George Lucas defends Star Wars changes

george lucas

As Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace returns to cinemas, George Lucas has again been defending his decision to tinker with the film’s special effects – in particular replacing the puppet Yoda with CGI Yoda.

There’s “basically one version of Star Wars [ that ] keeps getting improved a little bit as we move forward”, he argues, revealing that “we tried to do Yoda in CGI in Episode I , but we just couldn’t get it done in time”.

Lucas first got fanboys and girls fuming when he released the special editions of the original trilogy in 1997, garnishing them heavily with CGI where previously there was none.

“Changes are not unusual,” Lucas tells The Hollywood Reporter . “I mean, most movies when they release them they make changes. But somehow, when I make the slightest change, everybody thinks it’s the end of the world.”

Ensuring that he kept hackles well and truly raised, Lucas also addressed the ‘Greedo shoots first’ debate. The ever-controversial scene takes place in A New Hope , and fans have long argued over who shot first in the film's original print - Han Solo or alien Greedo.

“Well, it’s not a religious event. I hate to tell people that,” Lucas says. “It’s a movie, just a movie. 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.”

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace 3D is in cinemas now.

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.