'Star Wars' Blu-Ray Controversy: Has George Lucas Made Two Terrible Audio Alterations To The Original Trilogy?

There is more possible 'Star Wars alteration' controversy today. The word going around on TheForce.net and other message boards is that review copies of the Star Wars blu-ray set have trickled out, and two of the supposed changes to the original trilogy are being highlighted. While the digital Yoda in The Phantom Menace is a much broader change, these two alterations — if true — will be far more irritating.

The two big tweaks reported are changes to audio, one in the original Star Wars and the other in Return of the Jedi. The latter is the big one, as two instances of Darth Vader saying and screaming 'Nooo!' have reportedly been added to the scene where (spoiler!) Vader throws the Emperor to his doom. The idea would seemingly be to establish some thin and wholly silly symmetry between the versions of Vader at the end of each Star Wars trilogy. Check out the two audio changes below. Prepare to cringe. Again: the veracity of these clips remains in doubt. There is a troll at work here; we just don't know yet if it is George Lucas, or some anonymous prankster.

I was extremely skeptical about these clips, because they would be very easy to fake, but Badass Digest confirmed with a source that the audio is real. I trust Devin but I'm still on the fence, in part because I hope all parties in question wouldn't be so stupid as to make these changes. Vader's 'Noooo!' was easily the most-derided aspect of the prequel trilogy (OK, maybe it was among the top three most-derided aspects) and so adding a similar element to Jedi seems inane.

(Update: The New York Times confirmed these changes with LucasFilm. All real, folks.)

Here are the two sequences that are making the rounds. In both cases you're seeing old DVD footage synced to what is purported to be the new Blu-ray audio.

Here is the edit to Return of the Jedi:

And this is the edit to Obi-Wan's dragon cry in Star Wars. (Here's the original.)

So here's the thing: if these changes are legit and you think they're awful, don't buy the set. Please. People have complained for years that they don't like what Lucas is doing to these films, but they generate so much money that his tinkering is financially validated. Stop doing that and he might (might) get the hint. [sourced from various message boards, this came to my attention via io9.]