Doug Mataconis offers a side-by-side comparison of the original theatrical release of the climactic scene in Return of the Jedi when Darth Vader turns away from the dark side, fulfills his destiny as a Sith Lord and kills his own master, and morally redeems himself by saving his son from the clutches of a horrific death at the hands of the Emperor. The geniuses at Lucasfilm — read: George Lucas himself — decided to tinker with the film by adding in dialogue for Darth Vader, saying “No. Noooooo!” before he makes that critical moral decision. In the original theatrical release, Vader is silent as he turns his cloak away from evil.
Because this sort of thing is intensely important to some people, it’s worthy of commentary. I have three reactions to it:
- The original vision — Vader acting in silence — is the superior of the two.
- The modified version is not really so bad. It sort of works, in its own way.
- The right thing for Lucasfilm to do is to release a DVD or Blu-Ray with options to play the “original theatrical release” or the “enhanced director’s cut,” as the viewer chooses. But that’s a marketing decision and not an artistic one.
Watch both versions and decide for yourself. One thing I’ve always wondered is, did they use slightly different versions of Vader’s helmet, to widen or narrow the eyes, to convey Vader’s shifting emotions, or is that just my imagination?