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February 26, 2012 8:50 PM   Subscribe

The correct viewing order for the Star Wars movies. Aka Machete order.
posted by blue_beetle (156 comments total) 80 users marked this as a favorite

 
Isn't the correct viewing order Episode IV, Episode V, Episode VI?
posted by madcaptenor at 9:10 PM on February 26, 2012 [77 favorites]


For people that couldn’t care less about the prequel trilogy, I suggest Harmy’s Despecialized Editions. They are 720p blu-ray discs (AVCHD discs actually) that are the result of “Harmy” from The Original Trilogy forums painstakingly reconstructing the theatrical releases of all three films utilizing a wide variety of video sources as well as custom mattes. Downloading, burning, labeling, and printing cases for these films is one of the neckbeardiest things I’ve done (aside from writing this blog post), and I’m extremely glad I did it. When I feel like watching Star Wars for just me, these are the ones I watch. If that’s enough for you as well, stop reading now.
posted by kenko at 9:14 PM on February 26, 2012 [23 favorites]


Metafilter: on the off chance that this catches on because I’m a vain asshole.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 9:14 PM on February 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Not another Star Wars thread!
posted by George Lucas at 9:18 PM on February 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


The major flaw in this analysis is in thinking I, II, or III should be watched in any order.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:24 PM on February 26, 2012 [14 favorites]


This is pretty good.
posted by Defenestrator at 9:32 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Please, people. We can stop this crazy train now. Don't show these movies to your children. They will be fine without Star Wars.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:32 PM on February 26, 2012 [15 favorites]


If you have to include some prequel, this is a clever way to preserve tension and mystery.

However, I thought the only worthwhile part of the prequels was the Darth Maul battle scene in Episode I. I'd go IV, V, clip of the Darth Maul battle scene as sort of a short/intermission, VI.
posted by ignignokt at 9:34 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you’re watching the original trilogy first, then after the Empire is destroyed and everyone is celebrating, Luke looks over at his mentors, Ben Kenobi and Yoda, and suddenly they are joined by… some random creepy looking teenager who needs a haircut. Placing Hayden Christensen in the ending of Jedi, since he’s not in ANY of the other films, turns an ending that should be celebratory into one that is confusing for the viewer.

I know i havent seen Return of the Jedi in a long time, but what am I missing? Hayden Christensen wasn't even alive when it came out.
posted by desjardins at 9:39 PM on February 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I know i havent seen Return of the Jedi in a long time, but what am I missing? Hayden Christensen wasn't even alive when it came out.

George Lucas has altered the film you saw.
posted by kenko at 9:40 PM on February 26, 2012 [22 favorites]


What.
posted by desjardins at 9:40 PM on February 26, 2012 [92 favorites]


Dropping I is a really good suggestion - he's actually right about how little is lost.

We went IV, V, VI and then Clone Wars, with no prequel movies, and it's worked out pretty well.
posted by Artw at 9:41 PM on February 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


He was added in later by Lucas, desjardins. Here's the scene.

That unpleasantness over, the linked article is really great. Geekery done right.
posted by mediareport at 9:42 PM on February 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


This is pretty brilliant, and it's interesting to think how the prequels and special editions have, in their own way, inspired huge amounts of creative output.

The original trilogy gave us a vast universe of imagination; the new stuff, a vast universe of snark and regret. Someone probably owes someone royalties.
posted by saturday_morning at 9:43 PM on February 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


@mediareport yes, but there's always been a guy there to represent Jedi Anakin. I don't see what the big deal is replacing the old standin with the actor who actually got to play him in the prequels.

They did the same thing with the holo of the Emperor IIRC. You know, they transmission they left the asteroid to receive. When they actually cast the Emperor for Ep VI they reshot his side of the conversation and edited it into Ep V.
posted by sbutler at 9:45 PM on February 26, 2012


This article doesn't explain where the porn parody episode fits in the sequence.
posted by Ritchie at 9:48 PM on February 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


My wife from Asia watched the original films for her first time a few years ago with a friend and I. We got to the I'm your father part in ESB and she had the most shocked look on her face, shouted out "really", and then a bunch of loud Chinese. My friend and I both fell on the ground laughing hysterically and had to pause the movie until we could compose ourselves. I guess from an outside perspective it really is quite shocking. She was confused about what we found so funny.
posted by dibblda at 9:49 PM on February 26, 2012 [25 favorites]


If you’re watching the original trilogy first, then after the Empire is destroyed and everyone is celebrating, Luke looks over at his mentors, Ben Kenobi and Yoda, and suddenly they are joined by… some random creepy looking teenager who needs a haircut. Placing Hayden Christensen in the ending of Jedi, since he’s not in ANY of the other films, turns an ending that should be celebratory into one that is confusing for the viewer.

This is kind of silly because the actor that was there originally was made up to look younger than, you know, the dying Vader head. It's supposed to be momentarily confusing--you're supposed to suddenly realize, "OH! That's his DAD--crap that's VADER!" I don't see how that's really changed with Christensen there instead, even if I DO have other problems with the prequels and the changes Lucas has made.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:50 PM on February 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I agree, but it's kind of a double post if it was just posted in another MetaFilter thread, no?

Grey area stuff. Sometimes it might make more sense not to have a new post, but sometimes cool post-worthy stuff comes up in threads and, hey. This seems kind of neat, it's Sunday night, I still haven't won an Oscar: let's just run with it.
posted by cortex at 9:50 PM on February 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


The big deal is that some of us would like to ignore the prequels entirely, which is tough when you get to the conclusion of the series and suddenly there's a random 18 year old ghost where kind-faced old Anakin ought to be.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:52 PM on February 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


I don't know, PhoBWan...I always thought Sebastian Shaw was just the right age, and was obviously Vader with the physical damage undone. Sticking old Obi-Wan and young Vader in the same scene is a weird choice.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:55 PM on February 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


George Lucas has altered the film you saw.

Pray he does not alter it any further.
posted by NMcCoy at 9:57 PM on February 26, 2012 [90 favorites]


George Lucas has altered the film you saw.

Pray he does not alter it any further.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:58 PM on February 26, 2012 [30 favorites]


Sticking old Obi-Wan and young Vader in the same scene is a weird choice.

Yes. This. Sense it makes not.

I still haven't won an Oscar

The beard isn't fooling anyone, Meryl.

posted by Sys Rq at 9:58 PM on February 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Argh.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:58 PM on February 26, 2012 [20 favorites]


Sure, sbutler, Ghost Vader shows up at the end of the original Jedi; here's a comparison of the 1983 and 2004 Ghost Vader scenes in Episode VI.

And ok, I'll go down the rabbit hole a little bit, anyway: it really doesn't make much sense for Luke to see a young version of his father, does it? Why would he see a version of his father he's never seen in his life before? PhoBWanKenobi's objection can be overcome: it's the non-injured version of the father whose face he recently saw, cleaned up by the redeeming power of the Force or some shit.

But showing a version of his father that Luke has never seen at all? Eh. Just stupid.

Also, note how Lucas even made the music worse.

Also, this is me posting in a Star Wars thread, so this is me linking once again to that amazing article about George's then-wife Marcia and her incredible, generally unappreciated contributions to American Graffiti, Star Wars, etc. Anyone who cares about Star Wars and hasn't read it should do so immediately.

Also, sbutler, please don't @ at me again. :)
posted by mediareport at 9:59 PM on February 26, 2012 [24 favorites]


What's not to like about Jake Lloyd?
posted by Nomyte at 10:02 PM on February 26, 2012


And ok, I'll go down the rabbit hole a little bit, anyway: it really doesn't make much sense for Luke to see a young version of his father, does it? Why would he see a version of his father he's never seen in his life before? PhoBWanKenobi's objection can be overcome: it's the non-injured version of the father whose face he recently saw, cleaned up by the redeeming power of the Force or some shit.

