Entertainment has changed a lot since I was a kid. I remember when we had three stations (barely) and the jump to cable seemed huge. For most of my life cable was the standard.
Now, my family streams television. It’s what works for us, though it does leave us vulnerable to events like this week’s major internet outage from one of the companies.
We’ll probably have to add a new streaming service later this year. Ok, ok, there may not be a requirement that I do so. But the option of gaining access to all of the Star Wars movies on the Disney app is awfully tempting. And if the rumor about the service having the original cuts of the original trilogy is true, it goes from tempting to “shut up and take my money” territory.
I didn’t mind the additions to “A New Hope.” There was more of the story to tell. The addition of a single scene gave some needed depth to Biggs, Luke’s friend from Tatooine. Putting in more rebel ships for the attack on the Death Star seemed like a mistake to me (they didn’t add any leaving, which means the rebel losses were even greater than in the original), but on the whole I liked it.
The new scenes for “The Empire Strikes Back” didn’t add nearly as much, but they weren’t awful. My big gripe, and the reason I want the original edit back, comes with “Return of the Jedi.”
They took away “Yub Nub.”
The geek in me just can’t get over that. Neither can the historian. The Ewok celebration of “Yub Nub” was right. It took place in the immediate aftermath of a massive event, focusing on the people involved. And George Lucas swapped it out for a montage of scenes from other planets celebrating the emperor’s death.
Come on, George. It would have taken time for word to spread. And even as it did so, the rumors would not have been immediately accepted. The empire still had garrisons on all of those worlds, especially Coruscant. Did they just say “the big guy’s dead, let’s surrender?”
That’s just not the way things work. Those imperial outposts would have still had a ton of power. They would have cracked down mercilessly on celebrations. The rebel victory could not have been accomplished at one fell swoop. At best, you’d have a few people vying for power in an unfractured empire. At worst you’d have the emergence of regional warlords, each fighting with each other AND the rebels. “Yub Nub” allowed for that possibility. The sudden, mass festivities on planets that still had a major imperial presence do not. Besides …
Boy, that got away from me a bit. Sorry about that.
It’s a bit remarkable, really, that there are fans for whom that would have been a pretty minor rant on the subject. It’s a testament to how the stories that shape our youth tend to become hallowed parts of who we are. At their best they continue to fire our imaginations for decades.
I was lucky enough to see the originals on the big screen. I’ll take them on a television, but there’s just nothing that replaces the lights going down and the opening crawl coming up. And if streaming that brings back a fraction of what I remember feeling, I’ll take it.
Fine, Disney. I’ll surrender faster than the empire did in Lucas’s new scenes.
Shut up and take my money.