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"Every saga has a beginning...except this one."
―Tagline

Spoof Wars Episode XII: The Dubious Maneuver is a 2003 parody sci-fi/fantasy/comedy film written and directed by Sean Stewart and Matt Gilbert. It was the first film to be released in the Spoof Wars saga, and the first in terms of internal chronology. Among fans, the title is commonly known simply as "Spoof Wars."

The film begins as two Jebi, Guy-Gone Weird and Only-One Cannotbe, begin aimlessly searching for missing congressman Lon Jennon at the park planet Daftooine. When the two discover the presence of the Jebi's ancient nemesis, the Spiff Order, the Jebi flee to inform the Jebi Council. Along the way, they enlist the help of smuggler Shawn Duet, his co-pilot Mobacca and Captain Typhon. However, while en route to Croissant, they are redirected into a trap on the planet Taboo, set by the Spiff Lord Dharth Bolshevik.

The film primarly parodies The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, as well as several other popular films and media. Pre-Production began on Spoof Wars in summer of 2002 . Produced with a budget of next to nothing, the film was generally well received, premiering on December 12, 2003. It was re-released again as a Special Edition, with significant changes and additions, which premiered on September 26, 2004. A second re-release, the Remastered Edition, is currently in production. It is a complete overhaul of the film, featuring improved video and audio quality as well as additional changes to complete the film and remove some continuity errors.

The saga continued in 2007, with the first short film in the Spoof Wars series.

Opening crawl

EPISODE XII

THE DUBIOUS MANEUVER

Lon Jennon, the congressman from the small mining colony of Taboo, has been mysteriously kidnapped. The kidnapping has caused turmoil in the Congress of the Democracy.

Supreme Pitza Decorum has advised the Jebi Council to send the two most expendable Jebi Knights, the peacekeepers and over-all weirdos of the galaxy, Guy-Gone Weird and Only-One Cannotbe, on a futile mission to rescue Lon.

Our heroes find themselves in a Democracy Cruiser, being piloted by the not-so-famous Captain Typhon, approaching the park planet of Daftooine, where the believe, without any logical reasoning whatsoever, Lon is being held....

Synopsis

Spoofscreen1

The Expendable VII approaches Daftooine.

In the waning days of the Galactic Democracy, a notable congressman, Lon Jennon of Taboo, has been mysteriously kidnapped. Supreme Pitza Initius Decorum, leader of the Galactic Congress, has secretly sent two Expendable Jebi Knights, Guy-Gone Weird and Only-One Cannotbe, to search for the missing congressman. Aboard a Democracy Cruiser, the Expendable VII, captained by Typhon, the Jebi are contacted by Jebi Grand Master Coda. He informs them both that they are authorzied to use any means necessary to return Lon. Confused by their master's backwards-speech, Guy-Gone ends his transmission, and accidentally crashes the ship on the nearby planet Daftooine. At that same moment on Daftooine, Dharth Tyrannical-Fascist has just arrived to meet with his fellow Spiff to celebrate the order's 13th Annual Spiff Company Sparring Picnic. He meets with his master, Dharth Bolshevik, and his apprentice, Dharth Bob. He tells his master that Lord Bob's latest round of training is complete and he is no longer a savage, vicious, bloodthirsty killer.

Meanwhile, in space above the planet, a smuggler named Shawn Duet and his co-pilot, Mobacca, aboard their ship, the Eon Vulture, find themselves under attack by the bounty hunter Disco Fett aboard the Iron Serf III. Because the Eon Vulture is cloaked (except for its engine glow), they are able to mostly evade Disco Fett's attacks and do serious damage to his ship. In a last ditch effort, however, Fett launches everything he has at the ship, which impacts and causes the Vulture to go spiraling out of control and crash on the surface of Daftooine. Recovering from their own crash, Guy-Gone and Only-One try to get a look at their surroundings. They find the Spiff Lords meeting and, realizing that their ancient enemy has returned, they decide they must get off the planet and contact the Jebi Council. Dharth Bolshevik senses their presence - knowing that he is not ready for the galaxy to know that the Spiff still exist - he sends his guards and apprentices to find them. During the escape, Guy-Gone and Only-One are separated.

