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George Lucas's latest changes to the Star Wars series may have fans crying that the Blu-Ray release is a trap.

The Yoda puppet is being replaced in all scenes, including the original series, with a CGI version. And Darth Vader now screams "NOOO!!!" when Emperor Palapatine is shocking Luke.  (Source: YouTube)

A recent South Park episode accused George Lucas of "raping" Indiana Jones and other classics.  (Source: South Park Studios/Comedy Central)

In 1988 George Lucas gave an impassioned speech that changing works for profit was barbarism. Today he says he only wants to keep 25 to 30 percent of the original theatrical content in the original Star Wars films.  (Source: The AV Club)
Yoda puppet replaced with CGI, Vader screams "Noo" in final scene, and more

People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians, and if the laws of the United States continue to condone this behavior, history will surely classify us as a barbaric society.

In the future it will become even easier for old negatives to become lost and be “replaced” by new altered negatives. This would be a great loss to our society. Our cultural history must not be allowed to be rewritten.

Attention should be paid to this question of our soul, and not simply to accounting procedures. Attention should be paid to the interest of those who are yet unborn, who should be able to see this generation as it saw itself, and the past generation as it saw itself.

-- George Lucas's 1988 speech to the U.S. Congress 
The year was 1988.  Only five years had passed since the release of Star Wars Episode IV: The Return of the Jedi, and the film's iconic director George Lucas was crafting another major hit -- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.  In an impassioned speech Mr. Lucas urged Congress to commit to the Berne Convention for the issue of Moral Rights -- a European law that would force musicians and filmmakers to preserve works deemed classics, for the public's benefit.  Congress eventually did sign the Berne Treaty into law, but fortuitously it exempted the motion picture industry, complaining movie making was "too complex" for the provisions.

Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealously. The shadow of greed, that is.

--Yoda Stars Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Fast-forward two decades and Mr. Lucas has fallen to the dark side -- transforming from preservationist to revisionist.  Since 1994 he hasn't published a single original movie, instead opting to create controversial sequels or prequels to his fans' favorite franchises.  The recent Indiana Jones sequel was so divisive South Park parodied [video] that Mr. Lucas and co-director Steven Spielberg were "raping" Indiana Jones.   

But as disturbing as those reimaginings are to some, a far worse fate has befallen the originals.

As video has evolved from VHS tapes to DVDs, Mr. Lucas has made a series of alterations (e.g. the famous "Greedo shoots first" change) that have outraged many fans.  But Mr. Lucas has saved his biggest revisions for the upcoming Blu-Ray nine-disc set, which will be released on Sept. 16.

Unlike the 2006 DVD release, original theatrical versions of the Star Wars series are not included.  There will be no theatrical cuts restored to beautiful Blu-Ray, says Mr. Lucas.  Instead fans get treated to a slew of new edits.

Among the biggest ones, reportedly:
  • The Yoda puppet is replaced in all scenes (including on Dagobah and Yoda's spirit on Endor) with the CGI Yoda scene in the latter two films of the prequel trilogy at least one of the prequel films, with some sources saying the replacement will be applied to the original trilogy as well (unconfirmed). [video]
  • Darth Vader is no longer silent when Emperor Palpatine is electrocuting Luke with force lightning. He gives what at first sounds like a quizzical "Noooo?" and then follows with a louder "NOOOOOO!!!" à la his response when he found out Padmé died in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (confirmed). [video]
  • Obi-Wan's Krayt Dragon howl, which scares off the sand people on Tatooine has been altered, which according to The Superficial "sounds like a pedophile getting his dick caught in a screen door" (unconfirmed). [video]
  • The Han Solo and Greedo shootout has been sped up (Greedo still shoots first, as with the previous edit) (unconfirmed). [video]
  • Wicket the Ewok's eyes are now CGI animated and blink with big "lucious" eyelashes (unconfirmed).
  • Han Solo now emits brilliant CGI lighting effects when he is unfrozen from his carbonite nap (unconfirmed).
  • Jabba the Hutt's palace has a fancy new rendered door (unconfirmed). [video]
  • Extra CGI TIE-Fighters and TIE-Interceptors appear out of nowhere (due to shoddy CGI) in the Death Star II battle (unconfirmed). [video]
  • Lightsaber colors have been fixed to correspond with the original theatrical versions (about the only change that reverts previous ones) (unconfirmed). [video]

    (All of these rumors have been widely reported in multiple sources, including the Associated Press, for a number of the unconfirmed rumors.)
The films also include four documentaries -- A Conversation with the Masters: The Empire Strikes Back 30 Years Later (2010), Star Wars Spoofs (2011) and The Making of Star Wars (1977) -- commentary by Mr. Lucas; concept art footage; costume design footage; deleted, extended, or alternate scenes; and archived interviews with the cast and film crew.

