*waves hand* Greedo /always/ shot first
February 10, 2012 9:29 AM   Subscribe

George Lucas sits down with The Hollywood Reporter: "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."

"Han Shot First" refers to a scene in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope where Han Solo meets the bounty hunter Greedo at the Mos Eisley Cantina. Han owes money to galactic crime lord Jabba the Hutt for dumping smuggled cargo. Greedo has tentatively agreed to accept a payoff from Han rather than returning him to Jabba for the bounty. Han and Greedo sit opposite each other at a table and hold an ominous conversation while Greedo aims his blaster at Han. During their conversation and unbeknownst to Greedo, Han stealthily readies his own blaster beneath the table.

In the originally 1977 version of the film, Han appears to shoot Greedo before Greedo has a chance to take a shot. The scene was modified for the 1997 rerelease to show Greedo shooting at Han and missing from across the table and Han shooting Greedo in response. The timing was further changed for the 2004 DVD release to show Han "dodging" Greedo's shot, through digital manipulation of the original image. The timing between the two shots is also shortened. For the 2011 Blu-Ray release the timing between shots was further tightened. The changes to the Mos Eisley Cantina scene are some of the most contentious updates in the Star Wars saga, in 2008 George Lucas appeared to be making peace with his detractors. Maybe all this time we as an audience were just confused. Changes to Star Wars, previously.
posted by 2bucksplus (259 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
I would never believe a damn word that George Lucas says.
posted by orme at 9:33 AM on February 10, 2012 [28 favorites]


Good God, will this man never stop fucking with those movies?
posted by I am the Walrus at 9:34 AM on February 10, 2012 [38 favorites]


Never mind the fact that I think Lucas is full of shit and has convinced himself of his own lie, having Greedo shoot first -- even if it was always supposed to be that way -- is just crappy storytelling.

And comparing his "re-edits" of Star Wars to the different cuts of Blade Runner is bullshit, too. Correct me if I am wrong, because I haven't seen every version, but the different versions of Blade Runner are just different cuts of the same movie (using footage that already existed, but now edited in slightly different ways). While some of the later cuts arguably change the story, they've never included completely new footage or effects.
posted by asnider at 9:35 AM on February 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


As always, Sean O'Neil from the AVClub has the best take on this:
Last month George Lucas, emboldened by his impending retirement from the business of blockbusters, opened up about his weariness with the complaints of Star Wars fans who have long griped about his many changes to the saga over the years—for instance, making it so that Han shoots first, to correct what was once a glaring “violation of his own naïve style.” And while that’s more explanation than George Lucas believes you deserve—and it’s already out there for public consumption, and everyone is now familiar with it—there is, of course, no reason why that explanation cannot be tweaked and improved upon after the fact. And so that's exactly what Lucas does in this new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, unveiling the newer, enhanced answer that he always intended you to see.
posted by muddgirl at 9:35 AM on February 10, 2012 [24 favorites]


Kill him with a shovel.
posted by Pendragon at 9:35 AM on February 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


Also, no one wants Han to be a "cold-blooded killer." They want him to be a cold-blooded killer who is redeemed and becomes a better and more noble person over the course of the trilogy.
posted by asnider at 9:36 AM on February 10, 2012 [43 favorites]


If you look at Blade Runner, it’s been cut sixteen ways from Sunday and there are all kinds of different versions of it. Star Wars, there’s basically one version — it just keeps getting improved a little bit as we move forward. … All art is technology and it improves every year.
Apart from this being hilarious, it's a pretty interesting psychological problem: How does this even make sense to him? Other people's revisions are just random tinkering, but his are all according to the one true version that's resided in his head all along?
posted by RogerB at 9:37 AM on February 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


THR: What’s the status of Indiana Jones 5? Steven Spielberg says he’s waiting to hear from you.

Lucas: I know, and I’m supposed to be working on it right now, but I’m talking to you instead (Laughs).


How can they make Indy 5 when there wasn't a 4th movie?

Also, SWTOR has the Shoot First ability for the Smuggler class. Just wanted to point that out.
posted by kmz at 9:37 AM on February 10, 2012 [10 favorites]


It doesn't matter what he intended, only what was in the film.
posted by Theodore Sign at 9:39 AM on February 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm kind of amazed at the way George Lucas (with the wider culture getting a strong assist) have steadily managed to shift Star Wars from Something I Enjoy Very Much to Something That Just Makes Me Tired With The Fucking Pains Of Age Every Goddamned Time I Hear About It Again.
posted by COBRA! at 9:40 AM on February 10, 2012 [48 favorites]


All art is technology and it improves every year.

This explains Episode I 3D's pumping dubstep soundtrack
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:40 AM on February 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is such an important issue.
posted by philip-random at 9:41 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not to mention, aren't the various versions of Blade Runner pretty easy to obtain? The only version of the original Star Wars movies that's readily available is a crappy non-anamorphic transfer from an out of print DVD.
posted by kmz at 9:41 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Once again, Lucas is saying to Star Wars fans, "I have altered the scenes of the original trilogy. Pray I do not alter them any further."

On a related note, Simon Pegg isn't happy about the 3D re-release of The Phantom Menace, a movie fans didn't like in a format many moviegoers hate.
posted by Doktor Zed at 9:41 AM on February 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


The director's cut of Blade Runner is a restoration of the original cut that Scott did before the studio insisted that he add the voice-over and the happen escape ending. That's a little different than the constant revising that Lucas has done to Star Wars.
posted by octothorpe at 9:42 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I do not like George Lucas. This is why.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:42 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dear god the tell all memoirs that'll come out after he croaks will be legion.
posted by The Whelk at 9:42 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm assuming kmz is being sarcastic? 1, 2, 3, 4
posted by Wretch729 at 9:42 AM on February 10, 2012


Jabba no badda.
posted by mediated self at 9:43 AM on February 10, 2012


I wonder if George will get around to replacing that scene where Indy fights the big shirtless nazi and he gets chopped up by a propeller.

He should instead decide to join Indy on his quest and be digitally added to each subsequent movie scene. He'll need a catchphrase. "Mein gott, Indy, watch out!" sounds good off the top of my head.

Make it happen, George.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:43 AM on February 10, 2012 [15 favorites]


Lucas is clearly clueless about the power of ambiguity in cinema.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:43 AM on February 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Remember that this isn't running down a little old lady, this is him shooting a bounty hunter who has a gun trained on him, and has flat out stated he's either going to turn him over to a crime lord or kill him where his sits.

Han shooting first establishes him as a foil. He's a pragmatist who's out to protect himself, he's clever and he thinks quickly in a crisis. Luke is an idealist on a larger quest who (lets face it) doesn't allways hold up well under pressure.
posted by Grimgrin at 9:43 AM on February 10, 2012 [30 favorites]


Jabba no badda.

Ho ho ho. Wonky Chewbacca.

(Jeepy jedi)
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:43 AM on February 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


HAN.SHOT.FIRST.
posted by Cosine at 9:44 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Correct me if I am wrong, because I haven't seen every version, but the different versions of Blade Runner are just different cuts of the same movie (using footage that already existed, but now edited in slightly different ways)

No, that's not true. I'm not sure why people have this rosey vision of Blade Runner and Scott, but he has "updated" the movie not unlike what Lucas has done. He's added and "fixed" things, and his excuse is the same as Lucas.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:44 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lucas is clearly clueless about the power of ambiguity in cinema.

Well, for much of The Phantom Menace it's ambiguous what the fuck he was thinking
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:45 AM on February 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


Thank God I still have the original trilogy on VHS. As well as a VHS player.
posted by Melismata at 9:45 AM on February 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


I know one of you is George Lucas. I expect to see that inserted shirtless Nazi in each scene of Temple of Doom soon.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:46 AM on February 10, 2012


On a related note, Simon Pegg isn't happy about the 3D re-release of The Phantom Menace, a movie fans didn't like in a format many moviegoers hate.

Simon Pegg's feelings on the Phantom Menace have been well-chronicled.
posted by delfin at 9:46 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thank God I still have the original trilogy on VHS. As well as a VHS player.

Me too. Except my 1997 copies have Greedo shooting first and a musical number in Jabba's palace.

Sigh.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:46 AM on February 10, 2012


So instead of shooting first, he basically should have been killed but survived only because Greedo is a bad shot. Rather than a fast thinking, bold, and at times heartless hero, he's just some lucky shmuck. Thanks George.
posted by PercussivePaul at 9:46 AM on February 10, 2012 [23 favorites]


Han shooting Greedo first was not about Han being a "cold-blooded killer". It was about Han knowing that he was a dead man (or his fate would be even WORSE than death) anyway if Greedo took him in. He knew Greedo had a gun, and defended himself preemptively. Han shooting first, to me, has always been about Han having an accurate read on the situation, and cooly doing what was necessary.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 9:47 AM on February 10, 2012 [35 favorites]


CinemaBlend found the script in IMSDB which makes no mention of Greedo shooting at all.
posted by ob1quixote at 9:47 AM on February 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


GeekDad nails exactly why this retconning is so offensive:
Then there’s the fact that it simply makes no sense at all that Greedo could have shot first. Greedo is supposed to be a professional bounty hunter. How long do you think the career, and life, of a bounty hunter in the Star Wars universe would be if he could actually miss a stationary target three feet in front of him that he’s been aiming at for several minutes? In the original version, he misses with his dying shot because — here’s the thing — he’s dying at the time, and that can really throw off your aim. There is simply no reasonable explanation for Greedo missing before Han shoots him — heck, Jar Jar could make that shot!
posted by Rock Steady at 9:47 AM on February 10, 2012 [25 favorites]


I'm past the point of caring what George Lucas does to Star Wars. He owns it, he can (and does) do whatever the hell he wants to it. I don't even care if the original versions ever get re-released in a modern format anymore. I just wish he would stop trying to justify his endless tinkering as anything but the personal whimsy of a billionaire.
posted by usonian at 9:47 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I don't tend to have really strong reactions to news of Star Wars-related fuckups but even I was a little flummoxed by this. You really have to have your head pretty far up your ass to say in any seriousness, "I gave the movie's secondary protagonist a character arc by mistake."
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:47 AM on February 10, 2012 [37 favorites]


The director's cut of Blade Runner is a restoration of the original cut that Scott did before the studio insisted that he add the voice-over and the happen escape ending.

I'm curious if anybody has an actual cite for this. NOT OF SCOTT SAYING THIS, but the actual events that went down where he was made to make Blade Runner with a narration.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:48 AM on February 10, 2012


Blade Runner versions, like Brazil versions, tell a story about the battle between director and studio over content. In each case, time allowed Scott and Gilliam to finally get the version of the movie released that they'd already created, but were reworked by the studios.

Star Wars versions are the equivalent of greatest hits records where the band or publisher includes that one new song that you can't find anywhere else just to get you to buy the album full of songs you've already heard a thousand times. And the new song is crap. (This analogy may not make sense to anyone under 30.)
posted by eyeballkid at 9:49 AM on February 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


You really have to have your head pretty far up your ass to say in any seriousness, "I gave the movie's secondary protagonist a character arc by mistake."

