's for lack of better way to put it just been untarnished it was Star Wars. Um, yeah, like I think you're right. There's these for me, by the time I got into Star Wars, um, there were two versions of them to start out with, and it just kind of begs the question.

[00:06:10] What would a middle ground kind of custom version look like? Um, and then when the Phantom menace comes out, it's, it's the early days of the semi modern internet and you have, uh, this mysterious, you know, Phantom edit that had made the rounds, uh, On VHS make it to the internet. I think in what like 2001.

[00:06:34] JOSH: Yeah. Somewhere thereabouts.

[00:06:35] HAL9000: I remember finding a copy of that on Limewire, you know, back in the day, just the file sharing and just like typing in, searching for Star Wars or whatever, and Phantom Edit, whatever. Um, I would have been about 12 at that time. And, uh, it was just at that perfect point in history, you know, where you have the, the biggest, most anticipated movie in the world, Phantom menace, uh, a lot of people felt disappointed by it.

[00:07:03] You have just consumer level video editing software and a, a means to distribute it broadly, you know, on, on the internet.

[00:07:11] And so it was, it was just the perfect recipe and, and, you know, Mike Nichols who produced the Phantom Edit was a professional film editor himself. And that's, especially for its time.

[00:07:22] Well, the Phantom Edit. And then the one he did for episode 2 Attack of the Phantom are both, just incredible works of whatever they are, you know, of almost feels like it predates the term fan at it. But, uh, he was certainly a pioneer in that whole kind of cottage industry that's grown up in, you know, the two decades since at this point.

[00:07:44] Um, so all along, you know, that that's even before that's, before I'd even seen an attack of the clones at all. So like every Star Wars at that point for me was, um, you know, all about those, those questions and possibilities about, you know, what can happen there. I think another key ingredient that makes Star Wars, probably the most fan edited movie series that there is, kind of with all of its continuity weirdness, it just seems like it invites somebody like me to.

[00:08:19] Have have fun reconciling things and, and just puzzling over that stuff. You know? I remember a while back reading through the letters of JRR Tolkien who had this big sprawling, legendary, all kinds of stuff. And it was, I like his approach when someone would point out, uh, some, you know, an apparent contradiction. It's not as much fun to just say, oh, that was a contradiction.

[00:08:48] That was a mistake. I fixed the mistake. There it is. You instead find an in universe explanation for why that could make sense,

[00:08:57] JOSH: Exactly

[00:08:58] HAL9000: and things like

[00:08:59] JOSH: a part of, that's a part of the fun of being a fan.

[00:09:03] HAL9000: And a fan editing Star Wars, at least for me, Has involved some of that kind of puzzle work of, okay, well what, what could be done this smooth this out? Or what would you want to do it? It raises that possibility, I guess.

[00:09:21] JOSH: I think you're exactly right that, you know, there's something, George Lucas is on record saying many, many times that, you know, one of his goals, his, that he, he set out to do with star wars was to create kind of a modern mythology.

[00:09:34] And I think he was successful beyond even his wildest dreams, but a part of that, kind of implies, a diffused ownership. we all sort of have ownership of it.

[00:09:45] HAL9000: I think if you map, you know, Star Wars broadly on to, I don't know, something like, um, tales of king Arthur from centuries earlier, you know, the, the fandom, I think phenomenon might just look like the kinds of, some of the stuff that happens as stories propagate and spread and are changed a little bit as they're retold and, and, um, you know, some stories you could, you could trace, you know, oh yeah.

[00:10:10] We went into this region and picked up these characteristics. And so if you hear one telling of you can kind of almost trace its heritage back to the back to the source or something, wasn't copyrighted or anything.

[00:10:20] JOSH: That's actually a very good analogy that hadn't occurred to me, but I think exactly right. Like what we're looking at with fan edits is kind of the high-tech 21st century version of retelling of legends picking up certain characteristics along the way, like a game of telephone through time. The other thing also that happened, you know, you were talking about how the moment The Phantom Menace came out was sort of right on the cusp of when the technology to do things like nonlinear editing on your home computer and to do impressive looking special effects that was sort of the dawn of that era.

[00:11:00] I don't think it's a coincidence that fan filmmaking springs up. We're sort of explodes in a massive way around the same time. I mean, obviously there were always fan films, Hardware Wars and Troops and things of that nature.

[00:11:11] But that was the moment when, you know, Star Wars was that a fever pitch in pop culture. And also we had those more adventurous of us, had the means to kind of try our hand at it as well. And I think, you know, like fan fiction, fan films and fan editing, um, I'd love to get your experience on this.

[00:11:30] but it's a really great way to learn your craft, whether it's writing filmmaking in this case, film editing, it's a great way to, it's like a proving ground.

[00:11:41] HAL9000: You can play around, try something, see if it works, make something, do something. that's actually something that, I don't know, see what you think I guess, but, I find that it's not really so much the case with me, for me, it was more seeing particular specific things that I want to, to be that way that, you know, have a version of the movie that doesn't exist and I want to make that thing exists.

[00:12:05] And so I'll learn whatever I need to learn along the way to be able to get to putting that particular thing together, as opposed, I guess, to. I'm going to use this as a way to practice or learn, or even get any better at any of those particular, particular things. You know? My editing or like, I mean, any of the technical skills I've used, I just don't have any occasion or reason to apply them to really a whole lot else. There it's mostly just been that hobby for its own sake, as I guess, as a passion project, more than, uh, more than anything else long-term as, so it is.

[00:12:44] JOSH: Sure. Well, that said, I think even still, what ends up developing into skills or maybe things we even utilize later on in a professional capacity or not, you know, it still comes out of that desire to play around and through the playing around you learn how to use these tools along the way.

[00:13:03] Like, I think you would probably agree from, your first fan edit to, rise of Skywalker. I think you, you probably, You probably learned a lot along the way.

[00:13:14] HAL9000: I would agree. For me, I think it's less about learning the technical skills to navigate this piece of software. That, and more just kind of, I don't know, the decision-making or confidence in making particular changes or anything. You mentioned my prequel edits and, by the time, well, I kind of did two sets of the, prequel trilogy.

[00:13:37] One was back when I was a teenager in 2006 or seven, and then a little while picked it up again several years later, uh, Originally starting kind of in the wake of the announcement that there was going to be an episode 7, 8, 9, and I felt like I should go back and, you know, um, and go through that again.

[00:13:58] But I think for me, I was saying though that I was constructed myself here. It's kind of late when we were recording this, but with the prequel trilogy, there was already kind of a textual lineage, if you will, of ideas and things that had already been done to kind of build on. And so I felt less like I was being a creative in the sense of, um, playing around and seeing what could happen and everything.

[00:14:28] And it was more kind of distilling kind of taking all this stuff that everyone had already done and kind of, what can I, what can I distill down to get like the, at least to me the best of, of all of it in a way that coheres nicely and fits in with what I, how I'd like for it to be, um, Um, when I was revisiting the prequels and doing that, you know, just all the more so, and even more edits had come out, you know, by the time of like 2013 or so it felt more like, um, like the brothers Grimm or something, just compiling, what, what could be the quote unquote definitive version of all these fantastic ideas to come down and, and put down for myself.

