We look at the revised and refurbished special edition of the trilogy to see if all changes are indeed good

When it inundated theaters last winter, the revised and refurbished special edition of the Star Wars trilogy was something to see — and to hear, in the glorious digital surround sound that made it seem as if R2-D2 had been taking elocution lessons. But now that George Lucas’ remastered masterworks are on video and Twentieth Century Fox wants us to shell out $49.98, the question, for many fans, becomes, is Star Wars worth it again?

A well-equipped home theater might weigh in favor of the buy, but for lo-fi folks, upgrading to Star Wars 2.0 should also depend on your reaction to the altered content of its characters. Lucas’ small additions have made some crucial, questionable differences.

In the original: Han Solo confronts bounty hunter Greedo in Star Wars‘ Mos Eisley cantina. When Greedo threatens to take Han dead or alive, Han just blows Greedo away.
In the special edition: Greedo doesn’t only threaten Solo; he draws his blaster, fires, and misses. Han, in self-defense, returns fire, killing Greedo.
Change is…: Bad. Han’s character arc is blunted. No longer the self-serving antihero who comes to care, he’s more like a feisty, flirtatious Good Guy. Bor-ing.

In the original: We don’t meet Jabba the Hutt until C-3PO and R2-D2 seek an audience in Return of the Jedi.
In the special edition: After icing Greedo in Star Wars, Han runs into Jabba and explains that he can’t pay the Sluggish One until after his ”nice easy charter” to Alderaan.
Change is…: Bad. Jabba looks sillier earlier. His slithering around in public takes the mystery out of a figure previously spoken of in hushed tones.

In the original: Hanging from a catwalk in the climactic scene of The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker falls silently into the void rather than join forces with Darth Vader.
In the special edition: Luke still spurns his father, but when he plummets he lets out a girlyman shriek.
Change is…: Bad. Out went the unflinching Jedi who let go of his fear. For all we know, Luke was about to flip-flop to the Dark Side and he slipped.

In the original: Return of the Jedi ends with Luke returning to the Ewoks’ village to celebrate the rebel victory.
In the special edition: Over new music that sounds like warmed-over Yanni, we see the Ewoks’ festivities, then pick up simulcast celebrations all over the galaxy.
Change is…: Good. Ewoks are slightly easier to love when that insidious ”Yub Yub” chant of theirs doesn’t stick in your head.