They're ghosts, though, not memories, so it doesn't really matter if Luke ever saw his father like that or not. I always figured the force ghost was a younger Vader because that was the last time he was a Jedi rather than a fallen Jedi (which is how I thought of it at 13 because WTF was a Sith, you know?), in which context Christensen really does make just about as much sense as Shaw. Bald-dead-Vader-head looks like someone Chsitensen could plausibly grow up into. I really think this is more a case of "they changed it--now it sucks" rather than the new version being objectively less sensible.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:07 PM on February 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


The correct correct viewing order is:
  1. Star Wars Uncut: Director's Cut
  2. The Star Wars Holiday Special
Fin.
posted by Flunkie at 10:09 PM on February 26, 2012 [14 favorites]


What If Star Wars: Episode I Was Good? SLYT
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:14 PM on February 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Leaving aside the "How would Luke even recognize Young Anakin?" problem, there's two issues I have with the Christensen edit:

1. It glosses over the redemption aspect. Vader dies after he's redeemed himself by helping to defeat the Emperor; how does it make any sense that he'd appear as the person he was when he fell to the Dark Side?

2. It's jarring. I'm a total sucker for that celebration scene. Everyone is there! Everyone is reunited. There's joy, relief, a bit of sadness. I will admit that I prefer the new music, though I could do without the montage of off-world celebrations (the scene works better when it's small and personal.)

But that edit breaks that, because it reminds you that you're watching a movie, 30 seconds from the end. It breaks the spell, right when it should be letting you linger in that world with those characters for the last time. It doesn't allow you a proper, satisfying denouement.
posted by kagredon at 10:18 PM on February 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


This is kind of silly because the actor that was there originally was made up to look younger than, you know, the dying Vader head. It's supposed to be momentarily confusing--you're supposed to suddenly realize, "OH! That's his DAD--crap that's VADER!" I don't see how that's really changed with Christensen there instead, even if I DO have other problems with the prequels and the changes Lucas has made.
He was younger but he wasn't that young. It looked more like what Darth Vader would have looked like had he not been all fucked up. According to 'wookieepedia' Anakin was born 41.9 years before the first movie and died 4 years after. (although years in Starwars universe are 368 days, apparently). Luke was 19 in the first starwars movie, so Anakin is actually only 22 years older then Luke.
posted by delmoi at 10:18 PM on February 26, 2012


I really think this is more a case of "they changed it--now it sucks" rather than the new version being objectively less sensible.

Well, that's not how it came up in this conversation; the link just points to Ghost Hayden as a problem for new folks watching the films in release order. It doesn't make any sense at all in that context, which is how many of us think - I mean, used to think - was the best way to watch the stuff.

Done with rabbit hole now.
posted by mediareport at 10:22 PM on February 26, 2012


There are only three Star Wars movies. Also, these are not the droids you are looking for.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:24 PM on February 26, 2012


If Hayden Christensen was in that last scene, shouldn't it also have been Ewan McGregor?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:31 PM on February 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


And shouldn't it have been CGI Yoda instead of puppet Yoda?
posted by mazola at 10:33 PM on February 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


Nomyte: What's not to like about Jake Lloyd?

Agreed.
posted by kagredon at 10:34 PM on February 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


He was younger but he wasn't that young. It looked more like what Darth Vader would have looked like had he not been all fucked up.

Funny, I always read Shaw's baby face and hairstyle as representative of the ghost being younger. And the way my fan logic always wanked it was that becoming a Jedi ghost was something that only "light" Jedi could do (just like how only dark Jedi had THE POWER OF LIGHTNING BOLTS) and so that's why Obi-wan appeared as he did when he died and why Vader appeared as Anakin, before his fall. Because he essentially died when he became Vader, because "Vader" didn't have the power to appear as a ghost. I wonder if I was part of a minority who read the scene that way--probably including Lucas himself. Would explain his logic there.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:36 PM on February 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Original trilogy -> Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Cartoon Network is a better watch order. No need for the prequels at all.
posted by stavrogin at 10:36 PM on February 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


(And now I am reading about Force ghosts on some wikia and this mythology is WAY more ridiculous than I thought it was.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:39 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's not that I want to rewatch any of the movies in any particular order; I just wish I could watch the originals for the first time again.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:41 PM on February 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


This is a very sensible idea and extremely well-explained. Thanks for posting it!
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:46 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I couldn't care less about anything concerning the prequels...but I definitely believe my PS3 is going to be spending all day tomorrow on a despecialized marathon. Perfect way to wash the Oscars out of my head.
posted by trackofalljades at 10:49 PM on February 26, 2012


The force ghost thing can be fanwanked easily enough by postulating that this is how the dead Jedi see themselves. Obi-Wan was always an old soul, ditto Yoda, and Anakin... rediscovered the Hayden Christensen inside himself at the end of VI.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:21 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


If there was some way to remove every single love scene from II, machete order might work for me.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:34 PM on February 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


Just to clarify, Blu-Ray still includes the two major changes to the canon, which are Greedo Shot First and Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, right?

I'd want those problems solved as well, but I'm fascinated by this idea, having long grown more and more bitter on Star Wars but only in retrospect. I haven't actually watched Star Wars in *ages* and would totally be up for trying this out.

I guess I could queue up the original scenes of both core problems on YouTube or something. Perhaps just imagine it the right way.

I do agree that II was filled with dreck but as the Machete guy mentions, it contains too much backstory and other problems to eschew entirely.
posted by disillusioned at 11:37 PM on February 26, 2012


If there was some way to remove every single love scene from II, machete order might work for me.

Has George Lucas's grip now extended so far as to prevent you from fast-forwarding? (This is almost a serious question.)
posted by disillusioned at 11:39 PM on February 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think I might give up on caring about Star Wars, until George Lucas passes on, and someone else has a crack at either reediting or remaking the movies from scratch.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:41 PM on February 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


The force ghost thing can be fanwanked easily enough by postulating that this is how the dead Jedi see themselves. Obi-Wan was always an old soul, ditto Yoda, and Anakin... rediscovered the Hayden Christensen inside himself at the end of VI.

Imagine if George Lucas heard this idea, liked it, and edited the scene again so that Yoda's ghost appears as an enormous bulked-up musclebro with a full head of hair. You know he'd do it.
posted by No-sword at 11:41 PM on February 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Has George Lucas's grip now extended so far as to prevent you from fast-forwarding? (This is almost a serious question.)

I can fast forward all I want, but my nephews have this ridiculous idea that we'll miss something important.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:58 PM on February 26, 2012


At what point in the sequence should "The Ewok Adventure" and "Caravan of Courage" be viewed?
posted by ShutterBun at 12:23 AM on February 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Immediately after get offa my lawn.
posted by incessant at 12:44 AM on February 27, 2012


Where in this sequence do the Jack Lemmon, Christopher Walken, and Walther Matthau screen tests go?
posted by zippy at 12:45 AM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


...
...
...

OK, this could actually work. At least, it'll fill the gap until somebody makes my version.*

*(Another Death Star? Seriously? That's the best you could do?)
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:45 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The de-specialized edition looks intriguing (I've already got something like 8 other attempted "restorations/improvements" but haven't seen this one yet.

Interesting that despite "restoring" certain mistakes/shortcomings of the original, they still felt comfortable with removing the "garbage mattes" from the space battle scenes.

The justification for this has traditionally been: "well, garbage mattes are an artifact caused solely by converting film to video, and they wouldn't have shown up in the theatrically viewed version.

Sorry to disappoint, but THEY DO. Granted, the effect is much less noticable, and anyone who had never seen the video version probably wouldn't have noticed them, but they are there. How noticeable they are depends on the projection, but if you know what to look for, they're unmistakable.

