Editorial: It’s Time to Make Peace with STAR WARS

by     Posted 2 years, 312 days ago

star-wars-sad-stormtrooper-slice

Why do people still get outraged about Star Wars?  What’s the point?  People get upset at the Blu-rays.  They get upset when George Lucas opens his mouth.  They get upset when the prequels are even acknowledged.  They lose their freaking minds if you say “Greedo Shot First”.  We’ve been having these discussions since 1997 when the special editions arrived.  Now whenever the opportunity arises, we keep dredging up old controversies.  It’s time to let them go.

star-wars-fans-stormtrooper-marchIf you saw Star Wars when it first came out in theaters, then you formed a bond with the saga for over twenty years.  For twenty years, a movie that may have changed your life was something you couldn’t stop thinking about.  You even blocked out the stupid parts of Return of the Jedi like Luke and Leia being siblings.  Everything was awesome and anyone who came to the movies before 1997 would agree.  The effects never felt dated.  The adventure always felt fresh.  People loved Boba Fett because he had a jetpack.  It was a magical time.

When 1997 rolled around, there was excitement for the special editions.  The movies were being brought back to the screen with a fresh coat of paint and some deleted scenes.  They wouldn’t be exactly same movies, but maybe they would be even better!  Lucas would realize his true vision and we would bask in its glory.  He had never let us down.  Every viewing of the original trilogy confirmed his genius and only the harshest cynics questioned the development of the movies and how the screenplays were a collaborative process.

star-wars-han-shot-first-shirtAnd then something went horribly wrong on January 31, 1997.  Perfection had been messed with.  Scenes that had been left on the cutting room floor should have been left there.  The CGI Jabba the Hutt looked awful, and maybe the digital technology wasn’t as far along as we had hoped.  But the greatest point of contention: Han Solo didn’t shoot Greedo first.  Lucas had changed Solo’s character and the content of the scene by making Greedo the worst shot in the galaxy and draining Han Solo of his swagger and machismo.  And thus came the first sin.

In a recent interview, Lucas took his usual swipe at the loyal fans who had the audacity to question his decision, and then explained:

“Well, it’s not a religious event. I hate to tell people that. It’s a movie, just a movie. The controversy over who shot first, Greedo or Han Solo, in Episode IV, what I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo [who seemed to be the one who shot first in the original] to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t. It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down.”

star-wars-special-edition-han-solo-jabba-the-huttAnd now we were in a flashback.  For Lucas, the problem was, as always, a technological limitation.  The character we got in 1977 and the following twenty years, was an accident, and we were wrong to like how Han Solo handled the situation.  George Lucas, the hero turned villain, once again being insulting and idiotic.  We’ve had this discussion before.  What did you expect him to say?

The next two movies received their alterations, people choked them down, remembered they owned well-loved editions where Han still shot first, and a small minority wondered: had Lucas lost his touch?  Most banished that dark thought at the promise of the prequels.  We were getting new Star Wars.  After more than twenty years of waiting, we were getting new Star Wars.  Surely, they would be instant classics.

star-wars-jar-jar-thumbs-upOn May 19, 1999, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace arrived in theaters.  A collective euphoria swept over the die-hard fans.  There were those who walked out after the first viewing, and saw with shock and horror the perversion of their beloved franchise.  Over twenty years of anticipation greeted with a film that could only appeal to children and those in the throws of denial.  But euphoria doesn’t last and eventually, through a cloud of nostalgia and hope, we saw The Phantom Menace for the failure it was.

I will not recite those failings nor do I need to.  They have been discussed to death.  Every single point has been dissected.  Consensuses have been formed.  There are dissenters but there always are.  The verdict was turned in years ago, but the release of the 3D version has caused us to pick at not a scab, but a scar.  It’s done.  If you haven’t come to peace with your disappointment after 13 years, then find better things to care about.

Why does every perceived slight cause an uproar?  When Lucas released the Blu-rays last year, he said we would never get the original versions of the original trilogy in HD.  They weren’t his true vision and he didn’t see the point in giving them the HD treatment.  So what?  Until the arrival of HD formats, how many people thought that A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi needed to be in high-definition?  If so, you’ve fallen into the same trap as Lucas.  You believe that spiffy visuals are what counts, not the content of the story.  Blu-rays are nice and shiny and fun to have.  They’re not essential and you’re not owed them.

star-wars-darth-vader-noooIt always seems to come back to the question of ownership.  For the fans of the original versions of the original movies, they were ours.  We bought the endless stream of merchandise.  We went to the conventions.  We made our girlfriends dress up in metal bikinis even though that action makes us Jabba the Hutt.  What had Lucas done since directing Return of the Jedi?  He gave them to us.  How could he repossess them?