Nearby, Shawn Duet begins his search for the Democracy cruiser crash he spotted while he went down, hoping to find parts necessary to fix his own ship. He runs into the dying Typhon, who gives him the crucial part he needs to fix his ship before he dies. Spotted by guards, Duet runs back into his ship. Outside, Guy-Gone manages
2

Tyrannical-Fascist duels Only-One.

to fend off the guards and runs off until he is knocked back by...nothing. Duet pops his head out of his ship to see the Jebi that had run into his ship. Guy-Gone convinces Duet to help him and his apprentice escape. In another area of the park planet, Only-One finishes facing off against Spiff Guards, only to hear the hiss of a laserfoil. In a natural hall of trees, Only-One duels Tyrannical-Fascist. Tyrannical-Fascist eventually leads his opponent out into the open, hoping to capture him or surround him with troops, when suddenly the cloaked ship pulls up, the door opens, and Guy-Gone pushes Tyrannical-Fascist to the ground violently. The two Jebi narrowly escape. Bolshevik tells Bob to send fighters after the Eon Vulture, and is then met by Disco Fett, who proposes a partnership.

In space, the Eon Vulture is no match for the Spiff Fighters. Just when hope seemed lost, a small fleet jumps out of hyperbolaspace and destroys all but two of the attackers, which jump away to inform Dharth Bolshevik. The fleet is lead by the Rusty Eagle, captained by Sprint Render and Lucebacca. Sprint asks Duet when he will get reimbursed for a loan he gave him, but he jumps away before he answers. The fleet jumps away too. Little does any of them know that Dharth Tyrannical-Fascist's Spiff Interloper is following the Eon Vulture. He is contacted by Bolshevik who command him to meet him on Croissant to make further plans. However, he is interrupted by another call. Tyrannical-Fascist communicates with his true master, Dharth Very Insidious, informing him that Bolshevik has no knowledge of his duplicity. Dharth Very Insidious was a fellow Spiff when Bolshevik was an apprentice, but became enraged when Bolshevik was chosen as leader over him - he wanted the Spiff to strike, while Bolshevik felt the time was not yet right. Since that time, Very Insidious had infiltrated the Democracy and slowly turned Tyrannical-Fascist and Bob to his side. Very Insidious' alter-ego Janitor Pulpyjuice is called in to stand-in for Lon Jennon as representative of Taboo in Congress. There he proposes that Decorum is no longer fit to lead the Democracy. Futhorc Haacko of Prajia agrees and proposes a Vote of "You Suck".

7

Tyrannical-Fascist and Bolshevik plot their next move on Croissant.

On a landing platform on Croissant, Dharth Tyrannical-Fascist arrives and meets covertly with Dharth Bolshevik. Concerned that the two Jebi know too much about their Order, Bolshevik concocts a plan - under his alias as Count Dubious, a leading member of the Jebi Council, he will send the two on a "top secret mission" to Taboo, where he will trap and eliminate them. Aboard the Eon Vulture, Guy-Gone, Only-One and Duet relax in the kitchen. There, Duet tells them a little about himself and how his ship became permanently cloaked. He also warns of a know issue with the ship - that if the stove is left on and the toilet is backed up, it will destroy the ship. While enjoying an unknown beverage, Only-One is contacted by Count Dubious. He reassigns them to Taboo, and Mobacca changes course. While making a sandwich, Guy-Gone and Only-One get a glimpse of Duet's unusual fascination with mayo. En route to Taboo well ahead of the Eon Vulture, Tyrannical-Fascist is again contacted by Bolshevik and informed that he and Dharth Bob have arrived. He is then contacted by Dharth Very Insidious, who tells him that the time has come to betray Dharth Bolshevik.
8

Duet is held at blade point for a remark about the Jebi.

The Eon Vulture arrives on Taboo, in an eerily empty building center. Suddenly, the chain reaction problem causes the Vulture to be destroyed. Barely restraining himself from killing Guy-Gone, Duet and the others make their way to the Atrium Complex. Inside, Dharth Bolshevik senses their approach and sends Dharth Bob to intercept them, as Tyrannical-Fascist approaches. He reveals his true allegiance to Bolshevik, but offers him an honorable chance to defend himself. Bolshevik warns him that he is not a match for him, and they engage in a fierce duel leading to the elevator. Outside, Dharth Bob confronts the three heroes. Duet promptly leaves while the two Jebi ignite their laserfoils and attack Dharth Bob. Duet accidentally stumbles across a group of Spiff Guards, and barely avoids their blaster bolts, taking cover around the corner. Suddenly, the guards are killed, and Typhon, loaded with weapons, arrives around the corner. Duet begins to take guesses at who he is. Inside, two duels continue - Dharth Bob and the Jebi face off throughout the hallways, while Bolshevik and Tyrannical-Fascist burst out of the elevator in a fierce duel. Caught in a lock, Bolshevik unexpectedly shoots Spiff lightning from his nose, stunning Tyrannical-Fascist before he cuts off his right arm. Leaving Tyrannical-Fascist beaten on the ground, Bolshevik taunts him and leaves. Tyrannical-Fascist struggles to get up and heads back to his ship. Elsewhere inside, Only-One is separated from the fight and Guy-Gone and Bob fight throughout the atrium. They are interrupted by a passerby, but continue their fight until they are all separated by seemingly impenetrable doors. Outside, Typhon and Duet begin to make a run toward the other end of the building in a shootout with the remaining guards. Guy-Gone and Bob continue their fight outside, while Only-One remains trapped, he watches in horror as Guy-Gone is struck down by Bob and disappears.
9

