The Worst Star Wars Movie Has A Six-Hour Cut That Is Mind-Blowingly Awesome

Jake Lloyd says there is a "mind-blowingly awesome" six-hour cut of The Phantom Menace.

By Sean Thiessen | Published

There’s been a disturbance in the Force. In an interview with That Shelf, young Anakin Skywalker actor Jake Lloyd revealed that a six-hour cut of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace haunts the Lucasfilm archives, but few have ever seen it. According to Lloyd, the voice of General Grievous and Lucasfilm’s supervising sound editor Matthew Wood is one of those few, and he described the lengthy cut as “mind-blowingly awesome.”

Lloyd was asked if he kept up with any of the fan edits that Star Wars fans have made to The Phantom Menace and the prequels over the years. Lloyd said he was aware, but had not seen them. When asked if he would make any edits to The Phantom Menace all these years later, Lloyd said he would first have to see what was contained in the six-hour cut.

The first of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, The Phantom Menace debuted in 1999 at two hours and 16 minutes, roughly a third of what Lloyd claims it started as. While the film has earned nostalgic value for some over the years, it is widely considered the worst entry in the Star Wars saga. Of all the criticisms levied against the film, few have ever argued that it wasn’t long enough.

It is hard to imagine what Star Wars would be like with a six-hour version of The Phantom Menace. If that six hours included more annoying antics from Jar Jar Binks, most fans would probably pass on it. If the longer runtime meant more Darth Maul on the big screen, that may be a different story.

The prequel trilogy brought a lot of compelling broad strokes and characters to Star Wars, and The Phantom Menace is no exception. The film’s shadowy antagonist, Darth Maul, became an immediate fan favorite for his acrobatic combat, devilish look, and dual-blade lightsaber. The Phantom Menace also introduced Qui-Gon Jinn, played by Liam Neeson, and Ewan McGregor as a young Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Liam Neeson Star Wars

The Star Wars prequel struggled to balance several complex stories, plaguing The Phantom Menace with uneven, convoluted sequences that may have benefited from some expansion. Still, the film struggled to find an appropriate tone, relied too heavily on digital effects, and was full of less-than-desirable acting and writing. Stretching those problems across a six-hour Star Wars film could have made for an excruciating Phantom Menace; Jake Lloyd’s secondhand account, however, claims the opposite.

It is unlikely that this ultra-long version of The Phantom Menace will ever pierce the walls of Skywalker Ranch, if it even exists at all. The lengthy version in question is likely a workprint, which editors work off of while initially cutting a film together and are often quite long. But in the world of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, it can be fun to dream about the possibilities.

The Star Wars prequel trilogy is a cautionary tale for filmmakers and fans alike. The endeavor displayed filmmaking hubris and toxic fandom on colossal scales. The legacy of the Star Wars prequels is a mixed bag, and perhaps no film in the franchise carries a more bizarre legacy than The Phantom Menace.