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Most of us can never be completely satisfied with a work. Sure, you love your favorite movie, but you've seen it enough times that you've started to notice some of the inevitable technical errors, and they irk you. Or perhaps there's that one character that just gets on your nerves and seems to serve no purpose for the plot. Or maybe you watch the deleted scenes and wonder why they were removed.
In any case, this probably sounds familiar. Most people don't do anything about it because they don't know how, and if they did, well, it's an awful lot of work. This, on the other hand, is what happens when obsessions are fueled by motivation and skill. Fanedits are usually labors of love, whether their intention is to file down the rough edges on a beloved classic or to polish a diamond out of a rough.
Fanedits (especially film fanedits) are in a legal grey area when it comes to copyright. Sites dedicated to them warn that you shouldn't pick one up unless you own the original movie, which is a good rule of thumb, though it's highly unlikely that someone who doesn't own the film would even be looking at fanedits of it in the first place. There are sources to download them, but due to copyright paranoia, distribution methods are rarely user-friendly. Because of this, it's quite common for people to trade fanedits like concert bootlegs.
There are two primary types of fanedits:
Class 1: True fanedits. These may dramatically alter the tone, sequence, or events of the source work, or they may fix technical errors and enhance effects.
Class 2: Extended editions. These are attempts to reintegrate removed material (deleted scenes, etc.) as seamlessly as possible.
- Garfield Minus Garfield is a Class 1 fanedit.
- The Star Wars series are among the most fanedited movies. There are several good reasons for this: with a fanbase that big and obsessive, you're going to have a few people with the technical knowhow and bags full of ideas, and Star Wars is ripe for changes. The scope of Star Wars fanedits ranges far and wide.
- Few will argue that adywan's Revisited Trilogy is the most ambitious fan-powered undertaking you're likely to find. A New Hope: Revisited was finished in 2008 after over 2 years of work, and the effort showed. Every single laser and saber was re-rotoscoped, the entire film was color-corrected from the 2004 DVDs (which looked like the film stock had been soaked in blue Kool-Aid), the entire soundtrack was remixed, irritating special-edition slapstick trimmed out as neatly as possible, hundreds of technical errors fixed, believable special effects and brand-new footage shot by the editor integrated, and most importantly, Han shot first. The editor even managed to make the saber duel between Obi-Wan and Darth Vader kinetic and engaging. He's been hard at work on The Empire Strikes Back: Revisited for some time now as well.
- War of the Stars is another notable Class 1 Star Wars edit. Editor The Man Behind the Mask set out to turn A New Hope into a grindhouse movie, and the results are hilarious. The less given away about this one, the better.
- Topher Grace of all people created a fan edit of the prequel trilogy that cut it down to a single film. He has no intention of making it available for public viewing, but there were some articles written about what he included.
- The Man Behind the Mask also gave us Jaws: The Sharksploitation Edit. It was his first grindhouse edit and came before War of the Stars, and turned one of the greatest thrillers of all time into a B movie.
- The Terminator movies attract a lot of editors, especially those who were given Terminator 3 and are looking to make lemonade.
- The Superman movies also tend to be given a lot of attention, given the controversial nature of the Richard Donnner/Richard Lester take on Superman II, resulting in many hybrid cuts
- The Thief and the Cobbler has a Type 2 edit in the form of the Recobbled Cut, which combines deleted scenes, line art, concept art, and audio in an attempt to create the film Richard Williams originally envisioned before it was meddled with to death.
- TV doesn't get the fanedit treatment quite as often as movies do, but it's not totally forgotten. Prison Break's first season was trimmed down into a 'movie' trilogy, its open ending tied off to offer closure.
- Power Rangers has received some fanedit treatment, particulary where the infamous fan hoax "Scorpion Rain" is concerned, with several attempts at making the "episode" resulting in ten minute, twenty-five, and even fourty-five minute attempts.