[00:15:07] I mean, like I said, I just ultimately wanted to make those exist the more or less the way that I'd like them so that I could have them in there. They'd be, you know? yeah, like you're saying by the time you get to something, like, maybe we'll talk about that in a, in a bit, but with the rise of Skywalker, ascendant project, yeah, I think all that experience, all that, I don't know, just growing in confidence, if anything of just, you know, you can, you can make decisions, you can do things if it's, uh, You know, and, and you'll, you'll knowing that you'll get good feedback along the way and that, you know, it it's all right.

[00:15:41] It's very, very different from when you make a movie professionally where you're under the gun and you gotta, you know, um, make decisions about what you're doing very quickly and then stick with them. And they're permanent. You can't ever go back.

[00:15:54] JOSH: I think there are some similarities. So full disclosure, I actually work as a professional editor.

[00:16:00] HAL9000: Okay. Didn't know that.

[00:16:01] JOSH: So what you're describing that, it's not so much the technical stuff that you were learning and so much as it was really knowing the confidence to know what will work versus what won't that sort of sixth sense you develop, that is a lot of the skill and the craft of editing. You intuitively know, it's like, oh, well this will work. And that won't work.

[00:16:25] HAL9000: You just gotta trust it. You know, you're, you're the editor in that position. I think if you read through some of the forum threads about the project where it's, where you are getting feedback and going back and forth, you know, sometimes, uh, I feel like I come across as a very impressionable, like whoever gave the most recent piece of feedback is probably going to win out as I'm weighing out whether to make a change or do this or that or something like that.

[00:16:49] JOSH: For what it's worth. I didn't get that impression at all. I'm kind of a lurker on the originaltrilogy.com forum is where a lot of these discussions play out.

[00:16:58] HAL9000: That's been kind of homebase for me with all this stuff for darn close to 20 years by now.

[00:17:05] JOSH: Oh, wow. Has it been around that long? Yeah.

[00:17:06] HAL9000: Almost. 2003 was the year I joined, October, 2003. I was 13 at the time.

[00:17:14] JOSH: Oh, wow. No, it's funny. I was a member of the Jedi Council Forums on theforce.net, like way back in the day, like in the lead up to the release of each of the prequel films. And I can go back and read things that I wrote when I was 15, 16 on those message boards.

[00:17:32] HAL9000: I hope it's not as cringy as mine,

[00:17:34] JOSH: Some is cringier than other stuff. The weirdest part of it is actually not having any memory of having written it. but I digress the the most, recent, film that you tackled, which was Rise of Skywalker. I was gleefully following along in the thread, I found it super fascinating,

[00:17:53] HAL9000: Yeah. What a blast we all had, you know, it was, it just so happened of course, to be during the kind of time of COVID and we had, at the time we're recording this, we're not totally out of the woods or anything, but during the lockdown quarantine kind of period. Anyway, and I think that was part of what made that, just so needed by a lot of people that, you know, to kind of go on together, hugely collaborative.

[00:18:20] I mean, I was really just more of a project manager, kind of a compiler than, than anything else. It was all I could do just to keep up with the material that was coming in and kind of keep things on track in like more like in a producer role.

[00:18:40] JOSH: From my perspective, that was such a cool thing to watch unfold.

[00:18:45] HAL9000: I agree. I was cool for me to watch unfold too.

[00:18:48] JOSH: No, I'm sure. I'm sure it was. I'm sure it was. But as someone who, thoroughly enjoyed, your prequel edits, I love your Force Awakens edit. I think it really makes that film absolutely sing. It's like, that one structural change, which obviously it's not just one of that main change.

[00:19:06] HAL9000: It's an elegant idea that's a good example of  just being kind of, possessed of an idea and just like, yes, this has to exist. What can be done to make it exist? Version one of that was a really not very good because I, I don't really have much ability at all with any visual effects. I'm pretty limited.

[00:19:30] It's pretty just basic nonlinear editing some stuff with audio. You know, I feel like I have a knack for getting the audio  nailed down pretty good. But but as far as visual effects, very minimal, so Force Awakens version 1  could only get kind of frustratingly close to it kind of working, but it, it wouldn't, it would have been kind of a mess if that were literally what had been released and, you know, projected overhead in, in theaters. Um, and then, uh, later on, I, I just, I just put down and thought, you know, I hope someone come along someday and do more with this, uh, than I'd been able to.

[00:20:18] Uh, and then a few specific people. Um, I'm thinking of, um, never, I've always said never are never are great. Uh, and, and sir, Ridley in particular among others, uh, just kind of presented themselves on the forum. Hi, we exist and we're here to do a bunch of difficult, impressive, special effects work to help get this, you know, project into the shape that it would need to be.

[00:20:40] And, uh, and that was fun too, because we were doing that during the lead up to the last Jedi being released. And we were able to, uh, not everything was a hundred percent ready, but we were able to put together a viewable complete. You know, good enough, uh, uh, version, uh, out in time for people to watch before going to see, you know, episode eight as it comes out in theaters and then put out like, okay, here's everything finally finished, you know, like a month or two later.

[00:21:09] Um, so yeah, force awakens restructured. I would say that's probably out of anything that I had done. Um, well maybe outside the original trilogy, but that's not the same thing. Um, the, the, the best one, as far as not harming anything like there there'd be there wouldn't be a whole lot there assuming you're on board with the key idea behind it, which maybe I can talk about in a second.

[00:21:33] I'm assuming you're on board with that, which is why you're watching it in the first place. There there'd be very little, that would be at all likely to throw anybody off the, off the trail of enjoying it.

[00:21:42] JOSH: Right. So on that note, when do you explain or get into the main structural change for the, HAL 9000 version of the force awakens? Just so, uh,

[00:21:52] HAL9000: Yeah, it was, and this was an idea at the time, you know, after force awakens came out, um, kind of an idea you'd hear about multiple independent places. It's just kind of a natural idea that seemed to come up all over, which is, um, the idea that you okay. Cause the way, the way it originally is in the movie, um, we don't really hear about star killer base, you know, this new, you know, doomsday, super weapon, you know, death star 3.0 until, until, uh, a good chunk of the way.

[00:22:23] I think it's like, you know, a good third of the way through the movie. They Le they, they get to, um, you know, the planet that has a Maz's castle and Rey, Rey kind of declines the call to adventure and runs out into the woods and. Hey guess what? We have a super weapon and here we go. And they blow up Washington DC and, and none of the characters really seem to be affected by this at all.

[00:22:52] Not in that moment, not ever. I remember, you know, being there opening night for force awakens in the theater. And that was the first time in the movie where I really felt, I feel like this really wants me to feel something here and I just don't and I'm noticing it. But then also I'm in a very, I dunno, weird state of mind where I'm like, I'm nervous watching this new star wars movie what's happening, what, you know, all that kind of, that kind of stuff, but still having a, um, just a visceral sense of, I don't think this, this works what's happening right now.

[00:23:23] Um, and then the movie goes on. They, you know, the, the resistance launches and assault on star killer base and they're doing it so that. They can just destroy it before it destroys them. Um, and for, for one thing that that's a pretty close parallel to the plot structure of the original star wars, a new hope, um, which, I mean, there's only so much you can mitigate about that.