Guy-Gone and Only-One duel Dharth Bob.

On the other side of the building, Typhon and Duet surrender, now surrounded by the guards. The guards part to reveal Disco Fett, who explains the origins of his hatred toward Duet. Seizing an opportunity to attack, Duet kicks his gun to Typhon and engages in a fist fight with Disco Fett. Typhon picks off the confused guards. Damaging one of his rocket nozzles in the fight, Fett accidentally flies into a tree, where Duet shoots him. Typhon takes his shades, and the two attempt to find the others.Only-One emerges angrily from the doors and grabbing Guy-Gone's laserfoil, he fights Bob with both blades. He drives Bob back, but Bob catches him in lock and knocks him to the ground. Just before he can kill Only-One, Only-One pulls Guy-Gone's blade to him and slashes at Bob's midsection, causing his pants to drop. Ashamed, Bob runs off. Exhausted from the fight, Only-One collapses on the ground, only to have his weapon pulled away by Dharth Bolshevik. Recognizing that Bolshevik was Master Count Dubious, he finally realizes that the entire mission had been a dubious maneuver. Bolshevik begins shocking Only-One, but strangely runs out of power. He pulls out a large gun and prepares to fire, until he is repeatedly tapped on the shoulder. He spins to see Guy-Gone in casual clothing, who knocks him out with Bob's hilt. Only-One is surprised to see his master and asks how it is possible. As the others arrive, Guy-Gone explains that the one who died was one of his clones, and that newly-elected Supreme Pitza Pulpyjuice wants them to return to Croissant as soon as possible. Still dumbfounded, the group looks to a nearby street, where dozens of Guy-Gone Clones march in unison. Their awkward silence is interrupted by Disco Fett demanding his shades back. Duet promptly shoots him in the chest and throws him to the ground.

In a scene after the credits, while aboard a transport, Only-One and Guy-Gone question if there was someone they were supposed to rescue, but decide to drop the thought.

Credits

Cast


Crew


Appearances

Finalposter

The theatrical poster from the original release.

Characters

Heroes

Villains

Others

Locations

Sentient Species

Ships

Events

Organizations and titles

Behind the Scenes

Earliest Concept

Unlike the other films, the name came first, and dates back as early as 2002, having come from a reading of a chess book. Matt and Sean had watched some Star Wars fan films and talked about making a short film where two "Redeye Knights" land on a planet and fight two Sith-like enemies then-named Darth Bore and Darth Gore. The film would have been nothing more than a simple fight in a parking lot or in a gymnasium. It wasn't until the summer of 2002 during a Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament that the idea was presented to Jonathan and expanded much closer to what it eventually became.

Pre-Production

Early Drafts

The earliest draft of Spoof Wars was a simple fight with very little narrative. The story evolved and grew to the point that the film was too long to be reasonable. Before nearly a third was cut to form the final film, the flow went something like this:

Poster teaser spoofw

The teaser poster, which featured the earlier versions of the characters.