If you believe that the latest version of Star Wars or the prequels define the movies you fell in love with, then you’ll never let these old battles die.  You’ve stopped finding new things to love about the movies and new ways to think about them.  You’re in a grudge match you’ll never win.  You’ll always get pissy over “Han Shot First”.  You’ll whine about the prequels.  You’ll stomp your feet about not getting what you wanted, and forget what you already have.

Stop hating George Lucas.  Stop gnashing your teeth over the 3D re-releases.  Stop reciting the same old complaints that people have been spouting since 1997.  Being angry isn’t a reason to care about something.  Remember what you were for instead of pointlessly revisiting what you were against.

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  • Viktor Jerner

    “What had Lucas done since directing Return of the Jedi”?

    Lucas didn’t direct “Return of the Jedi”, Richard Marquand did.

    • Nicholas Reynolds

      He actually directed some of the movie when he got a divorced his wife.

  • Derlis

    Goddammit Goldberg… Well said, sir.

  • Liam Cash

    YES!! Finally someone is saying this!

  • A

    Its not even about what he did to the OT, he took an awesome franchise and flushed it down the toilet.

    Just going by basic filmaking/story telling techniques, the prequels are FAILURES!!! We care less about any of the characters ESPECIALLY ‘Ani’ who’s an obnoxious whiney twerp. Luke had his moments too but you could root for the guy, his dreams and aspirations. WHO THE HELL ROOTS FOR ANI?!? Lucas can’t direct actors, admits he hates writing the story and it shows in every frame. Are you seriously telling me kids of today where excited about the trade federation and negations?! That was a huge part of the story in TPM and I couldn’t have been more bored..I cant imagine Star Wars capturing a generations imagination with crap like that. Seriously???

  • A

    “You believe that spiffy visuals are what counts, not the content of the story.”

    So your telling me negotiations with the trade federation was a gripping and engaging story for the Phantom Menace?! Seriously???!!!

    • Liam

      The Phantom Menace story was not about that, and you know it. That was the premise of the plot. But keep hating, meanwhile I’ll go have some fun while watching the saga again.

  • A

    “You believe that spiffy visuals are what counts, not the content of the story.”

    So your telling me negotiations with the trade federation was a gripping and engaging story for the Phantom Menace?!

  • mattedscreen

    While the prequels come in a varying degree of success, Lucas’s changes have been going on since the film was first released 30 years ago!

    As much as I love han shooting first, or hate Vader yelling “NOOOO!!!” the changes are not enough to make me hate the movies I loved as a child growing up. Even though I was barely over 1 years old I still distinctly remember seeing ewoks on the big screen. Still smile every time I see one of the furry bastards

    It’s time to make peace, and sit back and enjoy them for what they are; 2 hours of escape from our day to day lives

  • Brad

    People won’t stop because its fun. Its a part of cultural vernacular, the communal dialogue. Just because you write some strident editorial (which, in and of itself is MORE self righteous than trashing the prequels or the re-releases) doesn’t mean you are in the right. You say ‘leave George Lucas alone, I don’t want to hear it’, and I say ‘leave people who pick on George Lucas alone, because you sound like an ass’. You think people actually BELIEVE the hyperbolic things they say? George raped my childhood? Its a joke, aimed at a very out of touch guy. I think the guy could avoid most scrutiny if he allowed the original editions to exist on new formats. But we get inarguably stupid prequels AND needless tinkering to something so many people love, and its going to continue to draw ire until the end of time. Now with the 3D releases you want we should all feel bad for george or just ‘get over it’. People are over it. It doesn’t control lives. It IS just a movie. People bitch because its fun, and most of the complaining is due to Lucas’ stubborn insistence on not releasing the original movies.

    • m4rc05

      Nail on the head, sir. Might I add that since releasing the original trilogy on HD could only mean more money for Lucasfilm, his stubborness seems only more impractical and obtuse

      • Northern Star

        That’s the most perplexing thing of all, Luca$ is pimping out every aspect of ‘Star Wars’ for all he’s worth, but he still flatly refuses point-blank to release something that would be GUARANTEED to shift gargantuan quantities of units upon release – the theatrical versions of the OT, remastered and in anamorphic widescreen DVD/Blurays! For someone who has been such an astute (who said profiteering?) businessman, that makes no business sense…even the VP of Lucasfilm publicity and marketing AND Rick McCallum want the OT theatrical versions released, I mean REALLY!!!

