The Director’s Prerogative
George Lucas, the creator of the “Star Wars” saga, is at war. Not with Imperial Storm Troopers or aliens from a galaxy far, far, away. He’s at war with his fans. Those rabidly loyal geeks that put the billions of dollars in his coffers are turning on him by the thousands. Why?, because he has this unbelievably annoying habit of messing with the re-releases of his films.
According to the fanboys, his latest sacrilegious act of vandalism occurs in the new Blu-ray release, “Star Wars: The Complete Saga”. Besides peppering little added effects throughout all six movies, he added dialog to the climactic scene of the death of the emperor in “The Return Of The Jedi”. A thunderous “NOOOOOOOOOOOO” is yelled by Darth Vader as the emperor is killing “Luke Skywalker” for refusing to join the “Dark Side”.
It all started back in 1997 when he gave the three original films – Star Wars (1977), The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983) - a makeover.
Not only did he clean up and repair the original prints; he also made several additions and alterations. Since then, an air of animosity between followers and guru has been brewing. He argued, as quoted in the UK Guardian, that “films never get finished, they get abandoned” and that he thought it the “director’s prerogative to go back and reinvent a movie”. Which appears to mean replacing the old version, not adding a new one to complement it and adding dialog that didn’t exist before.
The main focus of their fury towards Lucas is his “Orwellian” practice of not making the films available at all in their original form. Lucas is quietly waiting for all of the copies still out there on tape to eventually deteriorate and disappear, like they never happened. He has stated this desire in numerous interviews and doesn’t care in the least what the fans want.
This unfolding drama leads us to the question, is the artist who created the art responsible for its success? Or, is it successful because the public deems it so?
Marcel Duchamp said, “Let us consider two important factors, the two poles of the creation of art: the artist on the one hand, and on the other the spectator who later becomes the posterity.”
The law will say that the fans have no right to dictate anything to George Lucas because he is the sole owner of all the rights to the franchise. This will not make the fans happy but it is the law.
If you want to see just how unhappy the fans are with this release, click on over to Amazon.com and read the reviews. As of this writing there are over 1500 and the average is two out of five stars. The majority of the reviews are one star. Boy are they mad.