Since the original Star Wars film hit cinemas in 1977 there have been six films and two trilogies that have been a part of every generation, carving out a special place in the collective memory of kids around the world.
What is less obvious is that between these six films there are more than 23 different versions. From director’s cuts, special editions, added and deleted scenes, and remastering’s that may go unnoticed by many fans of the series but which have left many devout fans with a bitter taste in their mouths as the story and characters have changed in front of their eyes.
From small visual remastering’s all the way through to the argument about if Han fired the shot first at Greedo in the 1997 scene change to the 1977 original, some tweaks have not changed the story and others have altered aspects of the characters that the original audience fell in love with.
But what’s so wrong with changing films as we go?
Video games have let people make up their own ending for years, and even music lets people read completely different things into lyrics and rhythms. But stubbornly film remains a medium where we are told the ending.
When directors are able to re-create films as they go, why not enable consumers to do the same thing? With technology allowing crowd funding and crowd sourcing for all kinds of activities, why not ask them how they want the film to end, or what bits they would like to change?
This could give an amazing new dimension to film creation, and bring a whole new world to sequels, with popular and ground-breaking ideas used to inspire sequels rather than a “big reveal” following heavy investment, such as with Disney’s John Carter that lost millions of dollars at the box office. This could be an innovative way of making sure film stays relevant and engaging for a new generation of consumers.