7 Worst Changes In Star Wars History

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As a new Star Wars descends on us, let’s look back at the worst revisions done to the classic films…

Unless you’ve been trapped in an asteroid shooting at mynocks for the last two years, you know there’s a brand new Star Wars film on the way. But The Force Awakens is much more than Episode VII – it’s the beginning of a whole new age for Star Wars. One where there will be a movie every year, where it’ll have a whole area in Disneyland, and – most importantly – George Lucas’ constant revisions won’t be involved in any way. After all the disastrous ways he messed with his perfectly fine Original Trilogy, his de-involvement should definitely be celebrated.

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When the Special Editions of Episodes IV, V, and VI came to theaters in 1997, Star Wars diehards like myself thought it’d be the greatest thing ever. Finally all the extra X-Wings and Dewbacks would be in their rightful places. But when the glow of newness wore off, it was obvious many of the updates and replacements lessened the films, and often left you saying “Why the hell did Lucas need to replace that?” So, as a way of exorcising the demons of the old films’ re-edits and getting a fresh start on this new age of Star Wars, let’s take one final look at the worst additions and changes brought on the Special Editions VHS’, DVDs and Blu-rays that followed…

7. The Entrance to Mos Eisley

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As Lucas explained to fans back in 1997, he always wanted the hive of scum and villainy to be a bustling spaceport, one full of weird creatures and shifty characters. Back in 1977, he simply lacked the money to do it ‘right’ and felt the original intro was a bit lacking. The re-release showed us what George really wanted out of Mos Eisley – a bunch of distracting doodads that pull your focus from what really mattered in the frame.

Droids are floating around in the background, while we’re given incredibly video game-like establishing shots of Mos Eisley that aren’t needed in the slightest. Sure, seeing some extra creatures in the background makes the setting more lively, but it looks like the SFX folks pushed themselves to fill every corner of the screen with a bunch of distracting bullshit. The worst of it is when a reptilian creature walks right in front of the camera, obscuring Obi-Wan and Luke for a few seconds. It feels like they’re trying to show off how good the creature’s skin looks, but now it looks like something that could be outdone on Unreal 3 and severely detracts from the story.

6. Vader shouts “No!” when killing the Emperor

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Ask most people what the worst scene in Revenge of the Sith is, and they’re likely to say Darth Vader’s incredibly overdramatic “NOOOO!” after learning about Padme’s death. Shouting “No!” to the heavens over bad news is one of the hackiest things a movie can do, and certainly not the type of crap that happened in the Original Trilogy. That is until it came time for the 2011 Blu-rays, when that “NOOOO!” was added to Return of the Jedi, opening the gate for prequel garbage to float into the first films.

When Darth Vader is watching Palpatine torture his son to death, and decides to finally take back his humanity in his final moments, you know exactly what he’s thinking. Vader wordlessly throwing the emperor to his death says so much more than him shouting “NOOOO!” while he does it. The added word feels like an abortive attempt to connect the finales of both trilogies, though it only succeeds in reminding you of Sith’s worst moment just as you’re pulled into Anakin’s redemption. Thanks for peeing on the parade, George.

5. Redubbing Boba Fett

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This is one of the subtler updates in the re-releases, but it’s one that drives me crazy for its intentions. See, Boba Fett was the coolest dude in the galaxy in Empire and Jedi. Sure, he goofily falls to his death after getting bumped by a blind man, but other than that he’s a badass. He even sounded cool, with a no nonsense delivery that didn’t need to be replaced. But then the prequels had to fuck everything up.

After Attack of the Clones introduced Jango Fett, thousands of his clones, and a child version of himself that Jango creepily raised like a son, the Fett’s had a new, uniform voice. From then on, any version of Fett had to have Temuera Morrison’s distinctly New Zealand audio. When the Special Edition of Empire came to Blu-ray, Morrison’s voice was coming out of Boba Fett during his classic interactions with Vader, altering those iconic moments forever. Being reminded of Fett’s convoluted origin thanks to Lucas wanting ‘correct’ moments like these are everything that’s wrong with the post-2004 changes.

34 thoughts on “7 Worst Changes In Star Wars History

  1. Is it still in vogue to crap all over the changes? I personally don’t have a problem with them. The films belong(ed) and he can(could) do whatever he liked with them. Enough of this he ruined my childhood crap.

