Does A Six-Hour Cut Of The Phantom Menace Really Exist?
Actor Jake Lloyd has had a fraught relationship with "Star Wars." At age nine, Lloyd auditioned to play the young Anakin Skywalker — a.k.a. the young Darth Vader — in George Lucas' hotly anticipated prequel film " Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace ." Although initially beloved, "The Phantom Menace" quickly soured in the mind of the public, and over the course of the following few years, transformed into one of the most hated blockbusters of its era. These days, one can find any number of critical internet videos picking apart "The Phantom Menace" in excruciating detail. Many fans pointed specifically to Lloyd's performance as one of the many culprits in the film's quality, and Lloyd was bullied incessantly online for many years. In 2001, when he was 12, Lloyd elected to retire from acting altogether, burned all his "Star Wars" merch , and has attempted to live in peace ever since. His life since "Phantom Menace" has been difficult.
Occasionally, however, Lloyd would come forward to talk about his experiences working on the film. In 2011, Lloyd talked with the website ThatShelf.com — quoted by CBR — to describe auditioning for the film as a child, and to claim that the original workprint of "Phantom Menace" initially ran a full six hours in length.
Note that standard filmmaking practices often lead to extremely long workprint cuts, as filmmakers need to first assemble all their footage in one place before editing for time and pacing can begin in earnest. These workprints are never intended to be released to the public. Whatever your favorite blockbuster, there is likely an elongated version in its past.
But six hours? That sounds excessive.
The longest known fan edit
The Shelf interview has been recorded for posterity and can be seen on YouTube . In a discussion of "Star Wars" fan edits, Lloyd was asked how he would have edited the film himself. Lloyd replied by saying:
"Well, I'd have to ask for the original six-hour cut ... Matthew Wood, the guy who did the voice of Grievous, he was one of the first people to watch the six-hour cut and said it was 'mind-blowingly awesome.'"
This, however, seems to be the only reference to a six-hour cut of "The Phantom Menace." The theatrical running time of Lucas' film is only 136 minutes. That would mean there are about 224 minutes of missing footage out there. For reference, just the missing footage would be as long as the director's cut of Michael Wadleigh's 1970 documentary " Woodstock ." Is it possible there are three hours and 44 minutes of "The Phantom Menace" that no one has seen? Well, no one but Matthew Wood?
On Reddit, many fans have shared their editing adventures, and one user calling themselves "Derpston_P_Derp" found what might be the longest edit of "The Phantom Menace." It seems one " Bobson Dugnutt ," presumably a pseudonym, edited back into the feature all of the longest takes and deleted scenes that have been included on the various "Phantom Menace" DVDs and Blu-rays. Fittingly called the " Bobson Dugnutt Extended Cut ," the Reddit user laid out all the new additions and insertions in detail.
By the Reddit user's own measure, the mysterious "Dugnutt" didn't add anything close to 224 minutes. The Blu-ray cut ran 2:16:11, while the new extended version only ran 2:24:31. That's only an addition of eight minutes and twenty seconds. Hardly the epic Lloyd alluded to.
Other fan edits
On the website FanEdit.com , many amateur "Star Wars" cuts are laid out in detail. One fan-edited all three of Lucas' "Star Wars" prequels down into a single 179-minute movie . Another shaved "The Phantom Menace" down to a lean 96 minutes . One user merely replaced John Williams' popular score with fistfuls of heavy metal music . None of these fan edits have seemingly gained access to any of the mythical missing 224 minutes that Lloyd claimed existed.
Indeed, there didn't seem to be all that much of "The Phantom Menace" star to start with. The special features on the "Phantom Menace" DVDs revealed that Lucas extrapolated his script from 15 pages of notes he wrote back in 1976 and that he expanded the script to contain five separate plot threads. Culling through the internet will find multiple drafts of Lucas' script , and those tend to average around 146 pages, each of them with all five plot threads intact.
