George Lucas’s six Star Wars films were finally released in the Blue-Ray High Definition disc format on September 16.
Though it is probably worth the investment for a real Star Wars fan to get the HD versions of the entire saga, they would be better if they included the original theatrical versions. Unfortunately, this set only includes Lucas’s re-edited so-called “special” editions, which have themselves been reedited and tinkered with numerous times. The last time the original versions were offered was on the secondary discs of the 2006 DVD release, and even then they weren’t the same resolution as the material on the primary discs.
The Blue-Ray set does feature a collection of outtakes feature a collection of outtakes and parody versions of Star Wars including treatments from Wierd Al, That 70’s Show, and Saturday Night Live. Unfortunately the set does not include the famous 1978 CBS Star Wars holiday special, which has long been a favorite of Star Wars geeks, but which has been systematically suppressed by Lucas, who has said he wishes it would disappear like it never happened. Attempts to rewrite history have become recurring theme with Lucas over the past two decades.
Many wonder why Lucas made any changes to his films in the first place. Most people agree that there was nothing wrong with the films in their original configuration, and the box office numbers reflect that Could it be that Lucas keeps changing his movies thinking it will encourage people who purchased a previous edition to buy them once again?
Mercer Professor of English Dr. Edward Carmien, who teaches the college’s science fiction and fantasy literature courses, does not think Lucas changes his films to sell more units. “I don’t think that kind of change helps sell new versions. I think it does create a little buzz. People talk about those changes,” he said.
Professor Carmien thinks viewer reaction depends on what types of changes are being made. “I think there is a difference between revising for clarity and refinement, making something look prettier, and changing essential facts of what was published. For example, go back again, Han Shot first. Han Solo in the first Star Wars movie that he made he was a rascal, a scoundrel, a smuggler and in this George Lucas revision he’s much less of a scoundrel.” Professor Carmien went to elaborate “For some reason George Lucas felt he needed to rehabilitate Han Solo. Was he worried about the moral legacy of his work?”
Some die-hards will probably accept the Blue-Ray versions and will be willing to buy them. Others in the Star Wars purist camp will merely reject the altered versions. Unfortunately Lucas’s lack of fidelity to the original work is troubling and undermines the new version to some extent.