    1. There are plenty of movies that belong to people that get shit on for being awful, there’s no reason why George Lucas should be immune. What actually makes the changes he’s made worse to me is that he wasn’t the one directing Empire or Jedi, so he’s messing up somebody else’s work for no good reason.

    2. People always say that but it’s the same thing as if a studio changed a film against the director’s wishes. The films were owned by Lucas but he didn’t write or direct the two sequels. Lucas is a great idea man and very good at marketing his creations but I firmly believe the success of the Star Wars property was not created by one man. The EU and all of it’s writers greatly added to the lore and richness of the universe and Lucas had very little to do with that besides approval.

  2. The top 3 are all pretty god damn bad, but personally the Hayden Christensen thing pisses me off the most. While the Greedo shoots first thing is incredibly dumb (and tries to make Han too much of a goody goody), and the song is horrendous and annoying, the ghost replacement angers me because it butchers the point of the movie to some degree. I (and I’m sure most people) had always taken the ghost being Old Anakin as him finally redeeming himself and dying a good person. But, like you point out, this seems to imply that Anakin really died all those years ago or something stupid like that. To me, ruining his own canon is worse than screwing around with characterization and adding horrible music and CGI.

    Way to shit on the ending to your movies, George.

    1. Ghost Hayden really just reinforces what Ghost Obi-wan told Luke earlier. That Anakin died the moment he became Vader.

  3. I don’t hate the re-dub of Boba. I honestly can’t even recall the old Boba voice, and I like Temuera’s accent. I also think Dark Horse helped condition me to like Temuera as Boba with their Star Wars Infinities comics showed a de-helmeted Boba and young me was all like “he looks badass” and Temuera was linked to the character. And finally as Creepy as raising your clone as a son may be, young Boba had some great episodes in The Clone Wars TV Series so it was worth it.

    1. Raising your own clone is about as creepy as raising a parasite you physically implanted and allowed to germinate for 9 months…oh wait that’s regular human reproduction *bumumpt tist*. Various Snake’s biggest issues could be traced back to not knowing their father, Big Boss. Boba turned out all right.

  4. I have gotten tired of all the George Lucas bashing over the years but I have to agree with all of these. Your right again Hank!

  5. John Wayne shot first in “The Man who shot Liberty Valence”. (Shout out to Diana for getting me to watch it) hell, he shoots a guy who doesn’t even know he is there. So George Luca’s reasoning for Han not shooting first seems… Flawed at best.

    1. Pretty sure they are just a re-release, I bought a newer set this past summer and they’ve been synced up 100% with the laser commentaries.

      1. batmanboy11, can you link to a guide on doing this, assuming you’re inserting the audio track into an MKV or something? I have RiffTrax for the movies as well and would love to have them all in one big file.

  6. I never minded the re-dub of Boba Fett, I never thought the original voice was that memorable. I agree with everything else on the list. Greedo shooting first is worse from a lore standpoint, but Jedi Rock is horrible.

    One change that bothered me in ESB is the added return to the Star Destroyer in the Imperial Shuttle by Darth Vader after Bespin. It is clearly a reuse of the footage of the Imperial Shuttle landing in the Death Star in ROTJ and it always annoys me when I see it since it is just lazy editing.

  7. I think there should be a checklist that every Star Wars fan can fill out when ordering their Star Wars Blu-Ray. Fans can specify EXACTLY what additions they want from the re-releases and what they want preserved from the original film. That way, everyone gets what the Star Wars they want.

    I would actually choose to include some of the more SUBTLE changes made to the films for continuity’s sake, such as the removed eyebrows on Anakin’s burn-face at the end of Jedi. Thoughts, anyone?

  8. OH GAWD MAKE IT STOP! MAKE IT STAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWP!
    that comparison video was madness, I didn’t realize now many times they redid the Han/Greedo scene. tragic.
    all of this hurts my heart. but this a good article. haha

  9. The changes wouldn’t matter as much if Lucas would have given proper respect to the original versions. For years he wouldn’t release the originals and then finally when he did, it was a crappy Laserdisc port. Make it right Disney.

  10. I think people crap on the prequels too much, but I agree that most of these changes are terrible. Apparently Temura Morrison recorded those Boba Fett lines over the phone, and you can tell how little effort he’s putting in.
    Still hoping Disney will release the unaltered versions one of these days, but until then I can make do with the Despecialized Editions.