While I agree with you, Lucas has proved himself to mostly be a hack who got lucky a few times. I can almost believe that it was an accident.
posted by asnider at 9:50 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm curious if anybody has an actual cite for this. NOT OF SCOTT SAYING THIS, but the actual events that went down where he was made to make Blade Runner with a narration.

I wish I did, but I know it exists somewhere because I read the interview at the time the Director's cut came out. And MAN is the Director's cut an improvement over the original theatrical release.

Lucas invoking Blade Runner in comparison to his hack work on the original Star Wars movies underlines just how much of a kook the guy has become.
posted by mcstayinskool at 9:51 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Back in the day when I was an art major, I used to have these long discussions with my classmates about artist intention. One of the most devisive issues was what to do when the user/patron takes the art to a place the artist never intended. Particularly thorny was how do you as an artist be okay with people who just buy your work because it matches the couch. Regardless of what we thought of them, we did all really understand that once someone buys your work, it's theirs and how they think about, how they think about your why, that's theirs too.

We talked a lot about artist who would come back and "correct" the consumers of their art. But happily this was all before the fiasco that is Lucas. The only creators we could think of that just openly embraced the changed view of their art was Eddie Veder who never really intended the song "Alive" to be an athemn of getting through things, but he realized as people sang along at concerts that was how the fans took it.

As I've gotten older I have gotten more and more frustrated with creators who refuse to understand that once it's created, it more or less belongs to the public. George Lucas is a prime example. I think he really and truly does not comprehend why we loved his work so very much and doesn't understand that each shift, each modification only diminishes the work he created initially.

Take away from this. I loved the hell out of Star Wars as it was originally released. I did not care so much for "Alive". Now, due to how the artists' have reacted, the situation is reversed.
posted by teleri025 at 9:53 AM on February 10, 2012 [9 favorites]


CinemaBlend found the script in IMSDB which makes no mention of Greedo shooting at all.

Ouch. That is painful. This guy is so infantile he can't bring himself to admit that he changed a fictional premise.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 9:53 AM on February 10, 2012


The more and more edits and prequels and retcons that come out that are explained as the "REAL" story of Star Wars just leads me to believe that Star Wars isn't a very good set of stories after all; like the original trilogy that resonated with people for generations was only enjoyable and timeless because of a misunderstanding.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:53 AM on February 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


Meh. I'm just going to wait for the re-release of this thread when we'll all agree with Mr. Lucas.
posted by yoink at 9:54 AM on February 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


George Lucas is free to say and do whatever he wants. He's pretty much caused me to go from adoring Star Wars to no longer giving a shit about it. Shine on, you crazy diamond, I've already jumped off this train.
posted by Legomancer at 9:55 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


>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.

The alternative is that Han had his hands on his gun under the table, but decided to wait until Greedo shot at him first, in the spirit of fair play.

This alternative also requires that Greedo be a professional mercenary/hit man whose aim is so bad that he's unable to hit a man-sized target at a distance equal to the width of a bar table.

If these things were true, neither character could possibly have survived in his chosen line of work long enough to appear in the movie.

Anyway, not to clutter up the joint with Reddit links, but commenters in this thread have posted excerpts from the original Star Wars novel (by Lucas) and the screenplay (by Lucas) which make it pretty explicit that Han shot first.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 9:56 AM on February 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm curious if anybody has an actual cite for this. NOT OF SCOTT SAYING THIS, but the actual events that went down where he was made to make Blade Runner with a narration.

Well, here is Harrison Ford saying it. And remember he has no love for Ridley Scott's interpretation of the film, so his descxription of the history is probably accurate.
posted by The Bellman at 9:57 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a kid now. I might show her the laserdisc rips I have of the original trilogy, but there's no way in hell I'm going to show her the prequels.

Some Halloween, she's going to run into some kids dressed up as Clone Troopers or Jar-Jar or Queen Amidala or something, and she's going to say "What are you supposed to be?" and they'll say "I'm foo from Star Wars". She'll say "What are you talking about, that's not from Star Wars", and they'll laugh at her.

I'm sorry kiddo, it's for your own good.
posted by murphy slaw at 9:58 AM on February 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


If Harrison Ford, James Earl Jones (and David Prowse) and Alec Guinness were not in the movie, it could've been far, far worse. The other actors are fine, but those guys really elevated it.

So you got a hit because the story was fun and easy, had great technical effects and spoke to us all. And then a good director took over the 2nd movie.

So really, it honestly was probably a fluke that George Lucas made this movie and it turned out the way it did.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 9:59 AM on February 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


While we're here, can we take a moment to acknowledge that "Greedo" is a really, really lame name for a bounty hunter? I mean, Jesus Christ. Greedo? Way to stretch the creative muscles there, George.
posted by COBRA! at 10:00 AM on February 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


"You can tell Jabba I've got the unobtanium that I owe him."
posted by mediated self at 10:02 AM on February 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Seriously though. What are the specific edits that people have a problem with? Is it the Han scene? The extra aliens he inserted?

Well, here is Harrison Ford saying it. And remember he has no love for Ridley Scott's interpretation of the film, so his descxription of the history is probably accurate.

Wait, that article say that the original script planned on having a narration in there in the first place. So the original release is what was intended, except Scott changed his mind?
posted by P.o.B. at 10:02 AM on February 10, 2012


In future versions of the film, Jabba will in fact badda.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:02 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


What are the specific edits that people have a problem with?

THE MUSICAL SCENE IN JABBA'S PALACE.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 10:04 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Dang, that script makes it even more frustrating.

I mean, I'm annoyed by it, but I could accept an artist saying, "No. You don't get it. That's not what I meant." Because on some levels, art is fluid and my interpretation of gestures and words can be different from someone elses.

But dude. Lucas changes this because he himself has changed? Because he thinks that that was not a good message? Or because it wasn't well done?? AND THEN tries to pretend that it's cause WE don't get it???

Anybody who's made anything creative can look back at the work they did 20 years ago and groan. Either because your skills have grown or because it seems like an immature concept. But the point of it is, you don't get to take it back. You can hide it in an attic. You can burn it. You can never reprint it. But you don't get to take it back and pretend that it's the fault of the audience for not understanding what you "really" meant. Not when it's just because you changed.

Suck it, Lucas. Han shot first. We all know it.
posted by teleri025 at 10:06 AM on February 10, 2012 [4 favorites]



For me, the distinction between the changes to Blade Runner and the changes to SW, is that it is very easy for me to go down to Best Buy and pick up every variation of Blade Runner, each one in fairly good condition restoration-wise, on Blu-Ray, but I can't get a nice looking version of the original cut of Star Wars.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 10:07 AM on February 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


Seriously though. What are the specific edits that people have a problem with? Is it the Han scene? The extra aliens he inserted?

Off the top of my head: the Han shooting scene, the fucking stupid celebration scenes at the end of ROTJ, putting Hayden Christiansen in as the force ghost for Anakin, the stupid sound edits in the latest Bluray release. I'm sure there's others, but I'm not familiar enough with the new edits. Those are bad enough already.
posted by kmz at 10:07 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just have to say that it makes me sad that we have to explain "Han shot first" in detail. Not to mention it makes me feel really old.
posted by immlass at 10:09 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sometime in the future the George Lucas Mega-Brain Eteranal Personailty (TM) will use it's accumulated millions to fund time travel so it can insert its Final True Star Wars into the time stream back in the 70s...
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:10 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


George Lucas just keeps adding more and more credence to my personal theory that all of the best parts of the original trilogy were either accidental, the influence of wiser folk (in a time when he had so achieve some sort of consensus to get things done), or the intermittently enlightened (though unpleasant) choices that he had to make due to technological or budget constraints.

So when he was able to make a new trilogy (or "fix" things in the old one), rather than punching up all of the right things, he punched up all the wrong things. He doesn't even fully understand what was right about Star Wars in the first place -- he was just accidentally brilliant.

And that's a real shame.
posted by chimaera at 10:10 AM on February 10, 2012 [13 favorites]


I can still remember, and appreciate, what a huge thing Star Wars was when it came out in 1977, when I was thirteen, the perfect age to appreciate that movie, and with the additional set-up of having been a Trekkie literally almost as long as I can remember and keeping the flame alive through years of on-again-off-again announcements of series reboots and increasingly tattered syndication prints. The crispness of it, the rhythm and pace of the movie, the way it threw you into the deep end of what seemed like already a well-developed universe and mythology... just breathtaking. Got the comics, the Alan Dean Foster book sequel, couldn't wait for the movie sequel.

And I am here as a living witness from the mythical era known as The Seventies to tell you that not one shit was given about Han shooting first. The scene was obviously and blatantly evoking the scene where the cynical, seasoned smuggler and gunslinger gets cornered by the none-too-smart greenhorn who's so excited that he's collared the legendary Han Solo that he forgets to tell him to keep his hands where he can see them. If I had one disappointment about the movie, it was that Leia's dress didn't go see-through after the bit in the trash compactor.

Give it up, George. Thirty-five years after you changed movies forever, there are over a million people that are paying to pretend to be a part of your universe. That scab will never heal over if you keep picking at it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:15 AM on February 10, 2012 [13 favorites]


Sometime in the future the George Lucas Mega-Brain Eteranal Personailty (TM) will use it's accumulated millions to fund time travel so it can insert its Final True Star Wars into the time stream back in the 70s...

Thus causing the movies to be a failure, resulting in him not becoming super wealthy and, therefore, not being able to do this exact thing. PARADOX!
posted by asnider at 10:16 AM on February 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


The fan-restored anamorphic DVDs I have, that are sourced from the Laserdisc transfers, look pretty good upscaled to 1080p. There are new edits working from the Blu-ray or other HD sources that leave out all the "special edition" changes and later revisions, but even apart from the changes to the film, the mess the made of the underlying visuals are such a botched job that it hardly seems worth it. I'm OK with "pretty good" for right now, and there's no reason for I or any other fan need to expose themselves to any part of the post-95 tinkering.

After George dies there will be a restored version of the original films available in full HD with proper coloring and everything, I'm sure of it. He's surrounded by yes-men now but I don't think at the end of the day there is anyone who actually shares his vision or will care to preserve it once he's not the one signing their checks.

Even though the original neg has been cut up and conformed to the latter-day version of the films, it sounds like there are still ample resources available to restore from.
posted by anazgnos at 10:16 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Plinkett review has be released in 3D
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:16 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


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,

I was about to make a snark about all those janitors and technicians on the Death Star, but weren't all the janitors droids? Is there any evidence in the movie that there were any civilians on the Death Star at all? Was Timothy McVeigh even wronger than we thought?
posted by straight at 10:17 AM on February 10, 2012


Well, it’s not a religious event. I hate to tell people that. It’s a movie, just a movie.

