I’ve had an amazing labor day weekend. After reading more news on Friday, about George Lucas’s new changes to the blu-ray edition of the Star Wars saga, I let the horrible news slip out of my mind. Sure, I may have punched a few pillows, and let out my frustrations vocally, but I did my best to stop obsessing about it.
Then I read this article and my rage boiled up all over again.
As of this post, George Lucas has made the following changes to the blu-ray edition of the Star Wars saga found here.
One of the WORST changes is the Han shot first change. Talk about fucking with your characters.
Now I get it. I do, I’m a writer. You do your best, pour your heart and soul into something artistic. You want the public to see your artistic expression in all it’s perfection. You want it to be flawless. You want everyone to “get” what you’ve done, not to dissect it, and tear it apart. BUT, that’s impossible. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read this year with typos. I’m talking New York times best sellers, people. Go to Imdb.com. Every film on there has a section dedicated to goofs and mistakes. It happens, and most of the time the average movie go-er didn’t even notice the goof, unless the film was incredibly bad.
I get it too. Lucas had technological limitations back in the day. His imagination was bigger than technology could offer at the time. But for what he had available to him, he did pretty awesome special effects. Luke’s robot hand still amazes me, and the hologram messages. It’s 2011 and we still don’t have hologram voicemail people!
Aside from all that, I know the Star Wars films are not perfect. Ewoks still creep me out, and must I even mention Jar-Jar binks? They are flawed, and some of their flaws are what make them so endearing. I’m looking at you, puppet yoda.
But here’s what good ‘ol George doesn’t get. Once you put something out into the world, you can’t take it back. Like it or not, millions of people around the world have seen the original theatrical releases in theaters. We formed relationships with the characters and their story lines. We formed opinions on their journey’s. We were with Han when he was an “only cares about himself, take no prisoners” type of guy. And we cheered with all our hearts when we looked beyond himself and helped Luke and Leia and the whole gang of good guys. We knew if he could change, then maybe other people could too.
Changing the very essence of characters is wrong. You not only change them, but you change the arc of their character development. You change everyone’s stakes. It’s okay for kids to know that there’s darkness in the world. Not everyone is a good guy but Han shows them that redemption is possible. That is a powerful lesson to learn. My children will live in a world where Han shoots first.
Can you imagine if other people changed their movies, books or paintings after they were introduced to the world? What if it was a dolphin Ishmael was chasing..mm doesn’t have the same effect. What if Poe wrote about a parrot instead? What if Rembrandt painted cheese burgers and doughnuts? Or maybe Romero wasn’t really into Juliet? He just liked her as a friend. Or Sex and the City 2 was never made..oh wait that’s my dream. But do you see what I’m saying? Changing key elements in character arcs changes everything. Darth Vader screaming noooooooooooo as he kills the emperor
changes things. No longer will people think that he’s still under the influence of the dark side as he stands by speechless as the emperor shocks Luke. No longer will people cheer and clap as Vader picks up the raisin emperor and kills him, freeing himself from the darkside. It changes things.
I know Lucas will never read this post and non star wars fans will fail to see the tragedy of making changes to over 30 year old films. Sure, add the deleted scenes or alternate endings in the special features sections. But don’t put them in the movie. Lucas needs to take a cue from John Carpenter. When interviewed for the biography channel special on Halloween, how he felt about the goofs in Halloween; Carpenter replied with simply a shrug. He said something to the effect of, “Oh well, it’s out there, too late now.”
Make peace with your shit, Lucas. Make peace with your shit.