[00:23:49] It's, it's sort of a soft reboot in a way that movie, but, uh, it is a very close parallel and just the, the, the, the sheer plot of how star killer base works and it destroys the planet and it gets destroyed before it can destroy the rebel base, basically in a new hope. The death star is orbiting the same planet.

[00:24:09] It's it's right there. Like you would imagine if they tried to flee the desk stars, right. They're like the older forces can intercept them or do whatever. Uh, and this movie in force awakens, it, it doesn't make sense to me why the resistance couldn't just start evacuating, like go, just start evacuating.

[00:24:27] Like you, you know, that they're targeting. There are a million light years away or something they're just, they're far away somewhere else. Um, maybe they couldn't do it a complete evacuation, but it just gets started. Like, I don't see it. There's no reason why you couldn't. Um, so th the simple idea that motivated that project.

[00:24:48] So I was really hoping not to fan at it to

[00:24:51] SQL

[00:24:51] JOSH: not to do it yourself.

[00:24:52] HAL9000: I wasn't, I mean, at that point in time, I was pretty feeling pretty optimistic about it and just, you know, oh yeah, I got, I kind of revisited the prequels, like, you know, and God,

[00:25:01] those where I

[00:25:01] felt

[00:25:02] JOSH: no need

[00:25:02] HAL9000: I'm ready. Yeah. Um, I just, you know, I already had a history by that point of messing with the star wars prequels.

[00:25:08] So it was more like, just like, well, let me, you know, do it in HD to get it, you know? Good. And then there that'll be, so it wasn't like I was hating on force awakens or anything like that. I thought the movie, you know, bore its own flaws, um, pretty well. And, uh, you know, by the time the movie's over you, it was emotionally affecting enough and it, it, you know, Approve of it, uh, broadly speaking anyway, um, it was, I felt a little bit, uh, anemic with like the power of myths or whatever, but, uh, it, it was all right.

[00:25:39] It was all right. So I wasn't like coming at that as a, um, you know, here's an indictment of everything wrong with force awakens by any means, but there was just this, this key I, an elegant idea of what if, what if star killer base, um, didn't fire on the Republic Capitol and destroy it until right after Han is killed and then in the third act, uh, and that, and that they, you know, things play out from there.

[00:26:08] And that, that one change, um, well, it kind of addresses all this stuff that I was just that I was just talking about it. It keeps it, it distances the structure of the plot with star killer base. It makes it different from a new hope, at least a little. It doesn't invite you to go on this tangent about something you don't care about as an audience in the middle of the second act, when you've been focused on these particular specific characters that are worrying about this map to Luke Skywalker, instead of this planet, destroying whatever thing.

[00:26:44] And by the time you get to Han being killed, now that that sequence of the Republic capital being destroyed means something it's, it's a, it's a failure of Han. Now it's associated with Hahn's character with Kylo Wren's character. It's a more of a one-two punch. And it, I don't know, it gets stapled to something you actually do care about, and it has a new connotation there.

[00:27:13] Um, obviously the same footage. I think it's a good example of just how,

[00:27:18] uh, editing, you know, uh, just the way that something is presented can make a big difference. And so that, that one simple change. Cascading. And then there's, I make it sound like all you gotta do is, you know, take the little scissor tool in a non-linear editor editor, go to go to that scene, drag, drag it

[00:27:33] over to the end. there were a lot of things, little, little things that have to be done to make that change actually work. But that's, that's the core idea. And with that project in particular, I, I, um, kind of restrained myself from making a lot of other changes that I could have made or maybe would have wanted to make.

[00:27:53] Cause I wanted it to at the time I was still thinking like, well, let's implement this change. Cause it just makes too much sense not to with force awakens then for episode eight and beyond, totally on board, probably won't have the fan at those at all, you know, kind of

[00:28:05] the thing.

[00:28:06] JOSH: you thought you were out and they pull you back in,

[00:28:09] HAL9000: pretty

[00:28:09] JOSH: um, the thing that I, really love about your, force awakens restructured is that it actually uses, as you alluded to before sort of the parallels to the original star wars, a new hope, and it kind of turns it into a strength Because of the similarities in the way the films are structured and even aesthetically visually the way that they look, because of those similarities, you are expecting it to play out in the same way and then they fail.

[00:28:40] HAL9000: And you get to kind of gets a little bit of practice with having. Expectations subverted before you head into the last Jetta.

[00:28:47] JOSH: Right.

[00:28:47] HAL9000: I see what you're saying. Yeah. It,

[00:28:49] the, the different, the difference is, is felt all the more what, when the, when it's been the similar and then you get to the end it's it's I dunno.

[00:28:57] Not polemic exactly. But you know

[00:28:59] it. Yeah. I see what you're saying.

[00:29:01] JOSH: so what it turns it into is, It makes it seem, they were lulling you into a false sense of security to get you right. Where they wanted you. And then you pull the rug out from under them at the end. you expect the good guys to blow up the super weapon at the end, but Hey, guess what they don't.

[00:29:17] And, I don't know if it was you or someone else. I just read this a couple of days ago and it, um, I think, I think, I think it may have been you and if it was I apologize or whoever it was, I apologize. But the other thing that happens with Han reaching out to his son to Kyla rent to the Ben solo, that, that he believes is still there.

[00:29:37] . That is also evocative of Luke and Vader in return to the Jedi.

[00:29:41] HAL9000: Yeah, I think you're, you're taking that from kind of just my write-up of the fan edit itself,

[00:29:45] the documentation with it. Yeah, yeah,

[00:29:47] JOSH: yeah,

[00:29:48] So, so you're

[00:29:48] expecting it to go a certain way and it doesn't. And then with your restructuring, , you're expecting them to beat the clock, to blow up the big, bad, super weapon, before it destroys the Republic or whatever, and they failed, they don't do it. So it's like a one, two, it's like a gut punch and it kind of sets the stage for, oh, okay.

[00:30:11] I guess

[00:30:12] HAL9000: It kind of, contrives a statement that wasn't there, but that, that, that, but that fits in really well with the trilogy as a whole. And I agree, like, I, it wasn't that, wasn't my idea that that changed that, that single, uh, change was just something I heard about and was like, yeah, no, that totally makes sense.

[00:30:30] W can this be made into a real thing that exists that I can have, you know, but I know I, so I agree. Yeah. That, that idea is, um, just elegant and that's kind of what attracted me to it. And, oh, you know, once you had it force awakens, how can you not edit, uh, last Jedi or, or, or beyond?

[00:30:49] Um, and I guess to ask a question, you weren't weren't, um, or to answer a question you, weren't asking there just to follow that up for a moment.

[00:30:57] Um, last Jedi comes out and, um, And for the record, if you're going to like, if it's like Coke versus Pepsi or whatever like that, like, you know, force awakens versus last Jedi, what do I prefer? I'm going to say last Jedi, uh, just, uh, go ahead. Throw your tomatoes at me, but,

[00:31:16] JOSH: Now you will get, you will get no argument

[00:31:18] HAL9000: not, not you, but like, you know, I'm just, I'm just make that, I just make that clear here, but, uh,

[00:31:23] last year I comes

[00:31:24] out and

[00:31:24] there, there just seems to be,

[00:31:26] JOSH: at both of us because I'm with you on that.