(I don't disagree at all with the decision to remove them, but let's be honest: the restorers are engaging in exactly the type of "mistake correction" that started Lucas on his Special Edition folly)
posted by ShutterBun at 12:52 AM on February 27, 2012


As a newly minted father, I realised the other day that working out the correct order to show my son the Star Wars saga (when he's old enough) was an important choice I had to make. After some thought, I decided release order was best. Now I'm certain it should be Machete Order.

Convinced, I now am.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:50 AM on February 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


(And now I am reading about Force ghosts on some wikia and this mythology is WAY more ridiculous than I thought it was.)

Oh man if you think regular wikipedia or tvtropes or something is a timesuck. There is just so much crazy stuff on that wikipedia, you can go back and read about stuff that happened, like, four thousand years before the movies. Or 25k years before the movies. Or you can read about the ridiculously crazy stuff that happened after the movies (actually I just came across those articles just now. I actually had no idea about those things)
posted by delmoi at 1:59 AM on February 27, 2012


The list of vfx changes and re-colorisation of the despecialized edition are amazing. The level of nerdness is high in this one indeed.
posted by SageLeVoid at 2:09 AM on February 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


Also convinced. This was a well-reasoned discussion.
posted by illongruci at 2:24 AM on February 27, 2012


I agree with the guy. I've just worked my way through IV and V in the last couple of weeks, and I think I'll try this order. It sounds more reasonable, and almost like there was some sort of overarching plot to the entire franchise, as long as it's done in a manner which the franchise creator didn't intend. Odd, that.

I like his point about Luke at the beginning of Return, being dangerously close to the dark side. I'm pretty sure I recall an old, old Dark Horse series where Luke did turn, though I can't remember the title (I know it's there waiting for me on Wikipedia, telling me I only have to read a little bit).

For the most part, the re-edit of IV is almost bearable, Greedo and the Jabba scene aside. What kills me about Empire is how unnecessary the additions were. Nearly every one of the alterations made is just more noise on the screen, either through new 'windows' showing how busy Cloud City is outside, or pointless CG shots of the cityscape. I always liked the idea of Cloud City seeming to be a pretty empty outpost with not much more than essential staff. It gave more of a feeling of desperation to Lando, as if him being in control of the mining operation was a lifelong con man's failed attempt to go legit. Sinking in costs and red tape, he makes a deal with the Empire. With all the glitz and glamor of the CG inserted, you lose all of that (which admittedly is mostly in my head, and has little to be based on).
posted by Ghidorah at 3:23 AM on February 27, 2012 [16 favorites]


Placing Hayden Christensen in the ending of Jedi, since he’s not in ANY of the other films, turns an ending that should be celebratory into one that is confusing for the viewer.

Yes, it's odd to have the child murderer who helped Palpatine seize control of the Galazy suddenly forgiven and seen in the after life is ridiculous.

Those scales don't balance.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:48 AM on February 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Same character, different actor. Did you have a hard time reconciling Don Corleone's motivations when he was suddenly played by Robert Deniro instead of Marlon Brando?
posted by ShutterBun at 3:53 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


It gave more of a feeling of desperation to Lando, as if him being in control of the mining operation was a lifelong con man's failed attempt to go legit. Sinking in costs and red tape, he makes a deal with the Empire. With all the glitz and glamor of the CG inserted, you lose all of that (which admittedly is mostly in my head, and has little to be based on).

Nah, it still works as a life long con man's attempt to hold onto this sweet and profitable operation.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:57 AM on February 27, 2012


This is kind of a tangent, but I just recently started watching Star Trek (TOS) for more or less the first time (I had previously seen occasional episodes, but paid them no special mind) but one thing I noticed:

I watched a handful of early DVD rips, complete with outdated special effects (which looked REALLY crummy, but expected) then eventually I realized that the entire series was available on Netflix, so I switched over.

Whaaaaat!??!?

Suddenly, all the Enterprise fly-bys, all the planet surfaces, indeed all the matte-painting shots were...not "cleaned up, " but straight up REPLACED by CGI shots. All exterior space shots were redone, all viewscreen images were replaced by CGI, and static matte painting shots were replaced by animated CGI backgrounds.

The effect was jarring, to say the least. My first thought was "jeez, this kinda cheats film/TV historians from seeing what TV shows used to be like. Would it be fair to replace the original 1933 stop-motion King Kong with CGI?" (I don't mean the Peter Jackson remake, but rather inserting "improved" CGI effects to make up for the shortcomings in the original) Shouldn't we (or, more properly, the filmmakers) be proud enough to say "yep, this is the best we could do, with the tools available at the time" and leave the rest to history?

But the other thing that stuck out in my mind was: I had heard NOTHING about this while it was being done. While every frame of Star Wars was being micro-analysed for the slightest change, here were entire sequences in pretty much EVERY episode of Star Trek being redone, and yet even today there is scant mention of it on the web.

In their defense, at least the Star Trek team saw fit to also include the "original, unaltered" effects footage on their DVD's, so no doubt that deflected a lot of possible criticism. But still, I was amazed at the silence from a group of fans whom I'd historically considered at least, if not more, concerned with canon and legacy than the Star Wars fans.

So, honest question: why were Star Trek fans so silent about these changes?
posted by ShutterBun at 4:16 AM on February 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Only five there are:

-- DARTH NAUGHTY
-- DARTH SNARKSALOT
-- DARTH WHIP-TOWEL
-- DARTH SNIDE
-- DARTH FLATUS

A Boy-Band, the Sith has.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 4:34 AM on February 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


So, honest question: why were Star Trek fans so silent about these changes?

Star Trek can be seen all over the place anyway. Nothing in the new TOS rewrites canon as flagrantly, clumsily and antithetical-to-the-arc-ly as Greedo shooting first, so fans aren't primed to hate the new effects shots.

But most important, Trekkies really are different from Star Wars fans. Star Wars fans love the Star Wars in their heads so much more than the Star Wars on the screen, the mere few hours of it. Trekkies love the Trek that is, possibly because there's enough in existence that you can ignore "Spock's Brain" and the fifth movie.
posted by Etrigan at 4:41 AM on February 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


As a kid when Episode 1 came out, I thought it was awesome. For all the parts that you think are good, a kid might have entirely different ideas. Pod racing, Darth Maul, Droid vs Gungan battle, I thought those were really cool! The only disappointing part to me was that the space battles weren't that great compared to Jedi.
posted by Joe Chip at 4:41 AM on February 27, 2012


@ShutterBun the existence of the original footage on DVD is precisely the reason why it was not considered an issue for Star Trek, much like it's not an issue that you can obtain both the original and redone versions of E.T.

Lucas, however, wishes for every new version to be definitive canon and with the exception of the slap-in-the-face non-anamorphic laserdisc-source release of the 'original' films as extras on the special edition dvds there has been (and from what I can tell never will be) any attempt to preserve the theatrical versions of the movies in a form commercially available to the public. I think people would feel less ire if at each stage the originals were available though really this connects to a more deep-rooted annoyance of how the prequel trilogy detrimentally transformed much of the original trilogy by its very existence - the changes to the original trilogy are salt in the proverbial wounds.
posted by AbsoluteDestiny at 4:46 AM on February 27, 2012


Brandon Blatcher, I guess what I'm trying to say is a nearly empty gas mining platform as a "Lando got suckered when he tried to go straight" situation that forces him to betray his old friend to the Empire works better for me than "Lando as operator of a successful and fully populated high tech city in the clouds. The original was clean, but not the gleaming shiny happy land that Lucas threw up all over the perfectly good original.

Something about Lando just barely scraping by, at the end of his luck fits better with his redemption at the end, rather than it just being another gig that came along. Of course, had they followed through with the Falcon being destroyed and Lando dying on board, they might have actually had a character whose death carried all of the weight that Biggs' death was supposed to have.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:17 AM on February 27, 2012 [9 favorites]


There's not any reason to go past the first (released) movie. It's a perfectly fun adventure story.

