Los Angeles, CA - In what will become a case study of how not to name a film, fans and industry executives reacted with shock and dismay to the title of the upcoming installment of the Star Wars saga - "The Revenge of the Sh*t".
George Lucas, the creator of the popular film series seemed as surprised as anyone when the new title was announced. "George was chatting with a friend during the big naming event at Comic-Con International," said Steve Sansweet, Lucasfilm's head of fan relations. "When I removed my jacket up there on stage to show the t-shirt with the movie's logo and said the name, his head snapped over in a nanosecond. He didn't look real happy."
Nor did the assembled fans that had flocked to this LA event for news on their favorite space opera. A stunned silence descended on the crowd following the announcement, a silence followed by shouts and tears. "Did he just say what I thought he said?" asked Erica Warren, a 30 year old hairdresser from Clearwater, Florida, who was sporting a pair of Danish-like hair-clusters on her head. Her make-up steaming down her cheeks, she ran from the room.
"This is just terrible," said one Lucasfilm executive who asked not to be named. "We all realized that the title would be controversial, but like, not this big a deal."
For a franchise as popular as Star Wars though, a miscue of this magnitude is a very big deal. Director/producer Steven Spielberg, who has worked with Lucas frequently over the past 20-plus years found the news incredible. "Revenge of the what??," he asked during a telephone interview, "I don't believe this is true. George and I have discussed the new movie and nothing like that ever came up." When emailed evidence of the title, Spielberg responded with a note saying - in part - "I have no doubt that this title must in some way fit into George's larger artistic vision. I don't know (and nor can I imagine) what that vision is, but I've learned to trust George. The man is a genius."
The reclusive Lucas could not be reached for comment but Lucasfilm did release the following statement to the media: "George Lucas and Lucasfilm pride themselves for creating some of the most memorable moments in motion picture history and the upcoming installment to the Star Wars saga will be no exception.
"An unfortunate misunderstanding has lead to the misrepresentation of the title of this movie - a misunderstanding that should have been caught and corrected. The correct title for the new project is The Revenge of the Sith.' A simple typographical error was the root of the problem. We sincerely hope that all of the fans, friends and family of the Star Wars universe will accept our apology and will see the movie again and again when it is release in May 2005."
The simple transposition of letters reportedly cost the studio $35 million in marketing and promotional materials which now must be redone. "I'd like to believe this was all an honest error," said Sansweet, "and not some colossal miscalculation. I guess we'll never know for sure."