[00:31:28] HAL9000: well, you know, last jet, I, um, just, there were not, not so much super elegant particular things like, like that, but there was some stuff there that just given that I'd edited star wars before just naturally seemed like, well, I should do one for this too.

[00:31:43] And, and I did. And, and, and that one has some particular ideas there, but nothing kind of overarching, I think like that, um, with force awakens, and then with, um, by the time we get to, uh, episode nine, just in my personal life, I, at that point, I've got two kids last year that comes out. A rise of Skywalker comes out to kids.

[00:32:06] So

[00:32:06] I, uh, so I had never had less time or energy or anything like that. And, um, I, I don't care much for rises Skywalker. I think it, it, um, easily is the weakest and just weirdest of the three. And so I walked out of the theater, just thinking,

[00:32:32] I dunno, it felt, um, a little disappointing given that I had, invested in a, and maybe you say, oh, serves you right. Then you think you can do better than the people that make the movies for real or something, but never, you know, for all these personal reasons of, of investing so much into it like that, to be disappointed by the final one and to, to, to feel that there's not really a whole lot.

[00:32:53] I could, my usual fantasy. Tricks or things. I didn't really, nothing jumped out as something I could do with that movie in particular. It just, I don't know, it felt kind of defeating a little bit. All I could do is just kind of laugh my way through the movie. Just treat it, just kind of treat it like a joke.

[00:33:09] Um, and I just felt well, it is, it is what that, it, it is what it is. Uh, and then it wasn't until, well, I, uh, I kind of in my commentary track for that edit, um, I draw an analogy between myself and, and PO in that movie where toward the end, you know, feeling defeated by the way the battle is going. Feeling defeated by the enemy forces and feeling okay, well, uh, sorry, we did this, uh, give up on this and then out of nowhere, there's this huge civilian fleet of a million people that are there to, uh, to

[00:33:47] save the day. And that, that's how I felt with the rise of Skywalker ascendant project, where I basically, I created a forum thread for the, for the project with just a few, like, you know, not that substantial ideas and basically just saying, uh, here's this, I don't know if I'll actually, you know, do anything with this, but I'll make a forum for it anyway.

[00:34:11] And I think by that point, uh, You know, the, HAL 9000 name had kind of already been in that space as the, kind of the place to go to like collaborate and work together, to put together a, a somewhat conservative fan edit that could be used as a base for further, you know, bigger and better things. Anyway.

[00:34:34] And I think just people showed up, people showed up and it was kind of inevitable that we would do something with it. But, um, I think if you showed me that the next day after I had seen the rise of Skywalker, here's the eventual fan edit that people will help you produce. I would've just passed out.

[00:34:53] JOSH: Yeah, rise of Skywalker ascendant is wonderful. It's, and again, having sort of been lurking on the forums, I was there watching that whole thing, sort of snowball and develop it was so cool. I think it speaks volumes There's that, , shot you guys created at the end where, you know, when Ray says, and I'm all the Jedi and you, you added the force ghosts of a lot of the Jedi that we had come to know throughout the saga. And it looks so good , that I believe that clip like kind of went viral, didn't it?

[00:35:29] HAL9000: Yeah, well, uh, first of all, in, in ascendant, uh, Ray, doesn't say I'm all the Jedi, she just says I'm a jet. I,

[00:35:36] uh, but you know, kind of owning

[00:35:38] her identity and all that. No,

[00:35:39] No, no, no, Yeah, yeah. But, um, yeah, the, the added shots with the force ghosts was from a kind of previously unknown forum user named John.

[00:35:52] Who I understand is, um, a professional director and filmmaker in Spain. And that's a good example of someone just showing up one day, knock, knock. I have this amazing thing to just hand to you guys for this specific project. See you later, I'll be back every six months to say hi and be very elusive. Um, so that was, that was just, um, yeah, th th that's the stand that's probably the single, if I had 30 seconds to show somebody something from that edit, it would be that certainly.

[00:36:22] Um, and it's not just because it was cool visually or something like that. It, it, it fits into everything, has to fit into a, a story rationale and fit into things overall. Uh, someone could have given me the most amazingly well-produced special effects thing there, but if it was going to be something that wasn't going to work for, it, it, you know, it would just be a cool, a cool thing, but not part of the thing itself.

[00:36:50] Um, But yeah,

[00:36:52] no,

[00:36:52] that, that that's that's, that's probably my favorite individual, uh, change made to it. Yeah.

[00:36:58] JOSH: Well, that's what attracts me to your fan at it's so much, because I love how you, try to respect the intention of the filmmakers and just kind of enhance , what they'd already done to bring out what is there, but just to,

[00:37:14] uh, to bring it that little extra step further to just really make it click, if that makes any sense.

[00:37:20] HAL9000: Yeah. Not reinventing it, but just, you know, How could this be made more effective? And I think that in that, that does certainly involve making changes to the story, but, um, sort of, um, like if you're doing a crossword puzzle or something, you want to be careful about what you do here, whether that affects something three connected words away or something, um, you know, cause with star wars, they're, they're going to be making star wars, mini series and movies and things in all kinds of stuff, uh, you know, forever.

[00:37:53] So I think it's more important than ever to, um, just be careful you don't willy-nilly change something. That's going to make your edit. I don't know, less, uh, attuned to something you might really like 10 years from now that they make.

[00:38:09] JOSH: Sure. Yeah. Well, so, so what's so interesting to me about the whole phenomenon and fan edits is, and I think you're really. Great at this, I think you used the word conservative, your whole philosophy about how you approach these. Like, you want this to be hypothetically, the version that could have, been released and, and

[00:38:29] been the version of the

[00:38:30] HAL9000: exactly. I think, um, and you know, people can fan at it. Well, let's just, just sticking with star wars. Even people could find it, any of the star wars movies for any number of valid reasons that make sense to them. For me, it was always, you know, to produce something that.

[00:38:48] Feasibly, like be presented to somebody as the movie and it would, it would work and it would be just fine as a cut of the movie, as opposed to something kind of more experiment experimental, which can be interesting, but that's just not what I was personally interested in, in, in trying to do.

[00:39:07] Um, so I'd rather have, I'd rather not make a change if it's not going to really feel like it could be pulled off to that level. Um,

[00:39:17] thinking more about that kind of

[00:39:18] the, the whole package. Yeah.

[00:39:19] JOSH: Oh yeah. Because I mean, you see a lot of fan at it's, you know, that are fun experiments, but they don't have the level of, Polish because frankly, what they're trying to do is not,

[00:39:29] HAL9000: not possible

[00:39:29] to, and, and and those very projects, um, often I think can take a lot more work and a lot more creativity to do and, and it just, it just doesn't have the same standard, you know, like it, it, it can be, uh, if you're going to a, um, Implement some, a crazy idea or just very novel idea. And you kind of see how it see how it works or, um, intentionally just remix the movie in a, in a dramatic way.

[00:39:59] You kind of know that there's going to be things there that are going to have some problems there. Like if, if somebody was going to do an edit that replaces all the music with something else, and there's certain parts that where you just can't get rid of all the music or else you lose important dialogue, or you just going to not do that project.