The general wisdom of filmmaking dictates that one page of a script will equal one minute of screen time. This is, of course, a general rule and there are many exceptions of films that are much longer than their scripts — the script for David Lynch's 89-minute film " Eraserhead " was only 22 pages long, for instance — but there is nothing in "The Phantom Menace" script to account for several missing hours of story, action, or dialogue. To make it to six hours, there would have to be additional dialogue, characters, and subplots that were excised. A 146-page script has none of those things.
So is it real?
To make a workprint, a filmmaker tends to make a print using all of their selected footage on the film's original camera negative. All the editing is done on the copy. When a final cut is arrived at, the edits are then repeated on the camera negative, making a master print. Workprints, being made from a copy, are often of low quality and don't always have the final sound, effects, or music included. Indeed, many scenes contain stock footage, temp music, and animatics in place of final scenes. They are, essentially, the "first draft" of a film edit.
It will be very rare that a workprint makes its way to the public, and when it does, it was usually the result of theft . Several scandals have arisen over the years involving leaked workprints. One might recall an incident from the early 2000s, when Ang Lee's "Hulk" made its way onto internet servers. Even these weren't enormously long. At the very least, one can likely rest assured that a six-hour cut of "The Phantom Menace" was never built into a master print, and never had complete special effects, music, or sound.
The length of Lloyd's claim — six hours! — is enough to elicit suspicion. Even workprints, in a very general sense, only tend to run double the length of any final cut. For example, it was said that the workprint of Lucas' 140-minute film " Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith " once ran a whopping four hours . That's only 100 minutes of excised footage. 224 missing minutes strains credulity.
So does a six-hour cut of "The Phantom Menace" exist? Probably not. One might think Jake Lloyd was either misled as to its existence ... or he was just having us on.
A Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Actor Claims There's an Impressive 6-Hour Cut
Actor Jake Lloyd, best known for playing young Anakin in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, claims an impressive 6-hour cut of the movie once existed.
Star Wars has a plethora of deleted scenes that can be found online, each offering a glimpse into what the movies might've been. When put together, they usually offer around 15 minutes of new footage per movie. However, the young Star Wars actor Jake Lloyd claims there was a six-hour cut of Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace , and that it was "mind-blowingly awesome."
Best known for portraying young Anakin Skywalker, Jake Lloyd has had a rough relationship with the Star Wars franchise. Due to The Phantom Menace 's rocky reception, Jake was bullied during his youth and stepped away from acting. Yet that didn't stop him from embracing the kinder side of the fandom , as he used to enjoy appearing at conventions and talking Star Wars with fans.
RELATED: Anakin's Turn to the Dark Side Was Part of Star Wars' Chosen One Prophecy
The Phantom Menace Was Six-Hours Long
During a 2011 interview with That Shelf , Jake talked about auditioning for The Phantom Menace at just six years old. The conversion then turns to fan edits of the movie, and he's asked, "If you were to cut your own, what would you change?" And Jake replies, "Well, I'd have to ask for the original six-hour cut... Matthew Wood, the guy who did the voice of Grievous, he was one of the first people to watch the six-hour cut and said it was 'mind-blowingly awesome.'"
Most movies have a longer version before being cut down, such as Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith , which was originally four hours long before the opening sequence was trimmed for time. Although, six hours does sound incredibly long for a movie cut. It was likely a mix of repeated takes and placeholder effects, plus Lloyd may be misremembering the exact length as he was only 10 at the time. But either way, it's interesting to think what The Phantom Menace would look like if it was double the length.
RELATED: Why George Lucas Booted Joseph Fiennes From Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
Star Wars' Deleted Scenes Might've Improved The Phantom Menace
George Lucas had a clear vision for what he wanted the prequels to be but was somewhat limited by a movie's runtime. The galaxy introduced in The Phantom Menace is vast and detailed, but the blend between adventure and politics created a clash of tones. Yet if more time was spent immersed in the world, it would likely make audiences appreciate it far more. Unless, of course, Lucas only included more of his awkward jokes and gags.
