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Even George Lucas Rowed Back On This Bizarre Star Wars Special Edition Change


Even George Lucas Rowed Back On This Bizarre Star Wars Special Edition Change


Summary

  • The 1997 special edition of The Empire Strikes Back gave Luke Skywalker an out-of-place scream as he fell.
  • George Lucas removed Luke’s scream in later releases, showing second thoughts about this bizarre addition.
  • Controversial changes like Greedo shooting first received more attention than Luke’s awkward scream alteration.



One strange addition to the first The Empire Strikes Back special edition was bizarre enough for George Lucas to remove it in the next re-release. The Star Wars original trilogy was re-released in 1997 with many noticeable changes intending to update the movies with better special effects and fix errors that perhaps left Lucas unsatisfied with the movies’ original theatrical incarnations. The Star Wars special editions are, infamously, the subject of intense debate and mockery among viewers, though one of the oddest changes is found in the original trilogy’s least altered movie.

While Star Wars viewers may argue in favor of or against certain changes, the most famous alteration – and the one most unanimously disliked – is Han Solo’s scene with Greedo, with the bounty hunter firing his blaster at Han first in A New Hope’s special editions. Arguably the most necessary change made by the special editions is the addition of Luke Skywalker’s reunion with Biggs Darklighter before the Battle of Yavin begins. An often overlooked and truly bizarre alteration, however, can be found in The Empire Strikes Back’s 1997 edition.


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George Lucas Gave Luke Skywalker One Truly Absurd Moment

In The Empire Strikes Back’s climax, Luke Skywalker, upon learning that Darth Vader is Anakin Skywalker and being tempted to join him, chooses to sacrifice himself instead of accepting his father’s offer. The movie’s 1997 special edition re-release had Luke scream as he fell down the depts of Cloud City, seemingly reusing the scream of Emperor Palpatine as he fell to his death in Return of the Jedi. The scream was notably removed in the movie 2004 DVD re-release and was not re-added in Empire’s 2011 Blu-Ray or 2019 Disney+ re-releases, making it exclusive to the 1997 cut.


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For 7 Years, This Was The Most Accessible Version Of A Key Scene

Vader tells Luke 'I am your father' in The Empire Strikes Back


Luke’s scream – while bizarre – was overshadowed by the far more controversial and overt special edition changes, such as Greedo shooting at Han Solo and the extended ending of Return of the Jedi. Yet Luke’s scream is arguably as damaging as the other controversial changes, as it removes Luke’s silent dignity as he seemingly sacrifices himself and adds a comically out-of-place scream that will surely remind viewers of a different scene from a different movie. Between 1997 and 2004, this iteration of the scene was the most accessible as most VHS releases of Empire used the 1997 cut.

It seems that George Lucas had second thoughts about Luke’s scream.


Considering that the scream was removed from the next iteration of Empire, it seems that George Lucas had second thoughts about Luke’s scream. Notably, the controversial changes to the Han and Greedo encounter are sped up in each successive re-release to make it appear as though they fire simultaneously – and this may have been due to the initial alteration’s controversy. In the case of Luke’s scream in The Empire Strikes Back – which was nowhere near as controversial – Lucas likely changed his mind and gave Luke his dignified silence back.

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