As I type this, J.J. Abrams and a no doubt massive crew are off in some ball-sweatingly hot part of the world filming what will probably be Tatooine in the next Star Wars movie. While Star Wars fans such as myself cross our fingers and knock on all the wood we can find, hoping we can finally get the first genuinely good Star Wars movie in decades, other fans out there have taken it upon themselves to reshape either some or all of the first six movies to create their own incredible, weird, or crazy film experiences. After all, we live in a remix culture, where anything someone makes can be transformed into something else entirely. Star Wars is no exception.
Over the years, people have done some ridiculous things with the Star Wars films in an attempt to put their own stamp on the movies they love. Sometimes those things are incredible, other times they're pure nonsense. Here are some of them ...
#4. All Six Movies Playing at Once
There was once an Internet trend that never quite caught on. The trend didn't have a name that I'm aware of, so I'll call it "Let's Play All the Episodes at Once." In an effort to save time (I guess) but also render a TV or movie series entirely unintelligible, people created videos of every episode of, say, Star Trek, playing at the same time:
The result is a flattened disco ball made of Star Trek -- flashing cubes that look like William Shatner is trapped in a bunch of little Phantom Zones. You can watch 130+ episodes of The Simpsons as they harmoniously sync at first before quickly devolving into the sound of Lovecraftian madness. And you can get really creeped out by 156 opening titles of The Twilight Zone at the same time:
So of course someone did it with Star Wars, but George Lucas' army of droid lawyers had the video taken down shortly after it went up. All that exists of the experiment are images. I didn't have much going on back when the video was first posted, so I skipped around some and watched chunks of it. It was a mostly useless video, but watching the series in one shot was somewhat enlightening.
First of all, while the movies began at the exact same time, the opening title sequences didn't sync as well as I would have thought. Imagine six orchestras are locked in a closet and all of them are trying to play their own Star Wars theme loud enough for their version to be heard above the other five. If instruments could fight, a symphonic gang war would sound like the opening titles to all six Star Wars movies playing at once.
Some of the moments that mirror one another in the narrative happen at roughly the same time across movies. Luke falling after getting his hand cut off in The Empire Strikes Back and Vader tossing the Emperor into the pit in Return of the Jedi happen almost simultaneously. The Death Stars in A New Hope and Return of the Jedi explode within a minute of each other.
And there was an odd pattern seen throughout the video: There's almost never a moment when watching all six movies at once that R2-D2 and C-3PO aren't on screen. When they exit from one movie, they enter another. It's purely coincidental, but after a while, it started to make me think the real story of Star Wars was two robotic Forrest Gumps who happened to wander into every major historical event in the galaxy.
If the video ever finds its way back online, I wouldn't recommend watching it for more than a few minutes, if at all. Only those in the midst of a speed overdose can access long-dormant segments of their attention spans so as to not be overstimulated by that much simultaneous space opera.
#3. Star Wars: Uncut -- A Shot-for-Shot Remake Made by Thousands of Fans
If you're interested in the multiverse and often wonder what Star Wars would look like in the vast multitudes of possibilities that exist within parallel worlds, you should give Star Wars: Uncut a watch:
In 2009, a guy named Casey Pugh started a crowdsourcing project: By editing together 15-second segments that were shot by fans from all over the world in whatever style they chose to portray their assigned segment of the movie, Pugh hoped to create an entirely fan-made version of A New Hope. And he did it. Well, everyone did it.
Star Wars: Uncut can go from a stop-motion sequence starring action figures ...
... to a live-action rendition performed by people on their lunch break ...
... to a scene recreated using characters from Team Fortress:
Rather than suing the ever-loving shit out of everyone involved and making sure everyone they love ends up dead at the bottom of a river, Lucas Film gave their full support to the project. In all, 473 15-second segments were stringed together to form the movie. There were multiple submissions for each segment, and they were voted into the film by fellow fans. To keep track of it all, Pugh created a program that automatically added the highest rated clip from each segment into the movie in real time as the standings shifted.
It's been a couple of years since Star Wars: Uncut was completed and released. Pugh's next project is to do it all over again with The Empire Strikes Back.