Star Wars: The Tweaking Continues (now on Blu-ray)

Apparently George Lucas couldn't leave well enough alone, again, and tweaked the Star Wars films for the new Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I-VI, Blu Ray). As seen in the above clip, Vader now screams "Noooooo!" as the Emperor electrocutes Luke in Return of the Jedi. Also, the Ewoks apparently now blink. Sadly, Yub Nub was not added back to the film. After the jump, Obi-Wan's new Krayt Dragon call that scares off the Sand People (leaked new audio with old video).

Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I-VI, Blu Ray) (Amazon)

"Lucas Added Vader Crying “Noooooo!” To RETURN OF THE JEDI" (Badass Digest, thanks Gil Kaufman!)


  1. George Lucas: destroying pieces of my childhood, one edit at a time. I refuse to purchase any version of Star Wars until I can get the remastered versions, sans all these ridiculous edits. Han shot first!

  2. Who really cares anymore? These are 6 or 12 hours of pop culture that have WAY overstayed their welcome.

  3. Hundreds of years from now an original print of the original film will be unearthed in a cave and it will be lauded as one of the greatest cultural finds of the 31st century. It will be like the Dead Sea Scrolls and people will be SHOCKED when they come to learn that Jabba is not Han’s father.

  4. Relevant: 
    lessig Lessig tweeted:very clever — Copyright: Forever Less One Day

  5. So “Noooooooooo!” is stupid, but at least serves to re-tell a story that Lucas thinks needs to be re-told.  I disagree and am sure many others do as well.  But why change the sound Obi-Wan uses to scare off the Tusken Raiders?  What purpose does it serve?  It baffles me no end.  Is Lucas just sitting there going, “Hmmmm…. this movie changed the world, made me a billionaire, and is the greatest thing I’ve ever done.  Let’s change this one sound.”  I don’t get it.

  6. Sigh.  George has become the disappointing uncle that shows up at Christmas without presents and a new conspiracy theory to share.  Goddammit George, WTF?  Just can’t leave well enough alone.

  7. Look at the videos.  These are mock-ups made to reflect what people have reported is on the blu-rays.  The actual performance may be much better than is shown.  Or much worse.

  8. No, no, it should be ‘Star Wars: The Twitching Continues (now on Blu-ray)’. As in the last twitches of a dying horse that is still being mercilessly beaten despite everybody in the world collectively crying out for the pain to stop.

  9. Why couldn’t Lucas develop a normal hollywood compulsive disorder, like plastic surgery or something?

    At least if he was limited to disfiguring himself, we wouldn’t have to look at it.

  10. Just stop buying the same stuff repackaged over and over again people. Just don’t do it. It doesn’t have to look pretty for me. As a kid, it was the story that got me, not the special features and remastering. If only my vhs copy didn’t degrade so fast.

  11. I have my (poor, non-anamorphic) DVDs, and they are the last versions I’m buying.  I’d say ‘until George decides to simply release better quality versions of the originals’, but yeah, right…

    1. The only problem with getting high quality versions of the original trilogy, Lucas actually thinks he is improving them by adding all this shit to them. If he is honestly not happy with the original trilogy he should just recreate it; make 3 more movies that rely entirely upon green screen and stiff wooden acting to tie together 2 or three lightsaber orgasms (lets be honest with ourselves, was there anything else worth watching the in the new trilogy?)

  12. God damn it, Lucas. God damn it. 

    At this point, all I want is a high quality copy of the original versions of the original three films so that I can then ignore Star Wars forever. 

  13. Bah, every site reporting on this thing keeps saying that “Vader now screams ‘Noooooo!’ ”  But surely now, the “No” he gives in this clip is far more nuanced and dignified than the one from Episode III, is it not?  I certainly wouldn’t call it a scream.

    1. I actually like this clip… I mean it actually fits. However the completely silent Vader also works since you have that blank mask as your only ref point and are left wondering just what’s going on in his head right before he dumps palps down the garbage shaft.

      However I’m with everyone else here. Give us a re-release of JUST the cleaned up originals. No added footage. None of it.

      Han Shot. Period. To say he shot first means that you think Greedo got a shot off when it’s clear Han got the drop on him in the cantina.

  14. Well I guess theres nothing good about star wars anymore. As much as I’d love to play SWTOR I dont think I cant past knowing how terrible the movies are. 

  15. I refuse to purchase any version of Star Wars until I can get the remastered versions, sans all these ridiculous edits.

    It took way too long but the three original, unaltered films are included as “extras” if you buy the DVD trilogy (at least for whatever version I own). If I have anything to say about it these will be the only versions my children ever get to watch.

    1. Or, if you get discs from Netflix, you can get them on DVD. Just search Netflix for “Star Wars theatrical’, and they’re the first three results. Just make sure to return them unscratched after you rip them, so everyone can share in their glory. My only hope is that after Lucas dies, his heirs will come to their senses and remaster the theatrical versions so they look good in HD with no changes – that’s something I’d pay an arm and a leg for.

      EDIT – in case it isn’t clear, this is how you can get your hands on the ORIGINAL THEATRICAL RELEASES on DVD.

  16. The Ewoks blink now?  Well, that makes it all worth it!

    I tweaked my own comment in this post about tweaking. Hi, my name is lknope and I’m a tweaker.

  17.  Calm down, it’s not like somebody took an urban dictionary to the To be or not to be speech, or sculpted a doobie and a rasta hat onto Michelangelo’s David.  It’s not a big deal.

