You’d think George had learned his lesson after all the changes he made to the Star Wars Trilogy’s “Special Editions,” and then again with the DVD releases. But it seems that Lucas still wasn’t satisfied, and had to go and change some small-but-significant things for the upcoming Blu-ray releases.
I should preface this by pointing out that several dozen or even hundred tiny tweaks have been made that will actually enhance your Original Trilogy viewing experience. These are mostly audio/video fixes, such as extensive color correction, removing matte lines, fixing problematic audio issues, and that sort of thing. The nitpickers will find these changes most welcome, because it looks like every last glitch has been meticulously and carefully addressed. They’ve even fixed whatever few technical issues the Prequel Trilogy had.
If Lucas had stopped there, I think we’d all be pretty happy. But of course he did not.
We’ll start with the least offensive changes and work our way down to “George Lucas has defecated on my immaculate geekhood.”
The first one, I don’t think most people will have a problem with: that godawful Yoda puppet from The Phantom Menace has been replaced with the CGI Yoda used in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Check it out:
Big improvement, right? Next, for utterly unfathomable reasons, George felt the need to make the Ewoks’ eyes blink. So blinking lids have been CGI-ed in to Return of the Jedi.
Seriously, George. What the nerfherder? Okay, now we’re getting to the weird stuff. Remember the scene in Star Wars (aka, A New Hope) where Obi-Wan makes his first appearance by scaring off the Jawas with a Krayt Dragon call? That sound he made has been replaced with a bizarre new one:
No idea what that’s all about. Alright, brace yourself, my geeky friend. This is the big one. The climactic scene of Return of the Jedi — and in fact, the entire saga, since the whole shebang is Anakin Skywalker’s story — comes when the Emperor is electrocuting Luke Skywalker, while Vader looks on. Inside, he’s feeling horribly conflicted, because he wants to obey his master, but his son is dying. Finally, at the last moment, he grabs Palpatine and throws him to his death, absorbing all of that Force lightning and saving the life of his son. In the Blu-ray version of Jedi, Vader croaks out a moaned “No…” while watching his son suffer, and then belts out a big “NOOOOOOOOO!!!” as he intervenes. See for yourself:
And before you cry “fan-made fakery,” the New York Times has confirmed these changes as legitimate. (And for all we know, there could be even more. These are just the changes that have been leaked so far.)