The Great Movie Re-Watch
Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a Wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire’s world-destroying battle station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the mysterious Darth Vader.
I remember the first time I watched A New Hope. I was ten. My dad bought me and my sister the Star Wars Trilogy box set on VHS for Christmas that year. It was one of those gifts that parents give their kids, but they’re really for the parents. I’d never heard of Star Wars and hadn’t experienced much, if any sci-fi, at that point. I was ambivalent about the gift, but my dad was so excited about it he put it in the VCR, and we watched.
Star Wars became a huge part of my life at that point. I re-watched those VHS tapes, so many times it was a miracle they weren’t destroyed. I scrimped and saved my birthday and Christmas money to buy the entire Young Jedi Knights series. I was ten, keep in mind, so I didn’t read many of the typical expanded universe novels. I loved The Courtship of Princess Leia. I would check out Star Wars DK books from the library and pour over them. I talked with my girlfriends about Star Wars all the time too. I had other obsessions and interests, but Star Wars was one that has stuck with me my entire life.
I no longer have those VHS copies, I no longer have a VCR for that matter, so I watched my Blu-ray copy. All of the Star Wars movies are available on Disney+, though if anyone wants to watch them. I love the visual quality with the Blu-ray, but I hateeeeeee so many of the added things. Since I watched my original copies so often, every time a new addition pops up, it’s jarring. I do like the sharpening of the lightsaber colors and a few other things. Why did Lucas have to add all those creatures, though? That Jabba scene? Also, Han shot first. It’s ridiculous that it was changed. I hope Disney decides to release the trilogy I watched because I will be there day one to purchase.
Relatively recently, when I was listening to the Forgotten Women of Genre podcast, I learned just how significant a role that George Lucas’s wife at the time, Marcia Lucas, had in A New Hope. I truly believe, after reading more into it, the film would not have been nearly as good or have the cultural impact it has today without her contribution. Yet, I’d only ever heard about her in passing. It says a lot about George Lucas that he didn’t do more to showcase just how much she’d contributed. She edited the film. She made sure that Han Solo’s appearance at the end was perfect. She contributed to the emotional impact of the movie. She deserves so much recognition for her work.
By the way, Forgotten Women of Genre by Syfy Wire is such a fantastic podcast. All the episodes are well researched, and if it doesn’t make you angry about the treatment of women in genre, then you have no empathy at all.
I have a theory that when a lot of men become successful, they aren’t argued with and told no often enough. They get too big for their britches, basically. George Lucas had people arguing with him over stuff in the original trilogy all the time. Especially A New Hope, but I doubt he had that kind of push back on any movies following them. I enjoyed the prequels, but if he’d been told no and had more push back, they could have been better. It’s just a theory, though. *Cough* James Cameron, Christopher Nolan, Quinton Tarrantino*Cough*
Darth Vader and Obi Wan’s fight scene is such a huge contrast to the prequel fights that it’s almost funny. Two old men fighting, except that in Rogue One, Vader destroyed people like they were bugs. The original thought behind lightsabers was that they were like a two-handed broadsword. This sounds fun, but when you can make sword fights like what’s in the prequels, it just hinders you. I don’t know if there’s ever been a good in-world explanation of the change, but it’s easy enough to overlook. After all, Star Wars is a space opera. It’s about space wizards, which we definitely need more of in entertainment.