LucasFilm Franchise Wars:

Lucasfilm Franchise WarsTHE CONTROVERSIAL PREQUELS AND SEQUELS AND HOW HATERS, APOLOGISTS AND FANS HAVE GONE THEIR OWN WAYS… In the interest of full disclosure, Star Wars is the movie that sparked my love of movies and because of that; I’ve wanted to be a director for as long as I can remember.  That feeling was solidified when I saw The Empire Strikes Back, which is possibly my favorite movie of all time, except for the days I prefer Raiders of the Lost Ark. Being a life-long Star Wars fan I’ve watched the ebb and flow of the series’ popularity go up and down as the years passed, but I don’t think anyone could have guessed that the prequels would divide the fans as much as they have.  It’s something that I’ve followed and thought about for a long time and I thought it would make a good topic for discussion for my first column as I’m sure many of you share my love for the Star Wars universe.

LucasFilm Franchise Wars

It surrounds us and penetrates us.  It binds the galaxy together.

Back in 1977, Star Wars was released to almost universal praise among all demographics. That feat was repeated again in 1980 when The Empire Strikes Back was released to even greater acclaim and Return of the Jedi provided the victory lap in 1983.  While many fans were unhappy at the inclusion of the small furry ewoks in Jedi, there was a reservoir of goodwill from the previous two entries that largely made those reservations disappear.  Few movies are as beloved as the original Star Wars trilogy and it has rightfully earned its place in pop culture and cinematic lore.  For the next sixteen years, the Star Wars universe largely disappeared to the chagrin of many of its fans. Sure there were a couple of Atari games, some canon busting Marvel comics, and of course Kenner toys, but as the years went on, it all began to dwindle away.  It wasn’t resuscitated until the release of the fantastic hardcover book “Heir to the Empire” by Timothy Zahn in 1991.  That kick-started the golden age of Star Wars novels and the resurgence of the comic line starting with the “Dark Empire” storyline, both of which were the only Star Wars fix available to fans for years.  The fan community at that time shared an overwhelmingly positive opinion of the Star Wars films and ewoks notwithstanding, George Lucas was viewed as a visionary genius.  Flash-forward to 1999, when George Lucas took a huge gamble with that stellar legacy and released the first of a new Star Wars trilogy with The Phantom Menace.  At that point, the solidarity that Star Wars fans had shared was shattered as fans split into different divisions of viewpoints based on their reactions to the film.  Star Wars fandom would never be the same again.

LucasFilm Franchise Wars

 A Tremor in the Force…

The anticipation for The Phantom Menace was incredible. Fans were so excited about the return of Star Wars that they camped out days in advance to stand in line for tickets and again for the day of release.  I know because I was one of them.  You would think that hundreds of people standing in line in the freezing cold would be unhappy, but you would be wrong.  People were laughing, playing Star Wars Trivial Pursuit & Monopoly, having lightsaber fights, barbequing, and discussing the movies while listening to the soundtrack playing off in the distance.  It was more of a party than a line.  So many people had bought advanced tickets that the theater was showing the movie on every screen they had at 12:05am.  By the time everyone had rushed the theater and settled into their seats, the air was electric with excitement.  The lightsaber battles continued in the aisles until the movie started along with a roar of approval from excited fans.  The sound was deafening when the Star Wars logo appeared accompanied by the much loved main title from John Williams.  The rest of the movie was a blur for me as I tried to absorb this familiar yet completely new look at the Star Wars universe.  There were many sequences that I loved in the movie, (lightsaber fights, Qui-Gon Jinn, Darth Maul, the podrace), and some other parts I wasn’t as happy about (Jar-Jar Binks, the Gungans), but I was still thrilled to finally have a new Star Wars movie.  After exiting the movie, I was asked what my thoughts on the film were, and I remember saying,”Who knew Obi-Wan Kenobi could kick ass like that.”  However, even then as I left the theater I could hear some grumbling from some fans about the movie.  Time passed and that grumbling became an angry outcry and then the oft stated remark first appeared: “George Lucas raped my childhood!”   That ridiculous statement and the anger behind it was only the beginning of the fracture between fans.