[00:40:16] No. Sure. It just there's, there's just gotta be stuff like that sometimes in it.

[00:40:20] JOSH: No. Yeah. And again, I think, that actually probably, sums it up for me at the end of the day. you know, your. Philosophy when approaching these edits of yours, you want them to be able to stand in for the film itself? Not like,

[00:40:36] HAL9000: that, that's my goal.

[00:40:37] JOSH: have done.

[00:40:39] HAL9000: Right.

[00:40:39] JOSH: And like, here's my, half-hearted or, full harder, but not entirely successful stab at it.

[00:40:44] Right.

[00:40:45] HAL9000: Exactly. Yeah. I, hearing, you say that makes me remember, uh, shortly after last gen, I came out, I don't remember what it was called, but there was a, I don't think, I don't think the movie had hit video yet. It was just like, kind of, you know, theater cam footage, but someone doing a, basically a fan edit that, it seemed like mean-spirited in, in some of the stuff that it

[00:41:05] was doing. Uh,

[00:41:07] and it was like,

[00:41:08] for

[00:41:09] example, like it would,

[00:41:10] JOSH: like entirely and they, they got rid of rows or something like that. It was like some

[00:41:16] HAL9000: and just really working hard to contrive Luke doing the opposite things that it was showing he was doing just through editing and. I think there's, there's some specific things about it. I obviously, I, I, you know, glanced at it and hadn't interacted with it since, but, yeah, there's just a sense there of, this is what it should have been.

[00:41:36] Uh, you know, something like that. And for me, it's, you know, I'm, I'm, I never intended these to be an indictment or anything like that. Just, you know, Hey, I, uh, I can use a video editor and if I can make this happen, why not? I remember listening to, um, some podcasts and I think it was, I think it was Sam Whitmer. I think that's who said this? I can't remember for sure. Um, but somebody I remember saying, um, in regards to fan edits or like, you know, the Phantom edit or things like that, uh, the thought they expressed was, um, that's not impressive. What's impressive. Being a professional and making a movie where you have a civic timeframe, you're making decisions, you live with them and you, and you get that done.

[00:42:25] And, uh, I would say, I agree. I don't have any problem with that. Uh, it was never a matter of look what I can do, but more just, I want for this version of this to exist, and I can do that. Like, you know, for a rise of Skywalker Cendant, we had, you know, at least a year and a half of, uh, tossing ideas back and forth.

[00:42:48] Now we obviously have a lot less resources collectively than two weeks of time, you know, with a hundred million dollars or something, you know? Um, but nevertheless, we have time to let that gestate in a way that like, uh, people really making the movie in real time, you know, uh, Wouldn't have, um, so what it offended it's are a different thing.

[00:43:09] Um, you know,

[00:43:10] is it impressive? Well, that's up to you, but if with a fan at it, you get to have two years go by where you think about something and, and, and then do it. Okay. Uh, it, it it's, it's just a different thing.

[00:43:23] JOSH: no for sure. Um, and that's actually something that once again, I think sets your fan at it's apart I very much got the sense, like this isn't something mean-spirited like, this is, coming from a genuine love and respect for the work that these filmmakers and, and, and craftspeople had done.

[00:43:45] And you just have, you had an itch that you wanted to scratch and you had the means to do

[00:43:49] HAL9000: Exactly.

[00:43:51] JOSH: and that you set guidelines for yourself. It's like, I want these to, work the same way, the movies, them, that, the real movies were intended to work. It's just tweaking them slightly, not, you know, changing the message of the last Jedi or not like making. Luke into a whole different character than the one depicted in the film. It's just sort of like, it's a creative exercise, as far as I'm concerned, it's like the same, the same impulse to remix a song or to play with existing material and see what happens when you combine it in a new way.

[00:44:25] Just to see if you can do it and see and see what it looks like, see, see how it plays, see how it works.

[00:44:31] HAL9000: Yeah. This is maybe a broad statement, but I think some people can be creative in the sense of, I start with an idea and I do many different things. The idea is express idea in different forms. You can take this idea of something and do a painting about one particular fragment of it, or like, like, uh, you know, sending your prism of light, uh, out into multicolors into the world.

[00:44:55] Other people can be more creative in the sense of gathering those different colors of light and kind of just trying to distill them down into something kind of mind the essence out of it or something like that, kinda zoom out and see the forest rather than the

[00:45:07] specific trees. And I think I'm more of the latter.

[00:45:10] And so I'm just, I don't know, just the, the star wars being in the place that it was at when I was the right age and. Just all those factors, just kind of, uh, I guess, faded me to spending quite a bit of time working on, uh, what kind of feels like a single long-term project, more than a hobby, really. Um, you know, like I said, it was always just a set of specific things I wanted to get done.

[00:45:36] And then just, I dunno, feeling passionate about it enough where it's hard to totally set it down and not take advantage of a later idea, just because you felt like you were done already or something like that. even though I've, I've only really ever edited star wars and then some, you know, some stuff with Lord of the rings, but I never really branched out into much else because there hadn't really been the same kind of compelling ideas to pursue that I wanted to do.

[00:46:01] JOSH: Well we'll as the beneficiary of the work you have put into this long-term project, I I'm glad you did. I, I really enjoy them and I appreciate, you and your work.

[00:46:13] HAL9000: That's very gratifying to hear. I, I imagine like, uh, some, uh, you know, Talmudic rabbi or something who like wrote some finer points of something, something 80, 80 chapters deep in something that was some point he felt that he had cared about or interacted enough to make that point or something for somebody later on to, uh, interact with that same esoteric point about this or that, and, and kind of cover that same mental ground is, is, is gratifying and kind of a weird way.

[00:46:43] JOSH: No, I get you. I get you well said.

[00:46:45] HAL9000: And any, anytime you mull over the contradiction about, you know, Leah not remembering her mother, when she, had died in childbirth or something, I will be there.

[00:46:53] JOSH: one question I, I want to ask you because I'm sure I'm sure it has crossed your mind. and this is not to put you on the spot or anything, but I wonder this myself, like, how do you think George Lucas feels or would feel about the idea that there are, you know, fans who are reworking , his work.

[00:47:13] HAL9000: Well,

[00:47:14] JOSH: think he would, he would not like it. Do you think he would, see the spirit in which it's, it's being well, I mean, not everybody, but, uh, but the idea

[00:47:23] that like, you know, you get your hands on something and like, I mean, he's an editor, I'm sure he understands that creative impulse

[00:47:30] I mean, when you love something, you kind of want to, take it apart and put it back together again, to see how it works and to see if you can. I

[00:47:37] HAL9000: I really don't think he would appreciate it at all. I, I, it's hard to say like, like present day, George Lucas, you know, this is like, you know, early 20, 22, we're sitting down and talking here. I dunno, he might just be at a point in his life where he wouldn't really, get, you know, accrue much substance in his mind maybe.

[00:47:57] But I think if we wind back, you know, 20 years ago when the Phantom edit was a thing, you know, even if we wind back 10 years or something, cause even at the time, like we said, Phantom edit was a very novel, thing there, but so just broadly speaking fan of this in general of star wars, you know, things that he had worked on, it's really hard for me to imagine him feeling, very generous toward them or, view them positively at all.