        Just for the record, I DO NOT hate Luca$, I hold no ill feelings for him whatsoever, I just think his stubbornness regarding the OT theatrical versions is unfortunate and frustrating, I ACTUALLY WANT TO GIVE LUCASFILM MY HARD-EARNED CASH IN RETURN FOR REMASTERED PRESENTATIONS OF THE OT’S THEATRICAL VERSIONS, but Mr I’ll-market-every-last-part-of-’Star Wars’-except-the-thing-that-people-really-want’ won’t let me, (sigh)…

  • john

    In my view (and I know some disagree), the changes made to the Original Trilogy are for the most part insignificant when placed in the context of the entire film. Yes, I think films should be left alone after they have been completed – but at this point it is obvious that Mr. Lucas is going to do as he pleases and fans have to deal with it.

    As for the prequels, I think they are fun and I like the action sequences and the overall design of the films. Maybe the dialogue and acting is not quite as good, but I find value in all six films and enjoy them all.

  • Jacob

    I see your point…buuuuuuuttttt for the creator of such an iconic legacy to abuse it’s excellence and tramp all over it’s quality with misled/borderline psychotic intentions which have no justification in the most moronic of minds and for us to remain silent would be more bizarre than to criticise albeit it extensively over time what needs be.

  • james

    I see your point…buuuuuuuttttt for the creator of such an iconic legacy to abuse it’s excellence and tramp all over it’s quality with misled/borderline psychotic intentions which have no justification in the most moronic of minds and for us to remain silent would be more bizarre than to criticise albeit it extensively over time what needs be.

  • the0ne

    I don’t understand why people are bitching left and right over star wars when it’s just A MOVIE. It’s his work, it’s his creation and he has the right to change anything he wants…cause its HIS. These guys give geeks and nerds a whole new meaning.

    • Dave

      I don’t agree with you. I feel that once you put something out there, once you submit a work to the people (and especially once it becomes part of the cultural landscape like Star Wars has) that it belongs to the audience as much as the creator. And, truthfully, the movies were out for twenty freakin’ years. Its not like we’re talking about the extended edition Lord of the Rings films that came out a few months after the DVDs. Twenty years. And-as people have said time and time again-the solution is simple: just release the original theatrical versions in decent quality. That would end all the bitterness right there.

  • DjFury

    I don’t lose sleep over any of this stuff but I think Lucas needs to understand that he, like Luke and Han, was a hero for a whole generation of us. The manner in which he dismisses the people that made him rich is insulting, hurtful and unnecessary. He stands apart from his peers in his uber-revisionist approach to film and that in itself says so much. He is wrong when he says he ‘owns’ his films because he doesn’t. We do. Any director would admit that. Art doesn’t belong to the artist. I will always remember how seeing Star Wars back in the 70′s changed my life, and I will always hold much admiration for the non-special edition George Lucas, the George Lucas that shot first because he knew that if he didn’t his career was over. That’s the George I will always remember.

  • govna

    I just cannot believe that Lucas is trying to convince us that Greedo shot first all along. That’s simply not true.

    So either A) He has somehow honestly convince himself that Greedo actually shot first or
    B) He is blatantly lying through his teeth.

  • Mike

    My oppinion has and always will be, change the films all you want, but release the originals as well

  • read210

    Han Shot First. But I like your article.

  • That Guy

    You can’t expect a fire to stop burning when George Lucas keeps feeding it.

  • theothermatt

    matt how much money lucas gave you for this?

  • Eddie

    How about you just stop paying attention to “Star Wars”? “The Matrix” offered up two of three movies that were awful, undoing the goodwill of the first. “Star Wars” has offered up two of six movies that are unrelievedly terrible pieces of cinema, just dreadful (and dreadfully dull) films; two of six movies that are of highly dubious quality unless you are a small, uncritical child; one of six films that is extremely good; and one of six films that is outstanding. The track record is terrible. 33% of the films are good, 66% are mediocre at BEST and unwatchable pieces of cinematic junk at worst.

    The debate isn’t about the story. It’s not about the visuals. It’s about whether “Star Wars” actually is any good, whether it means anything now that it has become the Beverly Hills Housewife version of its former self, plasticized, nipped and tucked, and devoid of the vision and principles it had when it was young.

    “Star Wars” is the Kim Richards of cinema.

    There is no longer anything redeeming about it at all.

    You will discover that again when you go plunk down $15 to see, of all things, “The Phantom Menace” in, of all things, 3-D (which, do you need to be reminded, you hate — yes, I’m talking to you — but somehow you forgive this time). And if Lucas issues a six-hour version in smell-o-vision next year, you will give him more of your money and say, “Please, sir, can I have some more?”

    It’s unbelievable. Just unbelievable.

  • Brett

    My only problem is that it’s tough to find a copy of the movies’ original, original trilogy these days. As someone who was born after the original trilogy hit theaters, all that has ever been available to me are the “special” editions of the movies. I don’t need a Blu-ray or HD copy of the original movies, but a regular DVD edition would be absolutely incredible. Not dressed up, not improved, not altered. I don’t think that’s asking too much.