NO ONE IS SAYING OTHERWISE YOU JACKASS

WE'RE SAYING YOU ARE MAKING YOUR MOVIE WORSE

THAT IS WHAT WE ARE SAYING

GEORGE LUCAS PLEASE I HOPE YOU ARE READING THIS SO YOU CAN KNOW I AM NOT BUILDING MY MORAL CODE AROUND AROUND YOUR MOVIE, I AM SIMPLY SAYING YOU'RE GETTING INCREASINGLY BAD AT MAKING DECISIONS

ALSO IF YOU'RE READING THIS I'M A BIG FAN OF BOBA FETT, BIG FAN

OK GOODNIGHT
posted by Greg Nog at 10:17 AM on February 10, 2012 [21 favorites]


How can they make Indy 5 when there wasn't a 4th movie?

Sure there was an Indy 4! The fact that it wasn't a movie doesn't make Fate of Atlantis any less awesome.
posted by Cironian at 10:18 AM on February 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh, FUCK NO. NO. NO. NO.

STOP FUCKING WITH MY CHILDHOOD, DAMMIT.
posted by zarq at 10:18 AM on February 10, 2012


Sure there was an Indy 4, I think it involved something about the Eye of Mara. I've been on it lots of times.
posted by anazgnos at 10:19 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I dont' see why George doesn't just release a "Theatrical Edit" blue ray version. It will sell like hotcakes. I'll get one. I think he will do just that, eventually. There's money on the table, and Hollywood can. not. let it stay there.

And, as to: So really, it honestly was probably a fluke that George Lucas made this movie and it turned out the way it did.

No. Lucas as a thin young man was right up there with Coppola and Scorsese as a film maker. As on who understood the language of movies right in his blood. (THX1138. American Graffiti.) But between Star Wars and Phantom Menace, Lucas directed exactly ZERO movies. That's twenty some odd years. He got fat and forgot how to do it.
posted by Trochanter at 10:19 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


kmz: " How can they make Indy 5 when there wasn't a 4th movie?"

Oh, if ONLY.
posted by zarq at 10:21 AM on February 10, 2012


Then there’s the fact that it simply makes no sense at all that Greedo could have shot first.

Claiming that Greedo always shot first is stupid on Lucas's part, but I'm not sure that it's a very effective counter-argument to say, "But then Star Wars would have a plot hole!"
posted by straight at 10:21 AM on February 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


COBRA!: While we're here, can we take a moment to acknowledge that "Greedo" is a really, really lame name for a bounty hunter? I mean, Jesus Christ. Greedo? Way to stretch the creative muscles there, George.

Yup, and the Calamari... really George? The fucking fish people are actually CALLED the Calamari?!?!?!

Lame
posted by Cosine at 10:21 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


, Lucas directed exactly ZERO movies

Thanks a lot for forcing me to remember "Howard the Duck".
posted by Melismata at 10:21 AM on February 10, 2012


So, I am coming to like the Star Wars prequel universe because my daughter loves The Clone Wars, and i watch it with her and it seems to have some of what made the original great. Pretty sure they keep Lucas at a distance from that though.
posted by Artw at 10:22 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, no one wants Han to be a "cold-blooded killer."

Exactly! It drives me crazy that Lucas, after all this time, still has no idea what the audience wants. The greatness of the original Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies are making less and less sense to me the more we see and hear from Lucas.

They want him to be a cold-blooded killer who is redeemed and becomes a better and more noble person over the course of the trilogy.

I don't think "cold-blooded killer" even describes the situation in which Han shoots first. A mafia hit man confronts him and he treats it as a life-or-death situation. He's a bad-ass, sure, but doesn't mean he killed someone in cold blood, does it? I always took it that he was in fear for his life.
posted by Hoopo at 10:22 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The episodes with Jar Jar Binks are even tolerable!
posted by Artw at 10:23 AM on February 10, 2012


I don't think "cold-blooded killer" even describes the situation in which Han shoots first.

Sneaky Fucker is what I got out of it.
posted by Artw at 10:23 AM on February 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


"Greedo" is a really, really lame name for a bounty hunter?

The fucking fish people are actually CALLED the Calamari?!?!?!


Porkins.
posted by radwolf76 at 10:24 AM on February 10, 2012 [21 favorites]


LucasArts has created a new digital technology that reaches inside you and molests your inner child. The other kind of digital.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:25 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


While we're here, can we take a moment to acknowledge that "Greedo" is a really, really lame name for a bounty hunter? I mean, Jesus Christ. Greedo? Way to stretch the creative muscles there, George.

"This Darth Tyranus fellow seems pretty trustworthy. He's even working with Darth Sidious, and if that's not a name you can trust, I don't know what is!"

"Well, P'hil, we do have other offers you know..."

"From who?"

"A General Betrayus and Senator IWillSleepWithYourWifeThenStabYou."

"Hrm. Send them in. Might as well consider all offers."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:27 AM on February 10, 2012 [26 favorites]


Lucas as a thin young man ... He got fat and forgot how to do it.

Your implication that there's some sort of causal relationship between Lucas's weight and his directing ability is easily as dumb as the claim that Greedo always shot first.
posted by straight at 10:27 AM on February 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


All art is technology and it improves every year.

Which is why Picasso rises from the grave every few years to add extraneous background detail to Guernica.
posted by MegoSteve at 10:28 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Lucas didn't direct "Howard". That was Willard Huyck -- the legend.
posted by Trochanter at 10:28 AM on February 10, 2012


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by jsr1138 at 10:28 AM on February 10, 2012


Oceania is at war with Eastasia ! Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia!
posted by Bwithh at 10:28 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm convinced Lucas came up with Darth Maul whilst flicking through the AD&D Players Handbook one day.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:29 AM on February 10, 2012


Your implication that there's some sort of causal relationship between Lucas's weight and his directing ability is easily as dumb as the claim that Greedo always shot first.

My claim is that he became a different man. And, I further claim that he has become a disgustingly lazy film maker. Fat and lazy.
posted by Trochanter at 10:30 AM on February 10, 2012


They focus tested Darth Flail and Darth Mattock first.
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:30 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Simon Pegg isn't happy about the 3D re-release of The Phantom Menace

When I learned Phantom Menace was getting a 3D release, my first thought was "Why not? You can't make that movie any worse."
posted by octobersurprise at 10:32 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can't say Lucas has the made right choices over the years, but I will say the re-release of THX1138 is brilliant.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:32 AM on February 10, 2012


Lucas as a thin young man was right up there with Coppola and Scorsese as a film maker.

Perhaps -- but even during the original trilogy there were signs of instability. Like an "assertive" significant other that later becomes abusive. The case in point is, of course, the Ewoks. Yub Nub was George Lucas losing his car keys.

Now he doesn't even recognize his own artistic children anymore, and is frightened and paranoid, feeling persecuted.

I JUST REALIZED THAT GEORGE LUCAS HAS ARTISTIC ALZHEIMER'S.
posted by chimaera at 10:32 AM on February 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


The impression I get is that George Lucas was a pretty good maker of movies, especially imaginative pastiches of the pulpy serials he loved as a kid. But it turned out that he's kind of terrible at being the head of multimillion dollar franchises. Basically as soon as Star Wars stopped being a fun couple movies and started being an industry, it started showing some serious cracks. It also accumulated a lot of cache in the time between original trilogy and prequels, to the point where it'd be impossible for someone in the thick of it to make something unweighted by expectation. He wasn't able to just make a movie - he also had to make another entry in the Star Wars franchise. I suspect he might have been able to do the former, especially if he swallowed his pride enough to get some extra hands on the job. He was never going to be able to do the former.

Lucas the filmmaker gave us a remake of The Hidden Fortress, full of fun and excitement and references to Metropolis and World War Two films that never felt forced. Lucas the Star Wars Guy gave us Ewoks. And it's not hard for me to see a straight line between Ewoks and Jar Jar Binks.

With all these edits, he's not trying to perfect the films. He's trying to make them cohere into a universe, a mythology. This is not something they need to do, and it would be a futile enough task even if not in the hands of someone who's really not very good at it.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:34 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


TBH I have no understanding of the whole Master/Apprentice Sith Lord thing in the slightest - so there can only be two of them? Isn't that kind of limiting? Then Darth Maul gets chopped in half and Count Dooku turns up as his repalcement - what was he doing whiclt he was waiting in the wings? Was he just a quasi-evil non-sth, non-jedi up until that point? And then he in turn has an apprentice, Asajj Ventress, who frankly is way better than any of the bad guys in the actual film, so what happens to the whole "two" thing then?
posted by Artw at 10:34 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Hey guys, how about Darth Hammer, Lucerne?"
"Keep going, George"
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:35 AM on February 10, 2012 [8 favorites]


Look, George Lucas doesn't actually think that Greedo shot first and Han shot second - he actually thinks that Greedo's gun backfired and Han didn't fire at all. He just doesn't have the technical capabilities to give that explanation yet.
posted by muddgirl at 10:38 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


While we're here, can we take a moment to acknowledge that "Greedo" is a really, really lame name for a bounty hunter?

It's not that much worse than naming your standoffish, lone-wolf character "Solo".
posted by Sing Or Swim at 10:38 AM on February 10, 2012 [5 favorites]


fearfulymmetry, that was beautiful.
posted by oddman at 10:39 AM on February 10, 2012


so what happens to the whole "two" thing then?

I always understood it that they are soooo eeevil that there could only be two otherwise they would constantly be stabbing each other in the back. Although, a smart teacher would have several students spread out at distant spots around the far reaches of space.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:39 AM on February 10, 2012


Fat men are incapable of creating great art. This is a fact supported by science.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 10:40 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


what happens to the whole "two" thing then?

Like some other bad ideas Lucas has had, when it came to the extended universe, smarter people found workarounds. It's more the "prinicple" of two -- all the bad guys in the actual stories tend to have more than one iron in the fire (though "officially" there are two), but keeping their cards close to their chest about it.
posted by chimaera at 10:43 AM on February 10, 2012


Wait, so Greedo just missed from 2 feet away?
posted by swift at 10:43 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


The thing that pisses me off immensely about Lucas's re-editing and then disappearing of the earlier versions of Star Wars is that he acts like Star Wars just emerged fully formed from his head (but somehow flawed,) when there are lots of creative people involved with the creation of the films. Marica Lucas's editing (not to mention her script suggestions,) of the first one is hugely responsible for making that movie (hell, she won an Academy Award). And she has been almost entirely forgotten by George Lucas and the Star Wars machine at large. Ralph McQuarrie's designs, Gary Kurtz's producer work on Star Wars and ESB were all instrumental in making the Star Wars movies.

Lucas wasn't surrounded by yes-men and mere functionaries. For some reason, he has forgotten that, and despite the understandable reasons he had for minimizing other people, (his divorce, the immense stress he had filming ESB, which kept him out of day to day film making for years,) there is really no excuse for his bloated ego taking credit and making Star Wars his 'singular vision.'
posted by Snyder at 10:43 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Lucas has done a handful of interesting things, but I think this is his best:

"Create a movie that people hold dear to their hearts, and then keep fucking with it every couple of years."

Gawd, if that's not the best piece of mind-fuck, long-game performance-art ever, I don't know what is. Lucas changing the movies every couple of years is 1,000 times more exciting than anything else he's done recently.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:44 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I always understood it that they are soooo eeevil that there could only be two otherwise they would constantly be stabbing each other in the back. Although, a smart teacher would have several students spread out at distant spots around the far reaches of space.

