Nerds rejoice! Next Friday, our beloved Star Wars saga – which birthed so many “waiting until 30” virgins – is coming to sumptuous Blu-Ray. Finally, George Lucas will give us – the people who fund the Lucasfilm payroll – the original, untouched versions on Blu-Ray DVD! Wait… what? He’s… he’s what? He’s doing what to Return of the Jedi? More CGI Yoda? He’s even messing with the Ewoks? “Nooooooooooo!”
Well, by now it’s no secret that Madman Lucas (not to be confused with “Mad Man Lucas”, the ad exec who drinks tons of Blue Milk in designer Jedi robes, and is married to Mon Mothma while also having an affair with Oola The Slave Girl) is yet again messing around with the Star Wars movies; and pissing off more fans in the process. This time, it’s in prep for their Blu-Ray release on Friday. First off, can I just say that (and yes, I did tweet this joke once, so bear with me) that if George Lucas were a stand-up comedian, then Star Wars would be the longest, saddest bit that he refuses to retire? Since completing Jedi in 1983, he’s rarely lent his name to anything that isn’t either a spin-off, sequel, or prequel to a successful franchise he established. From a producing point of view, he’s brilliantly sustained himself off of two blockbuster film series (SW and Indiana Jones) that’ll keep his great-great-grandchildren covered for life. From a filmmaker’s point of view, he’s lacked any ambition to build a respectable catalogue of work. And that’s fine, considering that he’s not a film director – not anymore, any way. George Lucas is a film producer, through and through. He’s the guy who knows how to get people to buy into a product and how to keep them interested.
As much as we all hate him for continuing to alter Star Wars, I do see some of his point. They are his films, which he bankrolled and for which fought successfully to retain all licensing rights. By doing so, he’s enjoyed a career-long opportunity that no filmmaker ever gets: the ability to make movies his way. After a lifetime of calling his own shots, we can’t expect him to kowtow to fan appeal. But then again, the fans always seem to answer George by plopping down money to buy whatever it is he’s selling. That’s what makes him something of a genius. On that note, I also have to scrape together some cash this week to pick up the 2006 DVD version of the original trilogy – something tells me they won’t be around for much longer.