    1. But see, it IS like that.  Just because Star Wars was created within the last century, doesn’t take away it’s cultural importance or influence.  There are better sculptures than the David.  There are better piece of theater and literature than Hamlet’s speech.  But they’ve lasted in our collective memory and interests for hundreds of years.  I see no reason why Star Wars won’t do the same–it is certainly has as much impact on me now as it did when I was a child.  It may not be the bench mark of cinematic excellence, but the original trilogy is damn good storytelling, and obviously has resonated with millions of people across multiple generations.

      It makes sense for people to be upset about this.  And it IS weird for an artist to continually go back and retread, retrim, and refurbish something that was created in a relatively static medium.  New movies, new books, new merch?  Yes.  Eradicating the original piece?  Repulsive and aggravating.  And personally, I just don’t see the personal or artistic merits to such behavior, but I doubt that has been Lucas’s motivation in any of this.  If so, damn, way to be a crappy artist.

      When you see a bad film adaptation of a beloved book, there is comfort in saying, “at least there’s still the book.”  Now you get to say, what, “There’s still my old VHS?”  Or at least that seems to be Lucas’s goal.  That’s what so offensive to me.  

      Also, all of his most recent creative and story decisions since the release have sucked.  Real hard.  

      1. “Also, all of his most recent creative and story decisions since the release have sucked.  Real hard.” 

        In all fairness (in this nerds humble opinion) the CGI Clone Wars cartoon actually has been pretty spectacular. So much so that I have begun pretending Ep 1-2 don’t exist and the cartoon takes their place. EP3 also doesn’t exist because all you really need there is the fall of Anakin and that played out way better in my head when I was 10 than the film ever did.

  18. If you still care about what George Lucas is doing to Star Wars then you have bigger problems than what George Lucas is doing to Star Wars.

  19. There’s some muddiness in the audio. What’s that sound buried in the mix? Oh yes: millions of Star Wars fans crying out in terror and then forever silenced.

  20. Call it out for what he’s doing: FUCKING UP MY CHILDHOOD MEMORIES!!!
    RAAARR!!! This is rage from my inner 8-year-old girl-wearing- her-R2D2-Underoos!

    And, OT sorta, but…a Blade Runner remake, too!? FUCK YOU TOOOO!!! This is coming from my inner 10-year-old-who-made-her own replica of the Voight-Kammpf machine (to test my sisters and make sure they weren’t Replicants)!!! RAR!!

    1. As an aside, I think “R2D2 Underoos!” would be a great name for a band, though you’d probably get cease-and-desist letters from two different corporations.

    1. from that wikipedia article:
      “While travelling through Echo Base’s corridors, R2-D2 is attacked by a
      Wampa. He is rescued and the wampa is killed by Rebel troops.”

      I thought perhaps this is the scene I distinctly remember in Empire — R2 coming across an evil-looking creature peering through a hole in the ice ceiling while trying to escape Echo Base. I’m pretty sure that was in the original film release, but perhaps it was on an early home version. But looking around some more, it seems only part of that scene was filmed. Doesn’t anyone else remember, or am I crazy?

      1. It was never in the original film.  I do remember reading a reference to this scene in a picture book that came out concurrent with ESB’s theatrical release.  I bet it’s in the original novelization too.  Maybe it’s in some director’s cut or deleted scenes footage somewhere.

        1. Hmm, yea, well I was quite young when I saw Empire in the theatre, so my little brain burned “laugh it up, fuzzball!” more permanently than most other things from that experience. Maybe the scene showed up in the early HBO home release; I know I’m not crazy!!

  21. Blinking ewoks?  Oh yes, this will completely change the film into an unassailable masterpiece.  Up next, George Lucas uses the magic of CGI to add a mustache to C3PO in every film.

    Why hasn’t he gone back to add CGI to “American Graffiti?”  Richard Dreyfuss’ character would have been more believable with some CGI zits.

  22. At this point, I’d be curious to see him do shot-for-shot remakes of the first three movies. It’s what he’s doing now anyway, just very, very gradually. 

  23. -Victor, are you going to buy the new Star Wars edition?
    -What have Lucas edited this time?
    -Added some unnecessary  sounds and ewoks blink now.

  24. Goddamnitsomuch

    I will say the new Yoda for TPM is a lot better than that ABORTION of a puppet they had.

    STILL – the most expressive and ‘real’ Yoda is the one in ESB.

    I have the ‘original’ versions on laser disc and DVD, and I am good. Fuck the blue ray shit.

    1. I’ll admit it looks better, but even when I first saw it in the trailer, I liked the way Yoda’s ears gently dipped when he says, “…leads to suffering”.  I thought it was a nice touch, but now it’s gone.

  25. As far as I’m concerned, the supposed prequels, and the re-edits of the originals, are non-canonical. There were only three Star Wars films, with titles rather than numbers, as they were originally released in theaters. The rest occupy the same limbo that the Star Wars Christmas Special does — cheap knockoffs, not even good fan-fic, to be boycotted rather than supported.

    Lucas can kill the franchise, but he can’t “damage my childhood.” I frankly don’t care what he does with the material now, except that it’ll be that much harder to share the legitimate films with friends when my copies wear out. (Hm. Better make backups.)

