Star Wars fans are a notoriously difficult crowd to please.
So it’s amazing that a new fan-made re-edit of a pivotal scene from Star Wars: A New Hope has earned over 2M view in less than 48 hours and a flood of glowing YouTube reviews to boot.
Perhaps the reason for all the thumbs-up from purists is that, rather than correct an imaginary oversight, the new re-edit shows what the iconic fight between Ben Kenobi and Darth Vader might have looked like with modern techniques and some fresh context.
Here’s the original scene:
You’ll notice the pacing of the fight is a little sluggish by today’s standards. Alec Guinness was at retirement age at the time and couldn’t exactly do backflips, and the camera moves are decidedly earthbound as well.
The revamped version, though, which is cut together by VFX team FixitinPost, makes the action more closely resemble the dynamic clash these two characters have 25 years after the original film, in the 2005 prequel Revenge of the Sith. The team adds in additional footage, intercutting between the fight and other action that is canonically happening at the same time, to make each beat of the fight feel tenser and more heightened. The result, “Star Wars SC38 Reimagined,” is a satisfying piece of fan service that modernizes the original, while retaining its essential ingredients.
“We were inspired by the Vader scene in Rogue One,” Christopher Clements from FixitinPost says in an email to Fast Company. “We felt like the fury and power from that hallway scene should be present in the Vader/Kenobi duel that happens very closely in the Star Wars timeline. It was essential to update the emotion of the scene given the history we are now aware of between these two. Telling the story of these two was our main goal when setting out to create Scene 38.”
Making a short film that could withstand the intensity of Star Wars-superfan scrutiny took about two and a half years in total. Although the crew shot some new footage to insert into the film, the majority of that time was spent in postproduction working on VFX, as the name of the group suggests.
Clements doesn’t want to give away everything about how the scene was created just yet, but he offered up a few details.
“We initially shot a PreVis [i.e., pre-visualization] and edited that into the original Scene 38 to get an idea of what the final product would look like,” he says. “Then we shot everything on green screen and went to work creating CG environments, Face Replacements, and all of the other fun visuals in the scene.”
If the world needs more Star Wars edits from fans–and of course it does–hopefully there will be more inventive ones like “Scene 38” in the future, and fewer like the MRA-made woman-free cut of The Last Jedi, which should be cast out of a space T-shirt cannon into a galaxy far, far away.