Sunday, 11 May 2014

Star Wars Revisited

Again, I am pretty late to the party on this one but I've just been learning about the Star Wars Revisited project.

In a nutshell, some very hard core fans of the franchise are making surgical tweaks to the films to, in their eyes, enhance them. These alterations are as subtle as adding accurate and synchronised navigation 'flaps' to the Land Speeders on Hoth, and cleaning up some of the mismatched effects applied (and re-applied) by Lucas and his team. The lengths to which the fan team go are quite extraordinary. They're even making accurate physical models which they shoot as live action elements and then composite in to the footage.

It also seems that the team are planning more significant edits to the saga in the future. These will take their alterations from mere 'enhancements' to fully fledged revisions or re-imaginings. They are talking about editing to remove a lot of the genealogy from Star Wars. Anakin will no longer be the creator of C-3PO ('Why the hell would Anakin build a protocol droid for his Mum?' they argue, fairly convincingly) and Anakin and Vader will be separated editorially so their relationship is never made clear until The Empire Strikes Back.

Although there are some quite legitimate legal questions surrounding this activity, I can't help think that it's just plain awesome. Of course Lucas is most high profile filmmaker to alter and re-release his own work and has, arguably, given rise to the culture of tweaking himself. Perhaps this Lacanian proliforation of views of the saga marks its true apotheosis from being a much-love film to a major cultural entity which is bigger than any one person (or mouse-shaped corporation)?

An example of some of the subtle tweaks that are being applied. In the old footage (below) the generator continues to glow a weird white colour after the explosion recedes. This afterglow has been removed (top).

One of the physical models the Revisited team is making to composit into existing footage.

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