    Frankly, I wasn’t all that surprised that the reboot sucked. If Lucas had actually had something to say in the backstory, the additional films would have been made much sooner. He didn’t, and it shows.

    It’s a pity, really. Star Wars was in many ways a revival of the old Flash Gordon serials. It *could* have been kept going for quite some time, if they had been willing to look for new tales to tell in that universe rather than being wedded to the idea of connecting to the same story arc. Tunnel vision is the single worst danger to creativity.

  26. This is odd. I was just thinking about ewok eyes a couple of days ago. I just figured that they had eyes like snakes.

    And this just may have cured me of any interest that I still had about anything Star Wars related with the exception of the radio drama version. The visual effects in that were flawless.

  27. These movies are officially a hot mess. A downloaded some fanedits of the prequels but I hate certain things and don’t mind others that people rant about, so there are no perfect fanedits either. I’m resigned to having to now make my own fanedit of all 6 movies, with the edits and sounds I prefer across 30+ yrs of versions.

  28. When I heard about the “NOOOO” all I could think of was George Lucas’ “it’s like poetry, they rhyme” which I seem to remember them quoting mockingly a few times in those Red Letter Media reviews (there’s one just after the one-minute mark in part 5 of the Phantom Menace review). He said “NOOOO” in part 3 of the prequel trilogy so he has to do it in part 3 of the originals! Now that’s what I call artistic subtlety! 

  29. Plinkett hits Lucas pretty hard in the third installment of his super-long prequel parodies-deconstructions-reviews for Lucas’s claiming that all of the echoes and quotations in the prequels from the originals are “like poetry, they rhyme.” Vader’s “NOOOO” here reverses the process: taken from the prequels, it’s now making the original “rhyme” with them. But otherwise this seems like another example of a plot device and motivic principle, a la Wagner–clearly an influence for Lucas, the twentieth century’s Wagner–that Lucas has stated is interesting to him. (And I’d agree, pace Plunkett: I thought all of the rymes and biting from the originals were one of the few non-awful things about the prequels.) And it is motivated, however mawkish: if the “NOOOO” from episode 3 is Vader’s last gasp as a human, his cry of mourning for his dead wife, and belated realization that he’s been tricked, then the “NOOOO” here marks the resurgence of that lost humanity, a refusal to let Luke, his link to Padme, die as she did (killed by the Force due to the Emperor’s machinations), and, finally, his turning the tables on the Emperor, his betrayer and manipulator. Seems fine to me. An angrier, more feral “NOOOO” would have been better, but whatevs.

    1. Plinket’s reviews are FANTASTIC. Anyone who loves Star Wars and likes to laugh, check out redlettermedia on youtube.

      He is not only hilarious, but the criticism he gives is spot on. You might not like one of the movies, but not sure exactly why; he is able to articulate WHY it was such a bad film.

      He did several Star Trek movies as well.

  30. yeh, as much as i disliked ep1-3 it wasn’t until the mr.plinkett red letter media reviews that i genuinely loathed them and george lucas. ep4-6 (unadulterated) are the only star wars movie imho.

  31. Good grief, can we get a restraining order to stop him messing with these things? Or maybe an ABSO, it’s certainly antisocial.

    Right, I’m off to ebay to buy the oldest boxset I can find. VHS here we come…

    1. Yes. But unless it’s a mass-replicated medium, there’s a limit to how many people have been exposed to both.

  32. Did the original version include the effect whereby the “lightning” strikes illuminate Vader’s part-human-part-machine spooky skeleton?  I don’t remember that being there before.  

  33. Sigh. Lucas had such vision and energy, but this constant tweaking and re-tweaking is displays pathetic levels of artistic immaturity. I mean, if you think you could have done something better, TELL A NEW STORY, don’t just keep changing what you’ve already put out there. A creation is like a child; once you are ready to let it go out into the world, it has its own life, and is no longer yours to change on a whim. If you don’t create something greater than yourself, over which you no longer have control, then you’re still just dinkin’ around, IMO.

    Anyway, once Yub Nub was gone, what was the point, really?

  34. I liked that he didn’t say anything, it’s not necessary to change Vader’s character. He watched his son fry for a bit, then thought to himself “naaah, F this S” then picked up his boss who’s like “wait, what?” then chucks him down a massive hole. Going NOOOOOOO! is sometimes great and has its place, but not here. It removes his nonchalance and gives him too much passion, like a wuss or something. Fear not, this will not be the final incarnation of Star Wars. 3D will be out soon, then who knows. It will continue to dilute until every character is CGI and saying NOOOOOOO! constantly.

    1. Not to mention that killing one’s master is probably a common thing on the dark side. He probably figured saving Luke’s life would force Luke to join him, so Vader saw a good moment to seize power and went for it.

      But then they take Vader’s helmet off and he’s a dweeb. Oh well.

  35. I have the trilogy on Laser disc … yes it’s archaic but I never have to worry about his incessant tweaking ever again…….. F*** you George Lucas, Han Shot First

  36. I wonder if Walt Whitman had fanboys who screamed bloody murder over the 1892 deathbed edition of Leaves of Grass, “dammit, Whitman, the 1855 Leaves was so much better, so much fresher, you’ve ruined our childhoods and our faith in poetry!” This isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, Wordsworth did it with his Prelude, too: famous artists sometimes get all dodgy in their later periods, and endlessly tinker with the masterpieces of their youth. And the public gets over thinking of these later, lesser versions of the originals as travesties or betrayals, and more as other versions or editions of the same: older, perhaps less interesting cousins of the much-beloved originals. 

