So, my precious Star Wars finally came out on DVD. This marks the fourth time I’ve purchased the trilogy; which now rivals my five purchases of Sgt. Pepper. Only, it is not my precious Star Wars. It is the Bastard Son of Star Wars. Not only are all the 1997 Special Edition changes included on all films, but it seems Mr. Lucas felt the need to make even a few more changes to the films. Changes include but are not limited to:
- Hayden Christensen has been added to a scene in Jedi
- Ian McDiarmid replaces Clive Revill as The Emperor with slightly revised lines in Empire
- Temuera Morrison has re-recorded Boba Fett’s minimal dialogue
- A host of foley changes
Never again will we see the originals (which I blessedly do have on VHS, but never watch for fear of deterioration and ruin). It seems these changes were designed to improve the continuity between the two trilogies…because they veered from the original story line too much in the prequels.
Can you imagine the writers sitting around the table throwing out story ideas? “Hey what if Obi-Won was trained by Qui-Gon instead of Yoda? Wait, Obi-Won says specifically that he was instructed by Yoda in ‘Empire.’ Oh well, nevermind.” Then George Lucas emerges from his oddly darkened corner, lays an unsettling hand on the writer’s shoulder and intones, “Use that story line. I’ll just change ‘Empire.'” Rightfully, the writer should then contest, “But George, you have to follow the story you’ve already set up. This isn’t like a playbill with a ‘The role of Anakin will now be played by…’ addendum. Imagine this: you go to see The Godfather II and suddenly there was a fourth son. Would you just go along with it like a sap or would you think, “OH, COME ON! I didn’t pay $4.50 in 1974 dollars to be duped.” I mean, damn, George, this is WAY beyond artistic license. What are you going do, change the scroller at the opening of the film? Give the usual introduction to the story and then have it go on to read “…oh and by the way, Luke and Leia are no longer siblings. We decided they are just cousins because it works out better for this story and now it won’t be as gross that they were making out in ‘Empire.’ OH! And the Emperor is a good guy now. Instead Sam Jackson will be the bad guy, since he can play such a good one. I mean did you see XXX, because he was awesome!'”
The following is an open letter to George Lucas:
Dear Mr. Lucas,
No more changes to Star Wars. It is getting to the point where you are just going to drive the film into its grave. Is it not enough that you created a genius cultural phenomenon and have become unimaginably wealthy in doing so? Must you also single-handedly dismantle it? Concentrate instead on creating another great film.
THX-1138 was interesting. Willow was fun. American Graffiti and Tucker were awesome. I can’t thank you enough for Indiana Jones.
I know you have it in you. I know you can do better.
P.S. If you are looking for suggestions for the ending for Episode III, I don’t know what it necessarily should be, but I can tell you definitively that the ending should not involve crappy teddy bears dancing to the tune of “Celebrate the Love.”
Post P.S. I still haven’t forgiven you for Jar Jar Binks.