How to Ruin a Movie Classic: A George Lucas Case Study

Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I - VI)

This week, Star Wars: The Complete Saga (Episodes I - VI) goes on sale on Blu-ray DVD format. The box set contains the prequel trilogy (I, II, and III) and the original trilogy, (IV, V, and VI) as well as hours of interviews and extras any Star Wars fan could appreciate.

Unfortunately, I’ve been reading on news sites and blogs, that George Lucas is at it again. He’s altered some aspects of the original series to provide an enhanced experience. I think we all know what this means: a little bit more of a classic ruined.

In 1997, Lucas re-released the Star Wars original trilogy with changes. Some were negligible CGI that was put into place to modernize the animation, but others were big disappointments. There are three changes that he made to the original trilogy that I will point out. Let’s go over them in order from “Less irritating” to “What were you thinking?”

Jabba The Hutt in Star Wars (Episode IV)

This added scene was not so much irritating as it was confusing. Right before this scene, Han Solo basically had the same conversation in the cantina with the bounty hunter Greedo. Almost word for word. It seems obvious that this was a cut scene from the original movie and that Lucas decided to go with the cantina scene instead. I’m not sure if this new scene provided any additional depth to the story line, it just seemed like a way for Lucas to get an animated Jabba into the early trilogy.

Hayden Christensen Ghost in Return of the Jedi (Episode VI)

This was annoying on two separate fronts. First, it must have really been a bummer for actor Sebastian Shaw, who originally appeared as Anakin at the end of Return of the Jedi, to suddenly see him replaced by a Hayden Christensen. Second, Hayden Christensen’s appearance is just a reminder of how bad the acting was in the prequel trilogy. I don’t think I’m alone on this so I don’t feel bad saying it, but do we really need to recall the oversaturated angst of love Anakin whined about through the entire episode II?

“Han Shot First” in Star Wars (Episode IV)

This is a biggie.

As a child Han Solo was the character many kids wanted to grow up to be. Sure being a Jedi and having the force at your fingertips was good and all, but Han Solo’s character was funny, cool and had the greatest lines. For that reason, the edit made in the Cantina scene where Han Solo shoots after being shot at is a huge blunder.

Up to this point in the movie, Han Solo is barely introduced, so the first impression has not been established. In the original episode, when Han Solo coolly delivers the line “Yes, I bet you have” then shoots Greedo without warning, the audience can sense what type of character to expect from that one action alone. A cool persona, and one who doesn’t care about the consequences. That was an iconic moment in movie history. What were you thinking?

My only hope is that the new release on Blu-ray DVD is not too much further removed from the original than it already is. I liken it to a fine bottle of wine. You let it sit and age, every year turning it a quarter turn. When it comes time to open it, you pour it into a pitcher and add oranges slices and soda water to make it a Sangria. Why would you do that?

I have a bad feeling about this.

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Comments 3 comments

thooghun profile image

thooghun 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

Marek, you gave me some food for thought -- it seems that critisizing Lucas is akin to blasphemy for some, but it really isn't so. The originals were fantastic, let's hope he doesn't mess it up -- again!

FatFreddysCat profile image

FatFreddysCat 5 years ago from The Garden State

I remember seeing the "Special Edition" of Star Wars in a theatre back in '97 and man, when the "Greedo shoots first" scene came up, nearly everyone in the house boo'd, myself included.

I agree that changing the scene changed Han Solo's character in a negative way. The original scene introduced him as the cool, bad-ass tough guy that you didn't want to mess with. Haha.

Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

Excellent hub on the madness of George Lucas.....I am sure Lucas has done a few things for the Blu-Ray releases....the thing that scares me....what is going to do to the films once he starts releasing each Star Wars movie in 3D.....voted up and interesting....I am forwarding to one of hub pages Star Wars experts on hub pages...Steve Lensman.

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