Earlier today, Erik posted video evidence of all the known changes George Lucas has made to the original Star Wars trilogy for the films' upcoming Blu-ray release. Also included was the Phantom Menace Yoda improvement that many were championing -- as highlighted in another Conversation post from last week. The positivity quickly went away after rumors hit the fan forums (brought to our attention via io9 and later confirmed by Badass Digest and the New York Times' Dave Itzkoff) about a drastic change to Return of the Jedi and, to provide an obvious quote, "millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror." Ironically, the shouts of "no!" were in response to Lucas putting that very exclamation, twice, into the mouth of Darth Vader at a climactic point of the film, and entire series.
Are the fans right to complain? Should we keep bothering to offer the same protests and/or reminders that the original films still exist in some form (though not in the only format that matters now, according to our own David Ehrlich)? Is it time for the "millions of voices" to be "suddenly silenced" and walk away in defeat? For one thing, we'd be left without rounds of great jokes on Twitter.
But let's see what The Conversation is like around the web to find out what people really think:
George Lucas's Original Vision of Star Wars continues to evade the writer/director/producer/action figure profiteer, but with each new release of his epic he comes ever closer to at last capturing that elusive, CGI white whale he's always intended. - Mark, I Watch Stuff
Can I get real for a minute? I think most people would agree this is a pretty terrible addition to make. Darth Vader's wordless betrayal of the Emperor has always been one of the original trilogy's most powerful moments, because you genuinely don't know what Vader's going to do, and you have to envision the turmoil going on underneath that mask -- which is so much more effective than him reliving his goofy "NOOOOOOOOOOO" yell from the end of Revenge of the Sith. This is a change, like so many of these Star Wars alterations have been, that has genuinely lessened the movies. They have made them worse. - Rob Bricken, Topless Robot
It was already such a perfect moment. As Luke, dying under the Emperor's torrent of force lightning, calls out to his father to help him, Vader stares quietly, looks at his son, then at the Emperor, and makes his decision. And he DOESN"T F**KING SAY A THING. That's what makes it so powerful. You could almost see the thought process behind the mask, as Vader slowly comes out of the fog of 20+ years of evil. It's a grand, amazing moment and the pinnacle of the trilogy, in my opinion. - Nordling, Ain't It Cool News
Why, why, why turn one of the most feared villains in film history into such a wimp now? It’s bad enough we had to see him get potty trained in Episode I, be a creepy stalker in Episode II, and finally, look like the biggest wussy in Episode III after he stumbles around in his new Darth Vader outfit (and then there’s the whole “Noooooo!!!!!! that happened during that scene too). Lucas just has to keep humiliating this character - Empress Eve, Geeks of Doom
[Lucas] has no right to touch Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Unlike the prequels and Episode IV, Lucas did not direct those movies and shouldn't be messing with another artists vision. - Eric Eisenberg, Cinema Blend
George Lucas did not direct Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi and some may say that it is not his territory to re-edit the work of Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand. Still, though, Lucas created the intergalactic franchise; if he doesn’t have the rights to add a sound effect, who does? Would you have preferred that the producer/director post an online poll asking fans for permission since Star Wars is such a beloved entity? - Julie Miller, Movieline
If these changes are legit and you think they’re awful, don’t buy the set. Please. People have complained for years that they don’t like what Lucas is doing to these films, but they generate so much money that his tinkering is financially validated. Stop doing that and he might (might) get the hint. - Russ Fischer, /Film
If you want to send a message, then don't buy the damn Blu-Rays. Search for VHS or laserdisc copies off eBay. Thank God I have my VHS copies of the originals still kicking. - Jamie Williams, Think McFly Think
I’m baffled, I’m angry, I don’t know why he won’t leave well enough alone. Hasn’t he plunged his revisionist fingers into our childhood enough? And, like some sad collector, I’m still holding on to my original trilogy on VHS even though I no longer own a VCR. - Joanna Robinson, Pajiba
@simonpegg: Always loved Vader's wordless self sacrifice. Another shitty, clueless, revision like Greedo and young Anakin's ghost. What a fucking shame.
@JonathanLondon: Only thing makes me sad about the Star Wars revisionism mess is that @simonpegg gets sad. The Star Wars chapters in his book are incredible.
@weeclaire: I'd like to believe that the meddling George Lucas is kinda' like CLU (from Tron) and the real one is trapped somewhere in the ether. *sigh*
@pzomb: How many more changes to the original Star Wars trilogy before they officially just become a remake?
@MrRooni: That's it, I'm filing a custody suit against George Lucas for the Star Wars films. Someone call Film Protective Services
@JJfromKansas: Is there such a thing as a class-action lawsuit to take the rights to the original Star Wars trilogy away from George Lucas? If so, I'm in.
@NickSetchfield: In future days, the remnants of humanity gathered around apocalyptic fires and watched the last VHS copy of Star Wars. And it was good.
@pajiba: George Lucas now set to replace all instances of the "N word" in "Huck Finn" with "Jar Jar Binks."
@theplaylist: Guys, I totally heard that Superman's red underpants are gonna be mo-capped CGI and voiced by George Lucas. Just saying.
@suddain: "Hey! I don't remember all those CGI space-dudes at the reception!"--George Lucas's wife re-watching their old wedding vids.
@CoreyAtad: I like to imagine Lucas sitting at home, watching a pristine 35mm original cut of Star Wars while laughing maniacally, Cape Fear-style.
@DavidGallaher: I may be in the minority, but if George Lucas wants to polish and manicure Star Wars till he's blue in the face, let him. It's his project.
@BeTheBoy: You realize that the Star Wars movies are not historical artifacts, right? It's not like Lucas is adding LOL to the Magna Carta.
Follow Christopher Campbell on Twitter (@thefilmcynic) to be a part of "The Conversation."