  • rp

    Yes, good article, but goddammit. The worst part about Star Wars is that people will never drop it, ever, and this includes webmasters. I don’t think I can even go a day without seeing some type of SW article, fan art, humor, comic, cartoon, demotivational poster, etc, online somewhere, and it’s been like that for years. Now these re-releases, which are obviously just another despicable cash grab, fuel the fires all over again. The sad fact is that these fanboys are going to continue their antics no matter what.

    This reminds me of an interview Morgan Freeman did on 60 minutes. Mike Wallace demanded to know what Freeman thought should be done about racism. Freeman replied, “Stop talking about it” The point was that racism is not going away, especially while so many people have the urge to stir the pot and discuss it endlessly. The leaders of the internet should use the same idea and stop reporting on all this SW related bullshit, including and especially, the re-releases. All it does is further encourage the idiots.

    I honestly can’t believe that reputable webmasters continue to give free exposure and advertising to this asshole. The SW franchise is worth something like 50 billion dollars, (billion with a B), but Lucas doesn’t lift a finger to do anything positive in the world. Say what you will about Bill Gates, but that man has donated literally billions of dollars to feeding the hungry, funding research for new advances in medicines, and helping those in extreme poverty all over the world.

    Meanwhile Lucas does nothing but rehash these films over and over again, squeezing out every dime he can. He collects billions of dollars from these schmucks, and does absolutely nothing else. All he does is live in his own little world, getting richer and richer, while wallowing in his own insanity. Every couple of years, the guy goes a little bit madder, and releases these movies in a new ridiculous form. Then when that happens, every blogger, author, writer, bored newscaster, etc, jumps all over the “story”. This is why it never ends. This is the real blight, and it has gone unchecked for too long.

    • poo poo

      Lucas never did anything for charity with his billions?????

      Either you are severely missinformed, or like most of the rest of the haters you are a filthy troll. Which is it?

      Do your research!

      • rp

        Your fucking username is poo poo? OK, poo poo. Please enlighten me on all the good Lucas has done for mankind. Please, I’d really like to hear this. I’ll be going insane with anticipation awaiting your reply.

      • tarek

        What he gave is deducted from his income taxes. So…

      • poo poo

        Well rp, (what does that stand for? real prick?) Dumber username than mine!

        Do your own fuckin research you lazy c*nt! You don’t know how to use google? What a Troll.

        Anyways, heres just some of his charity work…

        He gave away half his entire fortune to charity last year, (didn’t you watch the news?)
        he also gave to Make a wish, cancer, aids, childrens and education. Go look up his other stuff.

        And what did he give to mankind? Well your clearly new to this planet and think movies just make themselves and that the tecnology has always been here! He gave us Star Wars, ILM, THX, Digital movie making, advanced CGI to what we have now, he started Pixar, employed Spielberg to direct Indy against the studios wishes, which gave the world Spielberg, sold pixar to Steve Jobs. the list is so long and epic that i cant be bothered to type it all up. So look him up! And dont forget the knock on effect of people he gave rise to. He changed movies in ways you cant imagine.

        So climb off Tareks pecker and stop hating and trolling till youv formed your own opinions based on real research.

        Peace out!

      • Tarek

        poo poo said : “He changed movies in ways you cant imagine.”

        I can imagine quite a bit. ^^

    • Seiren

      George Lucas has fallen to the Dark side of the Force.

      Someday his son will save us all. : )

  • rp

    test

  • “Got a quarter?”

    Maybe people should lose interest in movies altogether.

  • Steeeeve

    Wait a minute — Matt Goldberg, the king of snark and dismissiveness toward anything franchise-based — is lecturing _us_ about being pissy?

    L
    O
    L

    • Mrs Goldberg

      HAHAHA EXACTLY WHAT I WAS THINKING. I never really got into Star Wars, Superheroes and Horror films were always my thing. BUT, my god Matt-where does a self-loathing cynic like you get off telling 20+ years of fans that they need to “make peace” with their beloved films? YOU can’t even post about something as simple as a new film’s teaser trailer without rallying against it. You are the WORST kind of critic- cynical and bitter. Yet, you have the nerve to write an “editorial” telling others that they shouldn’t be. Go f*ck yourself you no-talent ass clown;)

  • A

    Sadly he can do whatever he wants to his movies. I wonder if people would be pissed if Leonardo DaVinci suddenly came back to life, demanded to have his painting back and scribble a mustache on the original painting?! Fair?

    You have to judge the movies as cinematic entertainment, technically, story wise, direction ect and the prequels are piss poor as far as that goes.

