George Lucas

A question was asked of me this afternoon. A surprisingly good question that I had to consider for awhile before I could respond with an answer.

Does George Lucas have enough money?

This question was asked in response to the latest word from Skywalker Ranch regarding the release of the original Star Wars trilogy to DVD without the Special Edition tweaks for which he received so much nerd resistance only nine years ago.

My reply was twofold:

For the average person, that is to say, If George Lucas' bank account was to be transferred into my name, yes. That would be plenty of money for me.

For George Lucas himself, though, taking into consideration what a bastard this man truly is, the answer is a resounding, unfaltering no.

Clearly, he knows that all of his loyal following have previously purchased, in chronological order:

  1. The original pre-Special Edition VHS Trilogy (Pan-n-Scan)
  2. The original pre-Special Edition VHS Trilogy (Letterbox)
  3. The original pre-Special Edition LaserDisc Trilogy (Letterbox)
  4. The Special Edition VHS Trilogy Box Set (Pan-n-Scan)
  5. The Special Edition VHS Trilogy Box Set (Letterbox)
  6. The Special Edition LaserDisc Trilogy (Letterbox)
  7. The Phantom Menace DVD (Letterbox)
  8. The Attack of the Clones DVD (Letterbox)
  9. The Revenge of the Sith DVD (Letterbox)
  10. The Prequel Trilogy Box Set (Letterbox)

Now the average consumer would only want these films on a single format. So do these people. But they understand one facet of Papa Bear's extremely anal mannerisms: He is extremely protective of his space opera. When he announces the release of one of his films on a particular format, it is a momentous occasion that must be commemorated by purchasing said film on said format.

Apparently they don't understand the psycho-consumerist approach that drives his decisions.

He rolls each format independently, and if an altered vision is involved, he adamantly declares that the original realisation of his vision was an inferior one. His followers believe him and consequently retire their copies of the original film to an undisclosed location where, if Papa Bear were to obtain a search warrant for their 1 bedroom apartment, probably wouldn't find. If he was in a hurry.

But the truth is, he doesn't care. Because the 24 copies of the six films he's made in the past 29 years that you have in your movie collection represents money in Papa Bear's bank account. He's not releasing the unretouched trilogy for you. He's doing it for him.

And his timing is impeccable. Right at the end of DVD's fertile period. Next Christmas, the only DVD's people will be buying will be HD-DVD's. Or, for those poor suckers with a PS3, they'll be scrounging for Blu-Ray discs.

What this means is, basically, you're about to shell out $79.99 for a low-resolution transfer of a grainy, low-budget space opera from the mid-70s. With a smile on your face. George Lucas owns you.

His ultimate goal for all of his minions is for them to have every single version of his films (each, at the time, considered the definitive version of that film) in every video format from VHS into infinity.

Considering the actual production value of Star Wars, maybe the best format for these films to call home was VHS after all.

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