It’s Been 20 Years, But I’m Still Mad About A Change Made To ‘Return Of The Jedi.’
The Return of the Jedi is my favorite movie of all-time. Typically, I refrain from saying something that definitive, especially about art. I don’t have a favorite song, a favorite book, a favorite meal, and so on. However, if I am asked which movie, Star Wars-centric or otherwise, is my favorite, I’ll answer Jedi without hesitation. I was five or six when I saw it in theaters, and it is the one I’ve watched the most often.
As deep and unconditional as my love is for this film, I also know that no one can objectively say it is the best Star Wars film. In the original trilogy alone, people make very compelling cases for A New Hope or Empire Strikes Back as the “best” of the Star Wars chapters. But we’re not talking about the “best,” we’re talking about my “favorite.” I love it all. I love the overly-convoluted caper to spring Han from Jabba’s palace. I love kick-ass Leia and full-on Jedi Luke. I love the Emperor. I love the Ewoks. Hell, I even love that Boba Fett went out like a punk into the Pit of Karkoon.
But a video I saw making the rounds on Facebook reminded me of how the “special edition” version of the films ruined perhaps the most magical moment of the film for me.
The above video focuses on a change made to the final scene of the film when the Force ghosts of the old Jedi masters appear before Luke. There’s Yoda, Old Ben (played by Alec Guinness), and the actor who portrayed Vader with his helmet removed, Sebastian Shaw. Shortly before the release of Revenge of the Sith, however, Shaw was removed in favor of Hayden Christensen, the actor future Star Wars fans would recognize as Anakin from the prequel films. But, I don’t give a shit about that change one way or another. What’s most offensive to me happened in 1998, when the special edition version of the film changed the score in the final scene.
I was born in 1980, so I was able to see the original version of every Star Wars film of the original trilogy in a theater at some point…