[00:48:20] he seems like somebody who, you know, has a very particular vision, even as it shifts, even as it changes, even as it's kind of, you know, carried forward, impromptu and, and, dynamically, he's no possessed of a particular idea and sees it through his way is not one to really take much, uh, undesired feedback from other people.

[00:48:43] And, like with the prequels, right? Like he made, nobody can say like he, that he didn't make the movies that he wanted to make. It's a hard for me to imagine him smiling on, on, on any of this, you know? And so I think with any, really any kind of re cut fan edit, anything like that, I think that you really kind of have to take, uh, you know, death of the death of the author approach and treat it, well, maybe not clinically, but just to treat it as a text that is there to be interacted with and in whatever ways, and that you, you know, uh, can't be beholding.

[00:49:17] I think that's where a lot of the criticism comes from with star wars standard. It's in particular as people kind of coming to the defense of, uh, George Lucas and his vision there. And one thing that's true about fan that it's, that's not true about something like the special additions of the original trilogy is that, uh, these fan edits are additive.

[00:49:36] they're there and they weren't there before. And other than that, nothing's different. Whereas with the special additions, , those have been the only officially available, you know, presentations of those original movies for 25 years now. unless you want, unless you want to count like a bonus feature in 2006, that was pretty substandard even for the time and things like that.

[00:49:55] It's been kind of the star wars fan community that, it's so weird because when, when a new star wars. Movie or project comes out, it's just an expected, there's going to be fan edits of it, it star wars and had been so closely associated that, you know, before you even know whether it's any good or not, or it might've been the most beautiful thing in the world that you're still, you know, that there's going to be a fan that it's of it.

[00:50:15] You know, this, uh, the time we're recording this, the, the new, uh, Kenobi series hasn't debuted yet. And, there's going to be a fan of it's of it. There's going to be, versions that combine it into one movie. Like you're saying things that make it a silent movie or all this stuff. Some people are gonna want to slap it open and crawl on there and call it episode three and bumped three to two and two to one and, uh, all kinds of stuff.

[00:50:35] So, um,

[00:50:36] JOSH: right. That is definitely going to happen.

[00:50:37] HAL9000: I wanted to rewatch, Mandalorian before book of Boba Fett came out, but I still don't have a lot of free time. And so I watched. Uh, version that combined each of the seasons into one movie each and it took, I don't know, four and a half hours in total altogether. it was nice.

[00:50:53] I got caught up. It was, it was just, I'm glad it existed. the coaxial heist, uh, by, uh, dig mot of, uh, fan edit of solo Cole, a star wars story, um, is great. I've watched that, more than I've seen solo itself and that's, uh, that's another example. Or I imagine if I were to watch the re official version, just solo the real movie, um, there would be things that pile up and bother me that I just would not even think about at all, watching, you know, the coaxial heist.

[00:51:17] JOSH: I think you're probably right. terms of, George Lucas's feelings on this, and

[00:51:21] HAL9000: yeah, we get that back. We finally get back to the actual question you asked. Yeah.

[00:51:25] JOSH: No, no, I I'm all about the tangents. I mean, I this is what I'm here for. it Is interesting because, you mentioned copyright earlier, we were talking about, mythology and I suspect you're exactly correct.

[00:51:36] I think that George Lucas probably hates this whole idea and I don't think he, he would be happy about it. I don't know. but if I were a betting man, I would, presume he does not approve and is, not happy about it, but that

[00:51:47] HAL9000: Yeah. He, he, he, I think he'd probably feel like you walked right up to him. Slapped his lunchbox right out of his hand, broke his glasses and just shoved them down in the.

[00:51:58] JOSH: Yes. but that said, you know, when you think about it, it is very interesting to me. how specifically he did set out with the intention to create a new mythology, a modern mythology for a new generation, for a new world, for a, for a technological world. A lot of the myth and star wars is the relationship between humans and their machines.

[00:52:24] Right.

[00:52:25] HAL9000: Just kind of classic archetypes, um, with a unique, skin kind of layer in, in presentation, but it's that time tested, just resonant, Characters and steams and everything. that's in there. It's good at its core. Yeah.

[00:52:41] JOSH: totally. But if you follow through on that idea, And you succeed and you do create a mythology that is, you know, stories that we use to, to understand ourselves and relate to each other, then you kind of Seed ownership, to a degree, like if you're the idea that he was knowingly intentionally setting out to create a modern mythology, like a modern mythological framework.

[00:53:09] And he succeeded at that, this desire to get in there and like use it for one's own personal expression or one's own, getting in the guts and monkeying around and, using it in that way and rewriting it, or, mixing and matching and taking pieces of it.

[00:53:28] Like that's what, that's how mythology functions.

[00:53:31] HAL9000: Yeah, it's an interesting, interesting tension you highlight there. Cause that would be the natural step that'd be the natural process that would happen. And I don't know, in a, in a pre I dunno, pre 1900 say world, that is kind of what would have,

[00:53:46] how that would have gone. You know, it would have been like a Robin hood where it just gets.

[00:53:51] told and the story gets refined organically as it goes, because the things that work and that catch on and that kind of just are resonant and everything, those are the things that get purified and stick around and, the end result story that you might find 80 years down the road would be a little bit different, but it would be if anything kind of, just refined and, and there you go, that's sort of analogous to how some of these fan that it's, I've gone in, in kind of in a way,

[00:54:18] um, you know, especially just with, like I was saying, just kind of my, very welcoming of the collaboration because I'm for, well, honestly, it's kinda just.

[00:54:28] In service to the, the end product. Because I'm not super confident for better or worse, or for whatever reasons in myself, like, oh yeah, I sit down with it. I know what I should do. Here I go. There we go. It's done. Like, I like that feedback because the end result is going to be, uh, something that I feel more confident in because it has been kind of given that organic test and a sort of, I guess, analogous way to Robin hood being told here, there, and that happening.

[00:54:51] Yeah.

[00:54:52] JOSH: No, no for sure. I think actually, the process you had is sort of the creative process, of star wars or of any other tale sort of writ small. It's like, it's like,

[00:55:01] uh, it's like,

[00:55:02] HAL9000: yes.

[00:55:04] JOSH: but no, absolutely. I think that it is a very similar, thing.

[00:55:07] I also have to wonder, I mean, now that we're sort of getting out there a little bit, uh, a little bit heady, the, Sort of the copyright intellectual property framework of the world that we live in now. But I also have to wonder if it, if it doesn't have something to do with, the medium of film itself, which, I mean, even though these are fantasy films, like I think film as an art form, because it, purports to kind of render reality, quote, unquote, realistically, right?

[00:55:35] Like it's not, it's not meant to be a representation of a thing. The way that say a painting is, or the way that a novel is, or the way that a

[00:55:43] HAL9000: We're just telling the

[00:55:44] story

[00:55:45] JOSH: is

[00:55:45] HAL9000: or in writing? Yes.

[00:55:46] JOSH: yeah. Like a film, purports to be the definitive thing.

