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George Lucas' explanation why the OT is obsolete to him

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I've found this snippet of a Star Wars Insider article somewhere on the net a few days ago (It's been taken from issue #60, Page 61). I thought I post it here for those who haven't had a chance to read it yet.
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In the meantime, fans are hoping that Lucas will get around to putting out a comprehensive DVD set of all the Star Wars episodes that matches the high quality of The Phantom Menace DVD. But the filmmaker has bad news for film buffs who hope that the classic trilogy DVDs will feature both the Special Edition versions and the original theatrical versions of the movies. Asked if there’s a possibility of including the original versions as alternate tracks, to show the evolution of the films, showcase the state-of-the-art era, and preserve film history, Lucas said simply, "I don’t think so. I think of the film as The Special Edition. I don’t think of it as the early version, any more than I would put early rough cuts on. I could put four or five rough cuts onto the thing and say, ‘This is how it advanced.’ I consider The Special Edition as being the final version at this point. I don’t even worry about the other ones, because it went through a lot of incarnations to get to the final stage."
Edit: Fixed a typo in the thread title.
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Thats an old statement but that is what he thinks. I don't totally disagree with him.
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Here's yet another quote that pretty much sums up my point of view on this issue:
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Originally posted by Makabe on the Official StarWars Forums:

Let's be honest here. The Special Editions were not an attempt to make the old movies more like he originally wanted them. The way he originally wanted them was the way they originally were. He did not originally want Greedo to shoot first, he did not originally want that new musical number, he did not originally want Luke to scream when falling down the shaft, he did not originally want to show Vader flying back to his Star Destroyer, he did not originally want more celebration scenes at the end. This was Lucas changing his mind 20 years later, when he should have left well enough alone. Films are not a director's vision alone, they are the collaboration of hundreds of people. The Special Editions threw out the innovative techniques, and the work of the people involved originally, and replaced it with the work of computer geeks, disregarding the work they did and the experience of his original audience.
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Originally posted by: jimbo
Thats an old statement but that is what he thinks. I don't totally disagree with him.



but the difference is that one of those work in progress versions was released in theatres and became a phenomenon, and he never made any mention at the time that it was incomplete and unsatisfactory.
And I dance. And I sing.
And I'm a monkey, in a long line of kings.
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I would like to think this is just Lucas trying to strech out the profitablity of Star Wars. He'll release these SE's now (which by-the-way will probably flow a little more seemlessly with I,II,&III) and 3 to 4 years down the road he'll release the originals with all the bonus footage. I can respect a good marketing trick when i see it. But if this is his real intent and the movie that impacted my childhood are destined to die on a shelf at his ranch then I suggest you take to the DVD burners and bootleg these masterpieces like there is no tomorrow! I mean, if he has no desire to profit off them I'm sure he won't mind. Christ, Didn't he see the South Park episode about him and Spielberg. Quit screwing with my childhood George!!!
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And why does everything need to be veiled in secrecy? the LOTR dvds proved that you can announce two versions a month apart and people will still buy both.
And I dance. And I sing.
And I'm a monkey, in a long line of kings.
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Darth Bootlegger, I was tempted to believe in a shrewd marketing move myself for a long time. But it was while reading an article by AICN's Moriarty, that I finally realised that Lucas is more than just serious about this. Dead serious, it seems.

For all of you who didn't get around to read it, here's Moriarty's outlook on things:
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Well, by now, you’ve all read the news. Yes, the STAR WARS DVDs are coming. And, as I’ve been saying since we started the Jedi Council articles, they are going to be the SPECIAL EDITIONS from ’97, and not the original untouched films.

I know, I know... you don’t believe it. You’re convinced that George Lucas is going to change his mind and release the films the way you want them released. You’re sure of it. He couldn’t possibly have meant it when he said that he will never release the original theatrical versions of the films again, right?

Personally, I think only a stone cold sap still thinks they’re going to get the originals on DVD anytime soon. I sat in the Egyptian and watched Lucas when they screened clips from the original versions at a special ILM retrospective, and he looked like he wanted to crawl out of his skin. He hates those films. He hates watching those films. He is embarrassed by his own accomplishments, and he has gone around the bend. My advice? Accept it. You’re not going to get another commercial release of the movies. Not now. Not ever.

However... if it really chaps your ass to the degree that you just won’t be able to tolerate the next nine months without whining and crying in every available forum about Lucas and his long-since-announced policy, there is a way you can have a genuine impact. It’s not by signing petitions. It’s not by writing angry posts to message boards. There is one, and only one, absolutely guaranteed method by which you can affect Lucas and possibly force him to change his mind, and that is by organized financial boycott. If fandom decided that it was a big enough deal to them that they were not getting the original theatrical versions of the films, they could demonstrate their personal displeasure by not buying the box set.

