What is a fan edit ?
A fan edit is a version of a film modified by a viewer, that removes, reorders, or adds material in order to create a new interpretation of the source material. This includes the removal of scenes or dialogue, replacement of audio and/or visual elements, and adding material from sources such as deleted scenes or even other films.
Fan edits first came into prominence in 2000, when professional editor Mike J. Nichols released The Phantom Edit, an edited version of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace that removed elements he found distracting. The Phantom Edit circulated online and received attention by the media for its attempt to improve upon the original film, which inspired others to attempt similar edits on other films.
In their most common form, fan edits resemble the work done by professional editors when creating a director’s or extended cut of a film, although fan edits are usually limited by the footage already made available to the public with the official home video release of a film, while professional editors working for a film studio have access to more and higher quality footage and elements. In addition to re-editing films, some fan edits feature basic corrections, such as colors or framing, that maintain or restore consistency within the film, such as the Star Wars fan-restoration Harmy’s Despecialized Edition, which aims at restoring the Star Wars Original Trilogy to its original, pre-Special Edition form. Other types of fan edits, such as Cosmogony, Bateman Begins: An American Psycho and Memories Alone, merge footage from various films into an entirely different production. While many fan edits are viewed as reactionary to perceived weaknesses in the original films, one film scholar at the University of Kansas has argued that such edits allow fans to creatively reimagine films instead of merely attempting to fix such works.