(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing trailer clips and screenshots from the original Star Wars films that were re-released theatrically in 1997 and on DVD in 2004)
Doug (vo): It's time to talk about those controversial Special Editions, and when I say "controversial", I mean (A photo of a crowd full of Star Wars fans is shown) geeks complaining about stuff that's clearly not important. But we're geeks. It's what we do.
(A picture of George Lucas at work is shown)
Doug (vo): In the mid-nineties, George Lucas re-released the Star Wars films on the big screen, which was a big deal. A lot of us never saw it on the big screen, so this was something really wonderful to see. And on top of that, he updated a lot of the effects, added new scenes, and gave it a total digital cleanup.
(A screenshot from The Empire Strikes Back, showing Luke shouting "NO!", is shown)
Doug (vo): People freaked. They couldn't stand the idea that he went and changed up something that was so perfect. "How dare you touch even one frame of this! Everything about it is absolutely magnificent! How dare you!"
(Back to the editions)
Doug (vo): My take on it? I...actually think it's kinda cool. It's kinda nice to see a little bit of an update. It was also a clever way to get new and younger audiences into the seats. Yeah, I don't like it either, but you know there's a lot of younger people out there that say, "Oh, the effects! They look fake now, so I don't like it." And on top of that, Lucas said this was the version he always wanted to see. This is a world where there was no limitation. He could show much more of Cloud City, he could show much more of Mos Eisley, he could have a bigger dance number in Jabba's palace. And some of these really work...and some of them really don't.
Review of A New Hope Special Edition Edit
Doug (vo): For example, when you first see Mos Eisley, it's...neat. You get a lot more different angles, and see a lot more creatures running around. But then, they literally put creatures in front of the camera. There's some robots going by and these giant dinosaur things, you literally can't see what's going on. Why would you do that? You're missing an important scene, the first using of the Force in the entire thing. But it's hard to make out because there's this dinosaur's butt in the way, it's totally nuts.
(Shots of the scene with Jabba the Hutt are shown)
Doug (vo): But then some things are really neat to see, like they shot a scene of Jabba talking to Han Solo in the first film, that was later replaced with the Greedo scene because they felt the technology wasn't able to do it yet. Well, now it can...sort of. The first time we saw him was neat, but he did look kind of fake, and suddenly, he has these perfect lip movements. Well, that's weird, 'cause in Return of the Jedi, it's still a puppet with his mouth moving up and down, but now he can form perfect syllables? They would later do another special edition where they replaced him again, this time with a mouth moving up and down, but he looked even worse! He still didn't look like he was there and he looked so incredibly fake! And on top of that, the scene is pointless because they leave the Greedo scene still in there, so Jabba's just repeating what we already heard.
(Shots of this movie's most controversial change are shown)
Doug (vo): And with that said, yeah. Let's talk about the whole "Han shot first" thing. In the original version, Greedo has a gun at Han Solo and Han Solo shoots him to get out of it. Well, Lucas didn't like that, so he had it where Greedo shoots first and then Han Solo shoots back. Now, taking out the fact that this is a horrible-looking effect, it literally looks like they just Photoshopped Harrison Ford's head over a little... (A shot of Darth Vader yelling "NOOOOOO!" from Revenge of the Sith is shown) everyone once again went nuts. "That's not how it's supposed to go! Han Solo is supposed to shoot first! It's a total betrayal of his character! Everything that Han Solo is is destroyed because of this one scene!" Okay, it's stupid and not needed, but it's literally one second. People are still bitching and moaning about this dumbass scene, and it's ridiculous! They act like somebody told them that Luke Skywalker was a Jawa or something. It's not that big a deal. It's a different take on an already-popular scene. Neat, it's cool to see a new point of view. Why the hell is this worth going apeshit over? (Speaks sarcastically as a romance scene from Attack of the Clones is shown, as well as an image of Jar Jar Binks from The Phantom Menace) Yeah, don't worry. Soon the prequels will come, and suddenly, you'll have nothing to complain about. This will still be the most offensive thing you will ever see in a Star Wars film.