And that’ll never happen.
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I sat in the Egyptian and watched Lucas when they screened clips from the original versions at a special ILM retrospective, and he looked like he wanted to crawl out of his skin. He hates those films. He hates watching those films. He is embarrassed by his own accomplishments, and he has gone around the bend.


I really get the impression that its not just the FX, but the OT in general that he hates. I haven;t heard him say a nice thing about the OT since the PT started to come out. ANd I know from reading interviews that he considers ESB the worst of the saga.
And I dance. And I sing.
And I'm a monkey, in a long line of kings.
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That's fine that Lucas thinks that. More power to him, but you know what there are a few THOUSAND people that disagree with him and I'm sure there are even more than that! You put the ORIGINAL on because for 20 years that was the only version out! You don't call a movie that won Oscars and other awards, and went to the top 10 of the highest grossing movies of all time a "rough cut!!!"
WE MUST DO SOMETHING!

DON'T BUY STAR WARS ON DVD UNLESS IT INCLUDES THE ORIGINAL!!!!!
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simply put... Lucas is a wacko!!
he has no talent like he did back in the day...

he hit it big with Star Wars... and rode Spieldbergs coat tails for Indiana Jones....
what else did the man accomplish... hrm... we have Howard the Duck (which although i loved it as a kid just cuz the duck could talk) that was a complete disaster along with Willow which again wasn't a blockbuster either....

so what does the man do with the movies that made him what he is today? and dont you Lucas lovers tell me those movies didnt put his ass on the map... cuz if he had never been as succesful as he was with those he'd still be wearing his flannel and sporting his afro! (hrm.. he still wears flannel though..)

i personally think he should go live with Bubbles and Michael Jackson on Neverland ranch...
what do you think?
lol
"Never. I'll never turn to the darkside. You've failed your highness. I am a jedi, like my father before me."
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I think he's just stubborn and deceived by his own misconceptions about the original trilogy. To be honest, I wouldn't have any problem with his point of view at all. But by making the decision not to release the original trilogies on DVD, he aggressively forces that view onto me.

It saddens me in a way, that he's not ashamed of selling fans every imaginable kind of useless junk as StarWars merchandising, yet he seems to think he'd loose his face if he'd sell us the 'junk version' of his old films on dvd. I mean, even if he couldn't bare contributing to the making of the OT DVDs, he wouldn't have to. After all there wouldn't be any creative input required of him for ILM to clean up the film and remove stuff like the opaque snowspeeder cockpits or black lines around objects. He could leave it all up to the good folks at Lucasfilm and stay at home tinkering on the concepts for his archive edition of the hexology.

Somehow I imagine he's angry of the fact that in the end he will never ever be able to succeed in undoing the OTs - not even by not releasing them on DVD. Fact is, the OT is out there and people still love to watch it. Perhaps the mere fact that he can't prevent people from preferring what he now sees as ugly work in progress, makes him denying them the one thing that would make those people even happier. Along the lines of "if I can't be happy, you won't be either".

I don't envy him at all. But I certainly don't hate him. After all he is still the same person that made the OT and THX-1138.
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I am pretty sure Lucas was serious. I never believed it was some kind of perverted marketing stratagy. He really does dislike the orginal versions. We are only getting the Special Edition only.
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I don't believe he thinks The Empire Strikes Back is the worst otherwise he wouldn't have made Attack of the Clones more like the Empire Strikes Back then any other Star Wars movie.
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I fail to see much in common with ESB and AOTC. Either way he did say it, ESB is his least favorite.

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Originally posted by: Master Sifo-Dyas
I think he's just stubborn and deceived by his own misconceptions about the original trilogy. To be honest, I wouldn't have any problem with his point of view at all. But by making the decision not to release the original trilogies on DVD, he aggressively forces that view onto me."


Exactly.

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"It saddens me in a way, that he's not ashamed of selling fans every imaginable kind of useless junk as StarWars merchandising, yet he seems to think he'd loose his face if he'd sell us the 'junk version' of his old films on dvd. I mean, even if he couldn't bare contributing to the making of the OT DVDs, he wouldn't have to. After all there wouldn't be any creative input required of him for ILM to clean up the film and remove stuff like the opaque snowspeeder cockpits or black lines around objects. He could leave it all up to the good folks at Lucasfilm and stay at home tinkering on the concepts for his archive edition of the hexology."


Yep. I've defended GL for years, but its getting harder and harder to understand his logic. I think he lost me with digital stormtroopers.

