‘Star Wars’ Blu-Ray Controversy: Has George Lucas Crossed The Line?

It doesn’t take a lot of provocation to get sci-fi geeks griping (believe me, I’ve done my share). And perhaps the one subject that has prompted the most passionate protest over the past few decades is George Lucas messing with Star Wars.

The current cause for concern is the rumored changes to the original trilogy for the “Star Wars” Blu-ray debut, scheduled for release on September 16. Specifically, it’s the supposed addition of Darth Vader crying “Nooooooo!” as his son, Luke Skywalker, is electrocuted by his boss, Emperor Palpatine, that’s got fans complaining once again.

After watching this “new-and-improved” scene a couple of times, I have strong suspicions regarding its legitimacy. But if this change has indeed been made by Lucas, I have no choice but to join the rebellion and exclaim – if only in my brain – WTF?

In this climactic scene from Episode VI, the “nooooo” sounds downright ridiculous. Kind of like the “nooooo” that emanates from the same proud papa in Episode III after he’s been rebuilt. But don’t get me started on that other trilogy. I might cry.

Back to George and his updates then. Honestly, most of the changes made to Episodes IV, V and VI since the 1997 Special Edition didn’t bother me all that much then, and they still don’t (the one exception is the final scene of “Return of the Jedi” from the 2004 DVD box set – I cringe every time I see the younger version of Anakin on the screen. Get out of my movie, Hayden Christensen!!).

This latest addition, however (if it’s true), is just too much. Yes, George Lucas, we understand that you just want to get it right. You’ve said it often enough. If you think that adding a silly “nooooo” will somehow satisfy that desire, then go ahead and scratch that itch. But when does it end? When will the films that became such a huge part of my childhood become unrecognizable to me?

Yes, it’s all about me. And see how I wrote “my movie” a few lines go? It really all comes back to this, for myself and the other folks out there who hold this saga close to their hearts. We’ve revisited the debate over and over again through the years: As The Creator — and owner — of the franchise, George Lucas has every right to change the films as much as he likes. But we all feel like the versions we saw as Younglings, whether on the big or small screen, are “ours.”

Clearly I’m ambivalent about the whole Lucas thing, and of course I’m not alone (take a look at Alexandre O. Philippe’s doc “The People vs. George Lucas” for more insight on this subject). He will always be a hero to me. I mean, he gave me Yoda! But I still wonder why he can’t be more like other great filmmakers who release their creations to the world and then keep their hands to themselves. This, then, is my everlasting plea to Mr. Lucas: Embrace the flaws. On film, as in life, they keep things interesting… and endearing.

UPDATE: It’s confirmed. All at once now: NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

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