Fifteen minutes of deleted scenes have already been released for The Phantom Menace . Most of them were understandably cut, often including unnecessary traveling and conversations. Although, some scenes of value are to be found, such as Qui-Gon teaching Anakin to tolerate those with different opinions and Darth Maul's probe droid being discovered. But still, most of it includes extra pod-race shots, which add nothing of substance. Seeing as no one else on the production team has ever mentioned a 6-hour cut, it's likely it was never a complete and watchable movie. But there's no doubt that an extended cut once existed, and fans are left wondering what it included to become "mindblowingly awesome."
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A Six-Hour Cut Of The Phantom Menace Is Out There (And General Grievous Has Seen It)
All news is good news to someone. That's the beauty of this magnificent tapestry we call life. There's an upside-down smile in every frown, if you just know the right angle from which to look.
Take, for example, the revelation that there's a six-hour version of 1999's "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace." Lots of people would see that as a negative. "Who needs more 'Phantom Menace?'" they might well ask. Or "Didn't we get more than enough the first time?" Or "Was anyone chomping at the bit for more of this?" Or "Is this our penance for stealing fire from the jealous gods of Olympus?" Or "Why, father? Why have you abandoned your little boy?"
But consider, conversely, that this might be great news. Maybe a 270% increase in the runtime of a movie that Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian once called "a pop culture calamity" is just the shot in the arm that the oft-maligned prequel needs. Maybe it gives the story the space it needs to breathe and really solidifies folks like Yaddle and the "That costs seven wupiupi!" guy as concrete characters with a place in the universe.
Why are we doing this? Dunking on the prequels is the "eating because you're bored" of internet commentary. Let's get on with it.
Surrender to the glory of a six-hour Episode I
The existence of a version of "The Phantom Menace" with a runtime of a double-stuffed "Avatar: The Way of Water" is not a new discovery. Its terrible shadow was first cast during a 2011 interview between Anakin Skywalker actor Jake Lloyd and the website That Shelf (né Dork Shelf).
Asked about his hypothetical preference regarding alternate cuts of the movie, Lloyd mused that he'd want to watch "the original, six-hour cut." Understandably shaken by this bombshell, the interviewer asked if Lloyd got a chance to see this behemoth. "No," said Lloyd, "but if you ever get the chance to talk to Matthew Wood , the guy who did the voice of Grievous, he was one of the first people to watch the six-hour cut and said it was mind-blowingly awesome."
If it seems bananas that the voice of a character in "Episode III" would get to watch an extended version of "Episode I" instead of the star of "Episode I," it's worth mentioning that Wood has been a mainstay of Lucasfilm projects going as far back as "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles." The veteran sound department regular even made his big screen debut in "The Phantom Menace" playing Bib Fortuna, a part that he would eventually reprise in the second season of "The Mandalorian." The point is, the guy had an in, and it opened doors for him. Those doors led to a six-hour cut of "The Phantom Menace." Not all doors are good.
The Six-Hour Phantom Menace Extended Cut Exists, But There's a Catch
After all the hype – and sixteen years – The Phantom Menace was always going to struggle to meet expectations.
And it's no surprise that it's now widely considered one of the weakest elements of the Star Wars franchise.
Indeed, the online abuse and bullying from fans of Star Wars, coupled with over-the-top press criticism of Jake Lloyd (who played the young Anakin Skywalker) was enough to make him quit acting at the age of 12.
Although, the young star actually received a Young Artist award for Best Supporting Actor award for his part in the movie.
But that wasn't the last we heard from Lloyd and in a 2011 interview with ThatShelf.com he revealed that there is a six-hour cut of The Phantom Menace out there.
This may not be received with huge amounts of positivity given that all those additional hours of footage were deemed not good enough for the final cut of a film that was, at best, underwhelming.
After revealing the existence of the extended cut of the movie, though, Lloyd was asked whether he had seen it. To which he replied that he hadn't.
But he then went on to say that one of the few people to have watched the extended edit, Matthew Wood (who voiced Bib Fortuna in The Phantom Menace and General Grievous in Revenge of the Sith), described it as mind-blowingly awesome).