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Somehow I imagine he's angry of the fact that in the end he will never ever be able to succeed in undoing the OTs - not even by not releasing them on DVD. Fact is, the OT is out there and people still love to watch it. Perhaps the mere fact that he can't prevent people from preferring what he now sees as ugly work in progress, makes him denying them the one thing that would make those people even happier. Along the lines of "if I can't be happy, you won't be either".


thats quite possible. Thats why I've always said he won't release the OV, because he can't risk it outselling his prequels and SEs. Can you imagine the embarrassment? "Well it seems George Lucas can't convince anyone to like CGI, after 30 years people still prefer his aging original films with cheap models and rubber masks to his cutting edge digitally made versions." Basically everything he's been preaching the past 12 years would lose any validity.

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"I don't envy him at all. But I certainly don't hate him."


Me either, he seems to be a loving father and kind man, and he's been a personal source of inspiration for me as a filmmaker, even if his last few contributions have more been a lesson in what not to do.
And I dance. And I sing.
And I'm a monkey, in a long line of kings.
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Originally posted by: jimbo
I am pretty sure Lucas was serious. I never believed it was some kind of perverted marketing stratagy. He really does dislike the orginal versions. We are only getting the Special Edition only.

I believe he dislikes them as well. But I just don't understand why. These were his babies. It would be like my parents saying they hate me because I was their firstborn and only got it right with my kid brother. I know that's a stretch, but film can definitely be very personal and you can act like an overprotective parent at times when dealing with it and protecting it from the critics, etc. I would think he would treat each version of these films as a different child. Each one has it's differences and points of uniqueness and each definitely has a right to live. No need to euthanize one to make room for another.

Did I just go off the deep end on that one?
"You fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is 'Never get involved in a land war in Asia'."
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Originally posted by: Rebel Scumb
I fail to see much in common with ESB and AOTC. Either way he did say it, ESB is his least favorite.

What the hell are you talking about. Both Attack of the Clones and The Empire Strikes Back are equally dark films. Both intercut between different characters in different places two of the characters having a relationship. Both movies are at the backfront of war. Both movies end with the character getting fighting the villian and losing because of lack of training and anger. Both movies end without the bad guys destroyed. Attack of the Clones is the best.
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@jimbo & Rebel Scumb: I think that's the cool thing about fandom, that there's a variety of views and opinions about the films that exist alongside of each other out there. To me there's not really a 'right' or 'wrong' opinion on these films, life would be so terribly boring if everyone would think the same. That's why I never would want to talk George Lucas out of thinking of the OT as 'work in progress' (although I'm sad he does), the only thing I ask of him is to acknowledge that there's people out there who earn the same respect that he demands for himself.

I don't want him to change his mind and say, "Gee, now that you've whined long enough, I finally understand that the OT is better and I've now adopted your point of view and ditched the archive editions. I'll even call back the SE and scrap it, only to release solely the OT for you guys." I'd never want it that way. I want the SE and I even want to see the AE. His view on things matters to me, regardless of me agreeing with it or not. I just wish, that someday he'll respect my point of view as much as I do respect his and give us the OT on DVD and saying "I don't agree with you at all, but I respect your feelings for the OT, since your lasting passion, money and support for the OT in the beginning made all this possible after all."

Oh well, a man can dream...

@Bossk: I really like that analogy, and I think that George thinks of it more along the lines of the classic trilogy as child that is evolving. To him there is no 'OT child' and a 'SE child' (that's how we feel about it), to him the 'SE child' is the grown up 'OT child' and soon (around 2007, as far as rumors go) it'll mature into the 'AE child'. I think he feels just as passionate about just that as you described it. And that's why I think there's no way of convincing him of our way of seeing things. I think that AICN's Moriarty is right that there's almost no other way than not buying the SE DVDs to show that our feelings about it deserve as much respect as his feelings about it do. Respect is not a one way road.

Edit: Clarified a statement in the 2nd paragraph
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If Lucas is worried about the original editions outselling the special editions, he should simply make the the original editions available ONLY if you buy the box set (instead of making it a 4 DVD set, make it a 7 DVD set), so fans are FORCED to buy BOTH editions at the same time.

That way, both sides can claim victory.
"We're fine, we're all fine down here, now thank you.... How are you?"
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R2-G2, as much as I didn't want to have to spend that much money to own the movies, at this point I would pay it just to have them.
"You fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is 'Never get involved in a land war in Asia'."
--Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), The Princess Bride
-------------------------
Kevin A
Webmaster/Primary Cynic
kapgar.typepad.com
kapgar.com
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I am certain that if most OT fans were forced to buy the SE's if it meant that they would be receiving the OE's as well, they would pony up over $100 easy.

I know I would.

George, I promise to buy the SE, if you will include the OE as well!
"We're fine, we're all fine down here, now thank you.... How are you?"
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im with R2-G2...
i would pay that no problem as long as the OT was included... anyone who wants the OT would!
"Never. I'll never turn to the darkside. You've failed your highness. I am a jedi, like my father before me."
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The list price for the Indiana Jones DVD Box Set is $69.99, but you can easily find it at Best Buy or other stores for $49.99.

