This Date in Star Wars History
Today we go all the way back to 1976, and celebrate the anniversary of the end of filming for Star Wars. Imagine that for a moment – still 10 months before the debut of the movie, with not even a clue as to the effect it would have on Hollywood, on society, on the world of merchandising and licensing, on generations of fans. Heady stuff…share your take in the comments!
Life on “Tweet”-ooine
— Rancho Obi-Wan (@RanchoObiWan) July 10, 2014
Star Wars Swag Bag
Yesterday’s answer: Darth Vader
Today’s question: Who had Vader bumped into on the Death Star when he said, “The circle is now complete”?
Force Feature: Changing Star Wars Film History
So if you want to get original trilogy Star Wars fans riled up, get a few of them in a room and ask them what they think about the theatrical release versions of Star Wars, Empire, and Jedi versus the Special Edition versions.
And let’s get even crazier, because it’s not that simple. Lucas has been tweaking these movies ever since they came out in the first place. Check out Wikipedia (not Wookiepedia, though I’m sure they have it too), for what’s labeled as a “partial” list of the changes that Lucas has made to the movies since their original theatrical releases. Would you be surprised to know that Lucas first started tinkering with Star Wars as early as 1981, in one of its re-releases in theaters after Empire came out? Here’s what he has to say about it:
“There will only be one [version of the films]. And it won’t be what I would call the ‘rough cut,’ it’ll be the ‘final cut.’ The other one will be some sort of interesting artifact that people will look at and say, ‘There was an earlier draft of this.’ The same thing happens with plays and earlier drafts of books. In essence, films never get finished, they get abandoned. At some point, you’re dragged off the picture kicking and screaming while somebody says, ‘Okay, it’s done.’
“So what ends up being important in my mind is what the DVD version is going to look like, because that’s what everybody is going to remember. The other versions will disappear. Even the 35 million tapes of Star Wars out there won’t last more than 30 or 40 years. A hundred years from now, the only version of the movie that anyone will remember will be the DVD version [of the Special Edition], and you’ll be able to project it on a 20-foot-by-40-foot screen with perfect quality.
I got turned on to looking into the revisions thing while exploring the forums at OriginalTrilogy.com, realizing that it’s been 37 years since Star Wars was released, 34 since Empire, and 31 since Jedi. Heck, it’s been 15 years since Phantom Menace! Lots of time to make changes.
So the folks at OriginalTrilogy.com are among the folks leading a charge for preserving the original theatrical releases. Which, by the way, are the ones that are being archived in the Library of Congress anyway. Unless George has some major political juice or can hire Nicolas Cage to break in there for him, those first versions are never going away.
Meanwhile, what the OriginalTrilogy.com boards are also fun for are the fan edits of the movies. They span everything from cutting all six movies into one super-long epic, to collections of ridiculous edit suggestions that would put Spaceballs to shame. Here’s a link to a sub-3-minute edit of one series of scenes from Revenge of the Sith, after the crash landing of Grievous’ ship on Coruscant during the opening sequence. They manage to work clips from Moulin Rouge to Pulp Fiction and everything in-between into the dialogue, and I won’t spoil the rest for you.
What do you think about the original editions versus the special editions? Do you think George should have the prerogative to keep tinkering and tweaking, or do you think he should leave well enough alone? Have your say in the comments!