To make a workprint, a filmmaker tends to make a print using all of their selected footage on the film’s original camera negative. All the editing is done on the copy. When a final cut is arrived at, the edits are then repeated on the camera negative, making a master print. Workprints, being made from a copy, are often of low quality and don’t always have the final sound, effects, or music included. Indeed, many scenes contain stock footage, temp music, and animatics in place of final scenes. They are, essentially, the “first draft” of a film edit.
It will be very rare that a workprint makes its way to the public, and when it does, it was usually the result of theft. Several scandals have arisen over the years involving leaked workprints. One might recall an incident from the early 2000s, when Ang Lee’s “Hulk” made its way onto internet servers. Even these weren’t enormously long. At the very least, one can likely rest assured that a six-hour cut of “The Phantom Menace” was never built into a master print, and never had complete special effects, music, or sound.
The length of Lloyd’s claim — six hours! — is enough to elicit suspicion. Even workprints, in a very general sense, only tend to run double the length of any final cut. For example, it was said that the workprint of Lucas’ 140-minute film “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” once ran a whopping four hours. That’s only 100 minutes of excised footage. 224 missing minutes strains credulity.
So does a six-hour cut of “The Phantom Menace” exist? Probably not. One might think Jake Lloyd was either misled as to its existence … or he was just having us on.