And this maybe sheds new light on the six-hour cut of the film. Because Wood is a respected voice in the world of Star Wars and LucasFilm.
Originally a games tester at LucasArts, he went on to become an award-winning sound editor at LucasFilm and is now supervising sound editor at Skywalker Sound.
So maybe, somewhere out there is a version of The Phantom Menace that would have delivered on fans' expectations – had it been a mini-series rather than a feature.
Because, let's face it, not even the most devoted fans want to sit through that in a cinema.
But it appears that we'll just have to take Lloyd's word that we can take Wood's word that this cut is indeed "mind-blowingly awesome".
Because the catch is that almost nobody has ever seen it in its entirety – and there are no plans for it to be made available for public viewing.
Although, in the world of entertainment, it's best to never say never.
There was a 6 hour cut of the Phantom Menace
"If you ever get a chance to talk to Matthew Wood, the guy who did the voice for Grievous, he was one of the first people to watch the 6 hour cut. And he said it was mindblowingly awesome."
Lucasarts you stuuupid fuuuuucks! Imagine the possibilities! Grrr. -grumpy grump grump-
Interesting to say the least. I think most movies are incredibly long in their roughest assembled form. IIRC, Mel Brooks said the first cut of Spaceballs was in the neighborhood of three hours!
I imagine some fan editors would love to get their hands on all that footage.
Where were you in '77?
Six hours of PM would probably induce necrosis.
"Close the blast doors!" Puggo’s website | Rescuing Star Wars
Well I have the feeling a 6 hour cut could be more watchable than the 2 hour cut
The four hours were only more Jar Jar.
And in the time of greatest despair, there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as the Son of the Suns.
OK, I though the claim of a 4 hour cut of Blade Runner was insane! I knew there were a lot of cut scenes for TPM, but not 6 hours worth!
I’m just here because I’m driving tonight.
Honestly, I would love to get my hands on that cut. I'm among a minority, but I think TPM has a lot going for it, ruined mostly by Jar Jar and the bizarre pacing. The movie moves from scene to scene far too quickly, and yet it ultimately feels boring. I think a fan edit could cut out a lot of crap, yet extend the scenes so the pacing is improved. Good cutting could still improve the tension, and ultimately it could be a far better movie. Again, I think a different cut could drastically improve the film, and a six hour cut could be a good starting point.
I have no doubt that there would certainly be some more to work with for fanedits if this cut were released. I could think of some things I would use in my own personal one right now.
I guess we'll have to wait untill the copyright runs out, or lucasarts starts auctioning their archive. About a hundred years from now, give or take?
Now that Disney has the helm, try never...
darth_ender said: I'm among a minority, but I think TPM has a lot going for it, ruined mostly by Jar Jar and the bizarre pacing.
I agree with you. Despite its flaws, I believe that TPM feels more like the OT than the other two.
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That's really interesting. I can only imagine the fancut potential if they were to release all that footage.
I think there is no reason to believe the extra footage contained anything but 13 more laps of the podrace and an extended tour of Otoh Gunga in which we meet all 27 members of Jar Jar's family.
One thing I would consider plausible would be some subplot involving Darth Maul to give him at least a hint of personality.
Wexter said: One thing I would consider plausible would be some subplot involving Darth Maul to give him at least a hint of personality.
Hint of personality? Phantom Menace ? Plausible?
Here's the deal: Matthew Wood said this. The same Matthew Wood who can't tell the surround channels apart, doesn't give a shit about the Force-fanfare and screamed his brain out at a parking lot just so he could get to play Alec Guinness playing a Krayt dragon.
"Mindblowingly awesome" is probably the least fitting description. I don't trust this man.
Puggo - Jar Jar's Yoda said: Six hours of PM would probably induce necrosis.
But how about six hours of CPY?
TV's Frink said: Puggo - Jar Jar's Yoda said: Six hours of PM would probably induce necrosis.
Too dangerous to watch -- no way to tell what effect that would have on the human brain.
LexX said: The four hours were only more Jar Jar.
I'm sure more pod race is also involved.
