Obi-Wan Kenobi received a popular fan edit converting it into a 2.5-hour movie of the same story, continuing a long tradition of Star Wars fan edits.
A fan-edited version of Obi-Wan Kenobi turns the 6-episode Disney+ Star Wars series into a 2.5-hour movie, continuing a long-held tradition of Star Wars fan edits. Obi-Wan Kenobi was originally conceived as a movie, so the project is an interesting example of the movie that could have been.
Star Wars has always had a thriving demand for alternate edits. Even the original Star Wars released in 1977 was already seeing changes implemented by George Lucas, creating a demand for the original version which only grew with time, particularly after Lucas made more and more changes to the original trilogy. Fan edits of the Star Wars prequels spiked fan edit popularity in a big way. Thanks to the evolution of technology, computers and inexpensive editing software enabled many more people to create their own movies, and the internet gave them the ability to distribute them. When the Star Wars prequels were met with such a polarized reaction, an army of amateur editors was ready to implement their desired “fixes” to how they thought the movies should have been.
A lot has changed about Star Wars after Disney bought the franchise from George Lucas, but polarized receptions to some movies and TV shows have continued the long-held tradition of Star Wars fan edits. Some of those edits have gained notoriety for their more base approach, such as an edit that removed all the women from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Other edits take more imaginative approaches, such as converting Obi-Wan Kenobi from a six-episode miniseries to a 2.5-hour movie. Instead of simply seeking to cut out particular characters or events that angered the editor, the edit maintains virtually the exact same overall story, but reconceptualized into a new format, giving it a more traditional movie structure and runtime.
Why Star Wars Fan Edits Are So Popular
Of course, fan edits could also be seen as a problem, highlighting the kind of audience entitlement and perception of ownership by the audience instead of the creator. From attempts to restore Star Wars to its original unaltered state to remove Jar Jar Binks from the prequels to edits that turn the entire prequel trilogy into a single neon noir film, the Star Wars franchise has a vibrant history with fan edits from a variety of intentions. Considering the original Star Wars movie is largely a remix of a number of George Lucas’ favorite movies, it shouldn’t be such a surprise that it similarly inspires people to reshape it according to their own ideas. In addition to fan edits, there’s also a thriving community of fan films set in the Star Wars universe, and the franchise is frequently cited as an inspiration for other blockbuster movies, most recently with Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon (which was actually originally conceived as a Star Wars movie).
While the Disney-era of Star Wars has seen its share of fan edits, Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s 2.5-hour movie edit is the first time a fan edit of a Disney+ Star Wars series has gained this kind of attention. What makes Obi-Wan Kenobi special is likely a consequence of the fact that audiences react so strongly to both the high and low points of the series, whereas shows like The Mandalorian were more widely accepted. Since frustrations with elements the show executed poorly were contrasted against the elements the show did well, there’s something about the show many detractors wish they could salvage, similar to the initial reaction to the Star Wars prequels. Whether or not Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s 2.5-hour movie edit is a sign that the Disney era of Star Wars is inspiring a new generation of fan edits remains to be seen, but as long as audiences love Star Wars – and don’t love everything about the new releases – the franchise will continue to see a steady stream of fan edits to tweak, fix, convert, or totally re-imagine Star Wars stories.
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