I've always found that "only two" thing weird since in the Old Republic universe there's like, a metric fuckton of Sith running around. Just looked on Wookieepedia and it looks like that rule was instituted between the time of the Old Republic and the movies, so that makes more sense now. As much as anything in Star Wars canon makes sense, anyway.
posted by kmz at 10:45 AM on February 10, 2012


I don't think George Lucas is that terrible a guy. He's kind of lame and hackneyed, but that is okay. It's not a mortal sin. People like the original Star Wars trilogy; that's fine, too. This is the age of the freaking internet. If people want to airbrush out Jabba and put in George Wendt, they can do that. Or if they want to watch it exactly as it was in 1977, they can now do that, too. Whatever. People love to have a reason to hate, so they'll come up with any excuse – including being outraged over a rich old man who likes releasing a bunch of different versions of a movie he made years ago. Whatever.
posted by koeselitz at 10:45 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


However, if someone actually manages to produce a version of Jedi where George Wendt dies in the Pit of Sarlacc, please email me.
posted by koeselitz at 10:46 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Did anyone else notice that the ad spot for the 3D release of Phantom starts will footage all from Ep IV, so at first you might actually be excited about the release.

"Nope, just fucking with you, it's actually for the crap prequel bullshit we have around and have all the digital assets for and will just re-render in 3D now."
posted by mrzarquon at 10:48 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Heh, apparently ventress is not a proper Sith but actually a Dark Acolyte:

Entry into the Dark Acolytes appeared to be relatively easy, with most capable Force-wielders being accepted without argument. However, such recruits typically remained minor players within the group until they gained Dooku's trust, either through displays of loyalty or on occasion, the rage-fueled depravity indicative of the Dark Side of the Force. Once this was gained, Acolytes were provided with more important assignments and sometimes Sith training. While not true Sith in their own right, and therefore not a violation of the Sith Rule of Two, certain members of the acolytes were provided with tutoring in certain elements of Sith knowledge and philosophy. A notable example is Asajj Ventress, who was trained in the Sith Quey'tek meditation.

That's some pretty frantic handwaving to get around a stupid rule.
posted by Artw at 10:50 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Haven't seen the Blu-ray version... Tell me, does the storm trooper still bang his head on the door?
posted by Jughead at 10:52 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Regardless of whether or not there's some vague level on which the rejiggering of Star Wars can be equated with the rejiggering of Blade Runner, there's a large, fundamental difference:

The rejiggering in Star Wars ranged from insignificant trivialities to spoiling absurdities (Greedo/Han being the latter). The rejiggering in Blade Runner made a great movie into a holy crap what a great movie great movie.
posted by Flunkie at 10:53 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is simply no reasonable explanation for Greedo missing before Han shoots him — heck, Jar Jar could make that shot!

BURN!

Actually, in all seriousness, I think Lucas is trolling the fan community on a very large and expensive scale at this point. All these re-edits and locking away of the original cuts make me wonder if he has a love/hate relationship with his Star Wars movies. Kind of a Prospero sort of thing, where he is the absolute ruler of his movies but at the same time a prisoner of the fandom. Star Wars is such a huge part of his life and legacy, he can't escape it even if he tried. He can't (or is afraid to) do anything else, so he is constantly trying to rearrange the mythology so that he can be as happy with Star Wars as the generations if fans are (or were). In that regard, I can't work up any more hate against him. If anything, I pity him at this point.
posted by KingEdRa at 10:54 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


the re-release of THX1138 is brilliant

The version where "shell dwellers" are played by the original little-people actors in some scenes, but appear as CGI monkeys in others? That re-release?
posted by RogerB at 10:55 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The rejiggering in Star Wars ranged from insignificant trivialities to spoiling absurdities (Greedo/Han being the latter). The rejiggering in Blade Runner made a great movie into a holy crap what a great movie great movie.

Well, the ever increasing steps to remove any ambiguity about Deckard being a replicant weaken it considerably, IMHO.
posted by Artw at 10:55 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jar Jar could make that shot!

Meesa think people are gonna cry!
posted by Artw at 10:55 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tell me, does the storm trooper still bang his head on the door?

The Stormtrooper hitting his head was actually a blooper and when Star Wars was released on DVD a thumping sound effect, which was not in the original release, was added as the trooper hits his head.

I hate you george.

posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:59 AM on February 10, 2012


Well, the ever increasing steps to remove any ambiguity about Deckard being a replicant weaken it considerably, IMHO.

Let it go, man... let it go....

(Though I think the tinkering for the 'special edition' of Alien was entirely unneeded and just for ka-ching)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:01 AM on February 10, 2012


The prequels and TV show also portray the Clone Troopers, who I presume became the Storm Troopers, as being competent and likable and able to make a simple shot. I wonder what happened there.
posted by Artw at 11:02 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's some pretty frantic handwaving to get around a stupid rule.

Woah, woah. It's not the Lord Bane's rule is foul, it's just that when you want to spin more stories with the Sith as antagonists, it sucks that there are only two running around.

In-universe, it makes some sort of sense, as it prevents the Bad Guys from killing each other off, but more importantly works to create an ever-improving level of Sith. If you can only kill your master when you are more powerful than them, and will yourself be killed when your apprentice is more powerful than you, then that means that each Sith in the Master seat will be incrementally more powerful than the last.

From the Wookiepedia-induced Missing Time I just experienced, I learned that Palpatine killed his Master, Darth Plagueis (sigh), off screen right before getting elected Chancellor, which means that Maul was already running around, so the Rule of Two thing was pretty much the equivalent of Google's "Don't Be Evil."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:02 AM on February 10, 2012


Let it go, man... let it go....

NEVER!
posted by Artw at 11:03 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


From the Wookiepedia-induced Missing Time I just experienced, I learned that Palpatine killed his Master, Darth Plagueis (sigh), off screen right before getting elected Chancellor

WHAT THE FUCK?
posted by Artw at 11:04 AM on February 10, 2012


If you look at Blade Runner, it’s been cut sixteen ways from Sunday and there are all kinds of different versions of it. Star Wars, there’s basically one version — it just keeps getting improved a little bit as we move forward.

There's an important distinction between the two cases.

Blade Runner was a brilliant but flawed movie at its release that became better with revisions, while Star Wars was a brilliant and good movie at its release that became worse.
posted by zippy at 11:04 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Seriously. You cannot unread that.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:04 AM on February 10, 2012


Well, the ever increasing steps to remove any ambiguity about Deckard being a replicant weaken it considerably, IMHO.
I should have been clear - I have not seen the latest version yet. I was talking about the difference between the theatrical release and the director's cut from maybe the mid-nineties or so.
posted by Flunkie at 11:04 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's some pretty frantic handwaving to get around a stupid rule.

I bet the Sith are really snobby regarding the Dark Acolytes and don't invite them to their Life Day parties or anything
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:05 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


>Also, no one wants Han to be a "cold-blooded killer." They want him to be a cold-blooded killer who is redeemed and becomes a better and more noble person over the course of the trilogy.

Yes, yes. Han is (or was, in the Theatrical cut) a professional criminal. Motivated by pure self-interest, and not by notions of right or wrong. This is what makes his change of heart all the more profound and, at the end, surprising.

If George Lucas really grasped this, he would have made Han even worse in the re-edit.
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey at 11:06 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


New dialogue for Empire: "I love you!" "I love you too! Smoochies!"
posted by Artw at 11:08 AM on February 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'm all for different versions, but I can't understand why Lucas edited Mel Brooks out of the more recent edits. That was the best version ever.
posted by the cydonian at 11:08 AM on February 10, 2012


cooly doing what was necessary.

Not only that, but the line "Yeah, I bet you have." is completely watered down if we are to believe that Greedo shot first.
posted by Brocktoon at 11:10 AM on February 10, 2012


I bet the Sith are really snobby regarding the Dark Acolytes and don't invite them to their Life Day parties or anything

It's like being a contractor at a company where the full time employees get all the perks.
posted by Artw at 11:10 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I became a Sith Master I'd be like 'sod it, you know I don't think I'll bother having an apprentice... because, you know, he's going to kill me eventually... I can handle being a loner, army of one, and all that...'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:11 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Or worse... an intern.
posted by Artw at 11:11 AM on February 10, 2012


If George Lucas really grasped this, he would have made Han even worse in the re-edit

In the InfraVioletNanoEther release of 2037, Greedo accidentally shoots himself, and Han then goes to Greedo's apartment to care for his pet cat, Fluffykins. Fluffykins is CGI and his hairballs have midichlorians and sparkle magic.
posted by zippy at 11:11 AM on February 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


I don't like all of his edits to Star Wars but I think on average they have improved the movies. Oh, and Phantom Menace in 3D is a ton of fun.
posted by muckster at 11:11 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Darth Plagueis (sigh)

Knock Knock

Who's there?

Plagueis.

Plagueis who?

Plague is probably more fun than any film George Lucas has written or directed since 1977.
posted by yoink at 11:12 AM on February 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


Plagueis just makes me think of Plague Oprah.
posted by Artw at 11:14 AM on February 10, 2012


The prequels and TV show also portray the Clone Troopers, who I presume became the Storm Troopers, as being competent and likable and able to make a simple shot. I wonder what happened there.

Hell, this stiff happened in the 1977-83 trilogy. When a dozen stormtroopers, bristling with weapons, hurry through Mos Eisley to detain the Falcon, alarmed passersby flatten themselves against the walls. Two movies later, these same guys are getting beaten up by cuddly, chirping teddy bears with sticks.

I saw the movie a bunch of times in 1977. In those days, Kenobi's portentous, "Only Imperial Stormtroopers are this accurate," did not get a laugh from the audience.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:15 AM on February 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


They still can't shoot for shit in 77.
posted by Artw at 11:16 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


New dialogue for Empire: "I love you!" "I love you too! Smoochies!"

Roger Ebert (review for ep. III): "To say that George Lucas cannot write a love scene is an understatement; greeting cards have expressed more passion."
posted by Melismata at 11:18 AM on February 10, 2012


The decay in the competence of the Stormtroopers could have the same reasoning as that in Multiplicity: A photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy probably isn't going to be too great. By the time they're taking on the Ewoks, half of the Stormtroopers are probably going around saying "Hey Steve."
posted by Flunkie at 11:20 AM on February 10, 2012


I actually think that Empires "I love you"/"I know" being repeated in Jedi but with Han saying "I love you" and Leia responding "I know" is touching and brilliant.

On the other hand everything between Padme and Anakin is Lucas rubbing two planks of wood together.
posted by Artw at 11:21 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


George Lucas is embodiment of what Steve Jobs wasn't. Jobs knows (or rather, knew) people so well that he builds what they want before they know it. Lucas knows people so poorly that when they beg him to leave a good thing alone he screws it up.
posted by dgran at 11:21 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


For the record, the Stormtroopers started having regular human recruits at some point, supplementing the surviving clones.
posted by rob paxon at 11:22 AM on February 10, 2012


Seriously though. What are the specific edits that people have a problem with?

