LucasFilm Defends DVD Changes

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Lucasfilm Defends DVD Changes
LucasFilm spokesman Jim Ward told SCI FI Wire that the company strongly defends Star Wars creator George Lucas' right to make controversial alterations to his beloved original trilogy of films in the upcoming DVD release. "It comes down to what [Lucas] has said constantly, which is that he very strongly believes in an artist's right to have his work presented in the way he wants it presented," Ward said in an interview at the press preview of the DVD set in Los Angeles. "In terms of your own personal art, and how you want it to be presented, the artist has that right."

The DVD set of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi includes changes to the 1997 so-called "special editions" of the movies, which were released theatrically. Those films in turn significantly altered the original release versions of the movies. But Ward, vice president of marketing and distribution at LucasFilm Ltd., said, "With the '97 version of the film, or what he feels is closer to his original vision, he couldn't accomplish [certain things] back in 1977, and people either like it, or they don't. We respect that point of view. But at the end of the day George feels very strongly about artists' rights."

SCI FI Wire obtained an early copy of the DVD set and confirmed reported changes that have been made to the films since the 1997 release, when Lucas used state-of-the-art computer technology to make what he considered improvements to the original movies' visual effects. The new changes, detailed below, are largely revisions to earlier edits or changes made to include actors and character developments unveiled in the prequel films Episodes I-III. Among the changes:
  • In Episode IV: A New Hope, the controversial confrontation in the cantina in Mos Eisley has been changed yet again. The villainous Greedo now fires shots at Han Solo (Harrison Ford) at the same time Solo fires back. In the original film, Solo fired first; in 1997, Lucas changed the scene to have Greedo fire first.
  • Also in Episode IV, 1997's added computer-generated footage of Jabba the Hutt appears to have been improved, with more fluid motion.
  • In Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, the hologram image of the Emperor has been altered to feature Ian McDiarmid, the actor who played the Emperor in Return of the Jedi and appears in all three prequel films. The scene's dialogue has also changed to clarify the progression of Luke Skywalker’s training as a Jedi, as well as to acknowledge the relationship between Luke and Vader. In the original release of Empire, the Emperor's image was played by an unbilled old woman wearing prosthetic makeup, with chimpanzee eyes superimposed in post-production into darkened eye sockets, the official Star Wars Web site reported. The original voice was provided by Clive Revill.
  • In Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, Hayden Christensen's Anakin Skywalker is added as a ghostly image in the final scenes of the film, alongside Yoda and Alec Guinness' Obi-Wan Kenobi. But Sebastian Shaw remains as the face of Darth Vader/Anakin in the scene in which Luke removes Vader's helmet, and not Christensen, as had been rumored.

The Star Wars Trilogy DVD set hits retailers on Sept. 21.


Jedi 1073

New Recruit
They are his movies after all so if he wants to go back and redo some thing let him. He said years ago that he wasn't happy with the finished product because of linitations and budget. I don't mind some changes like reworking technology or adding jabba to EP4 since the script was written that way and cleaning things up a bit. However I don't know about removing characters and adding a new one in his place. I don't know who said it but someone once said movies are never finished just abandoned?

We surely do not need to get all bent out of shape and say he's a _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ or anything for ruining something sacred they are just movies, some of the things people pitch a fit & complain over are beyond my capacety. :)

Darth Boru

Celtic Sith
We should all probably remember that there were changes to the Special edition that were pretty cool as well. The cityscape at Bespin on what had just been a blank wall in the original for example.

These mods did make the movies better IMHO, so maybe a few changes we don't like so much are a good trade?