Waterworld ‘Fan-Edit’ Gets Official Blu-ray Release, a Decade After Pirate Bay Premiere

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A fan-edit cut of the 1995 movie Waterworld is now available as an official Blu-ray release. The original "Ulysses" cut was crowdsourced using extra scenes from various TV broadcasts and publicly shared on The Pirate Bay more than a decade ago. The Blu-ray has been released by Arrow Film, but whether the original 'editor' is aware of it is unknown.

While it’s not one of the most critically acclaimed movies of the recent decades, Waterworld has reached cult status among a subgroup of film fans.

The post-apocalyptic film, featuring Kevin Costner in a lead role, first premiered in 1995. Since then, it’s been shown on TV repeatedly and released on various other media including VHS, DVD, and Blu-ray.

The latest Blu-ray version, created by Arrow Films, was actually sent out just this week. Despite Waterworld being more than two decades old, many fans were eager to get their hands on the copy.

The release includes three Waterworld cuts which were newly restored from the original material. That by itself would be enough to get proper fans excited, but it’s the inclusion of the infamous “Ulysses Cut” that was most anticipated.

Waterworld is known for its many different versions, but this one never officially aired anywhere. It was created by a fan who, together with others, set out to make the longest uncensored edit of Waterworld possible.

The origin of this fan-edit, well documented by the Unheard Nerd,  started in 2005.

At the time, a user of the Original Trilogy forum asked if anyone had access to the 40 minutes of Waterworld material that appeared in an ABC broadcast. This generated a long thread where users shared and compared different versions of the film.

In 2006, a user named “Mcfly89,” showed his interest in the project.

“This project sounds great! Is this from a VHS or better? Could anyone post some screenshots? I can’t wait to see this on myspleen or another torrent site,” he wrote.

Mcfly89 later took the lead and after crowdsourcing copies of different broadcasts, he set out to combine these into a long uncensored edit of Waterworld.

The project progressed slowly and by November 2007 the name “Ulysses was first mentioned.


This title refers to the unnamed mariner played by Kevin Costner. He’s given this name toward the end of the film in a scene that was taken out of the theatrical version.

With a name for the project, Mcfly89 continued his work. Helped by other members, who also assisted with an appropriate DVD-cover, the fan-made DVD was ready by the summer of 2008.

The Ulysses Cut cover

Despite a temporary outage on The Pirate Bay, Mcfly89 managed to upload a torrent for the “Ulysses” cut to the site on July 28th, exactly thirteen years after the original premiere.

Today, ten years on, it’s still available on TPB, albeit with no seeders on the official torrent. In the description, Mcfly89 explains the project while thanking the many others who contributed.

“Waterworld: The Ulysses Cut is a fan-made preservation of the extended cut of Waterworld which has been aired on television but never released on home video,” it reads.

“Waterworld is a film notoriously re-cut by the studio after locking the director out of the editing room, and this preservation is an attempt to show some 40 minutes worth of material that was exised.”

The Ulysses Cut on TPB

Many Waterworld fans welcomed the “Ulysses” release and it was even extended by ‘Zaaacharias’ a few years later. It’s not clear whether the original makers were happy with it. Film fans generally see fan-edits as important preservation projects, but copyright holders have gone after such releases as well.

Fast forward another decade and now the Ulysses cut has been released legitimately on a Blu-Ray disc put together by Arrow Films. The movie company used the name of the cut, but it was obviously reconstructed from original footage, not the broadcasts that were used in the fan-edit.

We reached out to Arrow Films to ask what its motivation was and whether it consulted Mcfly89, but the company didn’t respond. We had no luck tracking down Mcfly89 either, who is not mentioned in any of the official Blu-ray release details.

“High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of the extended European Ulysses cut, which include previously censored shots and dialogue,” is how Arrow Films describes the version.

Waterworld fans surely haven’t forgotten about the cut’s origins. Mcfly89 is mentioned in several reviews, including this on Amazon, from “Lego Trooper” who’s eager to know more about how this official release came about.

“On this lovely 3 disc edition is finally the Ulysses cut which was fan made from a number of different recordings from different cuts of the film shown on TV. The fan in question ‘Mcfly89’ surely deserves a shout out for his efforts.

“It would probably be an interesting read or feature to know how between Universal, Arrow and Mcfly89 The Ulysses Cut has eventually arrived as a 1080p edition,” Lego Trooper adds.

The story is quite remarkable already but we believe that Arrow Films missed a major opportunity here. But perhaps the full story will come out one day, in another decade or so.


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