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Star Wars The Special Edition Controversy Strikes Back: The Blu-ray Edition

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Fans of the original Star Wars trilogy (and to a lesser extent, the prequels) now have more changes about which to be up in arms. The upcoming release of the Star Wars saga on Blu-ray has stirred up controversy across known space by leaking footage of new alterations to the beloved original trilogy. 

For those of you unfamiliar with the various changes to the Star Wars trilogy over the years, an extensive list is available here, but some of the more well-known ones include Greedo shooting at Han Solo first in the Mos Eisley Cantina scene in A New Hope (to facilitate this, they digitally leaned Han to the left), the addition of a crowd surfing stormtrooper in one of the last scenes of Return Of The Jedi and Hayden Christensen replacing Sebastian Shaw as the Force Ghost of Anakin Skywalker, also in Return Of The Jedi. We’d hoped he was done trying to ‘improve’ them. 

However, recent videos have come out with more changes to both trilogies. I had my doubts at first, but according to this New York Times blog, Lucasfilm have confirmed that they are genuine in an email. And I’m sure they’re not fake, because who would put up videos showing off their audio mixing skills by screwing with one of the most popular franchises of all time? He’s already being decried for shoddy audio mixing skills and been called a troll.

This clip (trust me, if you remember the scene in any way you’ll know what they changed) reminds me of the time that the Robot Chicken crew took the piss out of this scene. I half expected him to slip the word “wizard” in there somewhere in between the audio samples seemingly taken from Revenge Of The Sith

Now, I’m all for the cleaning up of visual effects and making the film look better, but really, this is going too far. The Krayt Dragon sounded fine in its first incarnation and the second was sort of tolerable but this one is just unnecessary. It sounds like one of the work experience people got into the editing suite and started dicking around with the microphones. 

As you will see from the user’s channel, there’s a clip from The Phantom Menace of a Jedi Council meeting with a mercifully altered Yoda and a clip featuring blinking Ewoks (which I’m fine with, I just don’t like their new owl-like eyes). Yoda’s now rendered in CGI to fit with his appearance in the rest of the prequel trilogy. This is actually quite annoying for the fanboys and the haters as it is a change that needed to be made, not only for internal consistency but also because it just plain looks better. 

The really horrible thing about all this is that it smacks of a viral marketing campaign. Bear in mind how much attention this has gotten in the various wretched hives of scum and villainy. Also bear in mind that if it was hurting Lucasfilm in any way they could’ve had it taken down by now and that any article moaning about the new additions to the saga list the release date (and this one will be no exception: September 16th 2011). They say no publicity is bad publicity and I think they may be right in this instance. Because damn it all, despite how Lucas has shafted the original-loving fans with his various remixes and variations upon a theme, he knows that people will still fork over the cash for all the new documentaries, deleted scenes and the privilege of watching the films in high definition. And of course, I will still be buying the damned things myself because of the aforementioned extras, which I have worked out will put my Star Wars disc collection at 16 discs because they’re not redoing the original theatrical versions for Blu-ray so I have to keep my 2006 DVD versions.  

I think what’s happened by this point is that George Lucas has faced so much criticism for the changes he’s made and the various projects he’s worked on that he’s honestly lost sight of what helps and what hinders his masterwork. Think about it – when you get one person constantly criticising everything you do, you eventually stop listening to that person. Now apply that to millions of people, all crying out in terror of the dastardly plans he has for their beloved films. He is the man behind the work and does indeed have the right to do whatever he wants for it, but he’s really not helping himself, his films or his fans here. He should really just step back and leave them be. Let go, George. 

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About Scott Varnham

  • Ramon Feliciano

    sorry this time he won’t get my money in spite of the extras which i would love to see. I’ll borrow someone else to see them. George just stop the shit. if this was your original vision then your movies would not have had it’s magic. leave it alone before it becomes unrecognizable.

  • Butch

    I’ve given up entirely on Star Wars, it’s just kind of embarrassing at this point.

    I wasn’t planning to buy the Blu-rays anyway, but I wouldn’t even consider it now.

    Those non-anamorphic DVDs of the unaltered original trilogy will have to suffice if I ever feel like watching those movies again.

    Not that I think I will.

  • Murphy

    HAHAHA! Was just about to preorder it until I saw the reviews on Amazon. Sticking with the non-anamorphic dvds. These changes are unbearable. Just when I thought Return of Jedi couldn’t get anymore raped… Lucas surprises me again.

  • Jordan Richardson

    The reviews on Amazon came from a pile of people who haven’t even seen the finished product yet, so I wouldn’t put much stock in it.

    I love how some Star Wars nuts think Lucas “ruined” the vision. Here’s the thing: it’s his vision, not yours.

  • Scott Varnham

    Except it can’t really be his original vision, as he keeps changing it, even when it worked fine as it was. In both of the clips I linked to, the changes were unnecessary and not really done that well. And I’ll believe it’s his original vision when he can stop changing his original plans to whatever he’s doing at the time (a third trilogy, Darth Vader not being Luke’s father originally but Lucas lying and saying he was, etc).

  • Jordan Richardson

    Doesn’t have to be his “original vision” at all. He can add and subtract from his mythology however he likes.

    If you want Star Wars how you imagine it, that’s fine. But don’t expect the creator to hem it to your wishes.

  • Sherry

    I guess he can change it if he wants, but he should preserve to originals as well. Look up George Lucas’ own comments to the Library of Congress National Film Registry. One of his comments was that he wanted to see that films “that I watched when I was young, and the films that I watched throughout my life are preserved.” What a hypocrite he is.

    I don’t think the movies just belong to him. He didn’t even direct two of them, so how are those just his? If you worked on the puppetry or any of the effects that are removed you might feel differently. Films are vision of many. They don’t just belong to the person who had the “vision.”

    However they do belong to the copyright holder, which Lucas is. So yes he can change them, but that doesn’t make it right, or mean that he should.

    I won’t be buying it.

  • dan

    i have the blu ray and it is the worst version yet with the exception of the prequals because they are more or less directors cut versions of the films. i only got the blu ray for the special features and i will keep it so that other people can see how ruined it is. i will also keep my 2006 original release as well as the 1997 and 2004 releases. i will dont think i will ever buy another rerelease ever. i would feel better with the changes if he would atleast release all the other versions like what spielberg did to ET. atleast he still released the original release or what he did for close encounters of the third kind by releasing both versions.