LucasFilm Franchise Wars

You May Fire When Ready…

Every time I read or hear someone say that George Lucas raped their childhood, I want to force-choke them Vader style.  Even taken metaphorically, it makes absolutely no sense.  If your entire childhood is encapsulated by the Star Wars movies then what you should say is that George Lucas GAVE you your childhood.  After all, you wouldn’t have had that childhood to be raped if Lucas hadn’t given it to you in the first place.  Some fans were so incensed by the prequel trilogy that they have forsworn the entire saga. I call them the Haters.  This group of people has allowed their hatred of the prequels tarnish the love they once had for the original trilogy which I do not understand.  If you think the prequels are terrible then that’s fine, but how does that change your feelings on something you loved?  I believe there are certain people that feel that George Lucas has ruined their relationship to the saga by making the prequels.  They have a sense of entitlement as if they own the franchise and they are appalled that the caretaker did not follow their wishes.  These people generally assumed that the prequels wouldn’t start with Anakin as a young boy and what amounted to Little Orphan Annie’s action-packed journey to Coruscant.  I think they basically believed that the prequels would start with what happened in Revenge of the Sith and continue on to cover the missing years up until A New Hope.  While I agree that would have been totally awesome, the Haters refuse to forgive Lucas for ignoring their wishes and having the temerity to make the movies he wanted to make in the universe he created.  I would further suggest that another reason why a lot of people felt let down was the impossible expectations of the film itself.  Between the natural anticipation of a cherished series returning and the massive marketing campaign, many people were bound to be disappointed after all of the massive hype.  Another factor that may have played a part in the negativity is the belief that Lucas should have made sequels to the original movies and not prequels as we already knew how the story ends.  Adding to their consternation, the original trilogy was re-released in the theaters as Special Editions and elements were added to the movie or changed in some fashion.  Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett now were in Star Wars and Greedo shot first so Han wouldn’t look like a cold-blooded mercenary.  Think of the children!  Many changes were made, and some were applauded and some reviled.  For the Haters, there are no reasons or explanations that excuse Jar Jar Binks and the rest of the poodoo prequel storyline.

LucasFilm Franchise Wars

Someone Has To Save Our Skins!  Into The Garbage Chute, Fly Boy…

Of course there are just as many people that appreciate the movies as there are detractors.  In fact, I believe the majority of Star Wars fans can be called Apologists who may not love everything about the prequels but still try to justify those reservations.  For example, for everyone that hates Jar Jar Binks and wondered why he was in the movies, an Apologist would point out that it was Binks that ended up giving Palpatine the Republic on a silver platter by giving him the opportunity for emergency powers.  Haters would argue that Binks was there for little kids and merchandising sales and never should have been included.  As a side note, I’ve always wondered if that was supposed to be Jar Jar’s arc from the beginning or if Lucas modified the story when he saw how unpopular the character was.  In the first movie Binks had a large part, after the uproar he barely had any lines in the second movie except to be the fall guy and give more power to Palpatine, and in the third movie he has no lines at all.  I’d like to think that Lucas was at least listening to the majority of fans in that respect.  To be fair, a lot of adults and children enjoyed the hijinks of the mentally challenged Gungan.  Most Apologists believe that George Lucas has earned the right to make the movies he wants.  He created this universe and it’s his sandbox to play with.  If these aren’t the movies you were looking for, you can go about your business and move along.

LucasFilm Franchise Wars

Let’s Just Say We’d Like To Avoid Any Imperial Entanglements.

Finally, you have everyone else…the Fans and the rest of the people who are indifferent about Star Wars.  Fans are people like my immediate family that liked the movies well enough, but don’t really care who shot first in the Mos Eisley Cantina, (Han!) or any other details.  These are the people that will buy the DVD sets but refuse to play Star Wars Trivial Pursuit because the only details they remember are who the main characters were.  If you try to impress either of these two groups with some esoteric knowledge from the movies, you will either be met with a glazed look or ridicule for being such a geek to know that.  These people will pay to see the movies but they don’t have the desire to be there on opening day and will be happy seeing it weeks after it’s been released if it means less crowds.  In no circumstance will they camp out in line in advance but they won’t have a problem joining you in line right before the movie starts.

LucasFilm Franchise Wars

We Seem To Be Made To Suffer.  It’s Our Lot In Life.

I remember when the Star Wars trilogy was finally released on DVD that there was a lot of excitement and rumors that the movies were being changed even further than when they were when they were re-released as the Special Editions in the theater.  It turned out that they were changed again and I liked the new changes which included replacing Clive Revill as the Emperor with Ian McDiarmid who played Palpatine in Jedi and the prequels for continuity’s sake.  For a lot of people however, they did not want any changes made to the movies they fell in love with.  George Lucas isn’t helping his reputation with those fans by only releasing the untouched movies in a sub par fashion as part of a second Limited Edition Set that was a double dip for those that craved the untouched versions and had already bought the previous set.  Fans are still demanding Lucas release the original untouched movies as a new remastered anamorphic box set in at least Dolby 5.1EX glory.  I won’t even mention the Star Wars Holiday Special as we can all agree that that “special” deserves to be Rancor chow.  Everyone is now waiting for the movies to come out in High Definition on Blu-ray and Lucasfilm has announced that they are in the works.  Time will tell if they meet fan’s high expectations.