Seriously, though; workprints are pretty cool - for significant movies. I don't think TPM quite fits the bill.
But I'd like to get my hands on the pseudo-workprint of Big Trouble in Little China that's floating around.
I would be fascinated to see it.
I'm pretty sure we got the wrong 2hrs.
I've never seen any stills or productions shots of the filming at Hever Castle so maybe that's in there but maybe they only intended to film some architectural elements (like stairs for Naboo) there???
IMO, a 6 hours cut means 4 more hours of unfinished special effects shots of people talking and walking in corridors.
We know Lucas was very concerned with the use of his money during the making of the prequels. He always said his goal was to make the most visualy amazing movie with the less possible money. There is no way there is a 6 hours cut of TPM around with plenty of finished special effects scenes. Well, I doubt it anyway.
Maybe it's not a six hour cut but six hours including alternate takes.
George liked to shop an actor in one take and another in another take together to get his 'perfect' take.
There is documentary footage of him moving Pananka from one take and mixing him with Obi-eWan from another.
I don't think it's a six hour workprint with more character scenes but who knows?
I would like to see how bad the stuff not in the film is (or not).
Tack said: OK, I though the claim of a 4 hour cut of Blade Runner was insane! I knew there were a lot of cut scenes for TPM, but not 6 hours worth!
Why is it insane? A rough assembly cut would easily clock around 4h and seeing as Scott tended to shoot quite a bit of footage I'm actually surprised it wasn't longer (as a matter of fact there are reports that even this cut had some missing scenes). Basically, the approach was to cobble together some footage in order to create a rough structure and to work from there. It's probably the most sane approach to dealing with truckloads of film there is.
And since we're already talking about this, I'd kill to see this cut of Blade Runner and (getting back on topic) I'd kill not to be forced to sit through 6h of a TPM.
Try editing them all into a new cut, and see how long THAT is! :)
FrederikOlsen said: Here's the deal: Matthew Wood said this. The same Matthew Wood who can't tell the surround channels apart, doesn't give a shit about the Force-fanfare and screamed his brain out at a parking lot just so he could get to play Alec Guinness playing a Krayt dragon. "Mindblowingly awesome" is probably the least fitting description. I don't trust this man.
6 Star Wars Myths Started By The Actors
According to Samuel L. Jackson, Mace Windu is anything but dead.
There's surely no movie franchise in history that's been as feverishly debated, dissected, and raged about as Star Wars - no, not even the Marvel Cinematic Universe - such that even its own cast have gotten in on the action.
The fantastical and mysterious nature of George Lucas' world naturally invites a ton of speculation and fan theories about, well, basically everything. But occasionally, cast members have taken it upon themselves to make some bold claims.
Unlike a random Redditor rattling off their crackpot theory, someone who actually appeared in the films will present their viewpoint with a certain degree of "authority," even if what's canon ultimately isn't up to them.
Still, these actors from across the franchise have made some pretty mighty claims, from inside baseball talk about mythical extended cuts, to discussions about their character's true intentions, and even the belief that their long-dead hero is actually still alive.
Though it's always worth taking such chit-chat with a pinch of salt until someone at Lucasfilm formally confirms it, these mighty legends have largely endured with the fanbase ever since...
6. There's A Six-Hour Cut Of The Phantom Menace - Jake Lloyd
For many, the existing 136-minute cut of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace is already a pretty excruciating experience, but it's practically snappy compared to George Lucas' alleged six-hour original assembly cut.
In a 2011 interview, Anakin actor Jake Lloyd claimed that franchise sound editor Matthew Wood had seen the six-hour cut and described it as "mind-blowingly awesome."
Though it isn't at all uncommon for assembly cuts of movies to run around double their eventual length given that they tend to include most every scrap of usable footage, there still hasn't been any formal confirmation of the cut's existence by either Lucas or anyone in his inner-circle.
Then again, would extending The Phantom Menace's runtime, a film already awash in so many tedious discussions about politics and the taxation of trade routes, really improve it?
Check out Lloyd's comments about the cut at 3:55 in the clip above.
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