George Lucas defends Star Wars changes

Remains adamant that Greedo shot first

george lucas

As Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace returns to cinemas, George Lucas has again been defending his decision to tinker with the film’s special effects – in particular replacing the puppet Yoda with CGI Yoda.

There’s “basically one version of Star Wars [that] keeps getting improved a little bit as we move forward”, he argues, revealing that “we tried to do Yoda in CGI in Episode I, but we just couldn’t get it done in time”.

Lucas first got fanboys and girls fuming when he released the special editions of the original trilogy in 1997, garnishing them heavily with CGI where previously there was none.

“Changes are not unusual,” Lucas tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I mean, most movies when they release them they make changes. But somehow, when I make the slightest change, everybody thinks it’s the end of the world.”

Ensuring that he kept hackles well and truly raised, Lucas also addressed the ‘Greedo shoots first’ debate. The ever-controversial scene takes place in A New Hope, and fans have long argued over who shot first in the film's original print - Han Solo or alien Greedo.

“Well, it’s not a religious event. I hate to tell people that,” Lucas says. “It’s a movie, just a movie. The controversy over who shot first, Greedo or Han Solo, in Episode IV, what I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t.

“It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down.”

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 3D is in cinemas now.

Sick of the changes? Or just sick of the fuss? Shout about it below...

Comments

    • ChrisWootton

      Feb 10th 2012, 9:17

      Sorry Lucas but it was never an argument over "who shot first".. Han shot him to save his own life.. simple. The thing we are all p********f over is that... IT NOW LOOKS s**t! Possibly the worst special effects in the whole series. The only scene that benefits from the tinkering is the attack on the Death Star at the end. He should've just done what he'd done with that scene and left the rest alone. How can he not see that it looks so bad?

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    • drawmyfoot

      Feb 10th 2012, 9:26

      Sorry Chris but I have to disagree with you; not on the fact the Han/Greedo scene looks poopy since the tinkering and certainly not with the fact that somebody at Lucasfilm should have had the sack to say "sorry, George, but it looks like it was badly done by a myopic halfwit who has had after effects for 3 and a half minutes" but the attack on the death star wasn't the only scene to benefit from an overhaul- the new shot of the Falcon taking off from Mos Eisley looks badass...!!!

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    • FBPMurray37

      Feb 10th 2012, 9:35

      Sorry George, but the reason I was narked that Greedo shot first isn't because I wanted or didn't want Han to be a cold-blooded killer, it was because it made no sense. Greedo is a highly-experienced bounty hunter. Yet he misses Han from three-feet. There's willing suspension of disbelief and then there's taking the mick. The only way Han walks out of that situation alive is if he blows Greedo away before Greedo gets the chance to do the same thing to him.

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    • Indianabones

      Feb 10th 2012, 10:05

      On top of that destroying boba fett with that awful representation of bounty hunter jango g'day mate I'm a bounty hunter' fett, changing fetts voice and oh I'm going to stop moaning I hate the fact he has stopped me enjoying these movies

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    • demmike

      Feb 10th 2012, 10:13

      GL as one of the biggest as*holes of our time, you continue to gape proudly.

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    • Mixlexic3

      Feb 10th 2012, 10:16

      It's CGI Jabba in A New Hope that I find unforgivable. The original scene should have remained a very good deleted scene

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    • demmike

      Feb 10th 2012, 10:17

      And I salute you for it - you fat necked w****r

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    • garysimps

      Feb 10th 2012, 12:28

      leave them ALONE!!!!!!

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    • demmike

      Feb 10th 2012, 12:40

      If GL had brain one, he'd understand that all the old SFX that now look quaint and flawed, are what adds to the charm of the movies. As it is, the trilogy is now pretty much like Trigger's broom from Only Fools and Horses.