[00:55:50] The real thing, like

[00:55:51] what

[00:55:52] HAL9000: captured in there. It is.

[00:55:53] JOSH: right? Like what you're watching is not, is not a representation of the thing.

[00:55:57] It's this is what it looked like. This is what it was. I think that there's something to maybe, the idea that, maybe implicit George Lucas's mind or in one's mind that like, you can't really monkey with that in the same way. so I guess maybe he never really thought about it, but it turns out you can't.

[00:56:16] HAL9000: Well, I mean, having an alternate cut of something that's unofficial is, I mean, not limited to just, you can find plenty of that pre-internet days. , I think I could be misremembering, but I think George Lucas himself edited existing movies a little bit kinda like what you were saying earlier for practice.

[00:56:35] or

[00:56:36] just to do that's a little different, he, while he wasn't, you know, putting that distributing that necessarily or anything, but it's still something I think probably people have done for decades and decades, you know, for timeout of mine, just about,

[00:56:48] JOSH: Yeah. I mean, like there's the genre, there's like, uh, the found footage film, and there are a lot of avant-garde experimental filmmakers who, um, I,

[00:56:56] HAL9000: Or even just people taking, like, doing what we would do now in different way. Just like taking, I, I like this movie. I want to change it in some way. And I'm either have access to film, editing tools way back in the day. Or I, I hope to VCR is up to each other or something. You can do stuff like that.

[00:57:14] JOSH: it's just really interesting how the technology has allowed for this like new, possibility of engaging with, texts that I don't know was necessarily anticipated. Um, when George Lucas created it initially,

[00:57:29] HAL9000: yeah, no, I mean, I, I would agree with that. Um, like we said before, it's, it's, you're, you're limited with what you can do compared to, something that's in print or especially something that's like a story being passed along or.

[00:57:40] JOSH: so, but that's kind of the fun of it a little bit.

[00:57:42] HAL9000: yeah. When, when you pull something off and it works, it's almost like you, you, you solve the puzzle, you, you found a, you know, a way to pull something off. Yeah. Uh, you, you satisfied all the requirements to make that work and in, in the, yeah, you pulled it off,

[00:57:56] JOSH: why do you think, Disney slash, Lucasfilm allows this to, to go on, but you think because it's so small and ultimately, the fan engagement is more, important than, whatever copyright

[00:58:07] HAL9000: Yeah,

[00:58:08] JOSH: on, or what do you think,

[00:58:09] HAL9000: probably something along those lines. I think by, well, by now, everything on the internet happens like two decades ago. , you found that it is a brand new kind of phenomenon. And it was like 2007 or 2008, somewhere around there found that at.org actually got shut down for a short time. the fan edit.org and original trilogy.com communities.

[00:58:30] I have been just very cautious and very strict with their rules about respecting copyright and not like for example, posting direct links to download fan edits outside of, you know, private messages or something like that. just because they'd undergone that, that kind of trauma a little bit and, and need to have that prime directive to keep them safe, keep all of us safe and be able to keep doing this stuff and not, have somebody get sued into oblivion to make they made an example of, or anything.

[00:58:56] And those were, I don't know, a little bit more kind of frontier days of that kind of thing on the internet nowadays. I think there's just too much. It's just the flood gates have opened and people on YouTube at least, you know, just for example, when we're, we're recording this on the day that, uh, there was a teaser trailer for the new Obi wan Kenobi series, I think.

[00:59:16] Look, but I'm sure there's probably dozens and dozens and hundreds of people doing various Mimi, funny things with it and remixing stuff and all, all kinds of ways. And so I think that it fan that it's like the ones that I had worked on or are produced or anything just don't really merit a lot of attention from Disney or anything.

[00:59:33] I'm sure if, if, it had some reason to, to fall under their radar where they take a cold, hard look of it, it's, it's not going to be good for us, we'd probably would probably get shut down, but, I don't think they probably like that it happens. but they just don't seem to be interested in, hunting down every last little thing.

[00:59:49] I can't think of any specific examples, but I mean, I know that there certainly are times you know, we're Disney will step in and, shut down. Something that would be kind of tantamount to of these fan edits. It's not, it's not like they

[01:00:00] JOSH: Yep. Well, the only thing that Springs to mind right now, there was, there's a star wars, YouTube or star wars theory. And he created a Darth Vader fan film.

[01:00:09] HAL9000: Oh yeah. I remember hearing something about

[01:00:11] that. I don't, I don't, remember what the, what the drama was exactly. That

[01:00:14] it had been shut down in some manner.

[01:00:16] JOSH: yeah, so, so I think the issue was he had monetized the channel and it got like millions of views and he actually made a significant amount of, I mean, I shouldn't say a significant amount of money.

[01:00:26] but he made some money off it.

[01:00:28] HAL9000: Yeah. Well, like I was saying, if, if he were functioning within the, you know, fonda.org, original trilogy.com communities that he would have broken the Cardinal rule and, we definitely have that as one of those big safeguards. Yeah.

[01:00:42] You know, there's no money, you know, there was actually a little bit of drama when, uh, somebody joined the forums and they had like, uh, their own YouTube account already about their fan edit and we're selling t-shirts about their fan edit and have like a Patrion and all this kind of stuff.

[01:00:57] And, um, so yeah, I've, I've, you know, never made a red cent on, any, any of the stuff I've done, it's just been purely, just, just a weirdo alone at home, doing, working on the thing, you know?

[01:01:09] None of this material belongs to me at all I mean, this is ridiculous, but like, if, if Disney wanted to take all my fan edits and release them bit forbid like on a, on a disc format and charge people a thousand dollars a pop, you know, I wouldn't have absolutely zero recourse.

[01:01:24] Like, Hey, I did that or something, you know, um, I'm just, I'm just, you know, like, uh, somebody's uncle in the 17th century who, happened to spin a particular detailer to, as they told the story of Robin hood to their nephews and nieces, and, and that eventually kind of coalesced into the version that got written down at some point later on or something, you know,

[01:01:44] JOSH: I love that analogy. I think that's great. So, that leads me to a question that I want to ask you, but it's a little tricky, but if someone who has just listened to this is curious to see one of your fan at that's. How might they go about doing it?

[01:01:58] HAL9000: if you go to Reddit, I have links posted there, or if you find me on original trilogy.com or fan out at.org, either of those, you know, just look for HAL 9000 send me a message and I'll be happy to oblige, private messaging that the fan editor themselves, is that really the primary way to get a copy of a particular edit?

[01:02:18] JOSH: I got asked, uh, why, HAL 9000? I assume you're a 2001 space Odyssey fan.

[01:02:22] HAL9000: well it's because when I registered at age 13, I didn't think of a

[01:02:25] JOSH: you go.

[01:02:26] HAL9000: name.

[01:02:27] Uh, you

[01:02:28] know, yeah. I, I liked that movie. I just, I just, I don't know. I don't remember why exactly I picked that, but I did. And, uh, I, I wish I'd picked something more unique. I get private messages, now, and then, people like, Hey, can I get your godfather edit?

[01:02:43] And I'm like, oh, no, no. You're thinking of how over 9,000 somebody who actually did have a creative name. No, that's a different person.

