Han Shoots First—Again!

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It's a slow week—the perfect time to break the best news in DVD history.

Even though George Lucas adamantly declared 2004's digitally restored Star Wars Trilogy DVDs the definitive versions of his movies, fans have held out hope for DVDs of the originals.

Their wishes will be granted Sept. 12 when Fox releases new two-disc DVDs ($30 each) of Star Wars (since retitled as Episode IV: A New Hope), The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi that include the films as they first appeared in theaters, along with the new, restored versions (now available in the four-disc $70 Star Wars Trilogy).

George Lucas was not the first director to make substantial "corrections" to his movies, but his strategy of force-feeding the new editions to fans and basically deleting the old ones threatened to inspire a trend. If Lucas is willing to backtrack, even for purely market-driven reasons (new DVDs + nerds with money = new yacht for George), cineastes can look forward to more choice in which editions of their favorite films they can watch and own.

NEXT: The Outer Limits of Abu Ghraib

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  1. He’s still raping my childhood, but at least now he’s using some lube.

  2. Actually, it should be “Han shoots first.. Again!”

    That’s my biggest gripe about Lucas, with all the juvenile cutesy-pie shit. I hate those inserted scenes because they add absolutely nothing to the story.

    And revisionism (for the sake of modern sensibilies) is such a stupid endeavor. Han shooting first makes him flawed and much more interesting. And what’s the big fucking deal with having the cops wave around guns while chasing ET? I don’t remember anyone firing a shot. But No! Let’s digitially replace those guns with walkie-talkies!

    Idiotic.

  3. [Does happy dance] I can never give enough money to GL! [/Does happy dance] (No, really, I can’t!)

  4. “And what’s the big fucking deal with having the cops wave around guns while chasing ET? I don’t remember anyone firing a shot. But No! Let’s digitially replace those guns with walkie-talkies!”

    Hey, it was Spielberg who messed that up, not the Flanneled One.

  5. Awesome news. The market triumphs again.

    However, Lucas has still lost his place in the Holy Triumverate of Movie Directors.

    Used to be Spielberg, Lucas, Cameron, now it’s Spielberg, Cameron, Jackson.

  6. I’m including Spielberg under my blanket term “revisionism”.

    South Park had a good riff on this. Spielberg goes back and digitially replaces all the Nazis in Schlinder’s List with happy, fuzzy bears.

  7. I can now plan for that long stay on a desert island. Thanks, George.

  8. Can we also get a de-restored version of Touch of Evil that puts the opening credits and Mancini’s music back in the opening tracking shot? I don’t care what Orson said in his memo, that scene falls totally flat without the music.

  9. FINALLY! Jeeze. Han shooting first proves that Han is simply a bigger baddass with bigger balls than Greedo. Greedo shooting first and missing from two feet prooves that Rodians are crappy bounty hunters…I prefer the first.

  10. Pooves: as “proves” but more so.

  11. Now can Lucas please un-murder THX-1138?

  12. I wonder what the odds are on Lucas making another Star Wars movie?

    It’s too much of a cash cow – he’ll be planning a new trilogy by the end of the decade.

  13. When I originally saw Star Wars, I didn’t even think there was anything especially “flawed” or morally ambiguous about Han shooting Greedo (not just “first”, but _only_). Greedo had just told him that paying his debt wasn’t even an option anymore. Going along quietly would have been tantamount to suicide. Shooting Greedo effectively _was_ self-defence.

    But apparently, the menace of that scene wasn’t what Lucas originally intended. The “restored” (supposedly originally planned, but never filmed) scene in the hangar, where Jabba sputters ineffectually like a literalized alien incarnation of Dean Wormer while Han talks his way into another chance, turns the threat to Han into a sitcom-level farce. The “Greedo shoots first” edit actually makes a certain sense in that context — it’s just that the whole package weakens the drama and motivations of Han’s character, and diminishes the signifcance of his choice at the end of the film.

    It served for me as a pretty clear indication that Lucas is more utterly clueless about his work than Spielberg has ever been on his worst, Hook-directing, day. I’m not one to overly romanticize the cinematic arts, but I find Lucas’ ham-fisted hackery particularly irritating. His mix of pretentious lip service and pandering back-pedaling is really unequaled outside the realm of politics.

