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Peter Mayhew (as Chewbacca), Mark Hamill, Alec Guiness, and Harrison Ford in "Star Wars."

Industrial Light & Magic, Lucasfilm Ltd

This is not your father's 'Star Wars'

  • Article by: RANDY A. SALAS
  • Star Tribune
  • September 15, 2011 - 3:34 PM

George Lucas has turned completely to the Dark Side of the Force. At least, that's how many "Star Wars" fans see it.

When the filmmaker releases his six "Star Wars" movies Friday on Blu-ray (Fox, $140), they will arrive with yet more tweaks. He first reworked the original trilogy in the late 1990s to update special effects that had not aged well. But then he kept tinkering. Each subsequent video release has featured alterations -- so many that a Wikipedia page tracks them all.

In the latest, high-def go-round, changes range from R2-D2 hiding behind bigger rocks in 1977's "A New Hope" to a puppet-powered Yoda being replaced by a computer-generated version of the character in 1999's "The Phantom Menace."

And then there's the main source of the fan-boy firestorm: The formerly silent Darth Vader now screams "Nooooo!" as he tosses the Emperor to his death in 1983's "Return of the Jedi." A once-solemn moment flirts with parody.

Incensed fans have taken to Huffington Post and other Internet pulpits to decry the desecration of the films they've loved since childhood. Many have canceled preorders at Amazon, where more than a thousand people have given the "Star Wars" Blu-rays an average rating of 2 out of 5 stars.

St. Paul "Star Wars" fan Joe Imholte predicts that the changes will boost sales of bootlegs of the "original" versions.

"As the parent of two children under 6, I don't want my children to grow up in a world altered by George Lucas," Imholte said. "He's a madman and needs to be stopped."

Starting in February from Lucas: 3-D makeovers of the films. Nooooo!

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