    Its also blatantly obvious that Han shoots first, in fact Greedo never gets a shot off. There’s no editing around it in the OT, HE DOES.

    Did anyone see ‘Red Tails’ I heard its every bit as bad at TPM

  • bobafett

    My two cents:

    We would have the same complaints about LoTR if Jackson hadn’t focused on obvious CG battles and instead focused on the politics of Middle Earth and made Faramir into a racial caricature.

    Also, Star Wars is like your high school valedictorian (The OT), who then went to Harvard for a week, then dropped out and became Bubs from The Wire. The Wasted potential AND GL’s lack of flexibility is what drives us all nuts. We all imagine what James Cameron, Guillermo Del Toro, Darren Aronofsky or Ridley Scott would do with such a world. Yet, we know it is all for nought and we have to live with the ineffectual Whiny Anakin.

    Speaking of which…how much better would AoTC and RoTS been with Charlie Hunnam as Anakin?

    • poo poo

      You MAY be right about the Charlie Hunnan Anakin. Or maybe not as we didnt know him from his awesome Sons of Anarchy role. Dwelling on previous casting is futile, and until a movie is made the results are unknown.

      Ie, we almost had Tom Sellick as Indy, walther mathou as Obi Wan, christopher walken as Han solo, orson wells as Vaders voice, richard dreyfus as c3po etc…

  • Grant keanan

    I for one prefer to remember the wonder that was Star Wars as I first saw it. Thats was why I didn’t bother with any of the prequels after the wreck that was The Phantom Menace!!!
    So am not even gonna bother with this blatant attempt to gorge fans of their hard earned money! Enough already….3D indeed

  • Jason

    “Until the arrival of HD formats, how many people thought that A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi needed to be in high-definition? If so, you’ve fallen into the same trap as Lucas. You believe that spiffy visuals are what counts, not the content of the story.”

    Such an absolutely moronic statement, Goldberg.

    So I suppose anyone out there with a Blu Ray player believes “that spiffy visuals are what counts, not the content of the story”?

    You’re trying to come across as deep with that but only end up coming across as very contrived.

  • I’m laughing

    You know what, you’re right. Lucas is a businessman. (Ask the indie filmmakers of the 70s) He farmed a lot of talent like Seth Brundle did in THE FLY but he never understood exactly how his telepod transported us to a fantasy world. Thing is, people seem to forget, copying greatness isn’t enough. His legal right to tinker with it doesn’t make anyone think he’s any good. He doesn’t even need more money! How joyless he is about it compared to the admirers he used to have. It’s just not worth it to follow his attempts to stay in the spotlight. Sorry G-man, but the world’s outgrown you.

  • tarek

    I have just one thing to say: Luca$ shit first

  • 72 inches!

    Han did not shoot first! And those were not the droids they were looking for!

    Lucas is just doing what advertisers and politicians have been doing for years: saying something over and over until the lie is accepted as the truth. Sadly it works. Advertising, politics and religion.

  • Josh

    Like some have mentioned, I have no problem with Lucas changing the movies. Go ahead. But his sin is his attempts to destroy the originals, going so far as to ask the Library of Congress and other archives to give up their materials, in essence to make it like they never existed at all. This, combined with the fact that he is not making the originals available on dvd or blu-ray (which, by the way is the best home entertainment medium ever–I don’t enjoy my blu-ray of “The Third Man” because it showcases great special effects, but because it is the highest quality version of the film that I can feasibly view in my house) make it impossible for me to ever forgive Lucas.

  • David

    “But euphoria doesn’t last and eventually, through a cloud of nostalgia and hope, we saw The Phantom Menace for the failure it was.” ???

    I’m not entirely happy with the prequels but it’s still Star Wars, Goldberg you sound as bad as the fanboys you’re talking about. Attitudes and comments like that are the reason we’ll never see a 7,8,or 9.

    You say people should ‘make peace’. Yes they should. As you can see from the comments to you post, articles like this just propel the arguments and decade old conversations. Some people will never leg go, but articles like this certainly won’t help. So don’t bring it back up to light.

  • colin.

    i was gonna say how this editorial sucked and was equally pretentious and pointless as the argument it labels invalid. but then i scrolled up and realized it was Matt Goldberg. i had JUST stopped checking the author to avoid reading his bullshi*t. my bad

  • Mr.Rich316

    Goldberg, did you really just tell the entire Star Wars fanbase to shut the f*ck up? Well done sir, well done. ( this article won’t change a damn thing though).

