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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Six years of complaining and we get digitally-enhanced Ewoks?!

People have been asking me if I'm going to be getting the Classic Star Wars Trilogy when it finally comes out on DVD next week. As much as I'd love to I'm probably going to pass on it for awhile: next weekend we hope to shoot the last few bits of "Forcery". Then it's a mad scramble to get that ready for release by the end of October: pretty ironic to give up REAL Star Wars movies for one that we're making ourselves. I need to button myself down on things and practice some self-discipline, get this and other projects out of the way before letting myself enjoy what I and hordes of fans have been waiting for going on six year now.

It's definitely not going to please everyone though: seems that George Lucas couldn't stop fiddling around with the original movies even after the Special Editions in 1997. The versions we'll be seeing on DVD next week will have several substantial changes: Ian McDiarmid reprises his role as the Emperor in The Empire Strikes Back, replacing that rubber-mask-with-the-rhesus-monkey-eyes thing when Darth Vader speaks to him via hologram. It's now Temuera Morrison's voice for Boba Fett (fitting, since Boba was a clone of Jango Fett). The planet of Naboo is being added to the pan-galactic celebration at the end of Return Of The Jedi, which wasn't even part of the story until the '97 Special Editions anyway. John Williams has rescored parts of the soundtrack, particularly one glaring omission: A New Hope now includes the "Imperial March" that's been heard in every Star Wars movie since but didn't actually debut until three years later with The Empire Strikes Back. Those and a few other things are mostly cosmetic: what's REALLY got a bunch of people honked-off is that Hayden Christensen (the pre-Vader young Anakin from Episodes II and III) has digitally replaced Sebastian Shaw's "older redeemed Anakin" in the ghostly trio at the end of Return Of The Jedi. Lucas has a pretty good reasoning for it, but still... it was a nice image of what Anakin might have become had he not fallen by the wayside.

But now, on the other side of the looking glass after working on my own movie, I do find myself no longer as much a "purist" as I used to be in regards to Star Wars, and have to sympathize with Lucas. There's a zillion things that go wrong with something like this and when it's your vision that you're trying to bring to life, you're compelled to make it as gosh-darned perfect as you can... and when the chance comes to fix some things, you take it. The experience of working on "Forcery" has illumined me quite a bit on what it is to be an artist. I'll probably write more about it later on.

At least that's what I was thinking... until it hit the Star Wars fansites this afternoon that Something Awful had scooped everyone and went public with some other changes that the Plaid One has made to the Classic Trilogy. Check this out...

You ain't seen the worst of it by far: punch here for more New Changes to the Star Wars Saga and pray that those wrought-iron gates at Skywalker Ranch can withstand an angry mob.