    It’s quite funny to me that somehow we can find endless remixes and parodies and re-visions of the Star Wars mythos endlessly fascinating, but Lucas’s updates are somehow all perfidious, even the prequels. They are pretty terrible by and large, for sure, but there’s some unspoken existential “how dare you George Lucas” that never gets leveled against anyone else working in and around the Star Wars universe. Is it because all of the parodies etc. are manifestly different works, whereas Lucas’s edits are forced into the original films, erasing the “true” originals? Is it because of Lucas’s outsized persona, something not shared by amateur and other remixers of the material? 

    1.  Yeah, I was pondering that as I was writing my screed against Lucas’s revisions. The diff is claim to ownership, I think.

      In other words, if Lucas’s changes were done in the same spirit – as remixes, alternate versions that left the “official” version alone, then I’d have no problem. Creative re-use, derivative work, etc.

      But he’s going back and changing what’s in effect the “canonical” version of the story, and that, I do have a big problem with, like I did when Edward Albee changed The Zoo Story and forbade any professional companies from performing the original version.

      And yeah, I think it was immature of Whitman to keep tweaking his own stuff too. But he was a sweaty toothed madman, so I’ll give him a pass.

  37. I do think the “Noooo” actually kind of makes sense (and is not laughable as in Ep. 3), but I don’t think he should have added it. Originally, you weren’t sure exactly what was going through his head as he looked back and forth between Luke and the Emperor, but you had a pretty good idea. I mean seriously, part of the point of Vader’s mask and outfit is so that you don’t know what’s going through his mind – he’s just a big, imposing thing.

    Yet they made you realize that something was going on with him in the original, and then he just goes and tosses the Emperor in an “oh shit!” moment (if you’re seeing it for the first time, anyway). The “nooo” ruins the subtlety, and the surprise, of the scene – a scene which was one of the best-executed emotional moments of the original films.

    Also, the new Obi-Wan call is pure shit – the original was actually quite mysterious, and cool sounding, and it also seemed possible for a person of skill to vocalize.

    I don’t have a problem with all changes – the CGI ewok eyelids are fine, although we must admit that it was pointless – but the original stuff was so good that all but the most basic changes (like removing matte lines – which they didn’t even do a great job at in previous re-releases) are just as pointless, and never match the magic of the original scenes.

  38. George Lucas has only directed six feature films, and three of them were SW I – III.  Of course he’s still picking at the crusty condom from his last hot date.

    1. Actually, seven:
      1. THX 1138
      2. American Graffiti
      3. Star Wars
      4. Howard The Duck (is this the one you forgot?)
      5, 6 & 7. Various other films.

        1. Yes sir, please regard two comments above, proving that I received the memo.  In any case, I will paraphrase something appropriate,
          I offer a complete and utter retraction. The imputation was totally without basis in fact, and I deeply regret any distress that my comments may have caused Lucas or his family, and I hereby undertake not to repeat any such slander at any time in the future.

  39. The original seen spoke for itself and was so gripping it didn’t need Vader to say anything! Lucas is a great visual director, one of the best in the business,
    but it comes at the expense of character development. When he was
    working under someone else, he had budget restrictions and had to make
    his story more character driven and with a tighter story, thanks to some
    of the guys he was saddled with. In my opinion, now that he’s running
    his own show, he wants to undo all of the “mistakes” he argued against,
    even though they worked!

    1. Agreed. Darth Vadar’s silence made him seem more badass, rather than just a Big Bad that does a last min side change.

      1. Now that you say that what George Lucas is doing is akin to what happened to many Japanese and other foreign language films and animated productions when they were brought to the U.S. There is this notion that kids can’t stand silence and the empty space should be filled with grunts, growls and bad dialogue. Makes sense considering George Lucas is making the Star Wars films more “kid friendly” instead of a kids film series that could appeal to adults as well as kids.

  40. George, it’s a space opera; it’s not fine art. No one will respect you more for changing anything about it. But you don’t care anymore, do you? We’ve long since ceased to exist in your world of minutia.

  41. The original seen spoke for itself and was so gripping it didn’t need Vader to say anything! Lucas is a great visual director, one of the best in the business, but it comes at the expense of character development. When he was working under someone else, he had budget restrictions and had to make his story more character driven and with a tighter story, thanks to some of the guys he was saddled with. In my opinion, now that he’s running his own show, he wants to undo all of the “mistakes” he argued against, even though they worked!

  42. Lucas is turning out to be Darth Vader himself. At first he was the good guy, but then became the true villain of the Star Wars saga. One can only hope he’ll repent on his death bed, though by then I can’t imagine very many will care anymore.

  43. And, yeah, some of the changes are undoubtedly intended as copyright renewal. Like the colorizing craze.

    Of course the older version can still go out of copyright when it was expected to. On the other hand, my experience is that folks like Sinister Cinema aren’t really charging all _that_ much less than the cheap editions of stuff still in copyright. On the other other hand, they’ve done enough work to rescue some of those films that I don’t mind supporting them.

  44. I just hope Lucas can find some way to eventually add Shia LeBouf to the trilogy, so he can continue to also ruin things that were good in the 80s.

  45. It’s his only claim to fame. American Graffiti is nothing next to the Star Wars franchise.

    If he was talented enough, he would have gone on to explore new things years ago. Alas, his limited talent keeps him living in the past for the rest of his life.