  • Dramaking2012

    “What had Lucas done since directing Return of the Jedi?” He didn’t direct either Empire or Jedi, nor did he have very much to do with them. He contributed the basic story and Lawrence Kasdan wrote them. Irvin Kershner directed Empire, while Richard Marquand directed Jedi. Which is why those two are so much better than the prequels. To this day, Lucas has only written and/or directed one good film in his life and that’s the original “Star Wars.”

  • Strong Enough

    Star Wars will die one day. When All the people who watched it when they were kids in the 70s die off so will Star Wars. When George Lucas passes away the brand will die with him. unless when he dies someone does a reboot……?? oh sh*t.

    what of they did a reboot in the future? oh sh*t

  • Dave

    The one point I would argue with you about is the ‘we’re not owed the original trilogy in high def’. Fine. Maybe so, but (especially on today’s widescreen displays) there is a huuuuuge gap between high def and a non-anamorphic DVD transfer. They’re damn near unwatchable.

    I think the fans have a right to ask for a video presentation where the quality isn’t so bad that it repeatedly pulls you out of the picture.

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  • Matt

    Why do I need to make peace with STAR WARS? This article missed the point. I don’t know how old Matt Goldberg is or if he even reads these comments but I was 8 years old in 1977 when Star Wars was released. I was blown away. What followed was Star Wars pillow cases, action figures, T-shirt, posters, collectors mugs, light saber duels, Halloween costumes, and eventually making my own super 8 sci-fi movies leading to my current career as a Director of Photography living in Hollywood. I understand that for George Lucas making the original trilogy was difficult. He fought with the studio, fought with the 1977 technology – the cameras, the sound system, the special effects, fought with the Yoda puppet; and the experience was ultimately unsatisfying. To the fan and the merchandiser, it was a blockbuster. For George, it was unsatisfying to the point that he dedicated all his time and resources to make sure he would never have to relive the frustrations he experienced while making the original films. He invested all his energy and resources into advancing the art of special effects by forming a special effects company called ‘Industrial Light and Magic’. He invested in advancing motion picture sound by creating THX Sound. Lucasfilm created one of the first non-linear edit platforms in the late 80′s called EditDroid. He ‘advanced’ camera technology by being one of the first major directors to shoot a Hollywood blockbuster digitally rather than on film. Most feature films today are shot digitally. Ultimately, I feel he made all these technological improvements in order to protect himself from the frustration he experienced making the originals and move himself closer to a place of total control in making the prequels. Ultimately, that is what he did. Instead of spending decades honing his craft as a filmmaker he put all his energy into achieving complete autonomy as a filmmaker. It’s 100% about control with George Lucas. He shot the prequels on green screen in order to control the light, the weather, the actors (Liam Neeson said he wanted to quite acting after the experience because he felt like he was treated like a puppet). He wrote the prequels, he directed the prequels (even though Spielberg and others stepped in uncredited). He owns the merchandising, etc. I don’t think too many people said no to Lucas the way they did on the originals. Look at many of Lucas’ contemporaries who have won best director Oscars – Scorsese, Coppola, Spielberg – they put their energy into honing their craft as directors, as storytellers, while Lucas put his energy into honing the process of filmmaking to achieve total control. Where is the re-edited special edition version of Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now (Redux doesn’t count), Godfather, ET, Poltergeist? Great directors give birth to great films, and the films are their children. They run around and bring joy to all the people who come in contact with them. They live and breathe and give us life every time we watch them, and we experience them differently as we age, find new meaning along with reflect on the feelings we had when we first watched them. Great directors know to let their children go, once a film is released it is no longer theirs but all of ours. All the great directors have voiced this over the years. This is a lesson Lucas never learned. He let his child go and we all fell in love with it. It affected us deeply. But Lucas couldn’t let it go. He kidnapped our child and forced it to get plastic surgery to the point that we don’t recognize it any longer. He added stuff, changed stuff, and he will probably keep tweaking things until he dies. It’s what control freaks do. The problem is that Lucas works in a medium that is experienced collectively rather than privately, and once he released his child into the collective we fell in love and it became ours. Lucas doesn’t realize this, and he treats his films as if they were paintings in the corner of his bedroom that he can splash paint on any time he fancies. He gave me the film and then he took it back, and that makes me angry. He made prequels that sucked because he put autonomy over creativity, control before collaboration. This is why Lucas is not a great director and I don’t need to make peace with him.

  • ApparatusMini

    I agree with this article. However, the fanboys won’t make peace with Star Wars until Lucas himself does. Judging by his recent comments, Lucas isn’t interested in doing so at all.

  • Alan

    So Matt Goldberg is attacking others for whining? Oh, for the love of … does this guy not read his own writing? Because everything single fucking article he writes manages to whine about something.

  • SaschaD

    Nice article.

    However, just because you feel that way, doesn’t mean we all (or at least speaking for myself) have to agree.