Guy-Gone and Only-One land on Daftooine searching for Lon Jennon. There, they see the Spiff and are chased by them. The two split up and one steals a Spiff speeder bike, leading to a chase scene. Guy-Gone would then encounter Duet as before, and escape, with the Spiff hot on their trail. The Eon Vulture would have landed on Croissant, and been suddenly destroyed by the stove/bathroom problem. The characters would rent a room on Croissant, with Tyrannical-Fascist staying next door. He would attempt to kill them with a bomb, but the Jebi ignorantly throw it out. Meeting with the Jebi Council to report, Count Dubious would assign them a mission to Taboo to meet with Jo Jar G'Binx (the Jar Jar character). As they left, Dubious would be found out to be Bolshevik by Coda and engage in a duel, all without the notice of the other Jebi. Meeting up with Duet (who had just raided a doorstop factory) outside of a second Democracy transport, Tyrannical-Fascist would have confronted them and dueled Only-One on the landing platform, with the fight playing out much like it does in the final version. Tyrannical-Fascist would have returned to his rented room to report to both of his masters (these scenes were rewritten as scenes in his ship in the final version). Aboard the second transport, Duet would have beaten Guy-Gone up for losing his doorstops by leaving them atop the ship. We would have also seen Typhon was a stowaway on this ship. Contacted by "Jo Jar" (in actuality, Bolshevik holding up a poorly drawn picture of Jo Jar, doing a bad imitation) they would have gotten stuck in traffic, then illegally swerved into oncoming traffic to get to Taboo. Landing there, Guy-Gone would freak out by a sound in the nearby area, bumping into Duet, who would accidentally shoot and destroy their ship. Finding "Jo Jar", they see that he is just a cardboard cut out with a tape recorded that falls down, so they cautiously proceed further, suspecting a trap. The rest plays out as before, though Bolshevik would have quickly disabled Tyrannical-Fascist, rather than their longer duel, and there was more dialogue from Only-One and Bolshevik, where Only-One realizes that Bolshevik is Dubious. Many of these abandoned ideas have been adapted into the short films and sequels.

Early Film Tests

The very first film test done for the project was an attempt at the very first scene in the Expendable VII in Sean's basement. An old computer desk was re-purposed as a simple control panel, and Jonathan played Captain Typhon, wearing a black baseball cap over his then greenish-blond bleached hair. For a blue screen, a simple blue tarp was used, lit by desk lamps. The footage was deemed unusable, particularly because of the reflective nature of the tarp. This footage is most likely lost.

A second, larger filming was done in July of 2002. Having received blue screen paper bought online, several scenes were filmed with Matt, Sean, Jonathan and James.
Spoof02

Matt, Sean and Jonathan, from the July 2002 film test.

The scenes included the two "Democracy Cruiser" scenes, the meeting of Bolshevik and Tyrannical-Fascist on Croissant, hologram scenes for Bolshevik and Very Insidious, and Tyrannical-Fascist in his rented room on Croissant in a bedroom (in a similar set up to the later attempt). (This footage was presumed lost, but recently rediscovered in February 2011) While the lighting and blue screen were much better, the footage showed poor color, not enough open space and considerable grain. It was decided that the Hi-8 camera used would have to be replaced by a new Mini DV camera, then used by most fan films. There were several interesting differences in this footage. Aside from Jonathan's greenish hair and his third role as Typhon, Guy-Gone wore a simple everyday belt, all of Jonathan's characters wore glasses, Sean played Only-One with a British accent, Very Insidious wore what would later be Bolshevik's robe, and Bolshevik wore head bandages, while his robe appeared to be nothing more than a large piece of very translucent fabric draped over him.

Unused Footage

A Mini DV camera was finally purchased by Matt's dad in early 2003, and filming could resume once again. Since then, the script had grown and changed even more, to the point where the script was at its largest. Because filming began before the script was cut down, some of the earliest footage reflected the earlier version of the story, and thus was unusable later (with the exception of the Congress scene). These scenes included: Guy-Gone and Only-One in their rented room on Croissant, Dharth Tyrannical-Fascist and his rented room scenes, early versions of the Eon Vulture kitchen and living area scenes (combined into the kitchen scene in the final version), early versions of the Democracy Cruiser 1 and Democracy Cruiser 2 scenes, and an early version of part of the "Apocalyptic Battle" with Dharth Bob at a different location, as well as various other bluescreen shots. There are some noticeable differences in the looks of certain characters. Guy-Gone's hair is longer. Only-One's hair is shorter, he wears the robe later given to Bolshevik, a padawan braid (to be traded with Guy-Gone) and a glove on one hand. Duet's hair is shorter, and he has a different gun (later given to Disco Fett). Dharth Bob's hair is a little longer, he has less facial hair, and his makeup is noticeably different. Dharth Bolshevik and Dharth Very Insidious wore a much flimsier robe. Many of these differences are reflected in the first teaser poster. Interestingly, Typhon was originally played by Tyler Stacey in these scenes, which is why he was later re-added after the Special Edition. At one point, there was a project to combine this unused footage with new footage to create a short film.

