BY Steven D. Greydanus
| Posted 9/12/11 at 1:06 PM
Tomorrow Star Wars finally comes to Blu-ray in three editions: The Original Trilogy, The Prequel Trilogy, and The Complete Saga. Good news for Star Wars fans, right?
If you’re a Star Wars fan, though, you may already know—or, if you didn’t know, you might have guessed—that George Lucas wouldn’t be content to release the same old twice-retweaked versions of the films released on DVD in 2004. That version incorporated the Special Edition changes from the 1997 theatrical releases—such as the infamous “Greedo shooting first” tweak, so that Han wouldn’t be such a scoundrel—plus new Extra-Special changes made specifically for the DVDs.
Needless to say, the Extra-Special Editions were so 2004. Now, for your Blu-ray watching pleasure, Lucas has unveiled the Extra-Extra-Special Editions—“I won’t call it the Ultimate Set because we keep finding stuff,” Lucas has ominously noted—with still more tweaks that have fanboys of all ages shouting “Nooooooooooooooo!”
Actually, they have Darth Vader shouting “Nooooooooooooooo!” At the very climax of Return of the Jedi, where Vader has a change of heart, grabs the Emperor who is dark-side-ocuting Luke, and tosses him into one of those really deep pits they build in Star Wars-land—where previously he was silent, Vader now shouts “Nooooooooooooooo!” This isn’t the only new change, but it’s the one attracting the most attention and consternation.
Now, the reason this is a bad idea is of course the exact reason why Lucas did it. That “Nooooooooooooooo!” is a call-back to a climactic scene from the climax of Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, in which Anakin, newly minted as Darth Vader, learns that his beloved Padme Amidala is dead, and shouts “Nooooooooooooooo!”
That “Nooooooooooooooo!” has become the stuff of legend. For its legendary badness, I mean. There is a whole website devoted to that “Nooooooooooooooo!” And not in a good way.
Now, fanboy overreaction to Lucas’s incessant tinkering with his films has gone over the top—way over the top. Let me say for the record, then, that the new Blu-ray extra-special edition changes with whipped cream and chocolate fudge are not, in fact, a crime against humanity. They’re Lucas’s movies, and he can do what he wants with them. Moreover, they’re far from the greatest or most important movies ever made. When someone argues that Star Wars fanboys need to grow up and stop caring about Star Wars so much, well, I don’t entirely disagree. Grownups should have better things to care about.
True. On the other hand, here’s something else grownups have: kids. Grownups with kids like to share things that were important to them as kids with their own kids. I’ve gone out of my way to purchase out-of-print children’s books I enjoyed as a kid to read to my own kids. I don’t say they’re all masterpieces, but it’s meaningful to me to share elements of my childhood with my own children. Thanks to Lucas’s insistence on restricting access to anything but the most recently tweaked versions, I can’t share the Star Wars I grew up with with my kids.
Lucas can do what he wants with his movies, and if he never, ever releases the Really Truly Original Trilogy in a decent aspect ratio and quality, that’s his business and the world will go on. But I wish he would, and, from my point of view, it would be nice if he did it while some of my kids are still young. Not that it’ll be the end of the world if he doesn’t.
A friend on Arts & Faith points out that a lot of the consternation of Lucas’s constant tinkering with his films is reducible to two issues. First, unlike some other directors who have reworked their movies (including Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and Steven Spielberg’s E.T.), Lucas has so far refused to make the old versions available. He only wants you to watch the latest thing he’s done. Second, his decisions are so stupefyingly awful that there’s a certain train-wreck fascination to them.
What other changes has Lucas made? I won’t be getting the Blu-rays, so I may never learn for sure. On the Internet, I found a list of them that may or may not be accurate. Well, okay, I didn’t find them—I made them up, and posted them on Twitter under a briefly popular hashtag #fakeStarWarsRumors, where people were cracking jokes about the sort of changes Lucas might make if he were only juuust slightly more of a self-parody than he actually is.
So, without further ado:
My Top 10 Fake Star Wars Blu-ray Updates
Other new Star Wars updates contributed by my friends (HT: Jeff Overstreet & Victor Morton):
But the best fake Blu-ray update came from a stranger:
Greedo now shoots self while Han tries to stop him.
Feel free to contribute more in the combox!
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