LucasFilm Franchise Wars

A Certain Point of View:

I would say that the majority of my best friends all love the original trilogy but they aren’t crazy about the prequels.  They can appreciate the prequel’s special effects and choreography, and Padme in her conveniently slashed outfit, but they were disappointed in the script and the direction the movies took.  In fact, in some recent conversations with people, I’ve discovered that many people had never cared much for the Star Wars movies but were afraid to say anything in fear of ridicule until the prequels came out.  Once the prequels came out, then it was anything goes and everyone started dog piling on the movies.  One of things that annoy me is the new tendency to badmouth Star Wars.  It’s now the hip new trend that everyone is doing and it was recently demonstrated again when the news came out that the Blu-ray versions were finally being worked on.  Watching my twitter feed, it was amusing and irritating to see an endless stream of tweets reporting that along with additional snarky comments.  I understand that a lot of people enjoy now having the opportunity to take shots at the franchise, but I really hate the bandwagon mentality going on.  On the other hand, I’m sure that those people making the comments now probably hated the universal love the franchise had for years so maybe this is payback.  I am willing to bet serious money that most of those people making the dismissive comments will be in line to buy the Blu-rays once they come out.  I would also further bet that if George Lucas had made the prequels in 1984 instead of 1999, this would have been a completely different story.  I think the break he took after Jedi was long enough to change his outlook on life and what interested him.  Sure he was still interested enough in racing to include a podrace, but he also framed the story to be a political one with a cautionary message about how power corrupts from within and how inaction and pride allowed a government’s conversion from a democratic Republic to a fascist Empire.  Now there were trade issues, taxes, and Senate debates instead of Tarkin’s straight talk and Vader choking people whose lack of faith was disturbing.  Lucas’s worldview had completely changed in the intervening years and it showed on screen. I believe he made more of an effort to please the fan boys with Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, but for a lot of people the damage was already done.  In my opinion the prequels got better with each new release.  Lucas even embraced his dark side by showing Anakin going to kill the little Jedi younglings.  As much as everyone wished that Lucas would pick up right where he left off in 1984, that isn’t a very realistic expectation as no one is the same person they were 15 years ago.  This older and mature Lucas was making movies for himself first and fans second as he has said many times.  Therein, lies the conflict.  This pattern extended to all of the Lucasfilm productions which brings us to the other touchstone of my childhood….Indiana Jones.

LucasFilm Franchise Wars

Marion: You’re Not The Man I Knew Ten Years Ago.

Indy: It’s Not The Years, Honey, It’s The Mileage.

After years of torturing fans with the prospect of Indiana Jones 4, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Harrison Ford finally agreed on a script.  It took years for them to agree on a concept and several scripts were commissioned (including one from Frank Darabont), before they agreed to make the movie.  Unfortunately, the time away from the franchise affected Indiana Jones just as it had the Star Wars prequels.  This time the issue was that Lucas wanted the franchise to go to a new decade and feel, while the others didn’t.  Lucas wanted the movie to be set in the 1950s where alien stories and movies were prevalent at the time and wanted that aspect included.  Spielberg and Ford were more inclined to keep the status quo but since Lucas owns the franchise they ended up compromising.  According to Lucas, “Really, with the last one, Steven wasn’t that enthusiastic.  I was trying to persuade him.  But now Steve is more amenable to doing another one.  Yet we still have the issues about the direction we’d like to take.  I’m in the future; Steven’s in the past.  He’s trying to drag it back to the way they were, I’m trying to push it to a whole different place.  So, still we have a sort of tension.  This recent one came out of that.  It’s kind of a hybrid of our own two ideas, so we’ll see where we are able to take the next one.” [1] That compromise divided fans again as many felt that aliens should not have been included and that it wasn’t true to the spirit of the previous entries.  It goes without saying that a lot more people would have enjoyed Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull more if there had been no aliens and instead the skull was some kind of a supernatural element like the previous ones.  It also inadvertently brought a new catchphrase to replace “jumping the shark” with the new description of “nuking the fridge.”   Financially the movie did very well and they are talking about doing another one so I hope Spielberg sticks to his guns more this time.

LucasFilm Franchise Wars

I Don’t Know…I’m Making This Up As I Go…

In conclusion, I do believe George Lucas is a visionary genius but he has gotten too used to doing everything his way which affects the final product.  Of course that is his right as he is the creator of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, but I would like to think that for these movies that have made such an impact on the world, and have been supported so much by the public, that he would take the fans more into consideration.  Spielberg, being an equal partner as the Director, should have more say on the Indy movies and I wish they would go back to having Lucas determining the MacGuffin of the story (the item being looked for), hiring Lawrence Kasdan to write it, and then letting Spielberg run with it.  Someone needs to balance Lucas out and help it from just being a movie made just for him.  I understand that it’s his money being used to make the movie, but at the same time, there would be no Skywalker Ranch, no ILM, no Skywalker Sound, no LucasArts, and he definitely wouldn’t be sitting on prime real estate in the Presidio if it wasn’t for the fans.  The fans paid for the movies, the toys, clothes, posters, soundtracks, the countless re-releases of the movies on every conceivable format, and everything else.  Lucas has a unique relationship with the fans due to the cultural impact his movies have made.  The fans feel a strong sense of ownership of the movies as it’s been such an important part of their lives.  When Lucas unilaterally changed the direction of that universe and seemed to want to erase all previous versions of his movies, it caused a rift that still hasn’t healed.  Documentaries like The People vs. George Lucas reflect that chasm.  I honestly believe if Lucas even made some token gesture to appease those fans such as releasing the original untouched versions of Episodes 4-6 on Blu-ray, it would have a huge impact.  As it is, some fans will never forgive what they consider Lucas’s betrayal, while others have moved on, and then there are still some of us that continue this wild and uncertain life journey with him, all the while hoping that Force stays with him.


