4. Jabba in New Hope
Funny how something that seemed like the best moment can so quickly turn into the worst one. For many years Star Wars fans knew that Jabba The Hutt was meant to appear in New Hope, and that Harrison Ford had even filmed a scene, but it was never technologically feasible. The 1997 re-release would finally correct that, and restore Jabba to his rightful place, a moment we were all waiting for in the theater. Then it happened and… yeah…
Firstly, the 1997 CGI looks like dog shit today, and didn’t look much better at the time. Secondly, Jabba is woefully out of character for how the gangster acts in Jedi, with the Hutt getting fooled and disrespected by Han, as the smuggler steps on Jabba’s tail in one of the worst Star Wars moments ever. Lastly, the scene is wastefully redundant, as the pair just restates the same facts already covered in the previous Greedo scene. It was the right choice to cut this back in 1977, and no amount of Boba Fett looking directly into the camera will change that.
3. Hayden Christensen in Return of the Jedi
Admittedly the science behind blue apparition Jedis isn’t all that explained in the films, but I thought I understood it well enough. When a powerful Jedi dies, they can temporarily re-manifest as an azure ghost to give advice or necessary plot details, and they will always look how they did when they died. It happened to Ben, it happened to Yoda, and until 2004, Anakin was also reborn as the old man he died as (minus the cybernetics). But nah, that’s all wrong, because if there’s one thing Return of the Jedi needed, it was a Hayden Christensen cameo.
Oy vey… It’s bad enough to be reminded of Hayden’s underwhelming Anakin performance right in the closing moments of what was once the final Star Wars film, but it’s much worse than that. Theologically, does this mean that Anakin truly died in Episode III and now his soul is freed? And how come he gets to be a young ghost forever while Obi-Wan is this old dude? And why are they even cool hanging out with this child murderer? AND why would Luke even recognize his young father? It opens up SO many questions that never needed to be asked, all by inserted an unwanted actor into a scene that didn’t need him.
2. Greedo shoots first
Speaking of ideological difference in the world of Star Wars, this right here has to be the biggest one between George Lucas and fans. Who is Han Solo? A roguish criminal pilot with a heart of gold who eventually learns to fight for good? Or a man who was always so good that he wouldn’t even shoot first when a bounty hunter is pointing a gun at him and says he’s about to kill him? Apparently Lucas felt Han shooting first was too mean for his kid-friendly films, which led to one of the most continuously altered moments in all the Special Editions.
George Lucas compared Han to John Wayne, saying he’d never shoot first on someone, as that’s tantamount to murder in a film duel apparently. So he has Greedo take the first shot, thus absolving Solo of any guilt (or interesting character traits), but the scene also has Han do something physically impossible. Han dodges a freaking laser, and does it via a shitty Photoshop effect of yanking Harrison Ford’s head jerkily to the left. It has been messed with in every new edition, and the best case scenario is that it’s now so vaguely edited you can’t tell who shoots first.
1. Max Rebo Band’s horrendous new song
I’m never one to defend space jazz (aka Jizz) and the corny tune played by Max Rebo band in the original version of Return of the Jedi. Lapti Nek – seen above – isn’t a great song, and the puppet of Sy Snootles is like a Muppet Show reject. You’d think Max Rebo Band’s terrible music would be something I’d welcome to be excised from Jedi. And yet, the replacement is so much more terrible. You likely erased it from your memory, so reacquaint yourself with Jedi Rocks.
You’ve got everything that’s wrong with all the Special Edition stuff. Too much dated CGI, characters gaudily shoving their faces in the camera, terrible re-editing of classic footage – everything is wrong. It sounded and looked horrible then, and is even worse now, looking like the intergalactic version of Ally McBeal’s dancing baby. It makes you groan every moment it’s happening for its interminable run time. Once this happened, I stopped feeling bad that Rebo was blown to bits by Luke.