  46. Its a lost point now, as I long ago swore off buying any version that is updated. But, it would be nice to get a somewhat cleaned up version of the originals.

    1. The laser disc collection was cleaned up some. It was ported over to DVD as ‘bonus’ material in one of the releases.

      1. Its only a matter of time before a pirated version is released that is professionally remastered. Assuming such a thing doesn’t already exist, I haven’t really looked.

  47. The simple version:
    1. Acquire laserdisk versions of trilogy, blu-ray.
    2. Edit to match.

    But that’s not enough for the true fans..

    Stage 2:
    3. Change floaty word thingy back to original original release text.

    Stage 3: You Sith bastard
    4. Put 30 minute interview with George back in front of movie to reproduce VHS original.

  48. A prediction: if Lucas is still alive in around 20 years, we’ll probably get a new updated version where an older Hayden Christensen is inserted into the scene where Luke takes off Vader’s mask…

    Also, I wonder if the blu-ray edition will fix that minor continuity error where the moving starfield behind the Emperor kept resetting its position every time they cut away from him and back in RotJ…I thought it was weird in the original special editions that they made all those little tweaks but didn’t fix that, and also didn’t fix the matte lines around at least some of the spaceships (I remember you could see a traveling square around one TIE fighter that had a noticeably different shade of black than the surrounding area of space)

    1. Yeah – about the mats around the TIEs – so with you on that. There are also scenes with the Emperor in RotJ where it looks like black was added around the face to make it more obscured. But it didn’t fit with the rest of the film.

      This is a LONG but EXCELLENT article about how they made the special editions and the pains to restore the film. In short the original negatives were badly deteriorated and a shit ton of work was done to bring it up to ‘normal’. It talks about making the special editions, the DVDs, etc. Fascinating stuff.

      ETA – one of the things he never fixed that always bugged me was the completely lame, nonchalant “Imperial troops have entered the base. Imperial..” He must have been fighting stoned out of his gourd to have no emotion or sense of urgency.

  49. Anyone else beginning to see Lucas as Mr. Blonde?

    “Look, I’m not going to bullsh1t you, ok? I don’t really give a good f&(* what you do or don’t want to see. But I’m going to edit the movie anyway. Regardless. Not to make the movie better. It’s amusing to me to torture the fanboys. You can say anything you want ’cause I’ve heard it all before. All you can do is pray for a cheap retail price……which you ain’t gonna get.”

  50.  What has happened with Lucas is the same thing that has happened with Peter Jackson. These guys are surrounded by people that are afraid to tell them “No”. These people are not Yes men, but rather people who’s job it is to make real what Lucas and Jackson want. They have people paid to tell them “No” in an economic sense (Producers), but no one that can reality check them on matters of quality or sanity.

  51. I’m not that big a fan of the series, so I wouldn’t have noticed the changes if the net didn’t go crazy over it. Frankly I don’t think they’re that big a deal.

  52. The weird thing is I seem to remember George Lucas in front of Congress, speaking for the preservation of film in it’s original form.  Wanting to save the original vintage black & white movies from being altered and colorized.  Hmm….

    1. Yes, you can read Lucas’ speech opposing colorization here. The speech also includes a prophetic warning:

      These current defacements are just the beginning. Today, engineers with their computers can add color to black-and-white movies, change the soundtrack, speed up the pace, and add or subtract material to the philosophical tastes of the copyright holder. Tommorrow, more advanced technology will be able to replace actors with “fresher faces,” or alter dialogue and change the movement of the actor’s lips to match. It will soon be possible to create a new “original” negative with whatever changes or alterations the copyright holder of the moment desires. The copyright holders, so far, have not been completely diligent in preserving the original negatives of films they control. In order to reconstruct old negatives, many archivists have had to go to Eastern bloc countries where American films have been better preserved.

  53. Ease off guys.  It makes sense for Vader to say *something* at that point.  And Anakin was never the brightest bulb in the galaxy far, far away.  So, “noo…” it is.

    So Lucas views the films like Disney viewed Disneyland; they are never finished.  He owns the series, not us. Whatever.  We got it.  And we can always watch the old ones off VHS in their original quality as originally made as originally intended.  

    Flame away.

  54. The problem isn’t this kind of tweaking nonsense as much as George Lucas refuses to make true high-quality transfers of the original films in their original form as part of the package. One can buy Blade Runner and have access to all versions. When they redid the original Star Trek episodes with updated CGI effects one could watch the original episodes as well. With George Lucas, the old films are just wiped away completely and only available in decent format for those who choose to download them.

    That’s the problem.  Let him revise whatever he wants. If he thinks the “Noooo!” from Revenge of the Sith was so well received (last I checked it was the most laughable moment of the whole prequel series) nothing can change that. But why deny the originals a live in HD? That’s the true dysfunction here.

  55. For all intents and purposes, Greedo shot first in the original. Sure, he didn’t manage to get a round off before Han blasted him, but it was clear from the dialogue that he had every intention of doing it right there and then. However, Lucas doesn’t like subtlety and prefers instead to state everything outright. He could have saved a lot of his effects budget by having the entire film as two Jedi sitting in a room watching a view screen that we can’t see and talking about what’s happening in the world outside (actually, that would have made a better movie than the prequels…)

    What was going through Vader’s mind at the end of RotJ likewise was subtly portrayed, but absolutely non-ambiguous, but nooooooooo, his thoughts have to be stated outright.