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    • loveroflostgirl

      Feb 10th 2012, 13:04

      What you fail to understand Mr Lucas is that it's not your continued tinkering that angers people so much as your insistence that each new version is the only version! As far as i'm concerned you can fiddle around with these films forever to your hearts content, all i'm asking is that you release on DVD and Blu-Ray (and any future format/s), the original films in wide screen for those of us that want the films we loved how we loved them! All we want is the choice George, I am sure there are people outhere who have no problem with your tinkering but, for those of us who do why not reward our loyalty for once?

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    • mcghater

      Feb 10th 2012, 13:11

      why wont he just die already

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    • ilikescifi

      Feb 10th 2012, 13:25

      I love all the updates as much as the originals and can I add that season 4 of the Clone Wars is excellent. All you giant babies would still watch the films if GL turned Chewbacca into a giant donut so stop complaining. Go make your own scifi operas.

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    • demmike

      Feb 10th 2012, 13:44

      ilikescifi has convinced me - I too love all the updated versions.

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    • Hadouken76

      Feb 10th 2012, 14:08

      Face it, If you are still defending a movie 15 years on, its always going to be sh*t. You don't see Cameron doing that with 'Aliens :Special Edition, Scott with ' Blade Runner' or Donner with Superman 2. Because they are respectful to the original source material and in Sir Ridley Scott's case, the removal of the narration and studio-imposed happy ending actually made the film less clear-cut and improves the legacy of the film as a whole.

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    • SiMan

      Feb 10th 2012, 14:20

      I agreed with everyone else about his tinkering around and the general cr*pness of the prequels all up until Mr Lucas said one thing......They're his movies. And he's right. He made them so why can't he do what he wants with them? Its an interesting thing to consider who does actually "own" a massively popular movie in this sence. Is it the film-makers? or the collective audience?.......I personally think he has every right to do as he pleases HOWEVER (before i get hounded as if i were Dalidab).....i think loveroflostgirl's point above is spot on. Lucas can tinker as much as he wants, but why can't he let everyone have the choice about which version they want to actually own?

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    • nutteronabus

      Feb 10th 2012, 14:24

      "Suddenly the slimy alien disappears in a blinding flash of light. Han pulls his smoking gun from beneath the table as the other patron look on in bemused amazement. Han gets up and starts out of the cantina, flipping the bartender some coins as he leaves." Star Wars (shooting script), 1976. In summary; he's either lying, or going mad. Neither would surprise me at this point.

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    • ThrashGordon

      Feb 10th 2012, 14:40

      George, be the bigger man and admit you are wrong. People have to do it every day, you're not an exception.

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    • writerdave87

      Feb 10th 2012, 15:41

      Anyone else notice he's starting to look like Jabba with a wig?

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    • demmike

      Feb 10th 2012, 16:05

      If GL had an ounce of decency he would amend the scene in ROTJ where Luke grabs for the guards gun in Jabba's Palace, to instead have one of the guards first fire a shot at luke, from aboooutt 2 feet away, and miss. Then Luke will have been justified in grabbing the guards gun. GL sickens me with Luke's portrayal of an unprovoked attacker.

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    • Ali1748

      Feb 10th 2012, 18:19

      Why is it that the creator of one of the most beloved series ever turned out to be an obnoxious, arrogant t**t ?

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    • koolerking

      Feb 11th 2012, 3:01

      GL is the biggest failed "director" of our time. Honestly, is "direction" or lack of, of actors is well know. He did a couple of films before pretty much hitting the target for the time period with SW, made the right choice with the merchandising contract (lets face it, he was the first to jump on a newly made bandwagon) and that is it. That is all his "career" has been. Directs the first SW, hands it over to other, better directors after that and milks it for all its worth. As its been mentioned before, the guy could seriously just direct and pay for ANY film he wanted. How many decent directors out there would like that chance? All of them! But no, this poor excuse for a film director just seems to push out another mess when either he A) Thinks he's been out of the film scene for bit to long, or B) he fancies topping up his vast bank account. We all know what happens when he gets involved with something, SW or other (indy). He never was a good director and that's the reason he tinkers, because he can't do anything else, whatever talent he had has long gone and he couldn't direct traffic these days. Rant over.

