People hate the re-casting of Anakin’s Force ghost in the 2004-present re-releases of Return of the Jedi, mainly because it is disrespectful to the now-deceased Sebastian Shaw, yet like the re-casting of Palpatine in the 2004-present re-releases The Empire Strikes Back. I don’t understand: why do people like the re-casting of Palpatine in The Empire Strikes Back if it is also disrespectful to his two now-dead actors, yet despise the re-casting of Anakin’s ghost if it is disrespectful to Sebastian Shaw? Can someone explain to me why?
Simply put, if you watch only RotJ or watch the movies in release order, the Hayden change makes no sense.
Shaw is revealed when Luke removes Vader’s mask. So a viewer knows that Shaw is Vader (David Prowse and JEJ is also Darth Vader, but we never see them), there is no connection to Hayden Christiansen, so when he suddenly appears in the Special edition it’s a total disconnect. Who is that? It’s not so much about disrespect to Shaw, as a continuity error introduced.
It also feels like a vanity change for George Lucas, like a banner rolling “Go watch my Other Star Wars trilogy to understand this scene! GL.”
As for the emperor change, I have no problem with the original effect, I prefer moviemakers NOT changing their films in retrospect apart from cleanups and directors editions. As a change, though, it has fewer problems. This is the first reveal of the emperor and he is introduced enough, while still remaining mysterious and threatening. (edit: i do avoid watching the SEd if I can)