The new Blu-Ray edition has an MSRP of $140 USD and is on pre-order for $90 USD on Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN).  The box set is already off to a torrid start with an average 2/5 star rating on 656 reviews, at last count.

But Mr. Lucas still has yet another opportunity to reduce Star Wars' Amazon.com rating to 1/5 stars.  Rather than work on restoring the original theatrical footage to Blu-Ray, he's devoted his efforts to converting the series to 3-D.  Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace will be the first to sport the new format, with 3-D Gungans invading screens in 2012.  And Mr. Lucas is rumored to be planning more changes in the next versions.

After all, he told MSNBC in 2004, "Well, the [original theatrical releases] only came out to be 25 or 30 percent of what I wanted it to be."

Sounds like he has a few changes left to go, if he's going to cut the original content down to "25 or 30 percent".

Fans can only wait in dread for what changes might be next.  After all, if there's one thing more scary than the Sith for the Star Wars fan, its George Lucas and his increasing lust for revisions and lucrative re-releases.


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RE: Ehh,
By Trisped on 9/5/2011 2:23:43 AM , Rating: 1
Way to do Reclaimer77. Take an attempt to have a civilized conversation and split into your own personal harp fest. I guess that is why I stopped reading comments on DT.

Anyways, as far as movies go, a movie is the culmination of may things to make a complete idea. For example, in Toy Story 3 they talked about the number of hours it took to design the sign which appears for 2-3 seconds in the initial action sequence. That attention to detail can be seen through the whole movie, and that attention is what Lucas wanted but couldn't afford. As a result he used a cheep plot trick to tweak the Imperials from their normal modus operandi to blind over confidence. Normally the Imperials are over confident because they are bearing down with overwhelming force. Look at Vader's capture of Leah. He doesn't send out two fights to disable her ship and bring her back, he doesn't send out frigates, he brings a Star Destroyer and commands the assault himself. Look at the attempt to destroy the Rebels, the empire doesn't get a squad of Tie Bombers and smash their base. The empire doesn't even a fleet of Star Destroyers together and bomb their base from orbit like they do to Hoth, no they planned on destroying the entire planet. So to claim it was the Empire's fault for being over confident that they sent out fewer Tie Fighters then were needed to take out the Y-Wings and turn off the tower mounted turbo-lasers to avoid friendly fire seems inane. The fact is they should have released about 50 Tie-Fighters, totally crushed the Rebel attach force, then gloated to the Rebels before destroying their planet.
Instead we get what, 3-6 Patrol Tie-Fighters plus Vader's Tie-Advanced and two wing men. It is important to note that at the time X-Wings were favored 4 to 1 vs Tie-Fighters due to their shields, wider and heavier armament vs the more maneuverable and low armored Tie.
It is also important to note that Grand Moff Tarkin was a Grand Moff. As a result, his overconfidence would be the result of not only his commands, but also his Admirals, Generals, and Commanders in charge of the troops. He would have expected his military leaders to realize that the turbo-laser's designed to take out capital ships were not working on the smaller fighters attacking them and to send out the base's Tie-Fighters to crush them.
I have heard many theories as to why more fighters weren't sent out, but it really comes down to budged. When the first Star Wars movie came out it was not expected to do well. As a result certain scenes had to be cut and special effects removed to tell the story. Now that he has the means Lucas is trying to put those missing parts back in.
I understand people's complaints, after all, Lucas is messing with many people fondest childhood memories, and at times making glaring mistakes (like the blue screen top to the capsule in the first retouch). I still think there should be 50-72 Tie-Fighters in the Death Star battle and that Storm Troopers should learn how to shoot straight (and that we should digitally replace the Anakin in Episodes II and III with one who isn't so stupid and whinny). I also think Greedo shouldn't have shot at all, though pulling his gun and pointing it at Han for emphasis or a back story establishing Han as being hunted in a kill or be killed fashion would help us understand him better.


RE: Ehh,
By Trisped on 9/5/2011 3:00:35 AM , Rating: 2
It strikes me I wasn't clear in my original post.

When I ask "What do you guys think?" I am referring to the changes Lucas is making. Which changes do you like vs not like?


