Should fans boycott the upcoming Star Wars Blu-ray set?

By Brad Sturdivant

The internet is abuzz today after some hardcore Star Wars fans started an online petition/movement to encourage people to boycott the STAR WARS Blu-ray release. This came hot off the heels that series creator George Lucas had once again gone back to the original trilogy and altered the films. The proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back is the addition of Darth Vader yelling “noooo” when he picks up the Emperor in RETURN OF THE JEDI. Of course, he’s done other tweaks to the films, including replacing the puppet Yoda in THE PHANTOM MENACE with a CGI version, but fans don’t seem to care too much about the new trilogy since most have already written them off as a lost cause.

Star Wars

But is now the time to stand up and finally take a stand against George Lucas?  Some fans think so (they even have their own FaceBook page).  Before addressing the issue, it’s worth pointing out that George Lucas is beyond wealthy and can do whatever he wants. He’s ignored fan complaints before and even seems to enjoy sticking it to them. This was evident when promoting INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL when he joked with Spielberg “fans are going to hate this movie”. In other words, he knew no one was going to like it, but he didn’t care; he was making it for himself, not the millions of fans that have supported him over the years.

George Lucas

As for Star Wars, I defended the first alterations because I could see his point. He didn’t have the technology at the time to do what he wanted, so he went back and touched up the effects and added some other things to make the films more “modern”. What I didn’t understand was having Han shoot first or adding in some of the deleted scenes. The more of that kind of stuff you do, the more you change the pacing of the film and the integrity of what you originally created. Obviously, fans reacted poorly to the changes and everyone was very vocal about how horrible the changes were. Lucas heard the complaints and when he released the original versions on DVD a few years ago, I thought he was finally trying to make amends with the fans.

Darth Vader killing the Emperor

Which brings us to present day and now I have no reason to defend the guy. He knew people hated the first round of changes and he still went back and tinkered with the films. At this point, I might actually have to acknowledge the argument that he’s doing this just to spite his fans. I would like to think a grown man with as much success as Lucas wouldn’t do such a thing, but it’s getting hard to give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s also frustrating because he used to be a big advocate of preserving film in its original form, but he has since abandoned that notion.

So as much as it pains me to support the boycott, I can honestly say that this writer has not decided whether or not he will be purchasing the STAR WARS Blu-ray set. It’s not that I’m considering making a grand stand against Lucas, it’s more that I don’t have much interest in the set anymore. I think Lucas has finally managed to alter the fun out of the series.

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