(This is the banner graphic for our upcoming charity drive, "Strike Back Against Cancer." If you're going to be at Detroit Fanfare next weekend, stop by our booth and grab a print, or donate towards our raffle for a Wampa rug and ROTJ lightsaber, courtesy of ThinkGeek. Proceeds will go to UofM and OSU's cancer research hospitals.)
Star Wars releases to Blu-Ray on Friday, and it's not totally without controversy. The complete set of all six movies has been available for preorder for $80 from Amazon for months. (The list price is $140.) But soon the news came that the original, non-Special Edition versions of the trilogy would not be part of the box sets.
Then came the tinkering. (Or, rather, the further tinkering.) Lucas had already changed the original trilogy plenty, inserting an extra blaster shot in the famous Han-Greedo cantina scene, some additional dance numbers in Return of the Jedi, and that weird CGI Jabba that just never looked right. At all. And actually made A New Hope a little boring. (Sometimes, Mr. Lucas, we cut out scenes not because we decide to make actors puppets in the sequels, but because they drag on the pacing.)
One of the newest additions/corrections/"enhancements" to the Blu-Ray is the audio of a new "Krayt Dragon" call. In the scene where Luke is being attacked, it's that weird howling you hear right before the Sand People are chased off -- Obi-Wan making the noise to frighten the raiders. Apparently Lucas didn't think it sounded enough like a strangling goose, because now it sounds like your dad at Halloween trying to scare the neighborhood kids:
Also, inexplicably, the Ewoks blink now. I didn't realize they weren't blinking before -- I guess I must have assumed they were blinking offscreen or something. I don't know, I don't over-analyze midgets in teddy bear costumes. But, Lucas has that midget fetish, so it's understandable that he'd want to fart around with the Return of the Jedi stuff some more, I guess.
Including, as you've no doubt heard, the "NOOOOOO!" from Darth Vader inserted in to the ending, as Luke is being tortured, because yay symmetry for bad things making Anakin sad in the same way. GammaSquad pointed us towards CineWeekly's montage of Darth Vader's No being added to many classic films. ("Darth Vader's No" would be a good band name.)
Even the Death Star's PR department has bothered to address concerns from fans who pointed towards Lucas's 1988 speech to Congress where he got pissy with people who mess around and change classic films:
"People who alter works of art for profit, or to put in some really cool and totally necessary special effects, like an extra three CGI Jawas here and there, are awesome. They are like powerful barbarians who exercise, like my personal friend Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie "Kindergarten Cop"." -George Lucas, Revenge of the Speech, 23rd Anniversary Special Edition.
I have written at length about why the original negative, the very first edited version of A New Hope, is pretty much non-existent anymore. The blame for not having the originals on Blu-Ray goes partially to Kodak. It doesn't of course explain this obsessive compulsion of Lucas's to keep adding to the Special Editions. Anyway, my nerd rage on this issue had already hit a saturation point a while back, culminating in my idea that later on down the road after he's made his money from these box sets, Lucas should release just the regular original trilogy to Blu-Ray, with the proceeds going to a charity of his choice.
But, with the news of the Blu-Rays having new, sort of weird and unnecessary additions, the Twitterverse lost its shit. I responded with fake breaking news Tweets to try and bring some humor to the situation:
Breaking News: In the Star Wars Blu-Ray, George Lucas inserts hologram of himself in "Help Me, You're My Only Hope" scene, flipping the bird.
The Star Wars Blu-Ray has found your kids, found your wife, and found your husband; Is rapin' ev'rybody up in here.
The Star Wars Blu-Ray is actually just the Howard The Duck Movie on a loop.
The Star Wars Blu-Ray said your momma is so fat, she makes Jabba look like a Twi'lek.
The Star Wars Blu-Ray is Jon Snow's father.
The Star Wars Blu-Ray took your lunch out of the work refrigerator.
The Star Wars Blu-Ray likes gungans so much it wants to take them out back behind the middle school and get them pregnant.
The Star Wars Blu-Ray thinks you look fat in those pants.
The Star Wars Blu-Ray kicks puppies and eats babies.
Lucas's first attempt at the Star Wars Blu-Ray -- scribbling "BLU-RAY LOL" across the front of old DVD box sets -- was eventually rejected.
The Star Wars Blu-Ray now contains 90% more Ewok fucking.
Some of these jokes were not well-received. (Mark it, Dude -- I was actually called the c-word at one point.) Nerd rage is so potent, just thinking about it will get your grandchildren high. There were a few lone souls who understood where I was going, including one of our friends at Comic Book Queers:
Joe: The Star Wars Blu-Ray doesn't clean up after its dog.
Eventually I got tired of people not getting the joke, and moved on to other things. But shortly after, the hashtag trend #StarWarsBluRayChanges was used to start making satirical changes, which is much funnier:
Roby Brown: Mos Isley Spaceport. A Fine Outpost of Upstanding Individuals.
David T. Cole: Everyone stops and asks that one stormtrooper who hits his head on the door if he's okay.
Jon Solomon: Tauntauns now blink. Also, sing!
Nathan Morris: Chewbacca now voiced by Bobcat Goldthwaite.
David T. Cole: TK421 stays at his post. Everyone captured and executed. Empire rules for 1000 years.
Gosh, we geeks have had a lot to be angry about this week, between this and the Point Break news. It's a good thing we have still have comics and tv and books and video games and cartoons and candy and the turning of the seasons and bacon and Boba Fett playing the Safety Dance.
(Midget Fetish comic from Medium Large, one of my favorite webcomics.)