So help me, I saw this clip last night at Ain’t It Cool and then this post by a guy who said he’d confirmed that it’s a real, honest-to-goodness new edit added to the Blu-Ray version of ROTJ — but I didn’t post it because I simply couldn’t believe it. Granted, Lucas is the man responsible for the Ewoks and Jar Jar Binks. And yeah, he’s proved that he’s willing to urinate on his earlier masterpieces by re-editing the Han/Greedo scene in a way that literally everyone in the world except him thought was terrible. But surely he must retain some basic sense of what made his classics classic. In fact, there was good reason to believe this was a hoax: The Darth Vader “nooooooo” scene from “Revenge of the Sith” was itself so famously cringe-inducing that it’s been a running joke on the ‘Net since the day the film came out. Lucas must know that, no? Even if his filmmaking instincts are now so demented that he looked at this scene with Vader and the Emperor and thought, “This could use a few ‘noooos,'” the fact that people have been laughing at the same scene in “Sith” for years surely would have given him pause.
But … noooo:
Previously, it was reported that the version of “Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace” included in this release would replace the puppet version of the Yoda character with a computer-generated creation. Then on Tuesday, an online report by Devin Faraci suggested a revelation almost as troubling as the news that Luke and Leia had been brother and sister all along: in a climactic scene from “Return of the Jedi,” when Darth Vader hurls the evil Emperor to his demise on the Death Star, he would now shout “No!” (In all previous versions of “Jedi,” Vader has committed this crucial deed in silence.)
On Wednesday, a press representative for Lucasfilm confirmed that this change will be included in the Blu-ray release, writing in an e-mail: “Yes — Darth says NO.”
Say what you will about Paul McCartney’s later work, but his ear’s still sharp enough that he knows not to go dropping accordions into a new remaster of “Abbey Road.” If GL’s going to go this far, he might as well start adding fart noises to that Vader/Obi Wan lightsaber battle in Episode IV. So reluctant am I to believe this, in fact, that I’m searching for some sort of ulterior motive. Maybe Lucas, ever the master merchandiser, is screwing with the originals in anticipation of releasing the unedited originals on Blu-Ray (or whatever the next cutting-edge medium is) down the line? “Star Wars” fanboys will buy this edited version no matter how bad it is, just so that they have a complete collection. So everyone will grumble now, and then when the unedited originals come out later, everyone will buy those too and there’ll be a new cycle of “wasn’t the original trilogy amazing?” appreciation.
Bottom line: The only good news here is that this guy has some new material.