Empire Strikes back is revered because it's "dark". This makes nerds feel good about loving a perfectly fun adventure story. They can cite this darkness and the Joseph Campbell junk and claim they're tapping into a mature ur-narrative myth epic that zzzzzzzz. Truth is, ESB is a movie with no beginning, no end, and no plot in-between. It serves no purpose except as a linking episode between 4 and 6. But considering 4 is fine just as it is and 6 is not good (and argument could be made that 6 is worse than 1, since 1's badness doesn't really affect anything else, but that's another story) why even bother? Just watch 4, have a good time, and move on to something else.

Nerds have no problem ignoring multiple Matrix movies, Highlander movies, Indiana Jones movies, and so on. Hell, with so much bullshit out there now most people ignore the bulk of the Star Wars "story" and don't mind.

George Lucas has not raped your childhood. Your childhood is just fine as it is. You're just insisting that all this crap be shoehorned into it and that everything has to be exactly as it was when you were 8 or else you'll feel betrayed. You want kids to not only adore the Star Wars series but to adore the version you saw, and adore it exactly as you did. You will never be happy.

So just watch a fun adventure movie, have a good time, and then watch another fun adventure movie or do something else. This is a war that isn't worth fighting.
posted by Legomancer at 5:23 AM on February 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


At this point it's just fun to watch Lucas going bonkers.
posted by mediareport at 5:35 AM on February 27, 2012


So, honest question: why were Star Trek fans so silent about these changes?

1. The originals are still made available.
2. They didn't retcon any of the plot.

Seriously, Star Wars fans didn't suddenly start hating special effects, they just hate that George Lucas is acting like a tremendous asshole in how he handles it.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:40 AM on February 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


I do think it is sad, and very odd, to not have the original theatrical versions available (ideally on bluray). For someone like me, who saw them all in the theater, these are the ones I would want to spend a Saturday afternoon rewatching. I have zero interest in seeing the "improvements," any more than I would want to watch an "improved" version of any other classic movie.

And yes, the correct version is the original three, in release order, followed by a respectful silence about the later three.
posted by Forktine at 5:42 AM on February 27, 2012


Empire Strikes back is revered because it's "dark".

I like it because it feels like a growth in the story and characters (in terms of acting, writing and direction) and the bad guys win. That's why Return of the Jedi is so disappointing, it doesn't continue building, but regresses into the simpler, child like arcs of Lucas.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:43 AM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


My favorite order is IV then V then chew your arm off to escape - AKA coyote order.
posted by fleetmouse at 5:43 AM on February 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


The kerning on that Return of the Jedi box is horrible. What were they thinking?
posted by fungible at 5:44 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering if I can get away with convincing my kids that the despecialized editions and the Phantom Edit are the only Star Wars movies.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:49 AM on February 27, 2012


You're just insisting that all this crap be shoehorned into it and that everything has to be exactly as it was when you were 8 or else you'll feel betrayed.

If this were the case, there would not have been a time when I was kind of looking forward to the re-edited IV - VI and yet, I was some footage where the X wings were approaching the Death Star as a loose squadron and not in perfect (but easy to do with Dykstraflex) single file line. Oh cool though I, they're cleaning up special effects artifacts and adding some establishing shots and some cleaned up footage.

I was looking forward to this thing. I tried to enjoy it in the theater, I really did. And then, after Greedo drew a pistol and lovingly explained how he was going to take Han out back and gun him down in the street, Han still had to wait for him to shoot (and miss from 23" away, thereby establishing that Han was in precisely no danger whatsoever) before he would move to defend himself.

I never saw the remasticated version of Empire or Jedi and never got around to Episode III. I may have to try the Machete order though because it at least makes a certain amount of sense.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:50 AM on February 27, 2012


I had thought I as done with STAR WARS, but damn -- now I want to watch them in Machete order just to see. I do know that the first trilogy (IV, V, VI) were a load of total cool, and that I never got any of that good feeling from the other three movies except for brief moments. So if something can be done to make the entire cycle bearable, I'm willing to give it a shot.

Now, if only Lucas will stop dicking around with the films! The only post-release edit that was ever justified, to my way of thinking, was inserting Hayden Christensen as Anakin at the end of RETURN OF THE JEDI . The rest of it was just Lucas jacking off to a green screen.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 6:15 AM on February 27, 2012


(Lordy, I am even more incoherent than usual... chalk it up to not enough coffee.)
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 6:16 AM on February 27, 2012


1. Anyone who takes this much time to analyze something that is nothing more than a series of fun science fiction movies seriously needs to escape their parent's basement more often.

2. Lucas put up all the money. He took all the risk. He can do whatever the hell he wants with his movies with neither the approval or consent of the pissing and moaning "He raped my childhood" masses. He can make a totally Jar-Jar-centric Episode VII: The Revenge of the Gungans if he so chooses and I'm quite positive that if one light saber makes an appearance, enough people will go see it that Lucas will once again dive into a swimming pool full of money that is at the bottom of a canyon full of money.

Reading this article resulted in minutes that I will never get back.
posted by prepmonkey at 6:33 AM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Rape" has shown up twice in this thread, and only from people defending Lucas. If only basement dwelling losers care about this subject, kindly exit the thread and spare us your sexual assault metaphors.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:49 AM on February 27, 2012 [19 favorites]


Guy_Inamonkeysuit: The only post-release edit that was ever justified, to my way of thinking, was inserting Hayden Christensen as Anakin at the end of RETURN OF THE JEDI .

You haven't read the rest of the comments, have you.
posted by panaceanot at 6:56 AM on February 27, 2012


[If you don't like analytics of popular culture favorites, please just pass up the post instead of complaining in-thread that you read it and that others are discussing it. It's sort of the point of the site.]
posted by taz at 6:56 AM on February 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


The one thing the prequels have given to legions of fans is a sense of entitlement and outrage. Where would I be without my ability to scoff at George Lucas.

Thank the snark Gods.
posted by Fizz at 7:02 AM on February 27, 2012


Kinda off-topic, but in the "ridiculously crazy stuff" from Star Wars wikia linked by delmoi upthread, there are a few references to humans and to the Milky Way galaxy.

Amidst the Star Wars canon, are there any mentions of where the Galaxy (far far away) is vis-a-vis the earth, both geographically and temporally? Is it in our universe?

Trivial questions, I realize, but I can't resist my own curiosity.
posted by Gordion Knott at 7:13 AM on February 27, 2012


"Rape" has shown up twice in this thread, and only from people defending Lucas.

As one of the ones who mentioned it, let me assure you that speaking against people who treat Lucas' handling of Star Wars like a crime against humanity, I am not defending Lucas, I'm defending sanity.
posted by Legomancer at 7:37 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


But most important, Trekkies really are different from Star Wars fans. Star Wars fans love the Star Wars in their heads so much more than the Star Wars on the screen, the mere few hours of it. Trekkies love the Trek that is, possibly because there's enough in existence that you can ignore "Spock's Brain" and the fifth movie.

Also, bad Star Trek is bad in a really wonderful way. Like, imagine that instead of six Star Wars movies, there were three hundred of them, and there's entire movies where Chewbacca has been turned into a human, or Leia has a brain parasite that makes her fall in love with Jabba, and there's a funny subplot about Darth Vader's mask getting turned around backwards by an energy being.
posted by theodolite at 7:45 AM on February 27, 2012 [11 favorites]


why were Star Trek fans so silent about these changes?

On the Blu-Ray you can switch between old and new effects at will. I prefer the old, for the most part, because they're just as cheesy as the rest of the show.

