George Lucas is not satisfied with turning the puppet Yoda in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace into a CG creation. Or just fixing some of the wonky lightsabre effects in the original trilogy. He's going a bit further.
Lucas had promised that fans would have a few new details here and there to notice in his newly remastered HD versions of his classic trilogy — and now the first details are leaking out. And fans are not happy. Some of the fans have gotten hold of the Blu-ray footage, and they're dissecting it at TheForce.net, the Blu-Ray.com forums and the DVDTalk forums. And a couple of changes to the soundtrack have already become apparent, at least if some recent leaks are to be believed.
UPDATE: Badass Digest says "a trusted source" confirms that these changes are real.
Most notably, "Vader now screams NOOOOOOOO when he throws the Emperor" in Return of the Jedi. And it sounds, quite frankly, kind of silly. Check out an mp3 of the new sound effect.
Update: One intrepid fan has synced this audio with the original video:
Second of all, when Obi-Wan scares off the Tusken Raiders from an unconscious Luke, we no longer hear Obi-Wan's famous "Krayyt Dragon" call, but instead it just sort of sounds like Walrus Man barfing. Check out an mp3 of the new version.
Update: Another intrepid fan has synced the leaked audio with the picture from a previous DVD release, via Slashfilm:
And then there's the new more realistic, blinking eyes on the Ewoks — see the clip at left featuring Wicket W. Warrick, which was sent to us by the same tipster who sent us the audio files of the new sound effects.
The fans are debating whether these leaks are real, with forum user JonYo writing:
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.
Although user Gundark31 points out:
The leak came from China so the chances of this being legit is high.
In any case, with the new audio synced with the original video, it does seem to fit pretty well, and some fans even say they're okay with it once they see it in context.
What do you think — hoax or real? And is this new tinkering a huge deal-breaker, or just one more head-scratching Lucas decision? [Thanks Jon!]