How about all of them?

There was no world wide web in the early 1980's. No home video editing software, no YouTube for people to upload endless supercut mashup remix fake trailer homage reedit clips. A lot of people had VCRs, but movies on VHS were so expensive that generally only video rental stores (most of which charged an annual membership fee) could afford to buy them. I don't remember even hearing the phrase "Director's Cut" until much closer to the 90's; the release of a movie was what it was.

So if you were a kid of just the right age and went and saw the Star Wars movies in the theater, it was a pretty big deal. It was even a pretty big deal to rent it from the video store, because you could only watch it once or twice before it had to go back; you couldn't watch the DVD every day after school for 3 months running. Everyone has books/music/movies that made big impressions on them as a kid... if the original Star Wars trilogy was one of them, then when you look back them through those rose-colored glasses, they were perfect just the way they were. Hell, I was 8-9 years old when Return of the Jedi came out and didn't even know that the Ewoks were supposed to be uncool. (I've never been able to muster much grar over them even as a grown-up, sorry. I like ROTJ just fine because I was a kid the first time I saw it.)

So when you watch a more recent, tweaked version, the only thing all the added CGI, edits, and extra scenes do is distract. Instead of being happily immersed in a childhood favorite you're constantly saying "Wait a minute, I don't remember that part."
posted by usonian at 11:24 AM on February 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


They still can't shoot for shit in 77.

It's all relative. Compared to the BSG Cylons of that era, they are fucking stone-cold snipers! Besides, look at the Rebel troopers on Leia's ship. Those guys are even worse shots than than the Stormtroopers. Suddenly, the Greedo & Han sequence makes sense as physical comedy where the two of them are so butterfingered that their blasters are just blindly blasting away at shit. Han wasn't a good shot, he was just lucky. Somebody needs to Benny Hill-ify that shit, stat!
posted by KingEdRa at 11:25 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I actually think that Empires "I love you"/"I know" being repeated in Jedi but with Han saying "I love you" and Leia responding "I know" is touching and brilliant.

Not that George Lucas wrote or directed either of those scenes.

One does have to wonder, though, what happened to the Lucas who wrote American Graffiti. It's not as if he never had any feel whatsoever for actual human interaction. Although I guess the weakest "romantic" relationship in Graffiti is, actually, the most conventional one (between Laurie and Steve).
posted by yoink at 11:27 AM on February 10, 2012


Someone is going to discover actual real bullets in that universe someday and be a killing machine.
posted by Artw at 11:27 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not that George Lucas wrote or directed either of those scenes.

Fair point, first one was improv, no idea where the second came from.
posted by Artw at 11:27 AM on February 10, 2012


the two of them are so butterfingered that their blasters are just blindly blasting away at shit

In their defense, the blasts were deflecting off of a lot of midi-chlorians.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:29 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The version where "shell dwellers" are played by theoriginal little-people actorsin somescenes, but appear as CGI monkeys in others? That re-release?

The disparity really isn't that bad. Making the underground mutants more mutant didn't really bother me, plus the fact it's a little easier to accept the little ravenous fuckers really are dangerous enough to run from. Instead of it looking like he could've probably goose stepped through them and would've been just fine.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:32 AM on February 10, 2012


Recently I watched the new version of The Thing. Wow. There could not be a greater example of how careful use of practical effects is superior to throwing up a bunch of CG on screen for long well lit shots that the difference between that movie and the Carpenter one.
posted by Artw at 11:37 AM on February 10, 2012


Man this is so depressing. It appers that Lucas has taken it on himself to prove the Infitie Moneky Theorem on his own. He managed to make a masterpiece by just randomly playing with film. But now left on his own to keep playing with it has revealed he has no idea why any of his films oringinally worked.
posted by trojanhorse at 11:41 AM on February 10, 2012


My new crackpot theory:

Star Wars, as originally envisioned, was a samurai movie and a spaghetti western dressed up as a space opera. Lucas wanted to emulate Kurosawa, but he had to do something different from all the great westerns that emulated Kurosawa. So he came up with his own thing - Space.

As originally envisioned, Han Solo was to be, basically, Tuco from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. Luke was maybe not quite Blondie, but the good guy anyway. And there's no question that Darth Vader is totally Angel Eyes.

The cantina scene where Han shoots Greedo is an homage (or a rip-off) of the scene were Tuco is in the bathtub and shoots the guy. I'm surprised Lucas didn't have Han say something echoing "when you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk."

But then Harrison Ford was too good looking and too likable to be Tuco. And as the years went on, it became apparent that a) Han Solo was by far the best character in the Star Wars universe, and b) He just wasn't anything like Tuco.

It is clear that George Lucas appreciates and respects the importance and greatness of Han Solo: He kept Han out of the prequels completely. On the other hand, I think it's pretty clear that Lucas always thought of Han Solo as filling the same role in the story as Jar-Jar Binks: Comic relief. In the mold of a spaghetti western, it made sense for the comic relief to come in the form of poor, unfortunate, ugly, immoral Tuco.

But by the time Empire came out, the spaghetti western idea had been abandoned. Han Solo and Harrison Ford turned out to be way better than a Tuco - he was a witty, swashbuckling leading man in a way that Luke could never be.

Lucas and Spielberg then made Raiders, trying (unsuccessfully) to make a movie version of one of the old western serials. Along comes Harrison Ford and, once again, he transforms the role into something greater than was planned. But this messes with Lucas' head. He starts seeing Harrison Ford as the old western serial hero. And that's when he starts thinking Star Wars got it wrong and wanting to "fix" it. He recognized that he failed to make Han Solo the Tuco of Star Wars. But here Han was - a character outside of what Lucas could really imagine; something outside Lucas' film universe.

So, instead of embracing that and just being glad and taking credit for it, as he should have done, he twisted heaven and earth to make Han fit the archetype that does exist in Lucas' universe. If Han can't be Tuco, he's going to have to be the Lone Ranger or Lash LaRue or whatever. And the Lone Ranger doesn't shoot first. The Lone Ranger is not Tuco. He's not Blondie, either. He comes from a morally-unambiguous universe.

But the Lone Ranger isn't comic relief, either. And that's why, in the prequels, Lucas replaces Han Solo - a witty, funny character - with Jar-Jar Binks. There is no risk of Jar Jar accidentally becoming something outside of Lucas' vision.

So, what does that mean for the future? Well, Lucas is gradually going to turn Han Solo into the Lone Ranger. Future edits will change dialogue just a little bit so that Han was never really a smuggler bad guy, but was a secret agent just infiltrating Jabba's organization. After all, Han's sidekick has already been established in the prequels to have been a major ally of the Jedi in the Clone Wars. At some point in the movies or the cartoons or something, Han Solo will appear and will be recruited as an undercover operative, assigned to have Chewie as his partner. Just you wait and see.
posted by The World Famous at 11:41 AM on February 10, 2012 [37 favorites]


Dammit TWF, that theory really scares me. Mostly because it makes more sense than everything Lucas says to explain himself.
posted by CancerMan at 11:44 AM on February 10, 2012


My cousin-in-law's tattoos. Finally relevant to a metafilter discussion.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 11:46 AM on February 10, 2012


everything between Padme and Anakin is Lucas rubbing two planks of wood together.
I've wondered if that was a deliberate choice by Lucas: to have his doomed love between immature and emotionally stunted characters actually sound in dialogue like it was coming from awkward and emotionally stunted people. He could have been taking the exact opposite of the realism-vs-story tradeoff that leads to names like "Greedo" and "Solo".

Now I suppose I'll never know. I mean, Lucas may say something one way or the other in a future interview, but if he's not above transparent lies (the PercussivePaul/GeekDad logic is devastating) why would I trust him to avoid more subtle ones?
posted by roystgnr at 11:46 AM on February 10, 2012


Again, in the TV series Anankin and Padme all have personalities. Anakin is occasionally even *likeable*. It makes you wonder what the prequels would have been like if they had done that.
posted by Artw at 11:48 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


So now we know that Lucas was TRYING to make a movie like "The Phantom Menace" when he made "A New Hope". He just failed.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:55 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


So it isn't just me who has had that Clone Wars produced Prequels dream?
posted by Atreides at 12:03 PM on February 10, 2012


To be slightly fair on the stupid Darth names, don't you get to choose your Darth name when you become a Sith lord? Like how popes choose their pope name too. Presumably Darth Plagueis used to just be Sith Acolyte Bob or something.
posted by kmz at 12:04 PM on February 10, 2012


Would you sooner be Darth Tyranus or Darth Dooku?
posted by Artw at 12:05 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


My oh my, aren't we all owly? And there's still many months of hearing about the charms of GOP candidates left to endure.
posted by Twang at 12:07 PM on February 10, 2012


This alternative also requires that Greedo be a professional mercenary/hit man whose aim is so bad that he's unable to hit a man-sized target at a distance equal to the width of a bar table.

Or all Lucas had to say was Greedo was an out of work Stormtrooper or had been trained by Stormtroopers.
posted by juiceCake at 12:08 PM on February 10, 2012


While we're here, can we take a moment to acknowledge that "Greedo" is a really, really lame name for a bounty hunter? I mean, Jesus Christ. Greedo? Way to stretch the creative muscles there, George.

Father Greedo Sarducci?
posted by juiceCake at 12:10 PM on February 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


For reasons mystifying to me, a friend of mine made a t-shirt that reads, in large type:
GREEDO
SHOT
FIRST
I have one that I wear sometimes.
posted by grobstein at 12:13 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh my god, who gives a fuck? The real tragedy is that no one shot that asshole Jar Jar Binks.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 12:14 PM on February 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


There is no risk of Jar Jar accidentally becoming something outside of Lucas' vision.

Well, they try pretty hard in Darth & Droids (link basically takes you to the start of the Jar Jar storyline), where Jar Jar is roleplayed by a 7-year-old girl.
posted by muddgirl at 12:18 PM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't think "cold-blooded killer" even describes the situation in which Han shoots first. A mafia hit man confronts him and he treats it as a life-or-death situation. He's a bad-ass, sure, but doesn't mean he killed someone in cold blood, does it? I always took it that he was in fear for his life.

Fair point. I agree that calling Han a cold-blooded killer is kind of ridiculous. I was mostly playing off of what Lucas said in the interview. If we assume that shooting first makes Han a cold-blooded killer, as Lucas suggests, that still doesn't change the fact that: (a) that's not why people prefer Han shooting first, and (b) having Han shoot first makes for a better story and a more developed character.
posted by asnider at 12:18 PM on February 10, 2012


Tyler Durden was wrong. Sex is the yardstick of civlization.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:23 PM on February 10, 2012


The fine folks at Red Letter Media have released a 3D special Edition of their epic Phantom Menace Review. They have also posted out-takes and a commentary track.
posted by j03 at 12:27 PM on February 10, 2012


Kill him with a shovel.

No. Nuke him from orbit.

It's the only way to be sure.
posted by steambadger at 12:32 PM on February 10, 2012


So, what are the chances he's just saying this for all the free internet buzz he knows it'll generate, subscribing to the theory that there's no such thing as bad publicity?

