Stars Wars: Revenge of the Wits

Fans respond to Blu-ray scene changes with parody videos. Humor may be the only way left to fight the Lucas Menace…

By Jere Hester
|  Monday, Sep 5, 2011  |  Updated 7:45 PM EDT
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George Lucas' latest tinkering with "Star Wars" is spurring parodies.

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In perhaps the best parody yet of George Lucas’ latest tinkering of the “Star Wars” saga – this time in the upcoming Blu-ray rerelease – the climatic battle between Darth Vader and nasty Emperor Palpatine gets a Beavis and Butt-Head dialogue overdub.

“This sucks,” Butt-Head/Vader declares. “This sucks more than anything that has ever sucked before.”

That’s an apt as any commentary we’ve heard yet on Lucas’ newest fiddling, which most notably includes having Vader yell, “No!” as he redeems himself by sacrificing his life to save Luke by killing Palpatine in “The Return of the Jedi.”

Fan fuss – and there’s been oodles since the filmmaker began major revisions by making CGI additions to the series’ first film for the 20th anniversary theatrical rerelease in 1997 – doesn’t seem to have blunted the force of the Lucas Menace.

We’re less taken, though, by the expected outrage than by the outpouring of humor lampooning Lucas’ inability to let his classics (and even his non-classics) alone. Comedy may be the most effective way for fans to channel their anger.

The “Beavis and Butt-Head”-inspired video is showing signs of going viral on YouTube. We’re also getting a kick out of another overdub effort on “Funny of Die” that portrays Vader as a doddering, Eeyore type. In a mixing of the memes, the Blu-ray controversy has spurred several of “Star Wars”-themed “Downfall” parodies in which Hitler bitterly weighs in. “All these changes and he still keeps Greedo shooting at Han Solo first!” the Fuhrer rants in our favorite of the bunch. “That doesn’t make any (expletive) sense!”

Both the fury and the comedy are tributes of sorts to the enduring power of the “Star Wars” films. It seems at times, though, as if there’s a battle over who owns the movies: Lucas or the fans whose lives he’s made an indelible mark upon.

He’s certainly made the comics’ jobs easier by predictably messing with his movies with every repackaging of the series (we shudder to think what changes might be in store for the planned 3-D versions – the alterations could be enough to make some fans’ head explode like the Death Star).

Lucas can do whatever he wants with his films. But, as we’ve noted before, that doesn’t mean we have to like it. We’re particularly puzzled by “The Return of the Jedi” revisionist ending, which, unlike many of the modifications he’s made before, has nothing to do with taking advantage of technological advances in filmmaking.

We wonder at times, whether Lucas – who, as a site called “Saving Star Wars” recently reminded fans, once testified before Congress against altering movies at the height of the colorization debate – risks becoming a parody of himself.

Or as comedian Paul Scheer quipped in this tweet, which we found via The Hollywood Reporter: “If George Lucas continues to change Star Wars at this rate in the year 2028 it will just become ‘Spaceballs.’”

The Blu-ray videos are set to be released on Sept. 16. In the meantime, check out some of the parody videos (some NSFW) below for a little pre-emptive revenge of the wits:
 

Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NY City News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.

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