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    • FBCFlynn

      Feb 12th 2012, 13:24

      I love this series, across the board, and have seen each of the films on it's original release in the theaters, 4 of them on opening day. As much as I like the films as they were originally released, I don't see the debate in the changes. George Lucas was the writer, director, producer of the films. This is his decision, his view of what these films should be...these are his children and what he expects out of them. I have 5 different versions of Blade Runner based upon studio decisions, director decisions, and regional releases. This isn't an issue. I have 2 versions of Dances with Wolves (if you can survive 4 1/2 hours now) and Gladiator (much appreciated additions on the extended). These changes to the series are George Lucas' visions, changes he's gone back and said, "I really didn't want that" or "We now have the means to fix that". As listed, Star Wars isn't the only film to make changes upon release. Accept it as is...this is another edition to a Director's Cut. I think it is a bit ridiculous to change a little bit more on each new media release...I have the original on VHS, changes on VHS, changes on DVD, now more changes on BluRay, but the ultimate decision is that of George Lucas, the artist, not us, the fans. This is his vision, as he sees it. If you don't like the changes, don't invest...don't buy the products, don't go to the theaters. Otherwise, accept that the visionary had ideas that couldn't fit for the time (budget, technology, time constraints) and are now being fulfilled.

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    • alexr

      Feb 13th 2012, 8:11

      Episode 3 was ok up until the lava fight. Will GL go back and change that so that all the s**te flying around on little lava robots doesn't happen? And will he kill off Jar Jar in a future re-release of Phantom Menace? Probably not. I agree with Ali1748. GL is a t**t.

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    • firas76

      Feb 13th 2012, 15:11

      I think I agree with GL for many reasons: its his creation, he is just trying to make the movies better. There is many more but for me I liked the 4-6 are way better then 1-3 and I watched the original at the Movie House. The creator has A God given right to be whatever he/she wants or the others claim he is

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    • DanielMcA

      Feb 13th 2012, 16:32

      @FBCFlynn We should accept the right of a Director to tinker - A Director's Cut. OK. But he didn't direct Empire or Jedi.

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    • adeh20

      Feb 13th 2012, 20:20

      What does it matter if he continues to make changes or not? You don't have to buy the new versions, keep the originals and be happy with them.

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    • Seedorf

      Feb 13th 2012, 20:38

      Lucas can do what he likes with Star Wars. He can edit away to his hearts content. I used to love the original films once, now I couldn't care less. I look forward to the Indiana Jones films being released on Blu-ray. At least I can enjoy the classic films, without having to watch a ridiculous amount of editing.

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    • Indianabones

      Feb 14th 2012, 15:03

      I like the idea of him releasing all different versions, I would love to watch Starwars on Blu ray, but If I choose to, I have to watch the awful edited versions! I want a version where he doesn't change any of the characters, makes it look all nice in space and a few little things changed here and there, but don't touch the story and the Characters! also I would like to see the pre-quels made with love and affection not to make as much money out of merchandise as he possibly can!

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    • lukeworm100

      Feb 15th 2012, 21:14

      I have just arrived after watching the phantom menace in 3d and i can tell you i had a great time nitpicking the film with my friend loving how laughable some details are but it also suprised me and put the film in a good light for me. I think if you were alive throughout the saga then you have a fair point to hate CGI alterations but I don't mind it and i believe Lucas is right that a minor CG change is not the end of the world; he is just a filmmaker tweaking his film to try and perfect it.

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    • Mattsimus

      Feb 15th 2012, 23:11

      Stop remaking or redooing or re-releasing Starwars altogether and if your gonna do something to contribute to the saga then just make f*****g episode 7,8 & 9, whilst Mark hamill, carrie fisher and Harrison ford are still alive and you still have fans of the original trilogy! XMX

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    • FBRMeeting

      Feb 16th 2012, 5:33

      http://www.richmeeting.com/ You may want to make a change to your current life even it is not bad. But many people want to have another new found, ---- richmeeting'c 'o 'm, D_a_t_e___r-i-c-h___P_e_o_p_l_e___H_e_r_e it's a wonderful site for dating it’s worth a try!

