Star Wars Episode 1.1: The Phantom Edit is an unauthorized re-edited version of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, edited without the permission of George Lucas. Whoever did the edit wants to remain anonymous, but he or she cut approximately 20 minutes from the original movie. The scenes that were cut were not because the editor didn't like them, but because it makes the movie run smoother and because they were a bit useless, and cutting them would make it a better movie.

Most of the scenes that were cut involve Jar Jar Binks, who most people didn't care for anyway. Also some annoying dialogue by Anakin Skywalker was cut, including his annoying "yippie". One major scene was cut completely, and that's the scene where Obi Wan, Qui-Gon and Jar Jar travel in a submarine from the underwater city to the city of Naboo. The beginning of the movie is also slightly different. When the text scrolls through the screen, it still begins with "A long time ago in a galaxy far far away", but then explains why the movie was re-edited.

People have speculated as to who the mysterious editor is. The name of Kevin Smith has come up a few times, since he is known to be a huge Star Wars fan, but he has denied the rumors. He did confirm that he had a copy of the tape. In an interview with the editor (who was not named in that interview) explained that it took about 4 months to create the edited version, and that he didn't have access to original tapes, he had to do it from a VHS version. When he mentioned to a friend that he had re-edited it, they watched it together. His friends liked it so much they started spreading copies, and now the tape has gone all over the world. Beware, it is not legally sold in stores, and the editor doesn't want it to be sold either.

George Lucas, Star Wars' director/producer, said that although he himself hadn't seen a copy of the Phantom Edit, he is "delighted with the idea."* The spokesman for Lucasfilm, which owns the Star Wars franchise, said that as long as everyone has fun with the movie and "as long as nobody crosses that line -- either in bad taste or in profiting from the use of our characters," they think it's an interesting idea.

It's refreshing that in a day and age of encroaching corporate ownership over the contemporary fairy tales, someone has common sense.

*(from a BBC Online interview, June 7, 2001)

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