George Lucas defends his Alterations to Star Wars

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George Lucas was recently interviewed by Entertainment Weekly about his alterations to his films. He comes out and defends himself and what he believes are unfinished movies.

What's the line between restoring a film and altering it? Obviously, the versions of the Star Wars Trilogy and THX 1138 on DVD go far beyond what we saw in theaters.
GEORGE LUCAS Film is so expensive, and it's run by corporations. They just take it away from you, and it's frozen in time at the point where it got yanked out of your hands. I've been lucky enough to be able to go back and say ''No, I'm going to finish this the way it was meant to be finished.'' When Star Wars came out, I said it didn't turn out the way I wanted -- it's 25 percent of what I wanted it to be. It was very painful for me. So the choice came down to, do I please myself and [finally] make the movie that I wanted, or do I allow the audience to see the half-finished version that they fell in love with?

If you really look at it, there's hardly any changes at all. The thing that really caused the trouble on Star Wars is the whole question of whether Han Solo or Greedo shoots first. The way it got cobbled together at the time, it came off that [Han] fired first. He didn't fire first.

So you consider this a correction?
It's a correction. [When I made Star Wars] I said, ''Well, I don't have that shot, so I'll just, you know, fudge it editorially.'' In my mind [Greedo] shot first or at the same time. We like to think of [Han Solo] as a murderer because that's hip -- I don't think that's a good thing for people. I mean, I don't see how you could redeem somebody who kills people in cold blood. Every [other change] is, you know, I wanted to have a good matte painting here.

Nobody seems to mind the [idea of a] ''director's cut.'' But to go the next step and say, had they given me another week's shooting, or another $50,000 to finish these matte paintings, this is what the film would look like -- well, it's not a matter of changing your mind. Star Wars was not meant, in the end, to be seen more than once in a movie theater. It was designed to be a large theatrical experience that, if you saw it once on a giant screen, would blow you away. But this was before there was such a thing as DVD. If you went down and sort of analyzed it and looked at it frame by frame, you can see the tricks that are going on. There's a lot of stuff that's very thin, as in any old movie.

Source: EW


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