The last few interviews seem specifically crafted to whip the fanbase into a frenzy. Is he just sitting there laughing to himself, "you may not be buying a ticket, but you're still quite useful for marketing purposes."
posted by radwolf76 at 12:41 PM on February 10, 2012


I'm waiting for the rerelease where Han Solo shoots every mother fucker in the cantina in cold blood and then just sits there and laughs.


Well George has changed his mind once. Perhaps he'll change it again.
posted by mazola at 1:00 PM on February 10, 2012


Or all Lucas had to say was Greedo was an out of work Stormtrooper or had been trained by Stormtroopers.

"Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise."
posted by kirkaracha at 1:01 PM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah but isn't Greedo a little short for a Stormtrooper?
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:17 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Only Imperial Stormtroopers are so precise."

Dude, Lucas made Guinness do like 500 takes of that scene, and Guinness just flat out refused to do the air quotes around "precise." You can't blame Lucas for that one.
posted by The World Famous at 1:19 PM on February 10, 2012 [6 favorites]


Apart from this being hilarious, it's a pretty interesting psychological problem: How does this even make sense to him?

Maybe when Steve Jobs died, Lucas absorbed his reality distortion field, much like when an immortal takes another's quickening.
posted by homunculus at 1:22 PM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


To be slightly fair on the stupid Darth names, don't you get to choose your Darth name when you become a Sith lord?

I imagine it's like the military, where you get the nickname you deserve, not the nickname you want. Darth Plagueis probably had terrible acne.

See also "Welcome to the team, Fumbles" (RobotChicken, violent animation, NSFW)
posted by zippy at 1:26 PM on February 10, 2012


I don't remember even hearing the phrase "Director's Cut" until much closer to the 90's;

As applied to anything actually available to the public, I think it would be the 1992 rerelease of Blade Runner. Before that I heard it applied only in theoretical terms, to distinguish what the studio had imposed on the director versus what he wanted to make (and which probably existed, if at all, as 16mm reels in a box in the director's basement). As in the legendary five-hour Director's Cut of Dune.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:32 PM on February 10, 2012


To be slightly fair on the stupid Darth names, don't you get to choose your Darth name when you become a Sith lord? Like how popes choose their pope name too. Presumably Darth Plagueis used to just be Sith Acolyte Bob or something.

We actually see only one of the Darths get his name, and he gets christened by his master. It may be something handed down via the I-suffered-now-you-will-suffer tradition, like upperclassmen hazing freshmen, or brides inflicting appalling dresses on their bridesmaids.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:35 PM on February 10, 2012


"I name you Darth Vader - as in shoulda-vaded-that-lava-flow."
posted by Artw at 1:40 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


And that's why, in the prequels, Lucas replaces Han Solo - a witty, funny character - with Jar-Jar Binks. There is no risk of Jar Jar accidentally becoming something outside of Lucas' vision.

I think Jar Jar is pretty much a swap of C3PO. Comically inept, funny-talking coward. Young Anakin is like the Real Live Boy version of R2D2. This is why the droids feel so superfluous in the prequels.

Young Obi Wan is the closest thing to Han, being a bit of a handsome rogue. He's not a lot like Han but that's more a problem with storytelling than character concept, I think. Lucas can apparently only do over the top action scenes, or very boring exposition. His characters have no idea how to just be around each other. There are no "Let the Wookiee win" moments in the prequels.

At least not that I can remember. I've forgotten a lot about those movies, and I like it that way.
posted by fleacircus at 2:17 PM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


Authorial intent is irrelevant. Each new edition of Star Wars should be considered a separate film. Taken collectively, all these disparate versions amount to a Rashomon-style unreliable recollection of the death of Darth Vader at the hands of his son. Did Han shoot first? There is no truth, so the answer is unknowable.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:19 PM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


His characters have no idea how to just be around each other.

Imagine you're kind of a geek and an introvert. Then you become Hollywood famous and many shallow ambitious people who seek your favor become your normal experience.
posted by zippy at 2:28 PM on February 10, 2012


I like the changes.
posted by George Lucas at 2:50 PM on February 10, 2012 [11 favorites]


George, you remember I told you I was gonna shoot your camera if you did this again? Give it to me.
posted by Seamus at 2:55 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like the changes.
posted by George Lucas at 2:50 PM on February 10 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


eponytragical.
posted by chavenet at 2:55 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


When my wife and I started dating she lived in Marin County close to Skywalker Ranch. Whenever we'd drive around I'd shake my fist in his direction and yell, "Curse you, Lucas!" Good times.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:12 PM on February 10, 2012


Han shoots in self-defense, sure, but what kind of message is he sending afterward? Jauntily tossing a coin "for the mess?" There may be some fans that want Han to be that kind of cold-blooded mercenary, but I expect the next re-release to be much closer to Lucas's original vision of a remorseful Han falling to his knees, clutching at the air, and shouting "Nooo".
posted by ormondsacker at 3:40 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Here! Take this dirty money! If only it would bring you back!"
posted by muddgirl at 3:43 PM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm kind of amazed at the way George Lucas (with the wider culture getting a strong assist) have steadily managed to shift Star Wars from Something I Enjoy Very Much to Something That Just Makes Me Tired With The Fucking Pains Of Age Every Goddamned Time I Hear About It Again.

Seriously. Think back to say, 1989. Think back to then and remember where you thought the Star Wars movie story/universe/franchise would go.

Certainly not here, wherever we are.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:44 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


The next edit will have dubbed audio with Han radioing his superior in the Secret Rebel Spy Service to tell him that Greedo has been eliminated but that his cover is still intact.

The edit after that will have a CGI close-up of his eyes getting a little watery.

And the next one after that will replace the blaster shot with a well-placed karate chop to the neck and then Han positioning an unconscious Greedo as if he has passed out from drinking too much chocolate milk.
posted by The World Famous at 3:46 PM on February 10, 2012


In the UK, the TV adverts for the 3D re-release are appended to ads for (and presumably paid for by ) EA's Star Wars; The Old Republic MMO. No footage: a static screen and a v/o. 'Oh, and we made a movie. Well, we remade it. If you liked it last time you'll probably like it again.' That kind of thing.

Look, my daughter is four and she is really interested in the whole Star Wars thing, spurred entirely by a very short Clone Wars book. She's not seen any of the films yet, nor any of the Clone Wars TV series, and yet she already knows that Anakin—the guy she's supposed to be rooting for through Clone Wars and the first three movies chronologically—turns out to be Darth Vader, the bad guy so bad that he appears in TV adverts and halloween costumes.

Thankfully she is pragmatic and also a girl: she's stopped caring about Anakin and instead likes and pretends to be Ahsoka, Anakin's apprentice, who is kick-ass. But she's already had the first three movies comprehensively spoilered for her because Lucas is an incompetent storyteller, as I've noted here before.

In passing: Sing or Swim said that Lucas wrote the novelisation of Star Wars. He didn't, it was Alan Dean Foster, who then wrote Splinter of the Mind's Eye as the basis for a low-budget sequel if the original movie had not done well.
posted by Hogshead at 3:50 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


All kids love Ahsoka, it's the law.

Um, Ahsoka isn't in Revenge of Sith, but theoretically she'd be one of the Jedi gunned down by Clones. I wonder how many little hearts figuring that out is going to break.
posted by Artw at 3:59 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


(She also really likes Anakin, even if he's kind of up himself, AND grows up to be Space- Hitler. As I say, he's got a lot more character in the cartoons.)
posted by Artw at 4:01 PM on February 10, 2012


((She being my own Star Wars obsessed daughter.))
posted by Artw at 4:14 PM on February 10, 2012


We should have known. We should have know in 1977, when Han Solo blurts out the line about making the Kessel run in "parsecs".

I know that line has been dissected and rationalized a billion times since then. But it is what it is, it's a goof and it was arrogantly dismissed by the man who made it - George Lucas. He continues with his nonsense to this day.

There were a couple of recent interviews with Steven Spielberg about Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, and it's pretty clear to me that he laid some blame right at Lucas' feet. Where it belonged. Because he clearly deserves it. Because he is a pompous goof.
posted by Xoebe at 4:26 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think we'll probably go through the Clone Wars stuff when shes' a couple of years older, and then I'll give her the choice of either watching the prequels and then the originals, with the warning that the former are not very good, or the originals and then the prequels.

A friend of mine introduced his kids to the Star Wars movies in story-chronological order, and it did not go well.

The thing about my daughert's exposure to the Anakin/Vader spoilerage is that... it would have happened at some point, but she was in a playground with a couple of her friends who were kind of Star Wars-oblivious, so she was 'I'll be Ashoka, and you be Artoo, and you be Captain Rex and you–' me '–be General Grievous and you–' the father of one of the friends '–you be Anakin.'

And he looks down at her and says, 'Why would I want to be Anakin? He grows up to be Darth Vader.'

She was stopped in her tracks, pretty much, and it took her a few seconds to assimilate this piece of information, and then the game carried on. But there were some tricky questions for me to answer that bedtime, and for several nights afterwards. Explaining how Anakin becomes Vader without spoiling the films any further is hard. There should be a page on parenting websites explaining how to talk about it. Seeing a dead animal or bird, loss of a cherished toy, a friend moves away, the death of elderly relative, finding out that Anakin becomes Darth Vader. These are the things that shape us.
posted by Hogshead at 4:35 PM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


India saw Star Wars age 4, and didn't see anything else for ages because we were worried about Empire being too dark. But she was obsessed with it and begged us for some Doreen Kindersley books, at least two of which just flat out spoil it Re:Anakin. We tried not reading her those bits, but well meaning relatives did and that was that.

We only watched Empire once. We were right about it being too dark for her. Still, it's fun to do Vader voice and tell her "India, I *am* your father!", which she hates and squirms at, but in a fun way.
posted by Artw at 5:03 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I might show Eliza the original Star Wars, or whatever version of it I can get on DVD—have a little party for her and a couple of her friends who play Star Wars but have never seen it. Empire is definitely too dark for her, and also has that cliffhanger—she likes her stories to finish, she hates dangling plots or unended business.

But I've got her hooked on Studio Ghibli stuff right now, and we're taking the discs from my Japanese box-set with no English voice-track to encourage her reading, so I'll hold off for a while. (We have the dubbed versions too, but they're on a high shelf. I am sneaky.)
posted by Hogshead at 5:30 PM on February 10, 2012


For the prequels, someone should have tied Lucas up in a basement and gotten the people who wrote the Knights of the Old Republic game to do the script.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:38 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


chimaera: "The case in point is, of course, the Ewoks. Yub Nub was George Lucas losing his car keys. "

Yeah, you know what? I was a young kid, and I frikken loved the Ewoks. I still cry when that one Ewok tries to get the other Ewok to get up off the ground.

