Thursday, September 30, 2004


I didn’t get to see all of the first Bush-Kerry debate, but my perception is that Kerry did pretty well — or, at least, that Bush did pretty poorly. Some day I may watch the whole thing (if I get Real Player or Windows Media I can watch it online from C-SPAN) or read the whole thing (here’s a transcript from The Washington Post), but in the meantime I’m content to take a quick look at the electoral college map or polls and know that in a day or so I can look and see them remade. In Kerry’s favor.

But now that we’re talking about remakes, it’s worth noting that the original “Star Wars” trilogy is out on DVD and, as keen as I am on DVD sets, I feel constrained from buying this one.

Normally, I wouldn’t hesitate. While individual DVDs are fine, my collector’s blood truly starts pumping when it comes to sets such as “The Simpsons” (I have them up through season four and am waiting impatiently for the next), “Family Guy” and “Futurama” (complete sets), “The Lord of the Rings” (extended editions, of course, and hurry up November!), the Marx Brothers (waiting for the Paramount years with a fiery intensity) ... and I’m as nostalgic about “Star Wars” as most of my peers, although with many of the same criticisms. (As in: Why couldn’t they all have been like “The Empire Strikes Back”?)

What’s keeping me from buying is, predictably, the Greedo situation, meaning that the “A New Hope” disc in this set has Han Solo shooting Greedo in self-defense. And that’s just not how it happened. Here’s the cloddish liar, George Lucas, from the Sept. 24 issue of Entertainment Weekly:

GL: The thing that really caused the trouble on “Star Wars” is the whole question of whether Han Solo or Greedo shoots first. The way it got cobbled together at the time, it came off that [Han] fired first. He didn’t fire first.
EW: So you consider this a correction?
GL: It’s a correction.
[When I made “Star Wars”] I said, “Well, I don’t have the shot, so I’ll just, you know, fudge it editorially.” In my mind [Greedo] shot first or at the same time. We like to thing of [Han Solo] as a murderer because that’s hip — I don’t think that’s a good thing for people. I mean, I don’t see how you could redeem somebody who kills people in cold blood.

To clarify, Lucas is either a liar or self-deceiving, as an entire generation of people grew up believing Han Solo shot first, and these were, I feel comfortable saying, not the people shooting up their high schools. Not murderers. Certainly not thinking of Solo as a murderer, and uniformly wanting to be him. It was widely understood that Solo was dangerous, crude and sexy, but that his love for Leia redeemed him somewhat, made him a better person — and that Greedo was scum anyway.

If this is the rationale for perverting his truer instincts, perhaps Lucas should have gone back and redone the audio as well, renaming Greedo something like “Misunderstoodo” or, in the opposite direction, “Evillo.” That way we can feel better about his fate, whether through confidence there is no true evil in Lucas’ universe, or that there is, and that Greedo was it. But, really, Greedo probably wasn’t such a bad guy to drink with, for instance. And he was someone’s son. Live with it.

Lucas insults us by coddling us, and he insults us further by cooking up this lame, revisionist tale.

Somehow I’m even further insulted by knowing that there’s a good chance I’ll buy the set anyway, largely just for “Empire” and because it’s a set, and that I may even do so quickly, before Newbury Comics raises the price.

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