    I disagree with letting it go. After all the love, energy and money i’ve spent on SW, here’s its creator basically saying “Listen, you people are idiots. Morons. Its just a fucking movie. Fuck you. Deal with it”.

    He’s selling the people who MADE him the billionaire he is today, for a fool.

    The shootout between Han and Greedy NEVER required any sort of very very difficult fx. Never. If he wanted to have Han dodge that shot he would have filmed it that way. “Cold blooded killer”? It’s obvious the reason why Lucas is sorta angry at the fans. He simply does not ‘get’ his own story. He does not.

    Greedy, is a bounty hunter. Hes saying, either give me the money that was meant for Jabba or die. How is that not the perfect excuse to shoot first? If Anything at all, it invalidates Greedo’s interest which is getting that money by shooting him first since Solo did not have it with him. So if logic serves, he would need Han to still give him the cash.

    My point isn’t that im a helpless fanboy, about a scene that really doesn’t as a whole change the entire picture. The issue is that Lucas is insulting the fan base and absolutely delusional.

    So to just say, get over it. Sure. You own this website. People read it. but its just your opinion on the subject in the end. And to me, Lucas has ruined some of the original SW experience. Plain and simple. I dont care if your more worried about your taxes, re-watching the Greedy scene just makes me angry.

    Besides the few better enhancements, like the windows on Bespin (well done) or some of the x-wing attack shots in ANH, most of the changes are completely unnecessary, imo. Sure take out blue screen lines. Thats totally ok. Make the image better. ok. Clean up the sound. Perfect. But everything else, why?

  • WEV

    Hmm some fair points there, but the problem for me is more than just the crap prequels, the constant “re-edits” or 3D re-re-releases ect ect. My problem is what Star Wars has become, its purpose and what Lucas has made it become that really gets to me.
    Now you watch the tv and see Yoda in a mobile phone advert, so this once great, iconic character has been reduced to a phone salesman, or you have Vader in an advert for an electronics store, nothing is sacred now.
    Seems Lucas is up for letting anyone dive into his big toy box for them use the franchise to help promote and sell their shit!(notice how they never use Jar Jar tho?)
    Of course most big film franchise’s have big promotions on tv, like the Macdonalds happy meal toys ect, but that is to promote the film at the time of its release, how long ago was Star Wars released, and its still f-ing everywhere, constantly! Star Wars was something i enjoyed and loved, now im sick at the sight of it.

    Star Wars is now, more than ever nothing more than simply a product, not a good piece of cinema but a big money making machine that relentlessly keeps going and going like some crack whore, when will it end?
    Lucas clearly is no film maker or visionary, he is a cold business man, pure and simple and hats off to the guy look how rich and powerful he is, he doesn’t have to bother making films ever again, he can just sit on his ass and carry on raping the shit out of Star Wars and let other businesses come along for the money making orgy, easy money as they say.

    Thats my problem with Lucas and Star Wars, its just a business now, not an art form!
    I will carry on hating what it is and it creator, but i will always love what it once was!

    Han shot first!!!!

  • spongefist

    What a load of crap. The original viewers of the original Star Wars had the vision and insight to support the film and make it a huge success, without ‘us’ he would not have got any further. As the twat Matt says, we made him rich by buying the toys and we supported him and his vision for however many years it is.

    Then the weird chinned dick head decides to go to war with us like a big king baby and stick his fat money grabbing finger up at us. Well, he can do that all day long, but as you can see, his ego cannot take what he started and all he does is moan about why he is hated so much.

    Well, it’s simply because he is an ungrateful moron, who has forgotten who bank rolled him.

  • Matt’s disappointed Mom

    Here’s an interesting article I found, about the Phantom Menace’s new poster:
    http://collider.com/star-wars-phantom-menace-3d-poster/120337/

    It starts off with saying:
    “The first poster for Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 3D has gone online. It’s a weird poster that seems to come from an alternate universe where The Phantom Menace was good or, at the very least, people enjoyed it and want to see it again.”

    It continues with:
    “Hit the jump to check out the poster, which demands you “See It on the Big Screen” even though we already fell for that trick.”

    Now, CAN YOU GUESS WHO WROTE THIS ARTICLE?

  • ozzie

    is there a little irony in the fact that fans are the reason there will be no more star wars movies?

    • Dictionary

      It’s ironic that you think fans like you get to decide the fate of Star Wars. Sales of the BDs broke records. People who complain about “digital changes” make up a microscopic contingent of whiners that have very little impact on the health of the franchise.

  • Terry

    A very good philosophy, and I’d agree with it, except for one nagging thing, and maybe this is completely personal.

    I, and many people on Earth, do not own a VCR anymore.