  56. Why can’t Lucas tinker with Ep I thru III to his heart’s delight (nothing but improvement can come of that, right?)– but, for the Love of the Maker– leave Ep IV thru VI alone?!

    You can’t even get the original Ep IV-VI in anything but VHS now.  Lucas is a smart man.  I wonder if, a decade from now, he’ll squeeze us for a RE-re-make:  Star Wars Classic, the original unretouched episodes, but on Blu-Ray.  I think a lot of people would pay a lot of galactic credits for this.

    Parenthetically, Lucas also sent his CGI-elves to lay waste to THX-1138, which also can only be found unretouched in VHS and LaserDisc.  THX-1138 was a monumental work, especially given what a tight budget it had– now, it practically plays like a bad action movie remake of a comic book.  As in Star Wars, much gratuitous CGI is added, plotlines are “helpfully” re-routed, large “beauty shots” are added.  It’s disgusting.

    Lucas is out of control.  All those billions means he answers to no one.  And you did it:  all you people who paid hard currency to see Ep I,II,III in the theatre.  You said, “Whats the harm?”  Well, now we know.

    1. You can’t even get the original Ep IV-VI in anything but VHS now.

      Well, if you’re willing to pay extra you can go to amazon and get used&new copies of the original versions on DVD (though they’re not cleaned up and with restored colors like the special editions, just a straight transfer of the laserdisc)–A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.

      1. Holy cow – I had no idea those DVDs went up in value like that! My sister got me all 3 a few years ago.

        I got the laserdiscs when they came out – I didn’t even have a player at that time:

        ETA – the one big gripe I have with the laserdisc is WHERE they chose to stop the film so you could flip sides/change the disk. In ANH, it happens right after the Death Star explosion. Very very abrupt!

  57. You guys are being awfully sentimental about what was then and now pop culture ephemera. Sure, I loved the movies too. But I was all of 10 when RotJ came out.

    1. You’re right, I stand corrected, Lucas was executive producer.  IMDb to the rescue.
      I remember Lucas really pushing the film in interviews.  Being somewhat of a recluse, he seemed to have a more vested interest in the film than normal, giving the impression of very much a Lucas project at face value.  As it turned out, Lucasfilm was in deep financial doo doo and George was counting on Howard to rescue his finances.
      After the box office disaster, it was Steve Jobs who came to the rescue by acquiring Pixar.

      1. That’s right, and I’ll bet he’s been kicking himself over that one for a long time. Could possibly explain why he is so keen to show off his ‘magic’ with the more live action sort of stuff. Or, you know, he could just be insane. He did after all bet a good chunk of his future on ‘Howard the Duck’.

    2. He did direct a lot of scenes in Return of the Jedi since Richard Marquand was having some problems understanding how to direct actors in special effects intensive scenes. I think Lucas also directed some shots for Empire Strikes Back not because Irvin Kershner had issues with special effects, but more to speed up production due to unforeseen delays.

      1. You know that makes me wonder. Maybe GL is just messing with the originals to see if he can. Sort of pushing the boundaries of CGI, using it as a test-bed for all the new fun things that can be done. I still don’t think he should. If anything he should move on and actually create something new instead of skull-f***ing beloved classics with his cavalier ‘re-working’ just to see if he can. And the primary reason he should just lay the f off is that it is royally pissing of the core fan-base. OTOH, I really don’t think he cares at this point about integrity or artistry. It’s his baseball and he can do whatever he wants with it. Or maybe he really is a delusional lunatic with a strange fetish what he just can’t shake.

        Also what ever happened to the 7th, 8th, and 9th installments? I’m not at all eager to see the result of his atrocious, megalomaniacal and down-right hostile treatment of them (were they ever even to exist) but it makes me wonder. Maybe he should create a new set of steaming dog-turds just to get his mind off of this tack he seems to be on to utterly destroy the original films and the original fan-base.

        1. I don’t think there will be a 7th, 8th or 9th installment of Star Wars. But I do think that he’s tinkering with CGI to use the whole series as a massive demo reel of the quality if work ILM can do. Remember, ILM does the effects for tons of films that fanboys would consider competitors to the Star Wars franchise. He could care less.  He gets everyone’s money for the SFX and that’s it.

          But honestly I could care less about larger theories. He’s a human being who made movies and has made money. I just would love to know the psychology behind not allowing original versions of the films to be preserved in the same way. It’s like some time traveller constantly trying to alter past timelines to save the future but just mucks up the situation worse.

  58. I made my peace with Lucas’ constant molestation of the original trilogy by not thinking of it as ruining part of my childhood, but elevating it. I often remind my nephew that, “Yeah, too bad you’ve only seen the crappy version where Han Solo isn’t a total anti-hero badass. Han shot first, but you’ll never see it.”

  59. I never understood why the emperor fell to his death when the force could be used to levitate stuff including yourself.  Why didn’t he just hit the air brakes?  Curse you plot holes!

    1. 1) Paralyzed by his own lightning.

      2) Vader could use his powers to push him.

      3) Doesn’t matter – he clones himself and transfers his essence.. Being a Sith is murder on the body.

  60. I can just see the scene at ILM. Busy people at the top of their game working hard on interestesting projects.

    Then Lucas walks in. Quick, fix those smiles… “H, H, Heeey.. big guy, um, how ya doin?” *please not again*please not again*please not again*.