Also, I love Spock's Brain.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:58 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


As one of the ones who mentioned it, let me assure you that speaking against people who treat Lucas' handling of Star Wars like a crime against humanity, I am not defending Lucas, I'm defending sanity.

So, just so we're clear here, you're saying that your participation in this thread is due to your overpowering need to defend against the dire threat of people who aren't actually participating in this thread making arguments that aren't actually being made in this thread?

Do I have that about right?
posted by tocts at 8:01 AM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've decided when/if I have children, they're not going to learn about Star Wars from me. If they hear about it in school or something, fine, they can decide what order to watch them in and whether they even want to watch more than one movie. Let's see if Episode 1/4 has the staying power to capture a new generation of fans 35 years later and after countless "improvements", free of any dogmatic parental insistence that "You HAVE to watch these movies! They're CLASSIC!" My guess is no.

It's time for Lucas and all his movies to release thier unholy hold on our collective popular culture. Everytime you buy another edition of Star Wars, youre chokeing the life out of potential a new IP product living in a staving film maker's mind. Let them die, it's time to break the cycle.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:05 AM on February 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


Let them die, it's time to break the cycle

Three words: Star Wars Lego.

There is no escape. Kids nowadays hear about it long before they start school. You'd have as much luck trying to break the cycle of Santa Claus.
posted by rory at 8:18 AM on February 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm sure the games themselves would probably encourage them to learn more, but if kids learned the entire Star Wars story solely by playing the version of the story on the Star Wars Lego video games, I think they'd be more than fine. Like "once they saw the actual movies they might be disappointed" fine.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:27 AM on February 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


If George Lucas had updated the original trilogy's effects with the love and respect for the originals that those behind the Star Trek update had, I doubt anyone here would be complaining.

Instead, he is treating the original trilogy like Michael Jackson treated his face.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:39 AM on February 27, 2012 [10 favorites]


A friend of mine has pointed out to me a way to improve Episode II.

You remember the part where Jango Fett gets decapitated, as a young Boba looks on? Imagine Boba picking up that helmet, looking deeply at it, and then putting it atop his own head, wearing it like a hat, as the blood from Jango's stump trickles down his face. Slow zoom into Boba's eyes, getting creepier and creepier, as strange atonal music begins a crescendo, intermixed with snatches of the ewoks' jubilation music.

..

In other news, I actually like Episode III. I was actually quite shocked when I saw it, as everyone in our group was expecting full-on idiocy, but the movie actually moved. I felt something when the Jedi fell, and I felt something when Anakin "died" amidst the lava. The story was tighter, the fights were better, and I actually like General Grievous.

Episode I is pretty bad, but Episode II was even worse. Episode I may have more stupid things in it, but at least it contains things. At least I have an opinion on whether or not Greg Proops should be providing color commentary on pod-racing. Episode II, on the other hand, is just a long, long, long slog, where my memories are mostly of assassin chilopods and long, skinny aliens on presumably all-too-humid storm planets.

...

I hope George Lucas lives a long, happy life, I really do, but I will say that the Star Wars franchise itself will probably improve after he passes. There is a veritable army of creative types who would be all too happy to run amok through his legacy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:40 AM on February 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Ok, so problem: my girlfriend is 26 years old and has never seen Star Wars in any incarnation. On the one hand, I feel like she needs to see them. On the other hand, more than half of them are fairly problematic movies and all of them feature gaping plot holes. Should I:

A: show her the films (in Machete order) as originally released/despecialized
B: show her fanedited versions of the prequels
C: get baked and watch them regardless of quality
D: not watch them
posted by modernserf at 8:45 AM on February 27, 2012


C.

They're silly sci-fi flicks. As much as I take them seriously (like I would have written them way differently), they really don't need to be.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:52 AM on February 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


Oh, also, C and show her A New Hope and if she doesn't want to watch anymore after that, let it go. That one is the most magical and fun and kind of encapsulates the feel of the whole series, and if it's not for her it's sort of ridiculous to force any of the others on her.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:58 AM on February 27, 2012 [5 favorites]


C and show her A New Hope [and perhaps ESB - ed.] and if she doesn't want to watch anymore after that, let it go.

Yes. To PhoBWan you listen.
posted by saturday_morning at 9:08 AM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


IV, V, VI, Plinkett.
posted by whuppy at 9:08 AM on February 27, 2012 [7 favorites]


... if kids learned the entire Star Wars story solely by playing the version of the story on the Star Wars Lego video games, I think they'd be more than fine. Like "once they saw the actual movies they might be disappointed" fine.

This is very true. All of the LEGO [Franchise] games (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, etc.) take pretty significant liberties with the stories. They tend to get them right at a high level, but change some specifics when it would either prevent multiple players from participating (because the games are designed with 2-player cooperative play in mind) or would be too dark, too boring for kids, or completely unable to be communicated by pantomiming LEGO minifigs (as there is no dialogue, spoken or written). So, there are a lot of things done where canon is ignored for the sake of gameplay, audience-appropriateness, or clarity, while giving a sort of wink and a nod towards people who know the source material.

(This is not a bad thing. The games are a lot of fun for two players, play well with varying age levels, and, overall, they tend to capture the feel of the franchise while keeping it pretty family friendly.)
posted by tocts at 9:10 AM on February 27, 2012


Side note -- I went to look up "Lego Star Wars wiki" and I'm not sure I should read about it in Brickipedia or Wookieepedia.
posted by modernserf at 9:15 AM on February 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


prepmonkey, legomancer: Speaking for myself, I completely don't care what Lucas does with the films. But the originals should be available too. Matte issues and all. Glad for this thread though, 'cause I'm down loading the Harmy restoration as we speak. (1.8% done booyah@!)

I think I'm not so much offended as a fan (which I am) but just as a movie person, and (what the heck) a citizen. Star Wars (1977) was what it was and it was huge.

There's money to be made with an original release version, and Lucas is being stupid and weird by not releasing it.
posted by Trochanter at 9:18 AM on February 27, 2012


I know a guy, not a close friend but an acquaintance, big Star Wars fan, was going though some hard times in his life, all that and he was going to kill himself.
Real shame, he's a nice guy. So we heard he was down and hung out with him, all the stuff you do to help someone out of a depression.

So one of the things we talked about was reasons to live. Just generally for all of us.

One of the things he thought of was, hey, Episode I of Star Wars is coming out. And we're saying "yeah, man, you don't want to miss that." And any short term personal savior in a storm, right?
So he holds on for Episode I. He waits it out. Toughs out the storm of despair.
And he goes to see it, and me and some other guys went to see it that day somewhere else.

So I see him about a week later and I couldn't help but start laughing. I mean, he saw me. I saw him. We both knew what each other were thinking. And I say "I'm sorry man. I don't mean to laugh. There are plenty of other reasons to live."

And he chuckles and says "No, no. It will be worth living enough to tell this story."

And I tell you, if I ever meet George Lucas...or worse, if he gets to meet him...
posted by Smedleyman at 9:33 AM on February 27, 2012 [45 favorites]


*Puts on hipster glasses* I've been watching it in Machete order since Ep3 came out.

In all seriousness, though, it's the best way to introduce it to someone who's never seen the series, and one positive aspect of the CGI-fication of the OT is that it makes the transition from Ep5 to Ep1 a little less jarring.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:54 AM on February 27, 2012


FWIW, I've also only been watching fanedits, too. I haven't seen any of the original cuts of any of the movies since my first viewing of the 2004 DVDs for the OT.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:55 AM on February 27, 2012


A: show her the films (in Machete order) as originally released/despecialized
B: show her fanedited versions of the prequels
C: get baked and watch them regardless of quality
D: not watch them


A and C!
posted by Greg Nog at 10:29 AM on February 27, 2012


If he had to replace Vader in the RotJ reunion scene, it shoulda been James Earl Jones.
posted by howling fantods at 10:34 AM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like the Machete order.
But the pod-racing scene is too much fun to get rid of entirely. I say just put an edited version of it at the start, as a 10 minute pre-film short. Just some random kid racing some aliens with stuff blowing up real good.

