I just recently got back in a huge Star Wars mania and watched the original trilogy again. It’s the second time I saw the “new” version of those movies, which means there are several alterations to what I’m (and every other Star Wars fan born before 2000 is) used to.
Wildly discussed online are mostly two changes: Episode IV’s very first scene of Han Solo and his “duell” against the bounty hunter Greedo and the question of who shot whom first (thus the title of this post) and the Force ghost of Anakin Skywalker at the end of Episode VI. The original ghost of Luke’s father was that of Sebastian Shaw, who portrayed Darth Vader throughout the original series. The remake shows Hayden Christensen as Anakin.
Both changes have their reasons, of course, and both make sense. Han shooting first would’ve made him a killer just as George Lucas said:
“The controversy over who shot first, Greedo or Han Solo, in Episode IV, what I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t. It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down.”
And the Force ghost of the younger Anakin still walking on the light side of the Force is also logical, since his Jedi soul was lost the moment he turned to the dark side. Again, the reasoning comes from George Lucas himself. (Sorry for the lack of citation here but I just don’t found the interview/transcript I was looking for.)
In the end, George Lucas has his vision of the Star Wars universe and being the father of the story it stands to reason that he has the final say in everything. Clearing things up so Han Solo isn’t a killer is great. Changing the face of Anakin’s Force ghost may not be “great” but in the end it clears things up, too: Only (light-sided) Jedi can transform that way and whenever fallen Jedi are redeemed, their Force ghost mirrors their image before their fall.
All the other changes are minor and mostly cosmetic and no ones really too pissy about them. Maybe the best way to deal with all this is to remember this:
Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you.
Don’t fear changes, embrace them 😉
I still love the movies (way more than the later trilogy) and everyone should see them at least once (though I know several people, including good friends, who haven’t). Changing little or huge facts about the world doesn’t make it bad or ruins any of the messages the story entales.