Author’s note: For the record, my favorite movies of all time are the Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies and nothing will ever change that. Harrison Ford will always be my favorite actor.

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[1] The Sunday Times,  July 27, 2008 article by Will Lawrence





27 Responses to “LucasFilm Franchise Wars:”

  1. Henery Schaffer

    Nice read!

  2. Brian White

    Wow! Congrats on your first post Sean. What a mammoth-sized story! Awesome!

    So I got to throw my two cents in.

    First, despite being a huge Star Wars fan it may come as a surprise to most, but not to those close to me, that I have not watched a Star Wars flick since May 2007. I refuse to ruin my eyes with the DVD format.

    I look forward to their release on Blu-ray under one condition. He fixes ALL his mistakes. How could one tamper with these so much and overlook eye sores like what boxes around Tie Fighters in IV and an actors arm being shown in the Wampa costume while clawing Luke. I’m not even going to go into the horrid lightsaber switchups in Ep. 3. There’s no excuse for it. It’s really sad. But if they come out on Blu-ray and I see a block around the Tie Fighters, that disc is coming out of my player so fast and will be on ebay before anybody bashes an eye. And why…oh dear God…why would someone want the original 2.0 stereo untouch films on Blu-ray. Waste of plastic. Clean those puppies up, fix the mistakes, let Han shoot Greedo and not step on Jabba’s tail and everyone goes home happy (at least in my world)…and oh yeah…include the slave Leia scene in ROTJ as they board the Millenium Falcon and she dons the parka.

    I actually never minded Jar Jar too much. He was annoying to me like C3PO was the originals.

    Any Spartacus fans here? Episode 13 of season 1 is exactly how Lucas should have done the raid on the Jedi temple in Ep. 3. Classic!

    As far as Indy 4…well I actually did not mind the fridge thing. I thought it was funny. Sure the ending of the movie was completely pointless with the alien and all, but the jump the shark moment for me was when Shia was swinging on the vines. I mean come on. What was George and Steven thinking? I would be embarrassed to put that in a film of mine.

    Great topics for discussion here Sean. I look forward to more from you.

    Hey what about this? They could always remake the Star Wars films 🙂

    In case any Star Wars fans missed it…check out our annual Slave Leia photoshoot at Comic-Con from last year: http://whysoblu.com/?p=2096.

  3. Sean F

    Henery, I’m glad you like the article!

    Brian- Thanks for welcoming me to the site and for your comments! You really should watch the special edition dvds because a lot of things that weren’t fixed before were done specially for the dvds. It may not be Blu-ray quality but it’s 10 times better than the video releases. Every time Lucas releases the movies in a new format he fixes different things. Sometimes they are good fixes, and sometimes not. I have a feeling that the Blu-rays will have both versions of each film (original and special edition) and it will be loaded up with all of the deleted scenes that haven’t been released yet like the one you mentioned.

    I liked a lot of Indy 4 except for the aliens and I agree with you about Mutt acting like Tarzan. That was WAY over the top. I guess at that point Spielberg thought he had already lost the battle on the aliens so some Tarzan action couldn’t hurt much more. It was still awesome to see Harrison Ford return as Indiana Jones!

  4. Laya Maheshwari

    I really really liked this article! Good read!

    First, I saw Star Wars in a very unique way, the way George Lucas actually intends fans to. 1-6.

    Actually, 4-5 came out 30 yrs ago, when I was not even born.. and I live in India, where people are not as aware of these movies. So I didn’t know 4-6 existed. My local video parlour didn’t even have them.

    It was during the release of Ep. 3 that there was a lot of Star Wars buzz here and I heard the name “Darth Vader” for the first time. So, one day I decided to pick up VCDs (India, lol) of Ep 1-3 and see why this trilogy was soooo popular.

    Saw the 1st one, liked it.. but didn’t get what all the fuss was about and certainly wouldn’t call it a classic. Saw the 2nd one, had some cool battles and duels…. but again, just couldn’t understand the fuss.

    Saw the 3rd one, liked it a lot… but WHATS UP WITH THAT ENDING? Worst cliff-hanger ever! And they were saying this is the last Star Wars flick!!! What happens after this?!?! WTF!

