In the case of "Napoleon," Scott underlined the abbreviated theatrical version as a matter of practicality:
"It felt like it saves you a lot of turmoil to say, all right, here's the one that we're going to put out in the theaters, but eventually I want to show you my whole vision of 'Napoleon.' Something else comes in to that equation, which I put under the heading of the bum ache factor. How long can you sit in a theater beyond two and a half hours, before you start to get uncomfortable? Three and a half or four hours? [A film] has to be awfully good for you to tolerate three and a half hours."
With "Kingdom of Heaven," Scott says that he similarly wanted to "get the story flying," even though the lost detail turned out to be a net negative. As Scott had said before and reiterated to Deadline, there's one subplot he particularly regrets leaving out of the initial release. For Scott, these missing 17 minutes would've made for a "more meaty" movie. What subplot is it?
When Balian arrives in Jerusalem, it is ruled by King Baldwin IV (Edward Norton), a descendant of Catholic Crusaders from Christendom (medieval Europe) who took the city in the 11th century. However, the good king is a leper. He conceals his disfigurement behind white robes and a metal mask, but it's public knowledge that his days are numbered and a crisis of succession will be imminent.