One of the first movies I saw as a child was the original “Star Wars.” At that time, it was simply known as “Star Wars.” Now the official name of that movie I love is “Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.” Over the years, as home video technology has grown and changed, the movie has been released in various formats. First it was released on VHS. Then George Lucas decided to remaster the movies with extra special effects that weren’t available when they were released. Extra scenes also were added. Eventually, all 6 of the movies were released in a box set in 2004 and even more subtle changes were made.
Last week, George Lucas announced that all six movies will be released on Blu-Ray next year. As part of the announcement, he showed a clip of a deleted scene that will be added to “The Return of the Jedi” for the Blu-Ray edition. The scene toward the beginning of the movie shows Darth Vader attempting to contact Luke, and also Luke building his new lightsaber after losing his father’s lightsaber when his hand was cut off at the end of “The Empire Strikes Back.” You can view the scene here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5XR-M-_UpE
Personally, I prefer the original versions of the original trilogy. There’s something about the raw, old-school feel of the movie that can not be duplicated using today’s CGI. The second trilogy and the special versions of the older movies feel, I don’t know, too sterile. Too fake. The original movies make you feel like you are really there. Like you could be in the movie. The new ones, with all their fancy special effects, just feel too sanitary. Like you can tell it’s not real. Much harder to suspend disbelief and throw yourself into the movie. At least for me. However, this deleted scene is pretty cool. I don’t have a Blu-Ray player yet. But one day when I do, I’m sure this version of the movies will end up in my collection.
I will always hold a special place in my heart for “Star Wars.” It was one of the things that first inspired me as a storyteller. Some of the first stories I wrote in elementary school were my version of what happened after “The Return of the Jedi.” More than 10 years later, George Lucas would allow for the creation of a trilogy of novels known as The Heir to the Empire series, written by Timothy Zahn. They were the true beginning of what now is knowns as The Expanded Universe. Hundreds of novels, dozens of comic book series and several video games have told the ongoing saga of the beloved characters. But long before that, I was making up my own version of their adventures. Now they have a name for that: fan fiction. At the time, I didn’t know that. It was just me and my typewriter or pad of paper, making up the further adventures of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia. I’ve since moved on to creating my own characters in their own life-changing situations.
While my stories may not happen long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I hope some day, some little boy or girl will read one of them and become inspired to make up their own story. As a writer, what better legacy could you ask for? So in spite of my feelings about your later work, George Lucas, thank you for the original trilogy and thank you for inpsiring my imagination.