RE: Ehh,
By glennc on 9/6/2011 2:42:55 AM , Rating: 2
no they are just obnoxious asses.

i think changing any classic movie is wrong. remake sure, but leave the classics alone. a big part of star wars' charm was the low budget creativity implemented whereas these days they would just throw money at the problem, e.g. more CGI. the prequels never stood a chance.

My problem with CGI is i just can't seem to care about a CGI character as much as even a puppet. man that sounds weird. at least one is physical.

so for me, even mistakes should not be changed.


RE: Ehh,
By Reclaimer77 on 9/5/2011 10:53:50 AM , Rating: 2
How was I not being civilized? And you seem to be applying realism with a tint of hindsight while ignoring the story. Yes, of course, if the Empire did everything right they would have won. But guess what? There would have been no part 3 or 4 then because all the main characters would be dead. Yeah real great idea there.

You are talking about making changes that would radically alter the story and kill of main characters willy-nilly. I really don't understand where you're coming off, and it seems like you don't understand the importance of story telling and plot over graphics and "realism".

quote:
I still think there should be 50-72 Tie-Fighters in the Death Star battle and that Storm Troopers should learn how to shoot straight


lol??? Look what-ifs can be fun. I do it too myself. But statements like yours really undermine the whole point of the Death Star battle scene.

quote:
The fact is they should have released about 50 Tie-Fighters, totally crushed the Rebel attach force, then gloated to the Rebels before destroying their planet.


Again, WRONG. This would have completely changed/ruined the story and plot. We don't WANT the Empire to win anyway, get a clue.


RE: Ehh,
By Reclaimer77 on 9/5/2011 10:58:19 AM , Rating: 2
Edit: part 5 or 6 on third line.


RE: Ehh,
By Trisped on 9/6/2011 6:12:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How was I not being civilized?
By attacking the comment rather then commenting on the article. In hind site it might not have been as clear as I though, hence the update comment indicating my original intentions.

As for your supposition of my ignoring the story and making changes "...that would radically alter the story" I would point out that wasn't the point and wasn't even slightly possible in the situation described. Is Lucas going to rewrite the whole series to make it more real? I think the idea is so absurd and out of context that I find myself questioning your motives in replying.
I will make one last attempt to make my stance clear.
1. In the story it is made clear that the Imperials favor overwhelming force in all situations possible. This is not evident in the Death Star battle.
2. The Rebel forces sent to attack the Death Star should have been able to stand up to much more.
3. It is clear from Lucas's revisions that he wants more fighters in the Death Star scenes. It is my belief (correct or otherwise) that if he could have put more fighters in he would have, but since he didn't have the budget he didn't.

While we could talk about effect to story and additional effects of destroying the Tie-Fighters, this is not the goal. The goal is to resolve the continuity issue of the Empire only sending out a hand full of fighters when it is extremely uncharacteristic of them.


RE: Ehh,
By Reclaimer77 on 9/6/2011 7:20:34 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
1. In the story it is made clear that the Imperials favor overwhelming force in all situations possible. This is not evident in the Death Star battle.


LOL dude, the Death Star IS overwhelming force. It can destroy a planet, no correction, EXPLODE a planet instantly in a single shot. It's the size of a moon! It was only brought down by a billion to one shot by someone using the magical "Force" which the Empire believed at the time that only they had Force sensitives in the first place. And it was just dumb luck that Han showed up when he did or Luke would have been killed by Vader anyway.

It should be noted that once the Empire understood the Death Star design was indeed vulnerable, the second one was protected by a large fleet AND planetary shielding.

So I refute your claims again. Story is the reason there "aren't enough" TIE fighters in the Death Star fight scene. Story story story!

You're arguing for special effects just for the sake of having them.

quote:
2. The Rebel forces sent to attack the Death Star should have been able to stand up to much more.


I'm not sure what you even mean by this. There were hundreds of heavy turbolasers blasting away at their fighters. They were also forced to make bombing runs in the trench where they could not maneuver or cover their rears from Tie fighters. How much more could they plausibly be expected to "stand up to"?

quote:
The goal is to resolve the continuity issue of the Empire only sending out a hand full of fighters when it is extremely uncharacteristic of them.


There are NO continuity issues. They completely destroyed Alderaan, a main planet, without a single shot being fired at them in protest. Why would they expect the attack on Yavin to go any different? They were smug and overconfident. This is an important STORY element!

Governor Tarkin: Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances.

Hello? How much more did they need to spell it out for you? The Rebels are the hopeless underdogs, they are the heroes we love to root for. The Empire doesn't just wage war against them, they view the Rebellion with utter disdain and loathing. Your "fixes" would completely undermine that plot point and change the story.


"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer














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