I still haven't gotten around to seeing the revisionist New Hope, but my two least favorite modifications that I've seen are both in RoTJ and they are, in order:
  1. The horrific Sarlac transformed into Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors (seriously, what the hell)
  2. No Yub Nub
That galactic disco orgy that replaced Yub Nub is a travesty. A travesty, I tell you!
posted by Deathalicious at 6:01 PM on February 10, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wait, you thought the original Styrofoam Sarlac looks good? Jim Henson could've took a dump and it would've looked better. Ya' know I can't help but think Lucas did improve some of the effects.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:27 PM on February 10, 2012


Being born in 82, ewoks and their spinoff movie occupy a non trivial portion of my childhood memories.
posted by mrzarquon at 6:36 PM on February 10, 2012


He has altered the deal, and though we prayed he wouldn't alter it further, he did.

George thus establishes himself as worse than Vader, who I don't believe did any further altering.
posted by flaterik at 6:38 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


He knew Greedo had a gun, and defended himself preemptively. Han shooting first, to me, has always been about Han having an accurate read on the situation, and cooly doing what was necessary.

That's what I said about Iraq!

- GW Bush
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:35 PM on February 10, 2012


I learned that Palpatine killed his Master, Darth Plagueis (sigh), off screen right before getting elected Chancellor

myheadisfulloffuuuuu.jpg
posted by obiwanwasabi at 8:41 PM on February 10, 2012


There is of course a wiki page.
posted by Artw at 9:35 PM on February 10, 2012


it honestly was probably a fluke that George Lucas made this movie and it turned out the way it did.

His brilliant editor and wife Marcia helped a lot. The Secret History of Star Wars has a great, long article about the overlooked contributions of Marcia Lucas' editing of Star Wars. She had just finished supervising the editing of Scorsese's Taxi Driver and is a big part of the reason the original movie works so well; it's a shame her role has been downplayed since the two of them divorced. The section "From Scorsese to Star Wars" in that article is great if you've never read it; she's responsible for the idea of killing Obi Wan-Kenobi, e.g.

Marcia was always critical of Star Wars, but she was one of the few people Lucas listened to carefully, knowing she had a skill for carving out strong characters. Often, she was a voice of reason, giving him the bad news he secretly suspected..."She wasn't afraid to say she didn't understand something in Star Wars or to point out the sections that bored her." She kept her husband down to earth and reminded him of the need to have an emotional through-line in the film. Mark Hamill remembers: "She was really the warmth and heart of those films, a good person he could talk to, bounce ideas off of."

As Hamill has also noted, she wasn't afraid to tell George if he was headed in a questionable direction..."Marcia was very opinionated, and had very good opinions about things, and would not put up if she thought George was going in the wrong direction. There were heated creative arguments between them--for the good." When Lucas was having difficulty coming up with ideas or ways of solving scenes and characters, he would talk about it with her; she even helped come up with killing off the mentor figure of Ben Kenobi when Lucas couldn't resolve the character in the last quarter of the film.


[short version for those who don't want to read the whole thing: 3 Ways George Lucas' Ex-Wife Helped Star Wars]
posted by mediareport at 9:43 PM on February 10, 2012 [7 favorites]


Lucas as a thin young man was right up there with Coppola and Scorsese as a film maker. As on who understood the language of movies right in his blood. (THX1138. American Graffiti.)

Not to belabor the point, but Marcia Lucas was also a major reason for the success of American Graffiti:

Marcia argued George out of his original approach to the structure of the film, which depended on a more rigid construction of cross-cutting the different narratives, and she also was crucial in giving scenes longer time to breathe, as Lucas then insisted on cross-cutting much more frequently (as seen in Attack of the Clones--Marcia's criticism was that the scenes either never developed or they lost their dramatic momentum by aborting so quickly).

....For the next cut, Marcia listened attentively to George and made the film the way he instructed. It was a disaster. Because of the interlocking narrative structures, the film could not simply be trimmed up in a conventional sense because removing one scene, or part of a scene, affected the next narrative thread and threw off the rhythm of the film. Lucas remarks: "You literally can have a film that works fine at one point, and in one week you can cut it to a point where it absolutely does not work at all." Now it was Marcia's turn at bat--she took over and re-cut the film on her own this time, while George worked with Walter Murch on the sound design.

By January 1973, Marcia had assembled the film for a test screening. The release would be controversial--the test audiences absolutely loved the film, yet the studio executives thought it was terrible. Lucas was heartbroken as Ned Tanen called the film "unreleasable," but Coppola defended Lucas at the screening, offerring to buy the film from Tanen and whipping out his chequebook to make the deal on the spot (after Tanen slinked away, he and Coppola didn't speak for another twenty years). George was devastated by the studio's negative reaction. Marcia believed in American Graffiti and was irritated by her husband's inability to fight for his movie, but he didn't seem to share in her confidence. At the same time, Marcia realised the reality of the situation: "George was just a nobody who had directed one little arty-farty movie that hadn't done any business. He didn't have the power to make people listen to him."

Eventually, the film was released, though the studio trimmed off a couple minutes of footage. It nonetheless won rave reviews--while most of the post-Easy Rider films of the "New Hollywood" wave of filmmaking had done relatively unremarkable box-office, American Graffiti was a powerhouse hit that was an absolute audience-pleaser.

posted by mediareport at 10:03 PM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


So in short, Marcia Lucas is who all the Star Wars nerds should be thanking for crafting the impactful artistic experience of their childhood, not George Lucas. Because without her, Star Wars would have never been more than what the Prequels are now.

And, George Lucas, being the spoiled manchild that he is, has been trying to 'regain control' of the films he knows were so powerfully shaped by his ex wife who he chooses to forget, instead of acknowledging her superior ability at story telling and narrative construction.

So whenever you read about George Lucas talking about Star Wars as he envisioned it, just imagine a redneck in a tshirt burning his ex-wifes stuff on his front lawn.
posted by mrzarquon at 11:01 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would actually literally let Harrison Ford fuck out both of my eyes just to get him on record as saying "Yeah, while we were filming the scene George Lucas specifically came up to me and told me multiple times 'Okay so there's this bounty hunter called Greedo, and he's after your head, but you're not interested in his shit so you are going to blast him first, right?' George Lucas said that to me multiple times while we were filming the scene, that my character, Han, shoots him first."
posted by tumid dahlia at 2:53 AM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Infomania: Star Wars
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:27 AM on February 11, 2012


Han shot first

I think we all know that what killed Greedo was his laser beam ricocheting off the wall behind Han. Han's hand was under the table, yes, but he was Tweeting. It's just mobile phones and Twitter didn't exist back then so Lucas was waiting for human civilization to catch up. His buddy Spielberg was like "Why don't you just make Han's gun a walkie-talkie like I did?" and George gave him a pitying look. "No, Steven, I am doing something...bigger here." And if you look close in the rerelease, you'll see that yes, Han is on the Tweets. He is also recognised as mayor of the Mos Eisley Cantina on Foursquare.
posted by tumid dahlia at 3:29 AM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Infomania: Star Wars

Click on the 'bullet holes' for additional stuff
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:35 AM on February 11, 2012


I think it's odd that everybody seems to agree that Lucas is a totally incompetent dweeb and any random nerd on the street could have vastly improved his movies, yet somehow the amount of time people invest in talking about Star Wars stands in no relation to its supposed awfulness. In the last 40 years -- or probably, ever -- nobody else has even come close to creating an equally powerful and original world, straight for the cinema, independently, on his own terms, with unbelievable success. Star Wars *is* our global pop mythology at this point, and no matter what everyone thinks, Lucas has done a *ton* of things right he's never getting credit for in these internet hate fests.
posted by muckster at 6:22 AM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lucas and Spielberg then made Raiders, trying (unsuccessfully) to make a movie version of one of the old western serials.

I actually (coincidentally) watched Raiders of the Lost Ark last night, with this conversation in mind, and something that I never noticed is that, Jones regularly shoots first.

Lucas has done a *ton* of things right he's never getting credit for

We don't give him credit for them because he doesn't even know what he did right - he's like the M. Night Shyamalan of the 80s. It was either a happy accident or someone else's idea. I give him mad props for befriending some amazing people, I guess.
posted by muddgirl at 6:55 AM on February 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's the kind of hubris I'm talking about -- you know exactly what Lucas did right and where he went wrong, but he doesn't have a clue? You know for a fact that every single thing that's good about Star Wars was fed to him by more talented friends? I take it you were pretty tight with him in '77, then?
posted by muckster at 7:54 AM on February 11, 2012


I actually (coincidentally) watched Raiders of the Lost Ark last night, with this conversation in mind, and something that I never noticed is that, Jones regularly shoots first.

Yup. I mean Indy is a mild mannered history professor, not a career criminial like Solo, and he hesitates for about a second before blowing away that crazy sword dude.
posted by PenDevil at 8:51 AM on February 11, 2012


Actually, Indy sort of is a career criminal. He's awesome, but totally a criminal.
posted by The World Famous at 9:51 AM on February 11, 2012


From the interview, discussing Yoda...

we had to use the puppet, but the puppet really wasn’t as good as the CGI.

ROFL LMAO OMFG
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:50 AM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It appears that Han isn't the only character Lucas 'whitewashed'...

“In Revenge of the Sith, there was a scene that was cut where [Jar Jar is] walking down a long pathway with Ian McDiarmid before he is turned into the Emperor. And Palpatine kind of thanks Jar Jar for putting him in power. It’s a really interesting scene, and it shows the evolution of Jar Jar from this fun-loving kid’s character into this manipulated politician. And it was an interesting arc for the character that I thought could have been explored, because the scene is really dark. But it just didn’t fit in the movie, which I understand.”
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:55 AM on February 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


That's the kind of hubris I'm talking about -- you know exactly what Lucas did right and where he went wrong, but he doesn't have a clue? You know for a fact that every single thing that's good about Star Wars was fed to him by more talented friends? I take it you were pretty tight with him in '77, then?

Please stop putting words into my mouth. I watch movies, I read essays, and I judge things as I can - the Star Wars movies weren't made in a vacuum.

No one has said that 'they can do better' than Lucas - that's an assumption about our motivations that you are making.
posted by muddgirl at 11:32 AM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Was it not already clear that Jar Jar's fuckwittedness was part of the rise fo the Empire? I'm not sure it really needed further underlining.
posted by Artw at 12:11 PM on February 11, 2012


To be more clear:

(1) Lucas makes a great movie called Star Wars. It is beloved by many,
(2) Lucas reveals that he had to make many compromises the first time, so he re-edits the movie.
(3) Most fans agree that the re-edits do not improve the movie.

In other words, by his own admission, Lucas' 'original vision' for the movie was worse than what was actually put on screen. This is the very definition of a 'happy accident.'

In all this, I have made no attempt to say that I would have done better than Lucas. I started from the position that Lucas made a great movie. Because he did. Lucas is the one who is basically saying that the movie sucked and that he could have done better. Lucas is the hater.
posted by muddgirl at 12:27 PM on February 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Now who's assuming motivations? Look, I get it that "most" fans don't like the re-edits, but whether they improve the film or not is debatable on their own terms. Personally, I would rather not see the octagonal matting used to make the spaceship effects, or I don't mind an extra effect to smooth out a scene. Scott did the same things to Blade Runner. Did Lucas go a little crazy beyond covering up some of the seems and edges, yeah, sure. Does that make me think he had nothing to do at all with the success of Star Wars, no, because that's getting into crazy territory. The guy had a couple of good ideas when he was young, and now his creativity is fairly stale and he doesn't allow others to help as much as they should.
posted by P.o.B. at 12:50 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Star Wars, the original film, had great potential. The world that was created was done well, the sound effects were great, and though the story wasn't Orson Welles or Bergman, it was, nonetheless, a nice adventure story. Much of this is what makes the Clone Wars animated show (both the first 2D one and the current 3D one) enjoyable.