    Then, 6 months later, my bro told me that there were actually 3 more Star Wars movies, that had been made 30 yrs earlier. I asked him who they dealt with.. he said Anakin’s son.

    So, I sat down and watched A New Hope. LOVED IT! Finally got why people called these films classics and understood the fuss. Saw Empire Strikes Back. Liked it a lot, but didn’t love it. I already knew Luke’s parentage, so I didn’t get the big deal about that climax. Then, I saw ROTJ. Again, liked it a lot but hated the teddy bears. How could they defeat the (supposedly) best army in the universe??

    Then later… I read accounts of other fans and saw how much the reveal in ESB meant to them, how revered the OT was…. and realised how badly I had crewed up in my viewing order. Its like someone tells you the ending of The Sixth Sense or The Usual Suspects before you get to see them (this has happened with me)

    Even now, I haven’t been able to form an emotional attachment to this series, which is why I always prefer LOTR. I would like to act as a cautionary tale, warning everyone to see the trilogy only in the order 456123. Frankly, George Lucas’ way sucks.

    And now, on to Indiana Jones 4. Reading all the reports and articles and interviews, it is quite clear how egoistic he has become. He is used to being surrounded by “Yes Men”, slaves who daren’t question his authority or decisions and just run with what he says.

    He is not a person made out to share “equal footing”, or compromise with someone on an idea, even if that person is Steven Spielberg. Evidence of this date as far back as ESB, when Irvin Kershner fought with him over making the story more human.

    In the end, I would like to just sum up by saying that even though he did create Star Wars and Indiana Jones, and it is entirely upto him to handle them…. what he has done with them recently and what he plans to do with them in the future (Star Wars Sitcom, ’nuff said) is something that irritates, annoys and angers the hell out of me

  5. Brian White

    Hey Sean…I think you misunderstood me. I do own ALL editions of Star Wars. The Special Editions are the only ones I would watch. Those untouched ones looked like crap. I may be a child of the 70’s, but I much prefer the nicer looking DVD Special Editions. However, after getting a taste of Blu-ray back in 2006, I cannot ruin my eyes any longer watching a DVD despite how much I love the films. I can wait for the Blu-ray release. Like I said. If Mr. Lucas cares about his fans at all, he will retouch and address ALL issues before it’s Blu-ray release and hopefully not bother giving us the untouched films on Blu-ray. What a waste that would be. He reminds me of KISS…we will NEVER put the makeup back on…oh you mean we can sell a couple more tickets…OK let’s put the makeup back on.

    So the lightsaber handle mistakes in Ep. 3 don’t bother you? They’re an eye sore to me. It’s painful to watch, despite how action packed and pleasing the battles truly are.

  6. Gerard Iribe

    I enjoyed the George Lucas comparison pics from 1983-2005. LMAO!

  7. John M

    Brian, it must be sad to be you. Nothing will ever be perfect enough for your eyes. I know someone like you, but with food. Simply refuses to eat anywhere other than four star restaurants or she cooks at home with her thousands of dollars of pots and pans. She simply cannot fathom the warmth and joy of eating in a roadside diner, with its foibles.

    I love film. I see movies in theaters and at home, but what I love is when films look like they did when they came out. I like the graininess of film, the reel end marks every twenty minutes. I like seeing a seventies martial arts flick where the color has gone pink and there are sprocket scratches. Because the film has a history, it’s been through things. It has lived.

    I have the three original Star Wars films on DVDs burned from my laserdiscs. I love them to death, including the matte boxes around the TIEs, including the lightsabers in A New Hope…because that’s what they had to do back then to get the desired effect. They had to be creative with the limited amount of money and resources they had.

    I don’t want Blu-Ray discs of Star Wars where everything is perfect and clean. That’s not what Star Wars was about.

  8. Brian White

    Hey John M. Thanks for the compliments. You’re right it is sad to be me. I live a life struggling with trying to be perfect in everything I do. I do realize it is a flaw of mine. I set very high expectations for everything so I’m sorry to disappoint you. But you are mistaken about one thing sir. It is Mr. Lucas who strives for perfection on these Star Wars releases or why else would he STILL be tinkering with them? And just for the record…I never said anything about the sabers in episode 4. And also…by the way…just in case the name didn’t give it away…we are big supporters of the Blu-ray format around here on the site. I’m just saying…but as always…I welcome all comments…good or bad…thanks for your input John…much appreciated…Sean did a killer job on the story above!

  9. John M

    No, Brian, — you did not say anything about the sabers in A New Hope, I did. The jump between the hilt and the extended blade in Obi-Wan’s house, the issues with the reflection of Obi-Wan’s blade in the fight with Vader…they’re not perfect. It was the 70s, they did amazing work for the time.

    I like Blu-Ray. I like the crispness of visuals and sound in films, whether they are a new, 100% digital from camera to projection project, or a black and white silent film that had to be restored to look like it did the day it came out.