[01:02:50] JOSH: do you know what you just reminded me of actually, , Steven Soderbergh, he did what amounts to a fan edit of 2001, a space Odyssey.

[01:02:58] HAL9000: Uh, I'm afraid. I don't, the name sounds vaguely familiar, but I don't know who that is.

[01:03:01] JOSH: Steven Soderbergh is a filmmaker director. He did, um, oh gosh. I've thought in my head he did. Ocean's 11. He did traffic.

[01:03:08] HAL9000: Okay.

[01:03:09] JOSH: uh, sexualized and videotape

[01:03:11] HAL9000: Okay. Gotcha. Then.

[01:03:12] JOSH: A few years ago, he has a website. I forget what it's called. it was like his personal website.

[01:03:17] He sold some, some t-shirts and like he had like a blog or something and he would release these little video experiments and he did a recap of 2001, a space Odyssey, and he put it out for free on Vimeo. So, so it's not, it's not just for amateurs anymore. Like he,

[01:03:35] HAL9000: sure.

[01:03:36] JOSH: he, has that same.

[01:03:37] HAL9000: Or you remember hearing several years ago about a actor, Topher, grace doing a fan edit of the star wars prequels that,

[01:03:45] JOSH: yes,

[01:03:46] HAL9000: you've never been able to see, like it was just something he did and showed to his friends or, or something like that. even he wouldn't be, well, I guess I shouldn't speculate about his motives, not for releasing it, but I would imagine that, Hey, I'm a, I'm a very famous person.

[01:03:59] Let me do something that could get me some negative attention. You know, copyright or whatever, reasons might have nothing to do with that. I don't really know, but 2001, a space Odyssey would certainly be, um, right for, editing of all kinds. It is a lot of wide open space to work with, you know,

[01:04:15] whether you want to transform it or just slice it down or anything.

[01:04:17] There's a lot of, you could cut a lot out without it feeling like you had

[01:04:20] JOSH: Right now I'm looking at an Indy wire, article from 2015, uh, talking about Steven Soderbergh's 2001, a space Odyssey, recut, where, he also, he recut Raiders of the lost Ark. He presented it in black and white, to make it like you know, an old timey

[01:04:35] HAL9000: like it was actually made at

[01:04:37] JOSH: yeah.

[01:04:37] HAL9000: it was taking place.

[01:04:39] JOSH: he also. did his own cut of the film heaven's gate, the, um, the Michael Chimino movie that was, famously over schedule over, budget film that flopped at the box office and is sort of known as like demarcation line for the end of new Hollywood, because, the studios realized, you know, maybe we shouldn't just let these directors do whatever they want.

[01:05:04] HAL9000: That's an interesting point. Cause like, um, with some of the decisions that go into these fan edits, I kind of, uh, infer that this was probably here as a function of studio insistence. Well, when I make this fan at it, I don't have to care about that. And so, you know, I can do X, Y, and Z. for example, that, that changed with the force ghosts that you mentioned in ascendant.

[01:05:30] I could imagine, you know, a studio executive, you know, maybe saying, you know, Hey, if someone's only watching our new movies here, they're not going to over these four weirdos are, or at least they're not at least not going to know necessarily recognize OB one. And, Anna can, uh on-site so they'd probably look at that change we did and be like, you know, Hey, there's maybe some reasons not to do that.

[01:05:48] And we're like, Hey, well, you know, we're not beholden to those kinds of things. It's just one of the advantages.

[01:05:53] JOSH: no one, you could also imagine like, they would have to, pay for use of likeness or, or they would have to, to pay the actor for the day of shooting or whatever. I mean, obviously, like, I mean, we're talking about, Disney

[01:06:07] HAL9000: you want a deep, fake mark Hamill onto something, uh, you know, and you can sure you don't have to pay him $10 million for the privilege necessarily if you're just

[01:06:15] JOSH: Right.

[01:06:16] HAL9000: project. Yeah.

[01:06:17] JOSH: so I really think that, you know, fan at it's set at this very interesting juncture between, art and commerce, let's say, , between the creative impulse and, you know, sort of the letter of the law and kind of how, you know, film in general, but also star wars specifically is kind of, and was intended to be from the very beginning, a modern mythology and mythology is something that we, we all share and feel some kind of ownership

[01:06:45] HAL9000: It's, it's it's one way to interact with the material, um, in a, in a constructive way. Gosh, like, I, I didn't, I didn't feel like it was almost possible, um, come out of the theater at rise of Skywalker to, really kind of that project forced me into a constructive mindset that movie, to be honest.

[01:07:05] Um, but,

[01:07:06] that was good. Like I can, I can obviously sit down and watch ascendant and feel good about what I'm seeing, just having the, just personal history involved, just honestly, just feeling proud of what everybody was able to do.

[01:07:18] JOSH: and you should be proud. I think it speaks volumes that you were the one everybody went to and you became sort of, I mean, you described yourself as kind of like, you know, the project manager or the, producer, but that's not for nothing. How, like, your work.

[01:07:33] And your reputation for your work proceeded you. And that's why everyone's sort of rallied and coalesced around that, thread you started because everyone wanted the, HAL 9000 version of that movie.

[01:07:45] HAL9000: Okay, fair enough. I, I, I wouldn't disagree with you either there. Um, it is a feeling of pride there, pride for, um, what we were able to all do together. And so, even if the movie itself was kind of disappointing, it feels good to at least have done what we could with it, you know, to have, made that effort and, and produce that actual thing that, you know, there it is.

[01:08:05] And I can. Always come back to it in years in the future and know like, oh yeah, there's a thing we did that I feel confident about because it went through the process and got all the attention it needed. And maybe it's been out of my Headspace for a while where I don't necessarily, by that point, remember, it's not, it's not dependent on what I can remember about what we did or whatever it is.

[01:08:21] It passed those tests and, and, and there, it can be,

[01:08:24] that's all I wanted in the first place. I feel like, you know, you, uh, I dunno, you asked that, uh, tomboy rabbi, I invented a, you know, a little while ago, you know, like, Hey yeah, you ever read anything else? You're like, eh, what other things, other things, geez.

[01:08:38] I don't know. I don't think a rabbi would say, geez, but still.

[01:08:40] JOSH: actually you'd be surprised. I know some rabbis and they, uh, they know the vernacular of the time. Um, I just want to thank you really from the bottom of my heart for, for responding to my message and for taking the time and again, for all the time and effort that you've spent, making these very wonderful versions of these films that I think set along, side by side with, my official Blu-rays I'm very happy they exist.

[01:09:04] So thank you very much.

[01:09:05] HAL9000: well, thanks. Thank you for saying so, and thanks for having me on here. I appreciate the, you know, just kind of perspective behind your questions too. I think you, uh, ended up mining out of me just about everything that I would've wanted to offer up anyway. So appreciate the conversation and, uh, appreciate being in.

[01:09:23] This early batch of episodes of your new podcast.

[01:09:25] JOSH: well, thank you so much on that note. I still do not have an official sign off for this podcast. So, um, future me is going to drop one in, but, in case he decides not to, I just want to say thanks for listening please rate us on whatever podcast platform you're listening.

[01:09:40] we can be found at trashcompod.com and trashcompod across all social media, and we will see you on the next one.