Star Wars fans are not happy with many things George Lucas, creator of the franchise, is doing with the universe he created. Just last week, Lucas released the entire Star Wars saga in HD Blu-ray with additional special feature content. This release, however, contains two notable edits that have angered hardcore fans.
Many fans consider the original Star Wars films (Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Return of the Jedi (1983)) to be classics, and feel Lucas is corrupting his masterpieces with revisions.
While fans do not typically criticize clean-up type work and enhancements to quality, plot and character changes are definitely noticed. The two edits that have caused the most controversy involve adding Darth Vader’s cry of “no!” to the previously mute scene when the emperor electrocutes Luke, and changes made to the scene in which Han Solo shoots Greedo in the cantina.
The changes might seem minor, but the issue has led to discussion regarding the fans’ role in relation to any production. For this particular incident, the changes themselves are less of the controversy than the fact that the original films are not readily available. How is the fan base, then, or the spectators of a film or other work of art, related to the work itself?
Star Wars in particular has had a long history of conflict between Lucas and fans. The three prequels, Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, were widely criticized by emotionally charged fans when released, largely in relation to how they related to the original trilogy. Star Wars has been a large part of many generations’ childhoods, and is regarded as almost sacred by the most hardcore fans.
Though characters like Darth Vader remain Lucas’ intellectual property to modify as he likes, the emotional attachment of many fans to his saga is undeniable. While Lucas is held in high esteem as Star Wars’ original creator, he is definitely not the only force shaping the face of Star Wars as it is perceived and received today.