List of changes in Star Wars re-releases

The Star Wars logo, as seen in all of the films

The following are partial lists of changes in Star Wars re-releases. The commercial success of Star Wars gave George Lucas the opportunity to alter the original films of the trilogy: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Many changes were motivated by Lucas's stated desire to make the original films closer to his vision for them.

The new versions made heavy use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) and other new production techniques that emerged in the two decades after the original trilogy was produced. Other changes enhanced the cohesiveness of the films and eliminated continuity errors between the original trilogy and the three prequels produced in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The changes are controversial, with opponents claiming that the changes detract from the character arc of the films and tend to be more distracting than expedient.

In a September 2004 MSNBC article, Lucas claimed that the original films were "25 to 30 percent" of what he intended. Along with obvious changes to various scenes, the re-releases set out to improve the visual and audio quality of the films. According to Lucasfilm, the 2004 Special Edition is the canonical version of the original trilogy, though the original, unaltered theatrical editions were later released on DVD in 2006.[1]

Changes to Star Wars films after their theatrical release were not limited to the original trilogy. Changes were also made to the DVD releases of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones; all six movies were modified again for the 2011 release of Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-ray edition.

Contents

George Lucas on the special editions

There will only be one. And it won't be what I would call the "rough cut", it'll be the "final cut". The other one will be some sort of interesting artifact that people will look at and say, "There was an earlier draft of this." The same thing happens with plays and earlier drafts of books. In essence, films never get finished, they get abandoned. At some point, you're dragged off the picture kicking and screaming while somebody says, "Okay, it's done." That isn't really the way it should work. Occasionally, [you can] go back and get your cut of the video out there, which I did on both American Graffiti and THX 1138; that's the place where it will live forever. So what ends up being important in my mind is what the DVD version is going to look like, because that's what everybody is going to remember. The other versions will disappear. Even the 35 million tapes of Star Wars out there won't last more than 30 or 40 years. A hundred years from now, the only version of the movie that anyone will remember will be the DVD version [of the Special Edition], and you'll be able to project it on a 20' by 40' screen with perfect quality. I think it's the director's prerogative, not the studio's to go back and reinvent a movie.

"An Expanded Universe", American Cinematographer magazine, February 1997.[2]

Changes

Pre-Special Edition

Although not as obvious as the 1997 Special Edition re-release of the original trilogy, there were still some alterations made between versions.

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

The 70mm film version of The Empire Strikes Back is reported to have several significant audio and visual differences from the 35mm print that was released later (and was more widely seen).

  • After the probot lands on Hoth and moves frame left, there is an optical wipe to the overhead shot of Luke on his tauntaun, instead of a straight cut.
  • After Luke wanders through the snow and falls face down, there is an optical wipe to Han instead of a straight cut.
  • The bacta tank scene starts on a close-up of Two-OneBee and pans right to a closeup of Luke in the tank. It then cuts to FX-7 extending its arm to the tank. There is no cut to Leia, Han and Threepio observing.
  • In the snow battle scene, when Luke drops into the snow after throwing a charge into the Imperial walker, the AT-ST in the background has no atmospheric depth. It looks too close and small.
  • In the Emperor scene, the hologram of the Emperor is already present in the first shot—it does not "tune in" gradually.
  • The Imperial fleet establishing shot after the magic tree scene has a different TIE fighter sound effect.
  • When Luke falls from Cloud City into the Millennium Falcon, the Falcon’s radar dish is not added to the shot.
  • The telepathy between Luke and Vader during the "Hyperspace" cue has straight cuts instead of quick dissolves.
  • In the final scene, there is no tracked music from "Yoda and the Force". The scene begins with the first establishing shot of the rebel fleet, then cuts inside the Falcon for Lando to say "Luke, we’re ready for take-off" (but a different take of this is used). After Luke says (voice over), "Good luck, Lando," scene cuts to inside the Rebel cruiser where Luke says "I’ll meet you at the rendezvous," etc. Not in this version are two more establishing shots of the fleet and an interim effects shot over which Lando says, "When we find Jabba the Hutt and that bounty hunter we'll contact you."

