Update: Looks like this was no false alarm. A spokesperson for Lucasfilm confirms to The New York Times that the tweaks to Return of the Jedi are official. “Yes — Darth says NO.”
Talk about a disturbance in the Force. Last night, a tremor shook the very core of the Star Wars fan community, as rumors piled up that George Lucas tweaked the audio of the original Star Wars trilogy for its upcoming release on Blu-Ray September 16. Allegedly leaked audio from Return of the Jedi revealed that in the final standoff between the Emperor and Luke Skywalker, audio was inserted to make Darth Vader scream "NOOOO" as he tosses the Emperor to his shadowy demise in the bowels of the Death Star. Additionally, in A New Hope, when Obi-Wan Kenobi frightens off the Tusken Raider with his "Krayyt Dragon" call, the audio is altered to sound like what one observer calls a "walrus man barfing." Gathering the leaked audio, an industrious Star Wars fan matched it with the video below for fans to scrutinize:
It's important to remember that the video is not official and the audio leak could very well be a prank—a possibility that wasn't lost on Star Wars fan forums such as TheForce.Net, where the level of discourse is unusually sophisticated (some would say, blindly obsessive). Still, a report by nerd-culture website Badass Digest that a "trusted source" confirmed the veracity of the audio was enough to merit poignant literary laments on the gratuitousness of Lucas adding "NOOOO" to Darth Vader's lines. While some berated Lucas, others vowed to boycott the highly-anticipated Blu-Ray release and still others rather enjoy the modifications. Here's a scattering of responses from the Jedi Council Forums:
Resigned disbelief From lavjoricso:
My God, the scenes ruined now
Calls for Boycot Drewton rallies the troops:
It makes the scene weak and so much less powerful... Seriously, I encourage anyone who hates the new changes to boycott it at least on opening week.
Panic DarthWolvo23 is starting to lose faith:
The news is getting worse by the minute.
Not all lightsabers fixed? Obi wan cry that no longer matches Boga? Vader screams "no" in Jedi???
Honestly I was soooo excited for this release until like 2 days ago
Don't panic! JonYo tries to settle everyone's nerves:
Please, everyone remember that no matter how "reliable" certain sources are, the official release of the Blu Ray set is still a couple of weeks away, and until the final commercial release is in the hands of the public, anything leaked is suspect - including promotional material from Lucas. It's quite possible that we, the teeming masses of netnerds, are being messed with in regards to some of the "newly leaked" footage. The Ewok eyes, the crappy sabers, the various awkward screams...we're a highly excitable bunch right about now, and someone could very easily be having a laugh. Not saying this is the case, but it's quite possible.
The apologist Darth_Harmon, who defends the moficiation, begins the comment by reminding everyone he/she is a tax-paying citizen:
I am a fully functioning member of society (I can drive, I have a job, I can vote) and yet...
I really don't mind the "Nooo!". I synced it up, it works for me. I totally get that it will not work for everybody else, but for me it works.
The thinking man's response From Cryogenic, the commenter gives a graduate degree-level explanation of why Vader must remain silent during the final showdown:
If Vader remains mute as his soul -- the deep, dark, hidden part of his whole being -- quietly thrashes in tumult. Vader just watching there, his polished black shell reflecting his master's evil method of destruction, as he tortures and murders Vader's son, with Vader turning to his master and back to his son, teetering on the edge of uncertainty and incredulity, is -- pardon the pun -- electrifying as a wordless figure stands whole but is being torn in two. It is a chance for the viewer to reflect on what they'd do under circumstances that eerily transpose into a million "real life" situations, whether it's someone literally lying on the ground and being attacked, or a life-long dream that you may have to give up as another opportunity pulls you in a different direction... To graffiti over this scene with public, even private, exhortations from Vader... to me, it's simply wrong. It's not mere defacement, it's desecration.
The defeatist DanteVader looks at the big picture:
I don't think George cares if he pleases everyone. The reality is, those that complain are a massive minority, and generally ultimately buy it anyway.