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    • FBPDermody

      Feb 16th 2012, 13:06

      tbh I'm not opposed to the changes, apart from Vaders cheesey NOOO! I own the following films on bluray; Alien Anthology, Robocop, King Kong, Avatar, and they all offer the Theatrical and Extended/Special Editions on this format. I don't understand why this cant be done for Star Wars, and keep the fans happy.

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    • spoonlamp

      Feb 21st 2012, 23:13

      Came here wanting to rant at George Ashat Lucas. Read tons of rants. Still happy to boot the talentless, lying moneygrabber while he's down...

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    • FBSBelandres

      Feb 22nd 2012, 21:24

      The only thing funnier than watching George Lucas defend his "improvements" is watching people address him in comments like this, as if he's going to read this. Whenever I think of George Lucas now I can hear Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park, upset they cloned dinosaurs, saying something like "you were so busy trying to find out if you could you didn't stop to ask yourself if you should."

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    • goodallp

      Feb 23rd 2012, 15:07

      I grew up watching these films, and now he's ruined them (even after stating, in 1988, that films are not meant to be changed). Never mind that the effects just serve to make the old effects shots look even more antiquated than ever before, or that Greedo shot first (who cares?), or that the Jabba scene is unspeakably awful; what annoys me in particular is Lucas' greed on releasing the same films over and over again every time he decides to fart around with them whenever he fancies more cash from the foolish and the gullible (which includes me!). If he hates the original versions so much why doesn't he just use the technology of today (blue-screen, computer graphics creatures) and just remake episodes 4 - 6 again from scratch in the way HE prefers. That way, he won't have to deal with those pesky humans he hates dealing with so, and he can have a field day playing around with all the CGI rubbish he wants. He will annoy us even more by doing this, but he doesn't care about what we think anyway, so go right ahead, George! Give us the original releases on DVD, in pristine condition and then go off and remake your legacy, and then perhaps he'll be happy, we'll be SORT OF happy, and the no-chin tosser can then bugger off forever. Job done. Farewell, would-be director...

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    • veers

      Feb 24th 2012, 23:52

      To everyone defending George: Did no-one of you notice his repeated expression, "they [everyone] wanted" when he is speaking about us, the viewers? The man is not suggesting, he's stating a fact. Or thinking he's stating a fact. This means that he is either, 1) omniscient, 2) a thoughtless fool, or 3) an arrogant, delusional a-hole who thinks everything he says becomes true just like thinks his arguments about Greedo *really* shooting first would make any sense. + To everyone saying, "If you don't like the new versions, just watch the old ones": How, exactly, are we going to watch them when currently the *best* option are the grainy, scratched, 4:3 letterboxed to 2.35:1, 2.0 stereo sound "bonus" DVDs from the 2006 l-i-m-i-t-e-d edition releases, which not everyone can get affordably, especially when considering the poor picture and sound quality.

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    • mingfilm

      Feb 27th 2012, 14:45

      If he had any talent, and wasn't just behaving like his own fanboy, people wouldn't find him so irritating. As it is, he seems to have no concept of taste or restraint. Weeza goin' home? Christ.

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    • mingfilm

      Feb 27th 2012, 14:46

      And what's going on with that neck? Ewwwww.

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    • shaneanderson

      Sep 22nd 2012, 1:16

      seriously guys, for any of you so called fans in this group to comment on what lucas has done is laughable and juvenile. he has millions of people who have wildly accredited his changes to HIS concept as brilliant improvements. more to the point for those that have said about greedo missing from 3 ft away.... have any of you heard of the expanded universe???? if not pick up a book and have a read and see what parts you have missed as a lot of the overall stories are explained. greedo was not an experienced bounty hunter, he was a barley turned adolescent rodian who was looking for han solo to be his first collected bounty in order to make himself a viable employee to jabba. it also goes into how han was not a cold blooded killer but actually had a softer side prior to his joining the imperial academy and becoming an imperial officer in the space navy. Before you all complain about these things try finding out the back stories for it all

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