Why the controversy? Because for the third time in fourteen years, George Lucas has heaped somewhat significant changes upon his original classic films – A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. Check out the changes for yourself above, courtesy of MillenniumFalcon.com (click to enlarge).
With the help of User897 over at the MillenniumFalcon.com forums, the fine folks at We Love Cult have provided a pretty extensive (though likely incomplete) list of all the changes in the new Blue-Ray release of the Original Trilogy.
Below, we’ve compiled just a few of the biggest changes to each film. Check them out:
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
- There are computer-generated rocks in front of R2-D2 while he’s hiding in the canyon; however, they’re “magically not there” after he comes out of hiding
- Obi-Wan’s fake “Krayt Dragon” roar is once again altered and it sounds “hideous”; keep the mute button at the ready
- Greedo shoots first – again – but this time with slightly fewer frames than the previous release
- Luke’s lightsaber while training on the Millennium Falcon is back to being “white” and “blue” as it was originally – it is no longer pale green, per the 2004 DVD release
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
- Flames have been added to the probe droid crater
- Most of the blue tint on Hoth is gone
- The Wampa arm is “fixed" -- whatever that means -- but it’s still imperfect
- R2-D2’s once black panels are now blue in space
- A la the DVD release, Emperor Palpatine – via hologram – is still played by Ian McDiarmid in his Revenge of the Sith makeup
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
- The static shot of C3PO and R2-D2 approaching Jabba’s palace has been replaced by a “wide pan with a huge door”; the door is now peppered with laser blast impacts
- Han Solo’s “carbonite thaw” is now CGI
- A computer-generated “Dug” from the prequels (Sebulba, the evil racer who podraced Anakin in The Phantom Menace, was a dug) is seen walking across the screen after Luke infiltrates Jabba’s palace; the dug looks “really fake, like it was [added at the] last minute"
- Wicket the Ewok now has computer-generated, blinking eyes
- Darth Vadar says “No” several times as he picks up Emperor Palpatine and tosses him into the Death Star reactor core; the "Nos" seem to be sampled from The Empire Strikes Back and Revenge of the Sith, respectively
As previously stated, George Lucas heaping somewhat significant – and outright significant – changes upon his decades-old films is not atypical at this point. Fans have been complaining about the changes Lucas has made to the Original Trilogy since the Special Editions came out in 1997 (which is why it’s a bit strange that folks are, once again, in an uproar).
Additional changes were made in the 2004 DVD release to better fit with the Prequel Trilogy – such as inserting Hayden Christensen’s head atop ghost Anakin Skywalker’s body at the end of Return of the Jedi.
The biggest changes for this Blu-ray version of the Original Trilogy seem to have been made to Jedi. Having Darth Vadar say “No, no, no” while he awesomely terminates Emperor Palpatine is probably the most controversial of these changes, especially as it utilizes one of the more widely-mocked sound bites from the Prequel Trilogy.
The truth is, most fans probably wouldn't care that George Lucas continually changes and adds to his own films as long as the original originals were as readily available. The last time the Classic Trilogy – that older fans know and love – was released was in 2006 on DVD, and it was aged and unrestored.
What say you, Screen Ranters? Are you guys going to buy the Star Wars Blu-Ray release? Or have too many changes, big and small, left a bad taste in your mouth? Let us know in the comments.
Star Wars: The Complete Saga arrives on Blu-Ray September 23, 2011.
Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.