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.
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
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
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
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.