I grew up with Star Wars. It was the key fandom of my childhood. I don’t remember discovering Star Wars because I did so before I could really form long-term memories. I started reading the novels when Heir to the Empire came out, and the Dark Empire and Tales of the Jedi comics. I was thrilled to see the special editions in theaters after nearly 15 years, even though some of the changes, like Greedo firing first and the way that you restored the Jabba scene,* didn’t make sense.

And while I’ve lost some interest over time—the novels and comics have gotten so complex that I wouldn’t have time to keep up with them if I wanted to, and the prequels were less engaging than the original series—I stayed on board for the entire prequel trilogy. Grumbling at times, but enjoying them nonetheless.

When you announced that only the special editions would be available on videotape, I was disappointed, because I liked both versions. When you announced that the films would be changed again for the DVDs, I was disappointed for the same reason. But I bought the DVDs, and (mostly) enjoyed them.

So when you announced that the original versions of the original trilogy would be available on DVD, I was thrilled! At last, I could have a companion set! But I found out it would be an “extra” with the super-special DVD version. And it became clear that you weren’t putting much effort into it, basically transferring them from the laser disc copies… scratches, fuzziness, bad compositions and all.

You probably remember that some of your changes to the Special Edition were substantive—replacing model-based FX shots with CGI, increasing the size and bustle of Mos Eisley—and some were clean-up—removing garbage mattes, re-compositing sequences like the battle on Hoth or the Rancor pit. No one has a problem with the clean-up work (except for historical purposes). What people want back is the original substance of the film. It couldn’t hurt to put a little effort into making sure it looks good.

Let’s get one thing straight, George: I already own a copy of the DVD Edition. I don’t need another one.** Not even to get the original cuts, and especially not for something that’s just kind of thrown on there. If you’d offered them separately, I would have already bought them by now. As it is, I’m passing this round.

*The Jabba scene, as restored, suffered from two problems: 1. much of the dialogue duplicated the Greedo confrontation. I assume this is because when you originally dropped the scene for SFX reasons, you shifted the exposition over to a scene you could use. For the special edition, you could have rewritten either Jabba or Greedo to make the scenes less redundant. Only Han’s lines were written in stone, and as you well know, even those could have been edited or rearranged. 2. The tail step. As funny as it was, in the context of Jabba’s portrayal in Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace it doesn’t make sense that Han would have walked out of there alive.

**If anyone at New Line Cinema is listening, this goes for Lord of the Rings, too. I already own copies of both the theatrical and extended editions of each movie. I don’t need to buy another box with the same content until my DVDs become obsolete.

4 thoughts on “Dear George: Why I’m not buying the Star Wars Limited Edition DVDs

  1. Argh. I hear you. I’m still grieving over the lost potential on Jedi. There are just so many “dirty” space scenes in need of cleaning.

  2. I’m nowhere near as big a fan as you two, so I just found most of the changes interesting… if I even noticed’em.

    But I know what you mean about the various “editions.” It’s like a game they’re playing – a game that’s gotten very old.

  3. A game?

    his playin with our hard work earned money here!

    instead of makin better and fuller versions, why not indulge us with say….another sequence of films…Force unleashed is commin…why not take it from there and see where it takes us!

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