Some sweet fun before the machete starts to swing. I will call this Fruit Ninja on the off chance that this catches on because I’m a vain asshole.
posted by Kabanos at 10:44 AM on February 27, 2012


While Machete order is fine if you think the original trilogy is awesome, I still prefer my alternate world where Star Wars is a single movie about normal people who become heroes in extraordinary circumstances, rather than a story about how the future of an entire society is really just a battle amongst a superpowered aristocracy and everyone else is unimportant.

I ignore any references in Star Wars to Luke having any prior relationship with Vader. I choose to believe that Luke and Leia are NOT brother and sister and have hope for romance. The "force" is just instinct and Luke learns to trust his talents—honed by a different life than lived by other rebels—by being inspired by the rebellion. Luke is the product of the rebellion, not the son of the bad guy.
posted by KS at 12:11 PM on February 27, 2012 [8 favorites]


No virgin birth. We simply don’t know or care who Anakin’s father is, and the subtle implication that it’s Palpatine is gone.

Can someone fill me in on the subtle implications?
posted by Prince_of_Cups at 12:11 PM on February 27, 2012


@prince_of_cups - in Sith, when Palpatine is "seducing" Anakin to the Dark Side, there's a scene where he tells him that he's mastered the secret of creating life with the Force, and there's an image that suggests a sperm fertilizing an egg. idk, its explained (and mocked) in the Plinkett review.

I actually like the idea of him being Palpatine's son -- as one might say, "It's like poetry...they rhyme" with Vader and Luke's relationship. But in my imaginary Star Wars, somehow they handle it more intelligently.
posted by modernserf at 12:22 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The best part of the pod-racing scene is when that one small alien lets off an irritated "BWWUUUUUUNNNNGH" just before his pod-racer explodes. The closest anyone in the series comes to saying "well, FUCK."
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:25 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's money to be made with an original release version

There was also "money to be made" with all sorts of Calvin and Hobbes merchandising, animated specials, etc., yet Bill Waterson wisely avoided all of it.

You want to argue that the original version should be available commercially based on its artistic merit, fine, and I'd probably even agree with you. But don't pull out the "there's money to be made" argument without acknowledging that for every one Thing You Like that the argument would salvage, ten thousand cheap bastardizations would also be spawned.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:48 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


a story about how the future of an entire society is really just a battle amongst a superpowered aristocracy and everyone else is unimportant

Hey, nobody even mentioned Harry Potter.
posted by adamdschneider at 12:54 PM on February 27, 2012


So KS, in your version Vader's force-choke is psychosomatic?
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:04 PM on February 27, 2012


KS: "While Machete order is fine if you think the original trilogy is awesome, I still prefer my alternate world where Star Wars is a single movie about normal people who become heroes in extraordinary circumstances, rather than a story about how the future of an entire society is really just a battle amongst a superpowered aristocracy and everyone else is unimportant.

I ignore any references in Star Wars to Luke having any prior relationship with Vader. I choose to believe that Luke and Leia are NOT brother and sister and have hope for romance. The "force" is just instinct and Luke learns to trust his talents—honed by a different life than lived by other rebels—by being inspired by the rebellion. Luke is the product of the rebellion, not the son of the bad guy.
"


Little known fact: In some circles, this take is known as the Jeffersonian Star Wars saga, a viewpoint that is very popular with Unitarian Jedis.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:09 PM on February 27, 2012 [13 favorites]


Rejected 'Star Wars' Toy Concepts Were Totally Awesome
posted by Artw at 1:46 PM on February 27, 2012


If you’re watching the original trilogy first, then after the Empire is destroyed and everyone is celebrating, Luke looks over at his mentors, Ben Kenobi and Yoda, and suddenly they are joined by… some random creepy looking teenager who needs a haircut. Placing Hayden Christensen in the ending of Jedi, since he’s not in ANY of the other films, turns an ending that should be celebratory into one that is confusing for the viewer.

How Return of the Jedi Should Have Ended
posted by homunculus at 2:01 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Luke: Ben! Why didn't you tell me? You told me that Darth Vader betrayed and murdered my father.
Obi-Wan: Your father... was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and "became" Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view.


So shut up.
posted by Artw at 2:10 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


A certain point of view?!
posted by entropicamericana at 2:15 PM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yes. Anakin being the force ghost makes perfect sense... from a certain point of view.

/does force handwave.
posted by Artw at 2:17 PM on February 27, 2012


Jesus forgave Vader, silly.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:18 PM on February 27, 2012


Anakin murdering all his Jedi chums is going to be a tough sell to my daughter, that probably puts III out of reach for the forseeable.
posted by Artw at 2:19 PM on February 27, 2012


Yeah, that's been bubbling around in my head, too. There are some things that you don't get redeemed for. Killing those kindergarten aged kids? I'd say you're stuck with that one.
posted by Trochanter at 3:02 PM on February 27, 2012


See, Quigong, Obiwan, Yoda, and Anakin all learned a special Force version of the classic Buddhist Phowa empowerment. Vader was able to eject his consciousness directly into the next realms regardless of his deeds here.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:05 PM on February 27, 2012


Meh. There does not exist a version of Star Wars in which Anakin did not explode an entire populated planet. A temple full of kids doesn't even ping the radar compared to Alderaan.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:05 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


But with the toddlers, one assumes it was some pretty hands on Dark Sidin'. Plus, didn't Peter Cushing give that order?
posted by Trochanter at 3:12 PM on February 27, 2012


(Comic book guy voice) Actually, there is a version of Star Wars in which Anakin does not destroy Alderaan -- every version. Grand Moff Tarkin orders the planet destroyed.
posted by modernserf at 3:14 PM on February 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


As does Vader. "Commence primary ignition." was James Earl Jones' line.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:29 PM on February 27, 2012


The "available for the last time" (*which of course I didn't believe then) VHS versions are the only reason that I have a VCR.

I'm super-stoked about this despecializedness business.
posted by herbplarfegan at 3:38 PM on February 27, 2012


Actually, Vader was just being cutesy about telling someone to light up the bong.
posted by cortex at 3:46 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Commence primary ignition." was James Earl Jones' line.

What? No it's not.
posted by The Tensor at 3:49 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


It seems like the earlier the version of Star Wars you watch, the less of a primary bad guy Vader is and the more prominent Moff Takin is. I think Peter Cushing almost always gets billing over James Earl Jones, who in the earliest version didn't even want to be credited. If you watch really Star Wars it's clear Tarkin is in charge and vader doesn't really have a place in the command structure, he's just this guy who works for the Emperor who comes over and hangs out and all the fleet dudes are all "Fuck. THAT GUY." - only in retrospect does he become the main antagonist.
posted by Artw at 4:44 PM on February 27, 2012 [6 favorites]


> I do think it is sad, and very odd, to not have the original theatrical versions available

Which soundtrack? The rushed 70mm surround for premiere or 35mm stereo that got more time for effects sweetening or 35mm mono? They were tinkering with Ep. IV from the get-go:
Sound designer Ben Burtt recalls: "Because we were always trying to make the film better and better and fix things that were not right, there was some 'sweetening' done; things like different Stormtrooper or C-3PO lines, additional sound effects, or some different ADR."

"George put a lot of effort in that mono mix," Burtt remembers, "and he even said several times, 'Well, this is the real mix. This is the definitive mix of the film.' He paid more attention to it because he felt it was more important archival."
posted by morganw at 5:03 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lucas: "This is the definitive mix of the film."