    However, I don’t want old movies to look like new ones. I don’t want Lucas to go back and flip the frame back in RotJ so Boba Fett’s targeting HUD is on the correct side. George Lucas (or more likely Marcia Lucas) decided that the flow of the visuals was better served by flipping it. That’s something that happened.

    It’s fine to strive for perfection, however, you are demanding perfection from others without caring about the fact that our missteps are valuable.

    To you, the lightsaber hilts being wrong (something the on-set continuity PA should have picked up on) is what ruins RotS for you, when the poor storytelling and lack of attention to what made the original films worth watching is what ruins it for me.

    “Ruining my eyeballs” is such hyperbolic crap, though, that it gives cinephiles a bad name.

  10. Gerard Iribe

    Okay, the sequels (prequels) are garbage in any format. I’m no fanboy, but the original films are classics. I hope that when they’re released they aren’t DNR’d to hell. I don’t care about the prequels, so that portion of the equation won’t be a problem, because I’ll never watch them again.

  11. Sean F

    Laya – thanks for settling something I’ve wondered about for awhile. I’ve been trying to decide which order I should show the Star Wars saga to my son who hasn’t seen any of them yet. I know George Lucas wants everyone to watch them in consecutive order from 1-6 but based on your experience, I think I’ll go with my first instinct of starting with A New Hope first and finish the original trilogy and then start the prequels. I’m sorry you didn’t get to experience the saga as you should have and I’m sure it did make a difference in your enjoyment of it. It’s amazing to me that so many people haven’t seen these movies but then again, my wife hadn’t seen them either until she met me. Maybe if you wait 6 moths or a year and then watch them again on a big screen with great surround sound and in the order they were released, and maybe you might find you’ll enjoy them a lot more. Thank you for your comments, and I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

    Brian – I agree and disagree with you and that’s mainly because we are talking about these specific movies. As a general rule, my format loyalty goes with whatever the best format is at the time. When DVD came out, VHS was dead to me. When Blu-rays came out it hurt my love for DVD but didn’t kill it outright. “It’s just a flesh wound!” I have so many DVDs that I’ve faced the same dilemma that most of the people that visit this site deal with which is what movies are you willing to buy again in the Blu-ray format? I am not going to replace all of them but I did replace many of them. When it comes to Star Wars, I’ve bought every version that has ever been released, including the Limited Edition set just to get the best version of the original untouched trilogy available. This is where I disagree with you. I want those untouched versions so my son can see what they originally looked like. Those were the movies that made me the lifelong fan that I am and I always want them around in case I want to see them as I originally did. Now where I agree with you is that the majority of time I want to see the Special Edition versions because they look and sound the best and a lot of stuff has been fixed that bothered my like John’s example of Obi-Wan’s lightsaber during the fight with Vader in Star Wars. I guarantee though once the Blu-ray versions are released, my dvd versions will be history as my loyalty will shift again. I am a mercenary when it comes to picture and sound quality.

    Gerard – That picture cracked me up too. It’s brutally honest and that’s what makes it so funny. Whether or not you like or dislike the heavy use of CGI in the prequels, it’s the truth and very funny.

    John – I understand where you are coming from and I have a lot of DVDs of movies that still haven’t been released on Blu-ray that I treasure irregardless of the picture quality. I would rather have a movie that I care about in a lesser format than no movie at all. I still have some VHS movies and specials just because they’ve never been released on DVD or Blu-ray and probably never will. But, if given the choice, I will always go with whatever offers the best picture and sound quality. I don’t want them to go overboard with the DNR in an attempt to improve it but I do want them to do what they can with it. One of the best examples I can give is the somewhat recent release of The Adventures of Robin Hood in high definition. The movie was released in 1936 but the HD release looks like a movie that was released last year. It is an amazing restoration and I loved it. I think that like most things, it’s all about the balance and that’s what makes brining older movies into high definition so tricky. Brian is right about George Lucas though, he will continue to tinker with the saga until he is happy with it. I am willing to bet anything that the Blu-ray editions will have even more modifications. It’s in his nature and I don’t doubt that he will do it. Thanks for your comments John! I was hoping that the article would start conversations like this.

  12. Brian White

    I’m just being stubborn and waiting because I know when they arrive on Blu-ray they will be that much better. I’m fine with George tinkering all he wants to get these Blu-rays right because I can’t wait to see Star Wars in HD and relive all the magic…and by that I do mean episodes 1 thru 6 in their entirety. I heard they are inserting Vader having a dream sequence about Padme in Rotj. I hope that’s true. It would be cool.

  13. Gregg

    Wow! Lots of good banter on here. First off, Sean, outstanding story here…probably the best Star Wars article I’ve ever read and I’m not just feeding you a line with that. I hate reading Star Wars articles from writers detached from the films; those tasked to write about it because they were assigned to. This was quality and obviously from someone who knew the storyline(s) inside and out.