Original Release

With several delays, filming was pushed back to summer 2003. During that time, Matt and Sean re-evaluated the script and existing footage and realized that the movie was too large and too complicated to complete. Over a third of the script was cut, and several events were moved (the fight with Tyrannical-Fascist moved from Croissant in Act 2 to Daftooine in Act 1, for example). Due to different looks for the actors by the time filming could resume, it was decided to abandon most of the existing footage in order to start fresh. One casualty of the delay though was that Tyler Stacey was no longer able to make himself available enough to play Typhon, so Joseph Consiglio was brought in as a stand-in. The original version was filmed over the rest of the summer and early fall, and completed in December 2003 where it was premiered twice - once at a local church, and once at Matt and Sean's high school (where classes were stopped and called an assembly just to view it). It was later taken to the Walnut Valley Art Competition and won first place in Video. While somewhat satisfied with the finished product, there were many complaints about sound and lines, as well as several things that the group wanted to improve.

Special Edition

In early 2004 it was decided that several changes and additions would be made to The Dubious Maneuver. Among other things, the audio (particularly lines of dialogue) were improved, Tyler (now available again) was replaced as Typhon and a new subplot was added following Duet, Mobacca and Disco Fett (who had been an abandoned idea in the original draft). This version premiered twice again in September of 2004.

Remastered Edition

In 2010, while working on the later films, the crew decided it was time to revisit The Dubious Maneuver one final time. The main goal this time was to create the definitive version with the best audio and video quality available, while also taking the opportunity to fix mistakes, make changes (both to the story and cosmetically), and bring the film closer to what was originally intended. As of 2013 it is currently in production.

Deleted scenes

The following deleted scenes have been previously included on DVD release(s):

  • Guy-Gone & Only-One's Rented Room on Croissant—In an earlier version of the film, Guy-Gone and Only-One wait to meet with the Jebi Council on Croissant in a Rented Room. There they receive a package sent by Count Dubious, which is a bomb that Guy-Gone throws out the door unknowingly.
  • Tyrannical-Fascist's Rented Room on Croissant—Adaptation of the two Interloper scenes from an earlier version where Tyrannical-Fascist fights Only-One on Croissant just after they meet with the Council.
  • Democracy Cruiser #2—In an earlier version of the film, the Eon Vulture is destroyed on Croissant, so the heroes borrow a Democracy Cruiser to get to Taboo. Dharth Bolshevik pretends to be "Representative Jo-Jar G'Binx" to lure them into a trap. Captain Typhon, originally played by Tyler Stacey surprisingly pops up.
  • "What Are You Guys Doing?" Original Cut— An earlier version of the Apocalyptic Battle with a random person.
  • Something VERY Illegal—With traffic backed up, Duet makes a very illegal move by flying into oncoming traffic.
  • Original Space Battle—Space Battle from the original release. Though unclear, the fighters shoot each other when the Eon Vulture turns off its engine, and the sensors are calibrated wrong, misinterpreting their wreckage as huge warships.
  • Original Typhon to the Rescue—Typhon (Joseph) saves Duet from the Spiff Guards.
  • Original Clones to the Rescue—The Spiff Guards corner Duet and Typhon (Joseph), until Guy-Gone's clones save the day.

Trivia

  • A recently rediscovered storyboard depicts a scene that was planned and later scrapped for the Special Edition. It depicts Dharth Tyrannical-Fascist meeting with Boggle the Morer in a building on Croissant. Boggle would have said "The Jebi must not find our plans for the ultimate weapon!", handing Tyrannical-Fascist a holo-projector with plans for the Doom Ball (then called Doom Globe). Boggle would have continued "If they find out what we are planning to build, we are screwed!". -Tyrannical-Fascist would have responded "I will take the plans with me. They will be safe with my other master." This scene is clearly a parallel of a similar scene in Attack of the Clones where Poggle the Lesser gives the Death Star plans to Count Dooku. It would have also served as a set-up for the sequels. After being rediscovered, the scene was rewritten with Dharth Bob in his place, and filmed in 2011 for the Remastered Edition.
  • Another deleted scene, depicting Pulpyjuice's takeover of the Congress, was also filmed, but not used. This short scene was intended to play after the credits of the movie and showed Pulpyjuice declare himself Dictator and electrocute the entire Congress. Matt and Sean dropped the scene however, since it was made up on the spot without a script, and it would have been more important as an early scene in the planned sequel, rather than tacked on at the end of The Dubious Maneuver.
  • Originally the credits music would have gone to a much further extreme following "And now for something completely different", with samplings of music from various random songs, movies and TV show and video game themes, including Batman, Matlock and Super Mario Bros.
  • The July 2002 test footage was believed lost, until it was rediscovered in 2011.

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