70mm Variations Strike Back, Film Score Monthly, Vol. 2, No. 1, January/February 1997

Bootleg versions, fan edits, etc.

In addition to official authorized releases, a black market exists for other versions. These include versions of the films that are no longer available, or versions of the original films in different file formats. Aside from personal memory, "Theater Rips" are the only means of detecting changes between original theater releases and more recent releases. The majority of these rips are sourced from older releases of the "original" films, such as the pre-1997 VHS/Laserdisc releases.

Bootleg versions also include fan modified/edited versions. One of the most well-known of these is The Phantom Edit, a version of The Phantom Menace with certain elements removed, such as the majority of scenes with Jar Jar Binks that the editor deemed unnecessary. In 2008, another more detailed fan edit of A New Hope called Star Wars Revisited was released.[3] It has over 200 changes including new visual effects, color correction, corrected and altered continuity, and newly edited scenes.

Deleted scenes from Star Wars

This is a partial list of scenes that were not in a film version of the original trilogy or prequels and changes made to deleted scenes. These deleted scenes are included in some home video versions. Some scenes deleted from the original editions of the original trilogy were modified and added back in later versions. For example, a scene where Han Solo talks to a human Jabba the Hutt was not included in the original theater, laser disc, or home video versions of Star Wars (later renamed Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope), but was modified with CGI and included in the 1997 Special Edition.

Episode I: The Phantom Menace

  • When Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon arrive on the Trade Federation ship, two droids comment on the situation.[Note 1]
  • Extended wager scene between Qui-Gon and Watto[Note 1]
  • There is an extended fight scene between Qui-Gon and Darth Maul on Tatooine. As Qui-Gon jumps onto the landing platform of the Naboo ship, Darth Maul swings his blade but misses. Enraged, he then leaps high into the air and lands next to Qui-Gon, who battles Maul briefly before kicking him off the platform. Maul lands on the desert floor and stands up, watching the Nubian ship fly away.[Note 1]
  • A Naboo soldier informs Padme that the droid control ship is destroyed. In the final film, it is the Gungans who make this discovery.[Note 1]
  • Anakin is revealed to be the one who destroyed the droid control ship, to the surprise of the Naboo pilots.[Note 1]

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

  • Extended Coruscant speeder chase.[Note 1]
  • Anakin has a nightmare of his mother while on the refugee freighter going to Naboo.[Note 1]
  • Anakin has a conversation with Padme's father Ruwee regarding her safety.[Note 1]
  • A group of Jedi led by Ki-Adi Mundi and Plo Koon attempt to take over the Droid Command Centre on Geonosis.[Note 1]
  • Additional scenes at the Battle of Geonosis. These include CIS Tank Droids running over clone troopers and clones on speeder bikes planting grenades on Homing Spiders.[Note 1]

Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Note: Only select scenes appear in the Revenge of the Sith DVD.

  • Extra scenes of bantering between Anakin and Obi-Wan while attempting to rescue Palpatine on the Invisible Hand. Anakin is shown to be capable of imitating R2-D2's "voice".[Note 1]
  • Extra scenes of Anakin, Obi-Wan, Palpatine, and R2 attempting to escape from the Invisible Hand.[Note 1]
  • An extended scene with Anakin and Palpatine, discussing changes to the Constitution that need to be made in order to give the Supreme Chancellor more power.[Note 1]
  • An animatic of an extended chase sequence between Obi-Wan and General Grievous on Utapau, directed by Steven Spielberg.[Note 1]
  • A second death scene for Shaak Ti was shot. This time, she is killed by Vader in the Jedi Temple during Order 66.[Note 1]
  • When Obi-Wan and Yoda return to the Jedi Temple after Order 66, they are met by clonetroopers disguised as Jedi. In the final film, the clonetroopers are clad in their standard armor.[Note 1]
  • The Mustafar fight sequence originally contained a scene in which Obi-Wan and Vader are dueling on the Separatist control room's table. Obi-Wan manages to disarm Vader of his lightsaber temporarily, which is why Vader is seen choking Obi-Wan and trying to force him to cut himself with his own lightsaber in the theatrical version.[Note 1]