Montoya: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
posted by Etrigan at 6:21 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you watch really Star Wars it's clear Tarkin is in charge and vader doesn't really have a place in the command structure, he's just this guy who works for the Emperor who comes over and hangs out and all the fleet dudes are all "Fuck. THAT GUY." - only in retrospect does he become the main antagonist.

Man, I have always been so fascinated by this, because it seems like there could be such a deep vein of...I don't know, political thriller? in there, where this whole "Evil Galactic Empire" thing was attractive to your up-and-coming political mercenary types because it actually depended on your drive, ambition and ability. Fuck this "Some old guys in dresses show up when you're five and say, 'This one, that one, and those two over there, the rest of these proles can become moisture farmers on Tattoine, or something, whatever,'" and they basically run your entire world/economy/galaxy/etc with religious hokum that draws on something you, a regular ole' person, can't see or touch or feel (sort of like most religions).

And then here comes along a group of people, Lucas could have had them be whoever he wanted them to be before the prequels happened, who say fuck that noise. IN THE GALACTIC ARMY, HARD WORK GETS YOU AHEAD! KEEP CALM AND STORM ON!

It makes so much more sense, the idea of Vader as this annoying lackey to the Emperor who sort of hangs around and does odd jobs (remember how Leia's ship isn't the target, the base is the target? All Vader has to do is find a flipping actual princess flying with actual diplomatic papers, or whatever, which presumably shouldn't be that hard on the assumption that she's heading to the fucking Galactic equivalent of the UN with all the hoo-ha that implies, and then it's Tarkin who has to show up and do the real work. You think Tarkin would ever lower himself to get in the cockpit of a freakin' TIE fighter? Hell, no, that mofo delegates. ) and basically has to be humored since he's in good with the boss, he's this relic of a stupid old religion that no one believes in anymore and you have to be nice to him sort of the way you're nice to Great Aunt Myrtle who believes Mary weeps every time you say "damn."

Anyway, I always thought that was a really cool thing Lucas should have done more with, but I mean, the stuff on that list is basically, "Everything about this universe."
posted by Snarl Furillo at 6:35 PM on February 27, 2012 [9 favorites]


The guys captaining the ships for the Empire are basically the same guys captaining them for the republic*, so there's an interesting note of continuity there.

* Well, give or take a purge or two, probably.
posted by Artw at 6:38 PM on February 27, 2012


IV. Or, as we called it when I was a youngster, "Star Wars". On the unaltered laser disk, or a dvd of same, if available. Preferably, it should not have the words "A New Hope" anywhere on the packaging or in the movie, or anything else that implies that it will have sequels, prequels, jar jar, Darth Maul, or any extraneous Ewoks or Hutts.

Look, it's quite simple. There's a big space battle. Two robots escape and are caught by Jawas. Luke Skywalker finds the robots and they lead him to Obi Wan Kenobi. They enlist Han Solo to help, there's also a Wookie involved. They rescue a Princess from Darth Vader, who really is an excellent villain and does not need a back-story (I cannot stress this enough) and then they blow up the Death Star. End of story. No need to add anything else. It is a whole entertainment unto itself, with a complete childhood worth of action figures, lego-sets and flashlight-with-plastic-tube lightsabres to supplement it.

If you must, you can also read Splinter of the Mind's Eye by Alan Dean Foster. But don't take it any further than that. You're only asking for disappointment.
posted by Cookiebastard at 6:40 PM on February 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, honest question: why were Star Trek fans so silent about these changes?

Good question, but as others before have pointed out, not only are old and new versions freely available but the changes are cosmetic. Star Wars viewers complain about Greedo shooting first and floor shows in Jabba's palace. I rarely hear people complain about the matte boxes being removed from around the TIE fighters or what had previously been a blank wall in Cloud City now having a window or snowspeeders no longer turning transparent.

As well, some of the original Star Trek effects show the severe limits of 1966 special effects and a TV show budget. Not for nothing was "The Doomsday Machine" one of the first showcases for the remastered show. An episode about one of the Enterprise's sister ships wrecked and dying lost some impact in the original when it was painfully clear that what we were seeing was a commercially available 14-inch long Enterprise model kit that had had a bit of damage inflicted on it with, apparently, a Bic lighter. The CGI Constellation looks forlorn and wounded -- I love love love the shot of the unpowered, unshielded ship drifting in the opening credits as a small asteroid bounces off her hull -- while the old model version just looks cheesy.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:34 PM on February 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you must, you can also read Splinter of the Mind's Eye by Alan Dean Foster.

I have this book. I can't get more than ten pages into it before I get way to weirded out by Luke and Leia's "feelings" for each other.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:04 PM on February 27, 2012


If you watch really Star Wars it's clear Tarkin is in charge and vader doesn't really have a place in the command structure, he's just this guy who works for the Emperor who comes over and hangs out and all the fleet dudes are all "Fuck. THAT GUY."

He's the Chief Internal Auditor.

"COBIT? Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data plurrkkkhkkhhkh..."
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:35 AM on February 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


In Episode IV, Vader was more or less Oddjob to Tarkin's Goldfinger. Tarkin called the shots, he was in charge of the Death Star, but Vader did the dirty work, and was clearly more feared on a day-to-day level.

Another comparison might be Cardinal Richelieu and Louis XIII. Louis was the head of state, but Richelieu represented the Church's interests (just as Vader represented the Sith's interests on the Emperor's behalf.

Once the Death Star was destroyed, Vader becomes the de factor ruler of the Empire (second only to the Emperor) now that the Senate has been dissolved.
posted by ShutterBun at 1:15 AM on February 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I rarely hear people complain about the matte boxes being removed from around the TIE fighters or what had previously been a blank wall in Cloud City now having a window or snowspeeders no longer turning transparent.

The windows all over cloud city are, to me, almost as bad as Greedo. For the most part, Empire is where characters get developed. It's where Han and Leia become a thing, where Luke matures. Lucas puking up cg windows flooded with activity all over the places looks the actions of a child being annoyed that the adults are talking and not paying attention to the kid, so the kid decides to force everyone to pay attention by shitting all over everything.

Which is why we can't have nice things.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:32 AM on February 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I guess it's a thin line between fixing something and shitting on it.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:54 AM on February 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


The windows all over cloud city are, to me, almost as bad as Greedo.

I tend to agree.

I personally have no problem whatsoever with cases where the changes are literally cleaning something up -- fixing matte boxes, dealing with color correction issues, cleaning up the levitation effect of land speeders, etc. But, in almost all of the cases where something new was added, it was for the worse.

I need to stress that this is not me just saying that it's bad because change is inherently bad. Though I do think that original versions should always be available for those who want them, I'm not averse to change. I am, however, averse to change that adds nothing to the movie.

A perfect example of this is the scene fairly early in Ep. IV, where Luke and Obi-Wan enter Mos Eisley with the droids. It goes like this:

In the original cut, you start with Obi-Wan introducing the place with his famous line ("You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.") while overlooking the city from afar. Then, there's a shot of the speeder entering Mos Eisley (going right over the camera and continuing away from it), and then a shot from the side showing the street and the denizens of Mos Eisley. And with that, they're in the city (and approaching a group of Stormtroopers who are going to interrogate them about the droids -- hey, look, we're back in the plot and action!)

Looking at a youtube clip that's had a little cut out (thus making exact measurement difficult), I'd estimate the whole sequence takes 15 seconds at most.

Now look at the updated version. Obi-Wan starts us off again, with his famous line. And now we get the speeder shot from underneath, only this time there are a bunch of miniature chicken-like creatures dashing out from beneath the speeder's path (the speeder, of course, doesn't slow down or try to avoid them or anything, because the path of the speeder and the addition of these chicken things were determined about 3 decades apart and couldn't be coordinated).

