The four-part documentary, titled NYC Epicenters: 9/11-2012 ½, has had its final chapter reduced by 30 minutes, removing “all the exchange and theories about how the towers collapsed”, according to an HBO spokesperson (via Variety).
The original cut, which was released to media outlets last week, featured interviews with members of the 9/11 conspiracy group Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. While episode four has been re-edited, part three, which features a theory that Flight 93 didn’t crash but was shot down instead, hasn’t been changed.
The documentary’s initial inclusion of conspiracy theories has faced mounting criticism, with Lee announcing on Wednesday (August 25) he was re-editing the last episode and asking critics to “hold your judgment until you see the final cut”.
In an interview with The New York Times on August 23, Lee admitted that he still has questions around the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 – which is the reason why he included conspiracy theorists in the documentary.
“I still don’t… I mean, I got questions,” Lee said. “And I hope that maybe the legacy of this documentary is that Congress holds a hearing, a congressional hearing about 9/11.”
Lee explained that he didn’t believe official explanations about what happened on the day of the attack, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
“The amount of heat that it takes to make steel melt, that temperature’s not reached,” Lee said. “And then the juxtaposition of the way Building 7 fell to the ground – when you put it next to other building collapses that were demolitions, it’s like you’re looking at the same thing.”
He added: “But people going to make up their own mind. My approach is put the information in the movie and let people decide for themselves. I respect the intelligence of the audience.”
The first episode of NYC Epicenters: 9/11-2021 ½ premiered on HBO in the US on Sunday (August 22), with the final episode set to air on Saturday September 11, the 20th anniversary of 9/11. A UK release date has yet to be announced.