  11. I remember when the Gamecube launched in 2001 and every reviewer complimented Rogue Leader’s graphics by saying they were as good as the CG in the Special Editions.

    It’s a statement that’s still true today — the CG in the Special Editions looks as good as a fifteen year old Nintendo launch title.

  12. Hank, I have one minor correction to make Max Rebo survives the attack, and after many solo tours then joins the Rebel Alliance as an entertainer. He becomes the Rebellion’s Glenn Miller, without the tragic death,

    Also, the Max Rebo scene was supposed to be a bigger vision of the cantina music scene according to Lucas, which is hilarious to think as the cantina scene is iconic, and the Rebo scene in both iterations is garbage.

  13. These reasons are why I still own the laserdiscs and only watch the unedited copies. If Lucas wants to butcher his films fine, but at least have an unedited version available for people to watch. I’m still holding out hope that Disney will put money into finding a way of releasing an HD version of the original unaltered version.

    I can’t watch the edited version of Star Wars primarily because the Han/Greedo scene is just so poorly done. It’s not just that they changed it, but that the change is soo poorly edited it looks like a high school students film project.

    Surprisingly Empire got off pretty easy with the alterations. I consider the Star Wars and Return of the Jedi alterations much much worse.

  14. You’re right, I did block that last one from memory. I actually remember a special preview on TV at the time of the re-release and they played it over and over if only to keep going “LOOK AT THE EFFECTS! LOOK AT THEM!”, which is exactly how the scene itself plays out.

  15. Completely agree with 1, 2, 4 and 6.

    But those are really the only 4 changes that ever bothered me.

    The rest either don’t bother me, or I actively think they’re an improvement.

    The new ending song for Jedi is WAY better than the original. Which wasn’t epic at all and was just goofy. Unfortunately, that new musical number in Jabba’s palace more than counteracts any good the new end song does…

  16. It’s hard to think of a change that didn’t suck. I guess the extra Biggs scene is fine since its original footage, even though it’s pointless. And some of the alternate color correction is relatively harmless.

    Actually, out of all of the newer stuff that they just flat out added, the only thing I think is fine is the gungan they added to the Cantina scene. Sure, it’s a gungan, but it’s not talking or singing or farting or stepping in poo, it’s just a 2-second shot of him taking a hookah toke. And I think it’s actually a puppet of I’m not mistaken. It actually fits in with how the rest of the movie looks so it’s not a problem, other than the fact that I think he takes the place of either the werewolf or the devil. Never mind that change sucks too.

  17. This article was so stupid and pretty much just the standard rehashed cry baby shit people have been saying for years. You might as well just go write for Buzzfeed. I don’t even care enough to argue these points i’m just canceling my patreon and unsubscribing from the podcast. I’m going to urge everyone else to do the same. Hope I see you at sketchfest so I can tell you to your face how much of a hack you are, Hank.

    1. If that’s the reason you want to unsubscribe and stop giving to the patreon your heart wasn’t in it in the first place. Also I think you’re lying about being a patron and just want to make yourself a spectacle. Go be negative somewhere else.

    2. “Urge everyone else to do the same”. Listen to captain tough guy over here. Have fun on your lonely crusade suck bag. I can only pray you actually try to hurt my lil Henry’s feelings so I can hear the inevitable tale of your 17 year old ass getting the shit kicked out of it by the surrounding crowd. Bye bye junior.

  18. I think Star Wars needs to be completely updated and refreshed for a modern audience as technology improves, since the original trilogy will always be the core of the franchise. For the most part animated features, at least ones done by Disney, hold up and are timeless. Live action films have a harder time being ageless, and I think it is a neat experiment to do that with Star Wars.

    That said, for preservation sake, the original, unaltered versions should also always be readily available. That was George’s biggest mistake. Trying to prevent people from getting their hands on the originals.

    Also, I agree with this list. These are by far the worst parts of the updates, specifically the Hayden Christiansen cameo. I am of the opinion that when the prequels hit 20 year anniversary they should go back and replace all of Anikan’s scenes with a new actor. Since all three movies were basically shot on Greenscreen I don’t think that is an impossible request. AotC and RotS would both be infinitely better movies with a better lead. The Cone Wars version of Annikin saves the character.

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