    “Well I’m just great. You know, I was up pretty late last night…”
    *Oh God*
    “…watching Episode VI again…”
    *oh Jesus no*
    “…and I just got to thinkin. Vader just doesn’t seem human enough, vulnerable enough, watching his son get tortured like that. I want to change it for the next release, have him cry out or something…”


    “That’s it! Perfect. I’ll leave it with you.”

  61. Since the other talented people that helped make the original series great moved on long ago, it’s just been George moving the arms on a doll and making pew pew noises. It’s his property, he can do what he wants. But it’s sad that he will never know the statement he’s making isn’t the one he -thinks- he’s making.

  62. Here is a quote that seems to show Lucas’ mindset on this–apparently it’s not that he thinks a release of the unaltered versions wouldn’t sell, but more that he wants them to be forgotten because he considers them imperfect rough drafts:

    There will only be one. And it won’t be what I would call the “rough cut”, it’ll be the “final cut”. The other one will be some sort of interesting artifact that people will look at and say, “There was an earlier draft of this.” The same thing happens with plays and earlier drafts of books. In essence, films never get finished, they get abandoned. At some point, you’re dragged off the picture kicking and screaming while somebody says, “Okay, it’s done.” That isn’t really the way it should work. Occasionally, [you can] go back and get your cut of the video out there, which I did on both American Graffiti and THX 1138; that’s the place where it will live forever. So what ends up being important in my mind is what the DVD version is going to look like, because that’s what everybody is going to remember. The other versions will disappear. Even the 35 million tapes of Star Wars out there won’t last more than 30 or 40 years. A hundred years from now, the only version of the movie that anyone will remember will be the DVD version [of the Special Edition], and you’ll be able to project it on a 20′ by 40′ screen with perfect quality. I think it’s the director’s prerogative, not the studio’s to go back and reinvent a movie.

    1. I think it’s the director’s prerogative, not the studio’s to go back and reinvent a movie.

      And I think it is the public’s duty to tell you your screwing over the fans in your search of perfection.  To make it “JUST RIGHT” for you, your messing with the memories of all the people who loved the movies the way they were.  They had hope when you made a new one, they still bought tickets to the second new one, they even went to the 3rd new one… and how did you repay them?  JAR JAR BINKS.
      You created JarJar… and you think you have the artistic vision and rights to screw with other people perceptions?!
      Stop diddling in the past and think of something new.
      Give the fans, you know the ones that helped pay for your ranch, what they deserve… the right to get the movie as they remember it.  With all of the warts intact.
      That or keep humping the dead memory of when people cared about what you made.
      You might make it “perfect”, but there will be no one to give a crap about your opus because they will have grown bored of you tinkering and trying to cash in again… and again… and again…

      Somewhere once upon a time I saw pictures of a statute showing GL in carbonite, I think it was people from the future trying to save the last good real pieces of Star Wars from its creator.

    2. @hypnosifl:disqus thanks.  If anything i hate GL even more now.  He really thinks that all this CGI tarting up, this “filling in” and “evening out” of plot (atrociously showing CGI Jabba in Ep IV, Han shooting Greedo second,  etc), makes a better film.  i thought he was just being idly rapacious, and trying to make alot of money.  But he actually thinks the newer editions are the ones for “the ages” and actively hopes the earlier editions will eventually die a VHS death.  Great Caesar’s ghost!  Patton Oswald had the right idea.

  63. Me and the kiddo just watched Star Wars tonight. She got to pick and she chose Empire. *pat pat* She is so damn smart. She informed me that if she was there she would get a gun that shot up in the air and the blast would bounce off the ceiling to get the bad guys.

    She doesn’t know about the prequels. I lied to her when she asked if one of the movies showed Darth Vader when he was good (she is fascinated with him, I think). I just can’t do it to her. She is so young and innocent. Maybe when we tell her Santa isn’t real it will soften the blow of how awful the prequels were.

    GL – as a person with a degree in oil painting, I think I can speak with some authority, some times you just gotta put the brush down, walk away, and call it done. You can spend eternity 2nd guessing yourself, thinking of little fixes, etc etc. I envy good artists because they get their work hanging somewhere else other than home/the studio. They no longer temp you to start putzing around on them.

    1. She doesn’t know about the prequels. I lied to her when she asked if one of the movies showed Darth Vader when he was good (she is fascinated with him, I think). I just can’t do it to her. She is so young and innocent. Maybe when we tell her Santa isn’t real it will soften the blow of how awful the prequels were.

      “A young producer named Rick McCallum, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped George Lucas finance and create the prequels. He betrayed and murdered your father’s favorite science fiction film franchise. Now the original edits of the films are all but extinct. George Lucas was seduced by the dark side of his ego.”

  64. I saw Star Wars in Oak Brook, Illinois, the week it came out and developed a little bit of a lip gloss paraphilia watching Princess Leia. I think i have it under control  better.  This is my first time at Group.  

  65. He could have simply done what they did with the Star Trek Original Blu Ray – release the new edit and provide re-mastered copies of the old on the same disc – so you watch and compare!

    This poking and prodding makes me feel like the seven year old me, lying on an operating table awake, watching a perverse surgeon poke about my insides without actually doing anything.  Just leaving a small scar.

