It hasn’t been an easy ride for Star Wars fans since 1997, and with Disney having control of the franchise, there’s no telling how much more destruction your childhood is going to endure. George Lucas has made so many edits to the original films since their release it’s almost difficult to determine what was and wasn’t there from the beginning.
In the opinion of this writer, I don’t take much issue with most of the tinkering Lucas does. It’s his story, and he has every right to do with it as he pleases. It’s my choice if I decide to enjoy it or vow to never give him another dollar of my money — I’m sure I’ll be forking over more when Episode VII arrives. The internet, though, feels very differently.
It’s nearly impossible for George Lucas to produce anything new without repercussion from his fans. (It’s a universal truth though that Howard The Duck is to be forever hated.) In the courtroom of the internet, these are the highest charges brought against George Lucas.
Crime #1: Luke’s impostor scream in The Empire Strikes Back
Some fans took issue with Luke letting out a scream as he plunged down the air shaft, feeling that the scream gave the impression that he slipped. “Why would somebody scream in terror if he purposely threw himself off a building?” It’s a plausible argument, but at the same time, the reality of the suicidal action is pretty terrifying.
It’s not so much the edit of the scream that warrants all the nerd-rage, as it is where the scream came from. The scream used wasn’t even Mark Hamill’s, but the scream of the Emperor from Return Of The Jedi.
Crime #2: The unnecessary “NOs.”
I realize there were other screenwriters at work on the Star Wars films, but I’ve gotta assume that George Lucas had the final say on dialogue before the cameras started rolling. Which makes it all the more unsettling that he would think Darth Vader screaming “Noooo” was a solid idea. First, we had his anti-climatic “No” at the end of Revenge of the Sith — it’s truly a sad day when one goes from awesome movie villain to internet meme. Ouch.
The “NOs” just kept a comin’ though, and Lucas gave the green light to have Darth Vader let out another unnecessary “Nooo!” in the 2011 Blu-ray version of Return Of The Jedi. At this point, it’s only a matter of time before Lucas edits a bellowing “no” into the other two films of the original trilogy.
Crime #3: CGI Jabba is reinstated.
The crime boss is one of the most popular villains of the franchise, but few felt his on-screen appearance in New Hope’s 1997 re-release was warranted. The scene was shot for the original release of the film with a stop-motion alien to be put over the actor in the edit, but Lucas felt the scene slowed the movie down and it was cut. Then CGI happened and Lucas put Jabba back in the picture with the real facepalm moment happening when Greedo pops up in the background, despite being gunned down by Han.
Crime #4: Greedo shoots first.
This is the scene that had moviegoers saying “Huh, that’s not how it happened!” when the revised version of Episode IV came out in 1997. Han is supposed to shoot first, that’s the whole premise behind his character and development as a “just doesn’t give a f*ck” outlaw. Lucas finally explained his reasoning — not that it did much to quell outraged fans — in a 2012 interview:
“What I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t. It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down.”
Crime #5: Forcing Jar Jar Binks on the world.
In a galaxy far, far away there exist a sand pit with Jar Jar Binks’ name on it. Rid the Star Wars universe of Jar Jar, George. The Sarlacc is hungry. Feed him.