Review of The Empire Strikes Back Special Edition Edit
Doug (vo): In Empire Strikes Back, the changes are a little bit more minimal, but look nice. Cloud City, for example, you can see a lot more of, and they even explain some things that were a little confusing in the original, like when Lando Calrissian gets on this little microphone and says, "Everybody, evacuate the city." What...wait a minute. Where was that going to? You never see who's hearing it, you just kind of assume it's that one building. In the special edition, you see it's a speaker that reaches out to the entire city. But, then again, does he...just have a little microphone like that anywhere? Couldn't anyone get on that microphone and...? Details, details. You also see a lot more of the monster that attacks Luke in the opening, and you see how the hell Vader got from Cloud City to the Star Destroyer so quickly. Yeah, that always bothered me in the original. It's like he was in one location, and then, suddenly, he's in another. Here, we actually see him take the ship and go back. It's a little detail, but it's nice to have.
Review of Return of the Jedi Special Edition Edit
Doug (vo): In [Return of the] Jedi, most of the changes are good, too, but there's still a couple of things that are a little too crazy. The dance sequence in Jabba's palace, for example, goes from this...muddy, dark, dirty place to this big musical number, and there's a lot of moving and dancing and...it's just a little too childish for me. On top of the fact that, again, the CG monsters never really look like they're there, but, whatever. Again, it's neat to kind of see a new point of view. We also see a planet at the end that we never saw in any of the other versions, but would later be in the prequels. Yeah, remember that planet that's entirely a city? You see it here. And on top of that, if you look closely, you see a statue of the Emperor falling over. That's actually a nice little detail.
Review of all the editions Edit
Doug (vo): So when they first came out, I didn't mind the special editions, and I still don't. It's neat to see a brand new angle on a lot of this, and it's cool that an artist gets to go back, revisit his work, and touch it up a bit. Honestly, I'm not even against the idea of constantly going back and changing things up. Yeah, it's a little weird and you should probably leave good enough alone, but at the same time, effects do keep changing and they do keep updating. I kind of like the idea of comparing different special editions and seeing which effects hold up better, how far we're coming or how backwards we're going. Some of these CG effects look so much better, but then, some of the practical effects looked a lot better. I kind of like comparing and contrasting. So the idea of constantly going in and updating it, I don't mind. What I do mind is that we can't see the original. That's where I think people can get legitimately upset. We should be allowed to compare and contrast. Why are we just ignoring history?
(Pictures of Abraham Lincoln are shown)
Doug (vo): If Abraham Lincoln released another version of the Gettysburg address and said, "This is what I really wanted to say", that'd be neat. I would love to see that. But if he went back and said, "No, this is what I said and what you heard is completely false and doesn't exist, I'm gonna erase it", that would be stupid. And for years, Lucas never allowed the original versions to be seen. After the VHS of the special editions came out, that was then the only version you could get. When it went to DVD, it was the special edition again, except there were even more changes in it.
(Hayden Christensen's appearance in Return of the Jedi is shown)
Doug (vo): Yeah, now Hayden Christensen is at the end instead of Luke's father. Well, wait a minute. Why isn't that Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan, then? Why isn't that younger Yoda? I get the idea of wanting to book-end the prequels in the other films, but this makes no sense!
(Various old videocassettes of the Star Wars movies are shown)
Doug (vo): But again, the biggest problem is, we weren't allowed to see the original on Blu-Ray or DVD or any of that. It's like Lucas was ashamed of the effects, that they weren't up to where they could be at the time. But they were groundbreaking, they were amazing. They're still impressive to look at. Sure, they're a little bit more fake now, but, again, it's neat to see the evolution of a project. In my opinion, you can make as many changes as you want, as many versions as you want. I think it's a lot of fun to look and compare them. But if you don't have the original, you can't see what got everybody interested in this to begin with. You're denying newer generations what the older generations saw and got sucked into. However, I do hear that the original versions are being released now if they haven't been already, now that it's out of George Lucas's hands. This is definitely a good thing, as we deserve to see more than the VHS version of the original films.
Final thought Edit
Doug (vo): So on the whole, I like the special editions. Not everything about them, and some things I think are downright awful, but I think it's kind of cool to see someone mess with their own work again. But as long as we have the original to always go back to, I don't see the fault in it. I don't care if you call it canon or not-canon or Version 2.56, whatever. It's neat. It's like seeing an artist go back and sketch an old drawing that he did, seeing how his style has changed. Take it for what it's worth, find which version you like the most, and give it a watch.
(Several scenes showing the Millennium Falcon flying in space are shown)