Next, there's a side shot that didn't exist before of a really obviously CGI robot moving in an incredibly unnatural motion picking up something heavy (wait, where did the speeder go?). And we get to watch that robot picking this thing up, and then another, smaller robot flies over, so the first robot drops what he's picking up for no particular reason and, with more really unnatural motion, hits the second robot with his robo-fist, knocking it down. And now the speeder enters from the left, passing behind the robots and then continuing to the right, where the virtual camera pans up to a new CGI rendering of Mos Eisley with a bunch of ships and other stuff flying around.

And now there's another shot from behind, kind of like the first shot (speeder entering from behind the camera and continuing away from it), showing even more of Mos Eisley close up, with a bunch of residents and stormtroopers standing around. This shot establishes nothing about Mos Eisley that wasn't already established in the very first speeder shot of the entry to Mos Eisley, or about to be established already in the scene following the entry.

And then there's another brand new sort of side shot but the speeder is nowhere to be seen, because instead we're watching what looks an awful lot like an Ork from Warhammer 40k fly a levitating Harley Davidson away from the camera, across a street, and almost hit a giant CGI creature, which causes a couple Jawas riding the creature to be thrown around comically. And then it turns out this is the final side-scene from the original (the vehicle and people who were originally there finally sort of show up and do their thing). And so finally, we reach the next scene, where they approach the stormtroopers.

The revised version takes the original 15 second shot and extends it to a total of about 35 seconds.

Now, it's easy to look at it and say "well, it's only 20 seconds more". But seriously, think about that. The revised version more than doubles the length of this scene, which only exists to establish the location and get the characters from one plot point to the next. It does so by adding multiple new shots that have no purpose other than to say HAY GUYS LOOK AT THESE EFFECTS!. And even the shots that aren't new have a bunch of unnecessary motion and distraction added.

None of this really adds understanding or better establishes the plot or the players. It doesn't clarify aspects of the location or the world that were previously unclear. It's just shot after shot of whoever was at the helm of the revision basically saying "I'M ADDING THIS BECAUSE I CAN".
posted by tocts at 5:15 AM on February 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Luke: Ben! Why didn't you tell me? You told me that Darth Vader betrayed and murdered my father.
Obi-Wan: Your father... was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and "became" Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view.


"From a certain point of view." What horseshit. It's worth remembering that Darth Vader was *not* Luke's father in George Lucas' original film, and the above dialogue is perhaps the first example of the revisionist hackwork Lucas is now famous for. Here's the 1977 Rolling Stone interview where Lucas' response to the question, "What's the story?" is the following:

"It's about Ben and Luke's father and Vader when they are young Jedi knights. But Vader kills Luke's father, then Ben and Vader have a confrontation, just like they have in Star Wars, and Ben almost kills Vader. As a matter of fact, he falls into a volcanic pit and gets fried and is one destroyed being. That's why he has to wear the suit with a mask, because it's a breathing mask."

Again: Darth Vader being Luke's father was a later modification to the story Lucas added after the first film was already a runaway success.

KS: I ignore any references in Star Wars to Luke having any prior relationship with Vader.

Good, because there are none, other than Obi-Wan telling Luke that Darth Vader killed Luke's father.

I choose to believe that Luke and Leia are NOT brother and sister and have hope for romance.

Good, because they weren't brother and sister and did have hope for romance. It's only in the later films that Lucas introduced that weird incest thing.
posted by mediareport at 6:52 AM on February 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


tocts, I have pretty much the same feeling about the changes to Mos Eisley. There's no reason for the changes, literally none. It's just adding stuff because they can, rather than adding valuable information to the story, or fixing things that were broken before. You've got a scene that, at some point in the past, was storyboarded, blocked out, lit, and shot. It was complete at that time. Adding in random noise interferes with the scene, and takes the audience out of it. The chickens are a perfect example, as is pretty much everything in that was thrown in the background of the various scenes throughout the re-issues.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:04 AM on February 28, 2012


And the thing is, Lucas and Spielberg were the original "get on with things" guys. Don't spend too long on your establishing stuff. Tell your story. Don't show off your props and sets. Nobody cares how much money they cost.

It was one of the things that made his bones.
posted by Trochanter at 8:50 AM on February 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think Machete Order has a lot going for it, and find the article's arguments largely compelling. But I also think there's one element of Episode I which does justly stand alongside the other movies (hang on, put down your torches and pitchforks and hear me out) and should not be expunged. Therefore, I propose the following modification to Machete Order:
IV - V - soundtrack to I - II - III - VI
John Williams' music for The Phantom Menace is just as good as the music for any of the other movies, and deserves not to be missed. Indeed, I'd argue "Duel of the Fates" ranks with the Main Theme and the Imperial March as the most iconic music in the series.

I can also see an argument for putting the soundtrack to I at the very beginning, before A New Hope, and won't argue with those who prefer to put it there. There's advantages and disadvantages to both ways. Putting it at the very beginning makes it soemthing like the overture to an opera, played before the curtain goes up, and does not disrupt the narrative flow between V and II. Having it where I've placed it above bridges the "25 years earlier" transition, and means the first appearance of the Main Theme is an on-screen one. I don't have a strong preference for one over the other; the important thing is not to skip it.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:50 AM on February 28, 2012


If you watch really Star Wars it's clear Tarkin is in charge and vader doesn't really have a place in the command structure, he's just this guy who works for the Emperor who comes over and hangs out and all the fleet dudes are all "Fuck. THAT GUY."

"It’s kind of lost in the later films, but in the very first Star Wars movie, the Empire’s conventional military don’t just hate and fear Vader, they think he’s fucking crazy. They look the other way and kind of grumble like he’s a Birther at the American Heritage Institute. A necessary ally, but an unstable, embarrassing one who talks a lot of nonsense when other people are trying to get work done."

Think Tank: What do the Stormtroopers think of Vader?
posted by kagredon at 12:58 PM on February 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


kenko: "I know i havent seen Return of the Jedi in a long time, but what am I missing? Hayden Christensen wasn't even alive when it came out.

George Lucas has altered the film you saw.
"

What's really unfair is they still use the old Ben Kenobi. Just another example of George Lucas screwing over Ewan McGregor.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:23 AM on March 2, 2012


ricochet biscuit: "George Lucas has altered the film you saw.

Pray he does not alter it any further.
"

ricochet biscuit: "Argh."

You know, this joke about Lucas altering the films and praying that he does not alter them filter is at least 10 years old, so anyone who says it is basically reposting anyway.

The hilarious thing is he keeps on altering it, over and over again.

Which is why it's awesome that in some momentary lapse LucasFilms decided that any non-commercial use of the Star Wars story and media was fair game, which means that devoted fans have created permanent, digital versions of the movies as they should have been so that when the Next Great Thing in media formats comes around and Lucas decides that Luke actually had a talking lizard companion and that's the only version he releases, devoted Star Wars fans can just keep watching the bootleg versions instead.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:28 AM on March 2, 2012


These beans ... they BURN!

For people that couldn’t care less about the prequel trilogy, I suggest Harmy’s Despecialized Editions.

What's the difference between those and the standard VHS editions that first came out? Those have always served me well. (A eBay commenter says the theatrical versions are still available as extras on the 2006 DVDs.)

I just wish I could watch the originals for the first time again.

My schedule is a little busy, but I got the tapes and the VHS player. Let me know your availability and I'll try to pencil you in.

Reading this article resulted in minutes that I will never get back

I can't believe anyone read the whole thing. It is funny to see the same comments repeated over and over.

Star Wars is tired.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:06 AM on March 7, 2012


Topher Grace Edited The ‘Star Wars’ Prequels Into One 85-Minute Movie and We Saw It
posted by homunculus at 9:58 AM on March 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


My daighter no longer wants to be Ahsoka, now she wants to be Captain Rex. Not clonist or anything, but that seems like a creepy development.
posted by Artw at 10:04 AM on March 13, 2012


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