If this new box set included the Original Edition along the Special Edition, I would pay up to $120 to $150.

Hope Jim Ward and George are listening.

I WANT TO GIVE YOU MORE MONEY!!!
"We're fine, we're all fine down here, now thank you.... How are you?"
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Yes we all do. I don't think there is a person here who wouldn't fork over for this.
And I dance. And I sing.
And I'm a monkey, in a long line of kings.
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I believe he dislikes them as well. But I just don't understand why.


I think there are a lot of factors. I think because his wife edited some of them, because he fought with Gary Kurtz a lot (and he contributed a lot to the success of ANH and especially ESB), because did not direct two of them, because he didn;'t have enough money to do everything the way he likes, because the studio made him change things in ANH, and because they were very hard to make.

When you read old drafts of SW, they are a lot more like the PT then the OT in style and content. I think GL is very bitter aboput having to comprimise things and is so caught up in this that he's blinded himself to the fact that sometimes comprimising due to budgets and technological limitations actually lead you to a better end product. Nessesity is the mother of invention and artist thrive on oppressive limitations, on adversity. I think GL is so caught up what he couldn't do, that he's missed completely what he did do, which was create three classic films.

Whatever GL set out to do with SW is irrelevant, its what he did do thats important. Intent means nothing, results mean everything.


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I don't want him to change his mind and say, "Gee, now that you've whined long enough, I finally understand that the OT is better and I've now adopted your point of view and ditched the archive editions. I'll even call back the SE and scrap it, only to release solely the OT for you guys." I'd never want it that way. I want the SE and I even want to see the AE. His view on things matters to me, regardless of me agreeing with it or not. I just wish, that someday he'll respect my point of view as much as I do respect his and give us the OT on DVD and saying "I don't agree with you at all, but I respect your feelings for the OT, since your lasting passion, money and support for the OT in the beginning made all this possible after all."



I totally agree. I love the idea of the SE, and even though I don;t like some of the changes, I do love some of the others. I just want the original version as well. Personally I'm stoked about hte ultimates, I think they will match better with the PT when the whole thing is done. But to me there will be the 6 part saga with the PT and UE, and then there will be the starwars trilogy, which contains niether prequels or SE material, and is its own three part story.

As far as I'm concerend GL can add Jarjar into all the OT films, so that he is second mate on the millinuem falcon alongside chewie and Han for all I care. As long as the original versions are around, he can make as many changes as he sees fit, and I'll always be interested to see what they are.
And I dance. And I sing.
And I'm a monkey, in a long line of kings.
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Originally posted by: Rebel Scumb
I think there are a lot of factors. I think because his wife edited some of them, because he fought with Gary Kurtz a lot (and he contributed a lot to the success of ANH and especially ESB), because did not direct two of them, because he didn;'t have enough money to do everything the way he likes, because the studio made him change things in ANH, and because they were very hard to make.


Many people regard A New Hope as one of the classic SW films. Lucas wrote and directed that. Also, 20th Century Fox didn't have a whole lot of influence in the production. One reason for that is because Lucas made the film outside of Hollywood, so the studio could adopt an "out of sight, out of mind" approach regarding the film. Also, Lucas's biggest ally was Alan Ladd, jr, who could go to bat for Lucas anytime the production was threatened. Basically, Lucas made ANH more or less the way he wanted to (except for the effects and scale of everything). The studio were a bunch of jerks to him, but they didn't screw up the film as much as they could've.

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When you read old drafts of SW, they are a lot more like the PT then the OT in style and content. I think GL is very bitter aboput having to comprimise things and is so caught up in this that he's blinded himself to the fact that sometimes comprimising due to budgets and technological limitations actually lead you to a better end product. Nessesity is the mother of invention and artist thrive on oppressive limitations, on adversity. I think GL is so caught up what he couldn't do, that he's missed completely what he did do, which was create three classic films.


You're wrong. Lucas wrote all the drafts of ANH and was satisfied enough with the shooting draft to actually shoot it. If there are stylistic differences between all the drafts (and I know there are), it's because Lucas changed revised the story and it's tone with each additional draft. The tone of the drafts weren't different because of technological constraints.

Lucas wrote a scene in one of the original drafts depicting Anakin disappearing into a broom closet with some girl and when he came out, he was straightening his shirt, tucking it in, etc. I haven't seen that in the prequels yet!!

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I totally agree. I love the idea of the SE, and even though I don;t like some of the changes, I do love some of the others. I just want the original version as well. Personally I'm stoked about hte ultimates, I think they will match better with the PT when the whole thing is done. But to me there will be the 6 part saga with the PT and UE, and then there will be the starwars trilogy, which contains niether prequels or SE material, and is its own three part story.


Agreed completely... but again, WE FANS DESERVE ALL OF THE VERSIONS!!

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