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Somebody Stop George Lucas

George Lucas’ time as a beloved filmmaker has passed. The second he decided to start making alterations to his beloved Star Wars films, respect for him declined, and it’s been continuing in a steady spiral ever since. And with the upcoming release of his Star Wars saga on Blu-Ray, it looks like that spiral will continue.

Recently, two alleged pieces of alteration appeared online: one inserts Darth Vader’s loathed “no!” into one of Return of the Jedi’s final scenes, and the other drastically alters Obi-Wan Kenobi’s Krayt dragon call from A New Hope. Both are laughable and feel out of place, and it only continues to hurt his once great reputation because of their silliness and pointlessness.

So what the hell is wrong with George Lucas?

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Time for a confession: I don’t hate most of the changes he’s put into Star Wars. Yes, there are a few that throw it off (it’s better if we don’t see Jabba prior to Return, Han shot first, etc.) and they’re pretty unnecessary, but for the most part they’re either unnoticeable or don’t do enough to drastically alter my opinion on the films themselves. If he had let bygones be bygones and left those special editions alone, I wouldn’t have too much to say about it.

The problem is that he won’t leave them alone. Every time some brand new edition of the movies gets released, he feels the need to have his effects people go in and change something, seemingly anything.  Whether it’s spicing up some of the effects or throwing Hayden Christensen into places that Hayden Christensen ought not be, there’s always something that he thinks needs “improving”.  What’s worse is that some of these changes seem to be made in an effort to connect the originals to the prequels, a series of films that several Star Wars fans choose to disown.

Why does he do it? Maybe it’s because he genuinely feels like he’s making the films better. Or maybe he feels like in some way it gets him more money. But either one of those options seems ridiculous.

If he thinks these alterations makes the movies better then he should think about heading back to USC. Just take Darth Vader’s “no!” into account. In the original scene, when he kills the Emperor, we learn that there was, in fact, still good in him. All it took to tell us this was actions, and not dialogue. Inserting even one word like “no” into it is overkill, and kills it completely. Any power that was once there is gone, and it tells us that clearly Lucas doesn’t think much of his audience. There’s no improvement at all.

The idea that these alterations will make him more money is just as ridiculous. Yes, there’s always going to be those fans that fork over the cash for them. And yes, I (unfortunately) count myself among them. And yes, Blu-Ray provides ample opportunity to add a bit of bulk to the bank. But why does this lead to messing with the actual films? They could simply add some special features, or even give the option to choose whether or not you want to watch the special editions or the original cuts! Star Wars has proven time and again that it’s a cash cow, and there’s no reason to think that an untouched scene could prove otherwise. After all, it seemed to do okay at the box office.

But whatever the reason, George Lucas doesn’t seem to think like that. Maybe it isn’t for the integrity, and maybe it isn’t for the money. Maybe it really is because he wants to tie them to the prequels he seems to love so much. But even then, that’s not what the fans want. And though fans may not always have the best ideas, in this case they tend to be on the money: George Lucas is making the Star Wars films worse.

We’ll get to see what else he has in store for us on September 16. I’d tell every fan reading this right now not to pony up the dough, but seeing as how I’ve got it reserved I think I’d be a bit of a hypocrite.

William Bitterman

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