Fan edits or fanedits are movies that have been recut, rescored, remastered, or “remixed” by amateur editors, using computer software. They are like alternative “director’s cuts” of movies and tv shows, but made by unknown, illicit, hacker directors.
Fan editors generally take advantage of the dvd releases of films, including extras, which they rip and then re-edit in video editing programs on their computers. They may may bring in material from the dvd extras, external footage, audio from other sources, etc.
Famous examples of fan edits include the numerous attempts by Star Wars fans to re-edit Star Wars: The Phantom Menace – a film that many die-hard SW fans hated – to make it a movie they would like better. Typical in these examples was the removal or minimalization of the character Jar Jar Binks, for example, sometimes the removal of reference to “midochlorians,” and general attempts to streamline the narrative and make it more adult and exciting. Some examples of these fan edits are discussed and excerpted in the fascinating fan culture documentary The People vs George Lucas (dir. Alexandre O. Philippe, 2010).
Another illustrative example is Titanic: the Jack Edit (2007) by CBB. The fan editor took James Cameron’s Titanic (1997) and made it into a movie he was happier with. This involved focusing the narrative more clearly around Leonardo di Caprio’s character, Jack, reducing the aspects of the movie more focused on Rose. On fanedit.org one can read about the editor’s motivations and changes:
This fanedit is supposed to change the perspective of the movie and it does so by focusing on Jack, the courageous young man, who won a ticket on the Titanic as a 3rd class passenger, only to find the love of his life, which he was willing to risk everything for. To change perspective we took out all references to old Rose, all her voice overs, all the treasure hunting for the necklace and most of all: all that happens to Rose until Jack and her are a couple. Since our edit focuses solely on Jack, there also isn’t much about the Titanic. No machine room, no captain’s discussions, no crew talk. All of these are great scenes, but they just didn’t fit to our movie. We included 9 of the deleted scenes, which add more character to Jack and also some more adventurous events. Now this is a dramatic love story about a true hero on the Titianic, about his struggle to survive. Nothing more and nothing less. It is a completely different watching experience and we really tried to take care, so nothing important is missing.
Cuts and Additions:
– 9 of the deleted scenes were reintegrated. Among these are:
– Rose visits 3rd class.
– Rose and Jack after the party.
– kissing in the machine room.
– hunted by Lovejoy.
– surviving in the icy water.
– Old Rose was completely removed. This version is about Jack.
– The treasure hunt for the necklace was completely removed. Without old Rose this was not needed.
– All Rose scenes from the beginning were removed, where Jack is not present. Later on, when they get closer, Rose gets scenes alone.
– All scenes from inside of the Titanic, where Jack isn’t present are removed, as well as all scenes of other passengers, including their tragic demise, when the Titanic sinks. This was done because of perspective reasons. This edit stays true to Jack. So there are not even the deaths or destinies of rather close people shown (Fabrizio, Tommy, Cal, Ruth, Molly, The Captain)
– At several different occasions music from Harry Gregson Williams’ soundtrack “Chronicles of Narnia” is added. It fits perfectly.
Fan edits are generally assumed to be illegal, though they are not done for profit. As a consequence, they can be hard to find except through torrent sites and occasionally posted on YouTube.
fanedit.info (dark-web instructions for finding the actual videos)