  14. I’m sure that whoever inherits the rights will greenlight another SW trilogy! GL is 62; when he dies and his heirs get offered $$$$$$ for another trilogy, think they’ll say no? “How could I say no? They pulled a dump-truck full of money up to my house!”

  15. Oh fuck, you people actually care about this?

  16. Oh fuck, you people actually care about this?

    Take that back!

    (I am TOTALLY pulling an angry jedi face while writing the above).

  17. “I wonder what the odds are on Lucas making another Star Wars movie?”

    I’ve heard rumblings of a tv series in the offing.

    “Oh fuck, you people actually care about this?”

    Commie.

  18. I’ve heard rumblings of a tv series in the offing.

    Not just rumblings. Lucas himself has said there will be a TV series that bridges the gap between Episode III and Episode IV, i.e., Luke and Leia grow up, go through puberty and discover their sexual organs.
    Oh FUCK, I actually care about this? Oops.

  19. Luke and Leia grow up, go through puberty and discover their sexual organs.

    I cannot wait for Luke to get his first jedi erection!!

    Holy crap I’m pumped! This is the best news I’ve heard since the Crown Prosecution Service dropped my molestation charge.

    I’m going to go home, watch Star Wars and shadowbox!

  20. Well, Jamie, since the whole premise of Ep IV was that Luke’s life had been as flat, dusty, and boring as, er, Tatooine, that sounds like a pretty dull TV show.

    Luke fixes some equipment! Look, now Luke digs a hole! Wow, now Luke will do some chores!

  21. And don’t forget the riveting scenes where Luke finds he can’t communicate with people who speak Batchi.

    No one will be seated during the dramatic sequence where Luke and Uncle Owen fix the moisture vaporators!

  22. I think it’ll mostly flesh out the psychology of Darth Vader and chronicle Obi Wan’s journey to dementia. But I’m hoping for the awkward “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” exchange between Luke and Leia.

  23. Since there only three movies, it is important that they remain in their unpolluted form.

    I’ve heard rumors that Lucas was working on a second trilogy, but, and I am quite certain about this, it doesn’t exist.

  24. I’m hoping for a 24, hour-long episode series based around Jar Jar Binks.

    Fuck a duck, he was SO funny! And what a complex character too…made the franchise for me.

  25. I would like to see the first ones re-done so the storm troopers don’t look like such bumbling idiots.

    Given their virtual undefeatableness in episode 1 thrugh 3. They look silly in the original episodes.

    What would the next 3 episodes be about? The holocaust of the Ewoks or something?

  26. “Oh fuck, you people actually care about this?”

    Commie.

    Yeah! If I had a ligthsaber, which I don’t, yet… maybe. I would totally kick your ass right now. Well at least scare you a little bit and force you to watch all the movies until you were mentally empty inside.

    “I’ve heard rumors that Lucas was working on a second trilogy, but, and I am quite certain about this, it doesn’t exist.”

    I’m assuming you meant a third trilogy, unless you’ve somehow missed all that Star Wars hubub the last 4-5 years.

  27. I would like to see the first ones re-done so the storm troopers don’t look like such bumbling idiots.

    Worst gurads ever – the ones in Flash Gordon. They are so fucking weak it hurts. I reckon I could kill 15 of them on my own compared to only 3 stormtroopers.

    Yeah! If I had a ligthsaber, which I don’t, yet… maybe. I would totally kick your ass right now. Well at least scare you a little bit and force you to watch all the movies until you were mentally empty inside

    I did that with my ex-girlfriend! It was sweet. She dumped me seventeen hours later.

  28. “Given their virtual undefeatableness in episode 1 thrugh 3.”

    This actually carries through to the game Star Wars Battlefront 2.

    The troopers’ blasters are noticeably more accurate during the Clone Wars era than they are during the Galactic Civil War (movie era to non-dweebs).

  29. Hooray! The Ewok “nub nub… jub jub… nub nub jubbity joo” song is back in its full glory!

    If the storm troopers are all clones, maybe the ones in episodes IV-VI are like a xerox of a xerox of a xerox… not as bright as the original. Thus the bumbling.

