The Phantom Edit

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Title: The Phantom Edit
Creator: Mike J. Nichols
Date(s): 2001
Medium: film
Fandom: Star Wars - The Phantom Menace
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The Phantom Edit is a Star Wars - The Phantom Menace fan edit by Mike J. Nichols of the movie by George Lucas. There were a total of 21 minutes cut from the original film, reducing the run time from 136 minutes to 115 minutes.[1]

One reviewer notes: "They took out the part where Jar Jar steps in poop on Tatooine and juggles pop cans in the junkyard."


Changes made from the original film in The Phantom Edit:

  • Opening crawl replaced with a new one explaining why the edit was made
  • Re-editing of nearly all scenes featuring Jar Jar Binks and removing some of what Nichols dubs 'Jar Jar Antics'
  • Removal or re-editing of most of the Battle Droid dialogue
  • Limiting of exposition throughout the film
  • Trimming scenes involving politics
  • Re-arrangement of shots and scenes to match the original Star Wars trilogy's presentation style
  • Removal of "Yippee" and "Oops" from Anakin's dialogue
  • Removal of dialogue that specifies the nature of midichlorians as a biological basis for Force sensitivity

Fan Comments

Mike J. Nichols’s notorious reworking of Star Wars I, known popularly as The Phantom Edit and disseminated through the Internet in 2000 and 2001, has hardly hurt the DVD sales of George Lucas. In fact, reportedly Lucas himself praised Nichols’s film, at least until numerous media outlets such as and NPR, etc. began reporting that the fan version was superior to Lucas’s own. Before Nichols’s identity was known, some speculated that the editor was indie darling Kevin Smith, whose well-known films starring slackers and fanboys often include profanity-laden fan critiques of Lucas’s films amongst others. Daniel Kraus, writing for, said that the mystery “added to the mystique and appeal, for materialized from out of nowhere was a good film that had been hidden inside the disappointing original one -- perhaps the film that every adult "Star Wars" fan had been hoping "Episode 1" would be.” The film itself is a shortened version of Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace and removes many of the sequences and characterizations that frustrated fans found particularly annoying or egregious, such as the pod-racing scene with young Anakin Skywalker and the thickly accented, foolish character Jar Jar Binks.

However, when the popular and fan praise for The Phantom Edit became a little too loud, or perhaps too close for comfort, Lucas and Lucasfilms Ltd. reversed their initial position. Nichols’s film was quickly removed from the various hosting sites, and even today finding a copy or link to the work can be a difficult experience. Though The Phantom Edit is not a political work itself, but the responses it provoked, in many ways, are. At the most basic level, the dialogue between creator-authors and fan-authors is primarily a discussion of control—a control of characters, a control of worlds, a control of money. And in the perceptions of others, who is really the one in control? Legally speaking, it will always be the one who holds the copyright (and the lawyers and their bank accounts) but in the eyes of the viewer, for instance, who is the “real” Jar Jar Binks? The annoying, racist comic-relief Jar Jar, or the subtitled koan-quoting Jar Jar? Some fans might prefer, to borrow from The Mythbusters, to reject your reality and substitute our own. [2]

External Sources


  1. ^ Internet Fanedit Database, 1 July 2012. (Accessed 19 April 2016)
  2. ^ The Angry!Textual!Poacher! Is Angry! Fan Works as Political Statements.”, Catherine Coker