As our wars in the Middle East drag on and the economy continues to falter, Americans across the political spectrum are understandably outraged about the alterations being made to the Blu-Ray edition of the Star Wars films. I mean blinking Ewoks? That’s a god-damn travesty!
But when we step back from the situation, the answer is not so simple. While Lucas may have absolute power at Skywalker Ranch, he is not acting alone. Like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao before him, Lucas would not be able to carry out his psychotic urges without the help and complicity of the masses. Just as Emperor Palpatine had Grand Moff Tarkin and an army of clones, Lucas has legions of employees ready to do his bidding and millions of fans willing to fund his evil endeavors. In the end, they are just as guilty as Lucas himself.
When Lucas got the bright idea to add the infamous “noooooooo” scream to the climax of Return of the Jedi, it’s not as if he powered up his MacBook Pro and dropped it in. He has dozens, if not hundreds of individuals carrying out these alterations. As with all dictatorships, the grunts on the ground can always fall back on the “I was only following orders” defense. But in this case, it only goes so far.
It’s safe to assume that these people went to work for Lucas in the first place because they are Star Wars fans, and hardcore fans at that. I can’t imagine someone who has never seen Empire Strikes Back would randomly apply to work as a special effects tech at ILM or Lucas Film. If anything, the films inspired them to pursue their careers. As such, they too must have been horrified by the idea of taking laughable audio from the prequels and placing it in the original trilogy, or making Greedo shoot first. But at the end of the day, did anyone stand up and say “this is a bad idea?” I doubt it. To paraphrase a term made famous by noted asshole Ward Churchill, these “little Tarkins” are never called into question. But ultimately, they are the ones directly responsible for shitting on the original trilogy.
Of course, as with all things in life, money talks, and bullshit walks. If someone drove an AT-AT Walker full of cash over to my house and told me to photoshop a picture of Han Solo blowing Greedo, I’d be more than happy to comply. With that in mind, I can’t really fault the people at ILM for being sellouts. Besides, where does Lucas get his unlimited supply of cash with which to pay his army of clones? That’s right; from assholes like you and me who shell out our money on Star Wars related crap. If the fans wouldn’t pay for these altered films, Lucas wouldn’t be making them. But we do, time after time after time.
So the next time you go to bitch about what an idiot George Lucas is, remember that we’re all complicit in this ongoing atrocity. Then again, as the old saying goes, if everyone is guilty, no one is, so maybe it is better if we just blame George.
Screw you, beardo! Han shot first!