  30. Yeah baby.

    Finally, I’ll be able to introduce my daughter to the REAL star wars, the one where Han shoots first, damnit! And the Lord thus spake, “And Han shall shoot first, and there shall be much rejoicing, for it was a righteous and just act.”

  31. “Given their virtual undefeatableness in episode 1 thrugh 3.”

    Nitpick: There were no Stormtroopers in Episode 1.

  32. Regarding Schindler’s List – you all know that in real life, Schindler armed his workers near the end, right? Unlike Spielberg, Schindler knew that good intentions were not enough.

  33. re: accuracy of Imperial soldier weapons.

    Perhaps the Empire got the later stormtrooper blasters from a different contractor? The guns do look different, and they even shoot a different colored laser blast. The clone troops fire blue lasers, the stormtroopers fire red lasers. Maybe the later guns are inferior because of cronie contracting, or mandatory purchase contracts, or summat?

    And what’s the deal with that ‘stun’ setting? Was another ‘stun’ beam shot in any of the other five movies? I could see how they might’ve come in handy at times.

  34. “It served for me as a pretty clear indication that Lucas is more utterly clueless about his work than Spielberg has ever been on his worst, Hook-directing, day.”

    Well said. I’m convinced that episodes four, five, and a chunk of six were purely accidental brilliance. The fact that Lucas was limited in what he could do actually came heavily in his favor.. like Spielberg?s genius in making Jaws scary because you couldn’t see the monster (in real life, the mechanical shark broke down).

    “Less is more”, right? U2 was fantastic when they could only bang around on borrowed guitars. Once they got their hands on synthesizers and sound effects, it went totally downhill from there.

    Nothing kills creativity more than success.

  35. For me it will always be ‘Star Wars”, wtf is a New Hope? Anyone who calls it Ep 4 a New Hope or some stupid ish ill get beatdown

  36. “For me it will always be ‘Star Wars”, wtf is a New Hope? Anyone who calls it Ep 4 a New Hope or some stupid ish ill get beatdown

    Comment by: johndellbertc at May 4, 2006 03:12 PM”

    somebody was obviously chattin’ on his cell phone during the opening credits…

    i just love it when the internet tough guys get to use the computer at the group home…

  37. What would the next 3 episodes be about? The holocaust of the Ewoks or something?

    I’d pay to see that.

  38. Fuck you, Lucas! I’ve still got the originals on VHS.

    Wait, do I even own a working VCR anymore?

    DAMN YOU, LUCAS!!!!

  39. VM,

    In the original theatrical release, the opening did not include the title “EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE”. That was inserted in copies released after ESB was made.

  40. Nothing kills creativity more than success.

    Inasmuch as necessity is the mother of invention, luxury is its murderer.

  41. Randolph – I always saw the genius in Lucas making episodes 4, 5, and 6 first because in those, the empire is in a serious state of decline. Therefore the weapons, spacecraft, etc are all way worse than in episodes 1, 2, and 3. Also, all the stormtroopers are clones at first, but later they lose the ability to get clones (I don’t know the details) and so later stormtroopers are just guys recruited into the Imperial Army.

    All that being said…I thought episode 1 was really good, episode 2 ok, and episode 3 sucked. I thought he had a grand vision the whole time, which I think he did up until about mid-way through episode 2. Apparently he had no idea exactly how he was going to do ep3, or changed his mind because of some hatred for Bush, or because he’s going senile, or whatever, but I felt very let down by ep3.

  42. What would the next 3 episodes be about? The holocaust of the Ewoks or something?

    I’d pay to see that.

    Have to agree. First saw Return when I was 13 or so, and I liked it well enough then. Seeing it again 7 years ago, I had a major WTF moment when a bunch of Teddy Ruxpin dolls were kicking the shit out of the baddest empire ever.

  43. Well said. I’m convinced that episodes four, five, and a chunk of six were purely accidental brilliance.

    I’m not a fan of Lucas, but he hit the pop culture jackpot three times, with three completely different movie franchises. Star Wars just turned out to be the most profitable. Once is an accident; twice may be good luck; three times deserves a little respect.

