Posted on Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 by Russ Fischer
We’re so far beyond the point where complaining about George Lucas making changes to Star Wars is actually an expression of surprise or outrage. It’s just a ritual. We expect him to change things around every time the films hit a new format, so much so that I think there would be more genuine surprise expressed if the saga hit Blu-ray and didn’t feature any new alterations.
Not to worry however, as the films are hitting Blu-ray soon and changes have indeed been made. Perhaps not as many as we thought might have been the case yesterday, but there is at least one big one: the version of Yoda puppeted by Frank Oz in The Phantom Menace has been replaced with a fully CGI character. You can see side by side clips of the old and new versions below.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen CGI Yoda in The Phantom Menace, as the special edition DVD of Revenge of the Sith featured a 15-minute documentary called ‘The Chosen One’ in which this digital Yoda made his debut. Seen in that doc is a much shorter clip of this same scene, but this is a longer, better look. And for those who never saw that doc, it’s a good first taste of the digital version. I can’t say the new Yoda looks bad, but they really ditched a lot of the physical characteristics of the puppet.
First, here’s the original clip as it appeared in 1999:
And here’s the new, CGI-replaced version.