Star Wars: Episode I Without Jar Jar Binks Does Exist

Star Wars: Episode I Without Jar Jar Binks Does Exist 2

Ironically enough, the same revolutionary computer technology that created «Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace» allowed fans to tamper with it, as was the case for Mike J. Nichols’ «The Phantom Edit.» But while the Jar Jar-free rendition appeased plenty of fans, the joyride didn’t last long. 

Initially, Nichols’ version was made as little more than an exercise in editing and storytelling. But after sharing a copy with some friends, it gained traction, with Nichols receiving congratulatory emails from viewers around the world. Even filmmaker and Star Wars fan Kevin Smith, who was long rumored to be responsible for the fan edit, praised the new version, saying in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post, «Some of these edits make the movie flow a lot better. Smart editing to say the least.» 

At first, Lucasfilm didn’t make much fuss about the re-edit, but as it gained greater attention globally, the studio grew more vocal. Lucasfilm representative Jeane Cole told Zap2it (via Salon), «When we started hearing about massive duplication and distribution, we realized then that we had to be very clear that duplication and distribution of our materials is an infringement. And so we just kind of want to put everybody on notice that that is indeed the case.» Not long after, Nichols, who never made any money from the project, released a statement apologizing to Lucasfilm and discouraging fans from sharing it. 

Nowadays, finding a copy of «The Phantom Edit» is near impossible; it may be considered lost media. Nevertheless, it remains a unique piece of Star Wars history that shows how far fans are willing to go to preserve their favorite franchise. 

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