So this story is a week old at this point, but it’s so amazingly stupid that I can’t seem to wrap my head around it. It seems that George Lucas is still screwing with the original trilogy, and he’s made the most egregious and ridiculous change yet in the new release of the original trilogy on blu-ray. Here it is (stick with it, the change is about 30 seconds in):

As Devin notes:

It’s hard to believe this because Vader crying ‘Noooo!’ was one of the most widely derided aspects of Revenge of the Sith. It’s easy to believe because Lucas is so out of touch and loves the idea of on the nose symmetry between the two trilogies.

And the story has been confirmed by multiple sources, including the NY Times.

It’s a flabbergasting change, for a million reasons. Of course, there are tons of stories about it all over, and folks are already creating funny mashups and posting screenshots of canceled orders (I think that’s my favorite response actually).

But really, no parody is needed. Lucas’s antics have gone beyond the point of outrage or controversy (like some of the other changes Lucas has made) and into pure comedy gold. Russ Fischer notes that: “There is a troll at work here; we just don’t know yet if it is George Lucas, or some anonymous prankster.” At the time, the story hadn’t been confirmed yet, so Fischer was thinking of the whole thing as a hoax. However, even though it’s not a hoax, I think Fischer was on to something there. I think George Lucas is trolling us. I think it’s become clear that he is literally playing a practical joke on us, one that has been decades in the making. He spent several years making these amazing movies that everyone would grow to love, only to abandon the whole thing when he finished. Fifteen years later, he put his long-term practical joke in motion by tweaking the old films (Greedo shooting first being the most egregious change), then releasing three poorly made prequels. Not satisfied with the reaction to this (which, granted, made him even richer), he continued his changing of the classics (even convincing Spielberg to change E.T.!), noting that fans went bonkers over every change, no matter how small. He even went and ruined Indiana Jones while he was at it.

But none of these things were good enough, and strangely, he seemed to keep making money off of these atrocities. Every troll gets to this point, sooner or later. When Lucas realized that he could do anything, I think he actually sat down one day and wondered to himself: Everything I’ve done so far has been small potatoes, how can I really piss these people off? Lots of people have speculated about why Lucas has made the changes he has. Some think it’s pure greed – for every change he makes, he can sell a new copy to the same old customers. But that rings hollow. The real prevailing wisdom here is that George Lucas actually believes he is making the movies better. He is an artist! And this is his vision! Or something like that. Well, maybe he really is an artist. Maybe this is his crowning achievement. It’s not an achievement in film though, it’s an achievement in trolling.

I know it’s unrealistic to expect that these Blu-Rays won’t sell. They will. But the only way to defeat trolls is to ignore them. Or perhaps applaud their trollishness… and then ignore them. Well played, Lucas. But I’m not buying your movies anymore.

3 thoughts on “No.”

  1. Heh.

    I’m glad I got copies of the films that are *mostly* unaltered. I got the limited edition dvds that included the original theatrical cuts as “bonus features.” The sound quality is meh, they haven’t been cleaned up, and they’re not anamorphic widescreen… so…

    I was pretty much done with Lucas years ago over this non-sense with Star Wars. Even if he’s not a troll, I think he’s still being a huge douche about these films–gods forbid that he should authorize a quality release of the original trilogy in their theatrical versions instead of his “enhanced” (ha!) editions.

  2. Yeah, I have those same DVDs (and those are the ones I bought for my nieces too). Totally agreed about Lucas’s douchbaggery, but I almost don’t mind that the DVD that I have of the original are so crappy (i.e. the sound, the lack of anamorphic widescreen, etc…) Sure, it would be nice if it was a better release, but I grew up watching a tattered VHS of an HBO showing of the original films. It had the crappy blocks around the spaceships (from compositing, etc…) and I’m pretty sure it was pan and scan too, so the DVD is a minor improvement.

    I know some of those things are crappy, but it’s become endearing to me, especially after all these stupid changes. I go back to that, and it reminds me of what I used to watch when I was little, which is fine with me. I’m hoping to inoculate my nieces like that as well:)

  3. A friend of mine has the original, completely unaltered release on VHS, unopened even. Back in the 90’s, that was badass, but the fact that a) you can’t really find VCRs anymore, can you? and b) VHS as a long term storage medium is absolutely abysmal means that both as a chunk of nostalgia and as a collector’s item, they’re probably worthless. I dunno, I’m pretty well done with Lucas too, although you can torrent rips of the laserdisc release, which was completely unaltered…no idea on the quality as compared to the DVD extras.

    On a related note, I’ve been Netflx-ing (Qwixter-ing? How stupid is that?) Star Trek TOS and they have similarly redone effects…no plot changes, just some of the exterior shots are redone on modern technology. I don’t like it at all…it just doesn’t fit with the grainy campiness of the rest of the show, nor was it even remotely necessary. I have been a Star Trek fan for a lot of years, but really, at this point, it’s despite the efforts the franchise has made to completely destroy itself. I quite liked the reboot movie, but I don’t know if it’s enough to make up for Enterprise and all those bland Next Generation movies.

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