    As for the impending Blu-ray release, I am excited yet cautious on what the classic trilogy will reveal. Clean up the originals and give us those as they appeared in the theater. The only special edition I enjoyed 100% was ESB. I despise, like everyone, Greedo shooting first and that awful song and dance in ROTJ in Jabba’s palace. The subdued atmosphere of the mafia hangout was much preferred over singing cartoons. As for Hayden in the ewok village, how utterly silly.

    I also hate the white, shadowy boxes around the TIE Fighters. There is a difference between an uncleaned movie because that is the environment of the film and uncleaned with distracting imperfections left in.

    Mr. John M., would you then, like a film with a microphone hanging over the top of a scene, visible in the camera’s vision? Would you enjoy scenes of Romans gladiators wearing wrist watches because the actors forgot to take them off? I do see where you are coming from in a small respect. I am that way with the original Clash of the Titans. Yes the FX are dated but to bring them up to date would require heavy CGI and directors have gotten lazy, relying on this. When there are flaws, and I mean flaws like a hair on the camera lens or those I mentioned earlier, they need to go. Period. End of statement. I watch some of my old Marx Brothers dvd’s and the visual debris is distracting to no end. I’ve also watched Blu-rays of films from the 1940’s that were cleaned up and they look magnificent. The aged atmosphere is not lost.

    I too, like Brian, rarely settle for second-best, but to criticize someone for that is nothing short of ludicrous. That’s like saying, “You know, it must be terrible being you, getting A’s all the time in school. Why don’t you just be like the rest of us and get B’s?” Some people like to attack a task full force, kick ass and take names. Look at this article we’re all leaving comments for. That’s some meat right there, brother! Substance! It’s obviously the result of a 100% effort. This is what success is made of! You can be the carp in a pond if you want to, but why criticize someone else for being a shark?

  14. Tobi

    Bravo, Sean! It is an excellent article. Looking forward to more of your work!

  15. Jan

    Sean, My husband and I are the type of fans who can wait to see the films after the rush. We have enjoyed taking our children to the movies, especially to the original 3 Star War movies when they were first released. They collected all of the action figures, ships, and ewok village, games, etc. and spent many fun-filled hours playing “Star Wars”. “Indiana Jones” was also a favorite in our house, I think our favorite was the one with Sean Connery as his father.

    Thanks for bringing all of these memories back to us with your very thorough article!

  16. Sean F

    Brian – I don’t know how you can go without the Star Wars movies that long until the Blu-ray releases! I could never do that. I will take my DVD versions and keep watching them until they are released in high definition because that’s better than nothing.

    Gregg – Thank you for all the kind words and I appreciate them very much! I’m glad you liked the article that much and you’re right I do care a lot about Star Wars, probably too much! I’ll keep writing on things that I care about which hopefully will make it a better article to read. I should have mentioned disliking the change you mentioned in Jabba’s palace with the new singing changes. I’m totally with you on that. Thanks again for the really nice comments!

    Tobi – Thank you and I’m glad you like it!

  17. G. Shumway

    In response to that Lucas 1983/2005 comparison pic:

    I just wanted to say, that people who think that the prequel trilogy’s FX are done entirely on a computer, should have pointed out to them, that there are more practical models in a single prequel film, than the entire Original Trilogy combined. If the visuals are too overwhelming and confusing to you older folk, then it’s time to hang up your Wookiee slippers and find yourselves a new hobby. If the FUN has gone out of this one for you, then stop torturing yourselves, accept defeat, harden the fuck up and leave it all behind, if you truly feel dejected and hard done by. I’ve enjoyed, been entertained and been inspired by the first thirty three years of this franchise and have not been disappointed yet. I will be a True Fan of this mighty, wondrous saga, until I become one with The Force. This whining has gone on for far too long and has simply become redundant. It achieves absolutely nothing, it changes nothing, but all it does is make you all look like spoiled little brats, that got the Christmas gift, you didn’t ask for.

  18. Gerard Iribe

    Not at all G. The fact is that Lucas is a lazy filmmaker and no one can say no to him, because he’s the one writing the checks. Integrity fail.

    I think that comparison pic is funny. The average film goer isn’t going to know what the geeks know about which films had more cg effects compared to practical effects, etc… That picture speaks louder than words to the average person.