    As such, I will never be able to own an original theatrical version of the Star Wars trilogy that I can watch with my friends and family, like I can with any other movie I love. And that makes me a little sad.

    • Dictionary

      The original cuts have been available on DVD for many years as a second disc with the Special Editions. These are still readily available.

      • colin.

        “readily available”?

        you mean if you want to pay 200 bucks on Amazon for a new copy?

        that’s not readily available.

  • Farrell

    ” Until the arrival of HD formats, how many people thought that A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi needed to be in high-definition? ”

    This is one of the dumbest statements I’ve heard yet from Lucas apologists. If there are any films that would benefit from High Def, it’s Star Wars. And to suggest that because during pre-HD years, people were not thinking about HD, so therefore the originals don’t NEED to be in HD, is just…asinine beyond belief.

    The fact is we DO have HD, and nearly every major film is now on blu-ray or is coming to blu-ray. Every single special edition of a film also has the original version available in the same quality. So to tell fans of Star Wars that they’re being cry babies and unreasonable for wanting the same treatment for a favorite franchise is fucking retarded, and another example of Lucas’ victory in turning consumers into defeated yes men, much like his staff at Lucasfilm.

  • Josh

    My earliest memory is my father taking me and my older brother to see Star Wars on the big screen. I was absolutely amazed and it is something that I will remember with fondness for the rest of my life, but it wasn’t the original, it was the Phantom Menace. To me, the prequels are what the original trilogy are to the die-hard fans.

  • Lily

    Ok. The faux ‘lets-forgive-and-forget-and-or-make-up’ stops here.

    There was never anything wrong with the prequels. George lucas may not be the most intimate of directors (as far as dialogue goes he’s no Diablo Cody nor would he use such) – but his feel for cinematography, eternal story-making, and the ‘epic’ are second to none.

    The ridiculous, ‘salem’-type hate that was directed against this director and a young actor when PM et al came out, was both disgraceful and ultimately sheep-like – and must have hurt Lucas and Christensen profoundly.

    As a sci-fi geek who knows my history, respects the lineage – and more than that – recognizes beauty can sometimes exist because of flaws (perceived or not), I could never condone the histrionic bile that was piled onto these latter films and Lucas — and still call myself a lover of the genre.

    Time to “let it go?”

    The backlash should never have got this far in the first place.

  • Mboz

    Glad to see everyone who read this article listened to the message…

  • Slice

    Here’s the truth. The original movie was cheesy BUT solid. Lucas went through a rough divorce in the early 80s that reduced him to a bitter, frustrated guy looking for every way he could to cash in and recoup money he lost in the split.

    “Creative” differences aside, before Star Wars George was a director. After Star Wars George was a Producer – you know the guy who makes sure the business is profitable.

    Oh yeah, Han Shot First.

  • DeadpoolDX

    My thoughts when it comes down to the Special Edition is that the additions and changes really don’t change the movies as much as most people think they do.
    When it comes down to it George Lucas had a vision of what HIS story should be and he made that vision on the big screen. Fans seem to think that the movies belong to them when it is his vision that he wanted everyone to see. Greedo shooting first doesn’t really bother me because I never wanted Han Solo to be a stone cold killer. To me Han is a criminal but one that has a heart and believe doing what is right. If he was actually the killer that people thought of him as he never would have returned at the end of the movie to help Luke. He would have taken his reward and been long gone on his way to pay Jabba back.

    As for the prequels there is no excuse for what Episode 1 was. The story could have been a lot better BUT again it was his image we were looking at. He felt it was important to show Anakin as a kid for some reason. He likes using the underdog primitive culture (Ewoks/Gungans) in his stories and while the Gungans may have been annoying they work in the underdog role. I thought the prequels got better with each movie if you exclude the unbelievably stupid dialogue between Anakin and Padme.

  • rogueleadersf

    “rp @ February 11th, 2012 8:08 am

    Your fucking username is poo poo? OK, poo poo.”

    I almost shit my pants laughing when I saw this…..just brilliant!!

    Here is the bottom line on all this….EPSIODE 1 was boring,it could have started with the queen escaping Naboo and her and the Jedi crashj landing on naboo…we didn’t need long,drawn senate hearings as if we were fucking watching cspan….EPISODE 2 felt like it was not enough foreshadowing the dark side of Anakin,but was overall ok…Episode 3 was the best of the prequels,however,we should have seen Darth Vader in action(while in the suit) towards the end of the film.,but over all,the closest of the prequels to match the OT….me personally,I could care less about little tweaks or changes in the OT that Lucas puts out,I still love episodes 3,4,5,6 and will always be fond of them.

    your username is poopo……holy shit….:)

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