George Lucas continues to tweak “Star Wars” saga

By Kevin Romani

Courtesy of IMDB
“Star Wars” fans rejoiced when Lucasfilm finally announced that the series will be released on Blu-ray on September 16th. The set includes all six films and is filled with over forty hours of special features, most notably deleted scenes from the original three films, which, prior to this release, had never been seen before. The anticipation for this set has waned in the past week as further details have been revealed online.

Series creator George Lucas has gone from the hero of the fan base to the villain over the years. The prequel trilogy is viewed as an overall failure when compared to the original trilogy, as Lucas seemed more interested in advancing the technology involved in making the films than actually telling a story. In addition, Lucas has made changes to the first three films that seem both unnecessary and out of place. Lucas released special edition versions of “A New Hope,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Return of the Jedi” in 1997, and all were filled with several
alterations from the original films. For instance, Lucas added a computer generated musical number to “Return of the Jedi” that brings the film to a screeching halt. It is clear that he is toying around with new technologies that he was planning on using for the prequel trilogy. With the release of the series on DVD for the first time in 2004, Lucas continued to make changes by replacing both the Emperor in “The Empire Strikes Back” and Anakin Skywalker in “Return of the Jedi” with the two actors who were then performing as the characters in the prequels.

It should come to no surprise that Lucas has yet again made changes to the original three “Star Wars” films as well as the first prequel, “The Phantom Menace.” The last two films of the saga depicted the character of Yoda in a computer generated image (CGI) format. In his first appearances in the series, Yoda had been a puppet. For the Blu-ray release, Lucas has replaced the puppet Yoda from “The Phantom Menace” with the CGI Yoda from the later films. The change that has brought on the most controversy online from the fan community is the audio alterations. Towards the end of “Return of the Jedi,” Darth Vader triumphantly saves his son by throwing the Emperor into the abyss. Vader now declares a resounding “NO” not once, but twice in the middle of the action. Film is a visual medium first, and some scenes work better without dialogue. This scene was one of them, as the viewer can see the internal struggles of Vader even through his mask, and it works incredibly well with only musical score playing over it. With this added dialogue, the decision of Vader has less impact and takes away any genuine emotion that the original scene had.

Fanboys of the series are outraged with these changes, but they will still inevitably purchase the series. No matter how upset they are with Lucas and the alterations made to their beloved franchise, they will never pass on an opportunity to see the films in the Blu-ray format. Until they finally stop purchasing every further release of the saga, they should get used to the changes, because Lucas will keep making them. As long as he keeps making money, he has no reason to stop.

Kevin can be reached for comment at [email protected]