  44. Maybe the later guns are inferior because of cronie contracting, or mandatory purchase contracts, or summat?

    Another Schindler’s List reference!

    This thread is even worse than that picture of Captain Picard with a light saber. Some things were not meant to be mixed.

  45. Speaking of gung-ho sci-fi heroes, is anyone reading the “Roswell, Texas” web comic linked here?

    Nice art, and I must confess that I do have a soft spot in my heart of old El Neil. He can be a kook oft times, but he’s an entertaining one.

  46. Edit: …in my heart for old El Neil…

  47. Mr. Nice Guy —

    The key thing about the original three films is that they were collaborative creative efforts. Lucas was working with other people willing to fight him when his ideas sucked. That started to erode a bit with Return of the Jedi, for which Lucas purposely selected a more tractable director. By the time of the prequels, Lucas was snug in his own little echo chamber, directing performers on empty stages as they talked to tennis balls on sticks.

  48. Hey C’think – i actually was playing on the john-ny come lately 2nd run fans (those who were too young to have seen the original in the theater) who saw it back in the remastered days and were all-world experts (ran into a pack waiting on line for “Darth as homer simpson” movie – cell phone was supposed to be a time reference and an indicator of trixiness… sigh. and it wasn’t funny to boot.

    (BTW: thanks for that info about post ESB “Episode IV” inclusion: i saw the original star wars a ton of times in the theater, but couldn’t have told you if “episode IV” was there or not)

  49. I’d like to see Return of the Jedi redone. All the Luke, Dad, Emperor stuff stays. Ditto blowing up and shooting stuff. Even the Ewoks can stay with one minor change. They get slaughtered by the stormtroopers and have absolutely no effect on the course of history. Except maybe that a key stormtrooper slips in Ewok gore at a bad moment or something. Also, at the end, the destruction of the Death Star kills what remains of the Ewoks. Conveniently, Jar Jar Binks grandfather, in a bizarre reverse time-traveling accident, is killed.

  50. FYI for those who don’t already know: An entry in the Star Wars Technical Commentaries argues convincingly and at length, drawing upon official sources, that the destruction of the Death Star in low orbit during Return of the Jedi must have resulted in catastrophic damage to the Moon of Endor, and the extinction of all lifeforms thereof. Unless they were somehow evacuated, the Ewoks must all be dead. And there is no official evidence that any survived after ROTJ.

    Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh.

    http://www.theforce.net/swtc/holocaust.html

  51. I read that analysis a while back, Stevo. Great stuff. But I’m not satisfied with their mere destruction. They must be eliminated as an important force in the movie altogether.

  52. I read that analysis a while back, Stevo. Great stuff. But I’m not satisfied with their mere destruction. They must be eliminated as an important force in the movie altogether.

  53. “Well, Jamie, since the whole premise of Ep IV was that Luke’s life had been as flat, dusty, and boring as, er, Tatooine, that sounds like a pretty dull TV show.”

    Ah, but if they made a few changes…

    Think: “the Sawney Beane of Tatooine”

  54. I think it’ll mostly flesh out the psychology of Darth Vader and chronicle Obi Wan’s journey to dementia. But I’m hoping for the awkward “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” exchange between Luke and Leia.

    Comment by: Jamie Kelly at May 4, 2006 12:33 PM

    I thought they only met in Star Wars (Episode IV) for the first time, as they had been separated as infants.

  55. what’s wrong with ‘purely market-driven reasons’?

    kee-righ-st this is a nominally libertarian (market-driven) weblog, unless you think “stealing” IP is criminal…

  56. “Well, Jamie, since the whole premise of Ep IV was that Luke’s life had been as flat, dusty, and boring as, er, Tatooine, that sounds like a pretty dull TV show”

    All they would need to do is take old “Waltons” scripts and just have Luke play the John Boy part.

    Minor threadjack, but have folks here seen the infamous Star Wars Christmas Special? I swear, if you haven’t try to find it on Limewire or some other fire-share. And be sure to have yourself sufficiently medicated.

  57. Mr. Nice Guy, I saw it as a kid and couldn’t believe what they’d done. Though my memories of it are rather surreal–Bea Arthur, Jefferson Starship. . . . Maybe it was just a dream and I never really saw it.

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