  19. Sean F

    Jan – It’s great to hear from all kinds of fans of the Star Wars universe, even the ones that aren’t hardcore. I’m glad the article brought back good memories for you. Just don’t forget to buy the saga when it comes out on Blu-ray! 😉

    G. Shumway – As I just stated, it’s good to hear from all of the SW fans. I’m glad that you love the prequels and to be honest, I included that picture because first of all it made me laugh, and second, it encapsulates a lot of people’s feelings about the prequels heavy use of CGI. I know for a fact, that a ton of full scale models and maquettes were created as a reference for the animators. They were frequently scanned and by having an actual object to study in 360 degrees, helped them enormously. AS a matter of fact, when I was called back for a second interview at ILM they were filming a waterfall sequence for I believe The Phantom Menace in the parking lot. I no way am I saying that models weren’t used in the production of the movie but essentially the movie all CGI. In fact, if I remember correctly, George Lucas stated that there wasn’t a single shot in the movie that hadn’t been manipulated in some way digitally. I don’t have a problem with that either. Lucas was a lot happier making this set of movies because he knew he could make whatever he wanted happen, if not during filming then in post-production. Speaking for myself though, I wish there was more of old school methods mixed in with the CGI and I’ll tell you why. There was a Star Wars exhibit in San Francisco years back and they had all the costumes and props from the movies. But what really got my heart racing was seeing the actual models used in the saga. They had the unfinished Death Star, a scale model of the Millennium Falcon and I got to sneak a touch at Luke’s actual landspeeder. The thrill I got from that was incredible as I am a die hard lifelong Star Wars fan. You can’t touch CGI. If they do an exhibit on the prequels only all that will be there will be the costumes, props, and maquetts. My son may not ever get the chance to connect with the Star Wars universe in a tactile way and I think that’s sad. CGI can do some incredible things and I think it can do some wonderful things, but I’d still like to see some old fashioned movie magic done as an practical effect. I hope that this helps you see things a little differently. I love the prequels and the originals even more so don’t base everything on that on picture. I’m glad the prequels have a passionate defender in you and I hope youu continue to love Star Wars for the rest of your days as I will.

    Gerard – I don’t think Lucas is lazy at all but he does like to stay in his comfort zone of digital effects. To be fair, most filmmakers are like that. For example, Steven Spielberg will never shoot with a digital camera because he prefers to stick with celluloid for a variety of reasons. That doesn’t make him lazy, but I think most people stick with whatever works for them. Lucas ended up in the hospital due to stress and exhaustion after Star Wars and swore he would never direct again. After many years, he finally jumped back in the director’s chair and found he liked it when technology had caught up with his imagination. As long as he is realize his vision using CGI or digital cameras, don’t expect that to change anytime soon. I do agree with you though that the picture is funny and that Lucas needs less yes men and more collaborators as I said in the article.

  20. Brian White

    @ Sean – nah I’m fine…I just caught ROTS on TV while I was waiting to the leave the house yesterday…sure I miss the films, but once they come out on Blu-ray the wait will be well worth it…I can then finally enjoy Star Wars in pristine 1080p. The birth of the HDTV killed the DVD format for me. But I’ll tell you what…I’m looking forward to watching all 6 films in one massive Blu-ray marathon day. Hopefully this happens next year Mr. Lucas 🙂 When I’m out at Comic-Con this July I will try and track down Mr. Sansweet and see if he has any updates for us on the Blu-ray set.

    Unfortunately, I missed them when the aired on cable in HD a few years back 🙁 So I have no idea how good they must look in HD.

    By the way…Happy May the Force Be With You Day to all the Star Wars fans out there!

    Happy May The Fourth Be With You

  21. Sean Ferguson

    Brian they just showed the movies in HD on the Spike channel last weekend and they looked great. Of course I can’t watch movies like that because I can’t stand the commercials breaking up the movie but it was cool to see them in HD. When they first aired in HD a long time ago, it was without commercial breaks but I didn’t have HBO then.

  22. Brian White

    Yeah either did I. I don’t think I could watch them with commercial breaks, but given the fact that I now have HBO (for True Blood), Showtime (for Dexter) and Starz (for Spartacus) bring on the 6 movies again in HD! I’m ready. LOL

  23. Sean F

    Sean Ferguson I wish I had a TomTom! Get GPS directions from Darth Vader! “Turn left here…noooooooooooooo! I said LEFT! I find your lack of faith disturbing…”


    Check out Vader in the recording studio:


  24. Gary

    Your article was extremely interesting and informative. I like the way you contrasted the earlier with the later movie versions, books, articles, etc. You provided informed reasons,other than just advances in technology, for why these movies had changed over time and lacked the same impact as the original sequels. Your analysis of these movies and insights were balanced, in-spite of your being a hugh fan of Spielberg and Lucas. I look forward to your future articles. You obviously know your subject matter. Thank you.

  25. Sean F

    Thank you Gary! I tried to be balanced and fair and sometimes that’s hard to do when you love something as much as I do Star Wars and Indiana Jones. I’m glad you thought I accomplished that balance which is great to hear! My next article will be an Iron Man 2 review so keep your eyes open for that later this week. Thanks again!

  26. George

    I enjoyed your article; you sure know your subject matter! I’ll look forward to your next article on Iron Man 2.

  27. Sean F

    Thank you George! I hope you will like the Iron Man 2 review too!