How Topher Grace’s 85-minute version of the Star Wars prequels borrows from principles in gaming

It’s no secret that the Star Wars prequels were received poorly. Since their release, filmmaker George Lucas has lost all fan respect and the pop culture aphorism has arisen that the people that most hate Star Wars are the people that most love it. Every avid fan has lamented the corruption of the landmark science fiction series that defined their youth but one such fan decided to take matters in to his own hands. Topher Grace (as in yes, that Topher Grace) is a film geek and has recently become interested in editing. As a huge Star Wars fan, he decided that the prequels would give him ample material to experiment with while giving him the opportunity to reshape the story into something the fans really deserved.

What he ended up with was an 85-minute compilation-excision of the three-prequel films. Peter Sciretta of Slashfilm was invited to a screening of the film and described the result. Sciretta sounded very positive about the result and the changes he recounts are intriguing to consider. Grace reveals the potential for a more refined story, a better version than Lucas presented. This wasn’t the first time that people have tried to rework the prequels: Machete order reorders the entire film series as they are in the hopes of forming a more cohesive story.

Grace’s efforts are unique since he has actually taken a knife to the footage rather than simply rearranging them. His methodology espouses the mod culture of games and even suggests a new direction to take it in. Games have always been unusually open to change. PC games introduced the ability for people to make small changes to games or even completely new experiences based on the engine. Grace’s imaginative reenvisioning of such a displeasing series suggests a potential for fan edits of bad games. Maybe there is still something worth experiencing in Duke Nukem Forever, it just needs some reworking to really show up.