So the Blu-Ray releases of Star Wars are having further edits done to them. And the fan outrage is… spectacular… -ly amusing.
For one, I don’t see why people are shocked. Disappointed, yes. But shocked?
Now, I don’t have the same attachment to the originals that many fans have. I’m in my thirties and didn’t see the complete trilogy until I was about 18. Also, I only saw the whole thing once, maybe twice, before the cinematic rereleases which had the first round of edits. I didn’t mind the changes because the original scenes weren’t lodged in my brain the same way.
Although it wound me up that by the DVD versions they had inserted scenes but couldn’t redo the lightsaber effects to be 100% consistent across all six movies – new and old.
But the bulk of the changes… whether I agree with them or not, I personally don’t have a problem with them.
Even before I saw any of the Star Wars films, I was an avid reader of books. I was used to the concept of the revised edition. I was used to the minor edits, the changes for consistency and simply a few changes to reflect where the story had got to and where the author was planning to take it next.
I’d also seen first books in the series where they hadn’t been revised. Going back to book one can be really jarring.
There have also been a lot of Director’s Cuts these days. In most cases, they’re seen as a definitive edition of a film. Whether it’s for the DVD, or something revisited years or decades after the fact. They add bits missed out. They change concepts a little. It can feel like a different film. And so often it is taken as how the film should be.
As soon as the director is George Lucas, though, and the films are Star Wars, people don’t want anything except the version they saw first. At all.
And I’ve heard people who had trumpted other Director’s Cuts as being the best (admittedly fixed) versions of films, but who will then slate any changes to the Star Wars films.
I guess the thing that winds me up a bit is that it becomes a double-standard. If you create a movie, you can go back and fix it up except if it becomes a dearly-beloved fan favourite. At which point you back off, as original is the One True Version.
And I think it all comes down to people latching hard onto certain aspects of a story. It’s what winds me up about other topics, too. The story becomes those aspects and any change (even those that serve a story) is… challenged.
Isn’t that right, Ianto?