The most recent addition to the Star Wars canon, The Last Jedi, has received a mixed reception.
For many fans, it has been viewed as a very accomplished production with strong performances and a gripping narrative.
Others, however, are angry – for a variety of reasons.
Chief among them (albeit not the only complaint) is the presence of strong female characters and weak or flawed men, which seems to have riled up some men’s rights activists. Can’t imagine why.
There has also been backlash from the alt-right, in the face of a diverse cast – again, who could have possibly predicted this response to a film that isn’t filled entirely with white men.
Oh wait, all of us could, based on the response to the mere presence of a female lead in Rogue One, not to mention some of the responses to Jodie Whittaker’s casting in Doctor Who.
Most decided to have their say by downvoting the film en masse on review sites, or by mouthing off, either on Reddit or Twitter, with comments like these.
However, one person went a great deal further.
An anonymous Pirate Bay user uploaded a ‘chauvinist cut’ of The Last Jedi, in which – you guessed it – scenes with female characters were edited out.
The self-described ‘De-Feminized Fan Edit’ is just 46 minutes long, rather than the two-and-a-half-hour cinema version, with the uploader making a lot of pretty significant changes to turn it into a very different film.
Among the edits are:
- A complete removal of Laura Dern’s character Vice Admiral Haldo (“Her whole subplot doesn’t exist”, the uploader explains)
- No bullying of Finn by Kelly Marie Tran’s character Rose (who the uploader simply refers to as ‘Asian chick’)
- Daisy Ridley’s Rey and her superpowers vanish in the new version, and she struggles with just one of Snoke’s guards
- Carrie Fisher’s Leia doesn’t scold Poe for his actions
- “Phasma [Gwendoline Christie] is finished after the first blow by Finn. (Women are naturally weaker than men, she isn’t force-sensitive, and we know nothing about any exo-skeleton in her suit.)”
There have been suggestions that it’s a deliberately exaggerated parody of how MRAs might respond, but if that’s the case then someone’s gone to an awful lot of effort just for that purpose.
And besides, the exaggerated version and the reality are often one and the same, so its not hard to see how people got the idea that this is entirely earnest and genuine.
It’s certainly interesting to see the extent of the backlash to a film with strong female characters, when the same people haven’t seemed to care that much about sloppily-written women in other non-Star Wars films.
Perhaps they were hoping director Rian Johnson might stumble upon their version and re-examine his work. If that’s the case then they were out of luck…
Maybe John Boyega and Mark Hamill would be more forgiving…
But hey, Johnson’s only an acclaimed Hollywood director, and Boyega and Hamill are just the stars of the film – it’s not like they’re the real target audience of this hare-brained scheme: random people on the internet.
What’s that? They’re laughing at you too? Surely not.
We’re looking forward to this anonymous editor’s next film project: a version of RoboCop with all the robots edited out.
(Images: Rex Features)