  66. I’d be fine with Lucas releasing tweaked versions if he’d just release the theatrical originals in the same quality. Some of the changes in the Blu-Ray release will be ok and the extras will be the reason to get them (if you are into that sort of thing). There are a lot of ways to get the original versions, but they are painful to watch quality-wise. I also recommend checking out the fan edit “Start Wars Revisited”. It’s very good and has some tweaks which are all subtle and IMO positive.

  67. I don’t buy a lot of media these days, but I was looking forward to
    buying these.  I definitely won’t bother having seen that.  Maybe
    someone will release a fan edited version as they did after the last
    time he screwed with things, using the new material mostly but
    substituting the best available video and audio when necessary to
    replace the adulterated version.

  68. This is like Will Shakespeare rising from the dead to say that he considers West Side Story to be the definitive edit of Romeo and Juliet.

  69. I saw a DVD of THX-1138 in the bargain bin for 4GBP, so I bought it. When I watched it, I realised there was some CGI added. It was pretty bad, especially in the masturbation scene.
    I hoped they had included the theatrical release on the disk as an extra, but nope. Just a tedious documentary about how traumatic it was for Maggie McOmie to have her head shaved (fair enough, it was 1971).

  70. For all the boasts about having the original theatrical cuts on DVD from netflix or laserdisc or where ever – you’re missing the point that home theater buffs are clamoring about. Those may be the original cuts on a digital disc, but they aren’t remastered for equipment of the digital age. They’re practically VHS on disc. That’s the point of all the bemoaning of this Blu-Ray release…not just these little changes, but it’s finally released on the latest standard that audio and video-philes care about, and they still haven’t bothered to remaster the original cuts. It’s this word “remastering” here you want to care about. Until you get a ‘remaster’ of the theatrical cuts on disc, you really don’t have anything at all. Like I say, in the eyes of home theater buffs. I’m happy with my videodisc cartridges.

    1. I think we get it. We would all like it – but we can make do with what we have.

      The DVDs and Laserdisc are both THX certified. Not being an audiophile, I imagine that isn’t the best sound possible now – bit it should be the best sound one would have enjoyed in the theater. The image is as good – or rather better – than a film print in a theater, albeit not as large/high of resolution.

      ” This version featured the original trilogy on 9 CAV discs, widescreen transfers, THX
      remastering, audio commentary tracks, assorted bonus features, a copy
      of the hardcover book “George Lucas – The Creative Impulse”, and for “Star Wars
      IV: A New Hope”, a new surround sound audio mix. This mix, digitally
      remastered by Ben Burtt and Gary Summers, was supposedly a mix of the
      best elements of all three original mixes [2].
      However, it is primarily a fold-down of the 6-track 70mm mix, with some
      mono mix elements and additional elements “dialled in”. An interview
      with Dave Schnuelle, printed in a 1993 issue of Widescreen Review, corroborates these observations.”

  71. My best friend’s dad, John Neal, was the sound editor on the first SW soundtrack album and he invited us down to watch him and John Williams edit the master.  We enjoyed that and then wandered next door to the sound editing room where they happened to be doing the sound effect for Obi Wan’s bellow to scare off the sand people.

    I can still remember them trying to figure out what to use to start from and they settled on the godzilla noise and then they fiddled with it, reversing and adding stuff.  You can still hear the godzilla noise in the first version.  I liked that much, much better.


  72. Lucas has much in common with another artistic personality that peaked early: Frank Zappa. To hear the original Mothers of Invention albums without owning a turntable is to have to download vinyl rips of them. What happens when the talent fades? Paint mustaches on the old masters and force people to endure them, as a kind of bitter retribution on your formerly genius-infused self and the people who noticed. The refusal to provide archival-quality releases of the original (better) versions of the Star Wars saga bespeaks a massive, distorted ego and a contempt for the love millions of people felt for that celluloid.

  73. what is it with the endless fascination wit a et of movies that has ended disappointing the vast majority of us and let the originals sink to their well deserved level? Are the BB “mutants”nothing more than arrested adolescents?

  74. I’m not sure if this has been addressed as… well, too many comments; but it seems to me that the problem is not the tweaking but the nature of the tweaks.  Consider the difference of effect; and of affect.  Which is to say, the advantage of Vader’s mask is that it hides emotion.  While David Prowse’s body-language may have indicated an inner tension to Vader at this point, Lucas’s making explicit something implicit until the very point of action is the real problem.  All of the tweaks, it strikes me, in fact the entire Project post-1st-Trilogy, has been to address an audience of lesser assumed intelligence. and to render every beat of the story clean and comprehensible by even the slowest observer.  Unfortunately, this would seem to be Lucas’s attitude towards children. While it’s true that, as a 7-year-old, I did not “understand” every cog and gear of the story, I “got” it in absolute terms.  It was years until I realized that the whole damn plot of ANH was about a bunch of schematics (and that R2-D2 is, in effect, the hero of the story, a subject for another time).  But it mattered not a bit.

    The extra “No”s here bring home painfully what strikes me as the greatest missed opportunity in the second series; how much better a film would it have been if, instead of hearing Vader scream “Noooo!” (add appropriate number of o’s) upon hearing the news of Padme’s death, we had heard…nothing.  Nothing. And then… for the very first time, Vader’s distinctive breathing.  Anyhoo, that’s how I would have written it.

  75. It’s simple… Lucas is making small changes for each release in order to extend the copyright of Star Wars beyond what is reasonable.

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