Empire Strikes Back wasn't bad either.

But after that I personally find the series to be quite awful, except the sound. I still remember how astoundingly terrible the Phantom Menace was when I saw it. I truly couldn't believe it.

I think it is must discussed because the potential was so great and then squandered beyond description. It is said that great writers, poets, painters, artists of all sorts continue to work on the same vision repeatedly, because they just can't quite find the words, the images, the sounds to convey that vision. The same is true of those of us who write and discuss just how awful the Star Wars franchise became. We keep attempting to capture it but words fail. The struggle continues.

We've seen similar declines in franchises with great promise (the new Battlestar Galactica) and great history (Doctor Who). Both turned to shit basically.
posted by juiceCake at 1:32 PM on February 11, 2012


This stuff with Marcia Lucas is really interesting. I hadn't heard it before. However, as to my contention that George was, in those early years, a movie maker worthy of respect -- I don't think whether he collaborated and took Marcia's and other people's input should lessen how he's viewed as a young auteur. It's a truism that film is the most collaborative of mediums.

We should remember that although Marcia made her various fine suggestions, it was still George's call. And he took the advice. He made the right call.


Also, this part of the quote oneswellfoop posted made me laugh:

“In Revenge of the Sith, there was a scene that was cut where [Jar Jar is] walking down a long pathway with Ian McDiarmid..."


Good God! HOW many scenes of people walking down corridors were in those three movies!? Slo-o-o-owly walking, and plot plot plot plot (But really not even plot! Just stupid back-story exposition exposition exposition) Those movies are a blight.

But anyway, my main point is that the bloated, self-satisfied Lucas of today is NOT THE SAME MAN who made that great movie, "A long time ago... ","...far, far away."
posted by Trochanter at 1:40 PM on February 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


"(Doctor Who)...turned to shit basically."

I don't think you'll get quite as much agreement on that assertion.
posted by flaterik at 1:43 PM on February 11, 2012


I don't think you'll get quite as much agreement on that assertion.

That's fine. I'm not looking for agreement. In my personal circle many are in agreement with me, and there are some on the Internet as well. But agreement or not, it matters about as much as if I got up at 7:20 instead of 7:21 today.
posted by juiceCake at 1:56 PM on February 11, 2012


That's the kind of hubris I'm talking about -- you know exactly what Lucas did right and where he went wrong, but he doesn't have a clue? You know for a fact that every single thing that's good about Star Wars was fed to him by more talented friends?

Sometimes it's hard to tell whether someone is smart and knows what they're doing or not, especially through the filter of the media. And smart people make stupid mistakes sometimes. But there are some kinds of mistakes that seem very revealing. You think, "Someone who is smart and knows what they're doing would never make THAT kind of mistake. That's the sort of mistake a clueless person makes."

George Lucas has made several of those kinds of mistakes.
posted by straight at 1:56 PM on February 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Good God! HOW many scenes of people walking down corridors were in those three movies!?

So many, so very many. The first twenty minutes of Phantom Menance is ALL boring conversation.

The weirdest thing about how wordy these movies are is that back in the day Lucas seemed to have a great understanding of storytelling through action and music cues to the point where Star Wars could almost be a silent movie and you'd pretty much guess it - the dialogue there is not really all that much less hammy and ridiculous, but there's far less of it, and because you're invested in it you'll just go with it.
posted by Artw at 5:31 PM on February 11, 2012


So many, so very many. The first twenty minutes of Phantom Menance is ALL boring conversation.

While a lot of the first hour of the movie is dialogue, there is a big lightsaber battle on a ship between Qui Gon, Obi Won and a bunch of bots within the first 10 minutes.
posted by zarq at 6:51 PM on February 11, 2012


A boring one.

(A spaceship also blows up. That is somehow rendered boring too.)
posted by Artw at 6:57 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I rewatched the Plinkett review (in 3D!) and it reminded me that the problem with the first film is not Jar Jar, he's annoying as fuck but at least he has a character. The human characters are so poorly defined and flat-out boring and the plot so muddy you just have no investment in the fights that occur no mater how spectacular the effects and choreography.

The start of Star Wars is probably one of the best in all cinema - you are thrown into the thick of the action but it is laid out so well - big ship chasing little ship, 'stormtroopers' led by guy in evil armour attacking ordinary joes - you are involved in it straight away. Phantom has none of that in any part of the film.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:50 AM on February 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Now who's assuming motivations?

I'm actually not. My comment was based entirely on what George Lucas has said about his motivations. He may be lying, but THAT would be an assumption.
posted by muddgirl at 6:56 AM on February 12, 2012


Lucas is the one who is basically saying that the movie sucked and that he could have done better. Lucas is the hater

I'm not trying to make this about you, but that sentence is blatantly making assumptions about Lucas' motivation.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:58 PM on February 12, 2012


And if you really want to continue this any farther, please show where Lucas says "Star Wars sucked" and he "hates" it.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:03 PM on February 12, 2012


P.o.B., I think you may have a different understanding of the meaning of the word "basically" than many of the rest of us.
posted by The World Famous at 9:27 AM on February 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, jeez. Lucas did say those things? No, he didn't. So it was figurative speech, not literal. The word was used as a rhetorical device to persuade. Also see: hyperbole. It's been done by several people in this thread, and it's not that big of a deal. I personally don't care, but I though it was funny that muddgirl resorted to the idea that it's basically wrong to intuit other peoples thoughts. Except in her very next comment, muddgirl does the exact same for Lucas.

As much as I would like to defend the idea that I understand plain English, maybe you can explain how what I said is wrong or what muddgirl said is right?

Or don't. With your comment, this discussion has fully launched into Ludicrous Speed and we've gone plaid. Perhaps next we could discuss whether "comb the desert" basically means getting a giant comb and running it over the dunes?
posted by P.o.B. at 11:14 AM on February 13, 2012


You asked someone to cite sources for specific quoted language, where they had not alleged that those statements were quotes. I figured you just didn't notice (or understand) that they said "basically" in order to convey that, although Lucas did not actually make those exact statements, the statements that he did make seemed to imply or mean those things.

I apologize for assuming that you were sincere in your demand that muddgirl show you where lucas says "Star Wars sucked" and he "hates" it.
posted by The World Famous at 11:19 AM on February 13, 2012


the statements that he did make seemed to imply or mean those things.

Maybe, but either/or it is imputing motivations that very well may not exist.

I'm not a big enough Lucas fan to seriously defend him, but I am a little gobsmacked at the defense of the conversation.

I mean, you're not going to catch me denying that I said "gobsmacked" in my very next comment as a rebuttal, but to each their own I guess.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:41 AM on February 13, 2012


Honest Trailers: Phantom Menace 3D
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:02 AM on February 14, 2012


Good defense of the prequels [mp3 link] by Josh Larsen at Filmspotting.
posted by muckster at 12:50 PM on February 14, 2012


Then Darth Maul gets chopped in half and Count Dooku turns up as his repalcement - what was he doing whiclt he was waiting in the wings?

And now, Maul is back. I guess Obi-Wan actually missed, it only looked like he cut Maul in half, just as it only looked like Han shot Greedo first.
posted by homunculus at 10:23 AM on February 18, 2012


What? Fuck that noise.
posted by Artw at 10:29 AM on February 18, 2012


I guess if you're cut in half and that wound is immediately cauterized (in the same manner that those folks who get run over by a train through the midsection survived for a brief time), there's probably a window with the medical technology of the Star Wars universe to preserve your life.

Yeah. Stretching it, but, it is the rear kickin' folks at Clone Wars who are doing it.
posted by Atreides at 10:14 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but they don't even NEED to bring him back - theyhave their own kick-ass characters that are BETTER.

Also, to be Star Wars consistant he's going to need robo-legs and a robo-groin.
posted by Artw at 10:19 AM on February 19, 2012


I guess if you're cut in half and that wound is immediately cauterized (in the same manner that those folks who get run over by a train through the midsection survived for a brief time), there's probably a window with the medical technology of the Star Wars universe to preserve your life.

Or just say... 'The Force did it'

Also, to be Star Wars consistant he's going to need robo-legs and a robo-groin.

There you go.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:54 AM on February 19, 2012


Do not underestimate the power of the Force?
posted by Atreides at 12:08 PM on February 19, 2012


Do not underestimate the power of the Force?

Well from my quick glances at Wookieepedia (it's not quite the supermassive black hole of tv topes but still dangerous so caution is advised) it seems to be very handy for extended universe comic book and novel hacks' plot problems
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:07 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another good piece defending Phantom Menace, by Aaron Aradillas:
What’s shocking about The Phantom Menace is just how stately it looks compared to something like, say, Transformers. Lucas, a student of silent movies and cliffhangers, still believes in the action happening within the frame. He doesn’t go for fast cutting and arbitrary jump-cuts. This allows him to do a slow build that, seen today, is kind of refreshing. Believe it or not, The Phantom Menace dares to take its time. You’re allowed to take in the visuals. You aren’t being forced to scan the frame in the hopes of not missing anything before the next edit. The detail of the city-planet Curoscant [sic] or the desert vistas of Naboo have a tactile quality that is rare in today’s all-CGI-all-the-time filmmaking.
posted by muckster at 1:33 PM on February 21, 2012


Lucas, a student of silent movies and cliffhangers, still believes in the action happening within the frame.

So, I forked over the money to take my kids to Phantom Menace 3D, so I think I saw it recently enough that I'm qualified to comment on this:

Silent movies and cliffhangers? Action happening within the frame? Come on! A good 70% of The Phantom Menace consists of people either talking to each other while they walk down hallways or sitting around stroking their chins as they discuss diplomacy in board meetings.
posted by The World Famous at 1:38 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, how did your kids like it?
posted by muckster at 1:51 PM on February 21, 2012


Well, how did your kids like it?

I'm not sure. I slept through most of it and they ate all the popcorn. They didn't complain.
posted by The World Famous at 1:57 PM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess you slept through the other 30%?
posted by Atreides at 7:12 PM on February 21, 2012


I remember drifting off at the beginning of the podrace and waking up to see the transaction between Qui Gon and Watto, then falling asleep again just as Natalie Portman was bataranging up the side of that building in Napoli. I woke up again in time to see the lizard guy holding the glowy ball. So yeah.
posted by The World Famous at 11:10 PM on February 21, 2012


WHAT IF "STAR WARS: EPISODE I" WAS GOOD? (Belated Media)
posted by homunculus at 3:16 PM on February 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Robo-Maul makes a showing in that, I see.
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on February 24, 2012


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