Episode IV: A New Hope

  • While Luke is working on a moisture vaporator at the Lars homestead, he uses a set of binoculars to look up into the sky when his attention is caught by a few light flashes coming from the sky. Seeing two starships exchanging laser fire in space, he decides to go to tell his friends at Tosche Station. When he runs to his landspeeder, Treadwell, one of the moisture farming droids, malfunctions. Luke throws his hands up in frustration and continues to make his way to Anchorhead. This scene can be viewed on the CD-ROM Star Wars: Behind the Magic. [Note 1]
  • As Luke blasts through Anchorhead with his landspeeder, he nearly knocks over an old lady who raises her fists in protest and yells for everyone to slow down.[Note 1]
  • Luke visits his friends at Anchorhead. He tells his friends that he saw a space battle (between the Devastator and the blockade runner Tantive IV) with a set of binoculars, but at that point the battle is already over and his friends do not believe him. His friends all head back into the station, leaving Luke outside looking up at the sky. This scene can be viewed on the CD-ROM Star Wars: Behind the Magic. [Note 1]
  • Outside Anchorhead, Biggs and Luke are walking and reminiscing about old times over a couple of drinks. During this conversation, Biggs tells Luke he wants to "jump ship and join the Rebellion." This revelation shocks Luke. Biggs then tries to convince Luke to leave with him, but Luke replies with a series of excuses and ends the conversation in quiet resignation. The two promise to meet again soon. This scene can be viewed on the CD-ROM Star Wars: Behind the Magic. [Note 1]
  • Aunt Beru dispenses some blue milk in the homestead kitchen.[Note 1]
  • While searching for a runaway R2-D2, Luke and C-3PO run into engine problems while traveling along the desert. As C-3PO is piloting the landspeeder, he yells out to Luke that he is experiencing a loss of power. Luke then crawls out of the cockpit to the rear of the craft and fixes a damaged circuit, which helps restore power. After a brief exchange of dialogue, the scene cuts away to a radar scanner on the dashboard indicating there is something ahead of them. Part of this scene can be seen in the documentary Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy. [Note 1]
  • Han and a mysterious woman named Jenny are seen carousing and kissing in the Cantina before the meeting with Obi Wan and Luke. The intent was to give Han the aura of being a ladies' man. This scene can be viewed on the CD-ROM Star Wars: Behind the Magic. [Note 1]
  • An alternate take of stormtroopers searching for the droids in Mos Eisley.[Note 1]
  • Darth Vader and Chief Bast discuss Grand Moff Tarkin and his ambitions (part of this scene was later redubbed and used in The Star Wars Holiday Special). [Note 1]
  • Grand Moff Tarkin, Commander Tagge, and Admiral Motti view a schematic of the Death Star and discuss the threat the Rebel incursion aboard holds (the scene features one of the few wire-frame CG effects created for the film).
  • After Tarkin destroys Alderaan, Princess Leia says: "And you call yourselves humans." (A similar line was included in the NPR radio play: "If there was any shred of humanity in you or these twisted creatures of yours, it's dead now.")
  • Extended dialogue for Obi-Wan during the duel. This and the preceding scene can be seen in the documentary Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy.
  • According to the CD-ROM Star Wars: Behind the Magic, another deleted scene exists, taking place just before the Battle of Yavin where another X-Wing pilot named Red Four announces himself, and gets shot down after destroying a Tie-fighter. (Even though this scene wasn't used, the actor who played Red Four, Jack Klaff, was mentioned at the end credits of Star Wars: A New Hope.)
  • Biggs and Luke meet again at the Rebel base prior to the Battle of Yavin. Red Squadron leader Garven Dreis asks about Luke's piloting qualifications and discusses his service in the Clone Wars with Luke's father stating, "I remember your father from when I was a boy. He was one hell of a pilot." The scene was partially restored for the 1997 Special Edition, although most of Garven Dreis's dialogue was omitted.[Note 1]
  • Han and Luke are seen congratulating each other after their successful fight against the TIE fighters while escaping the Death Star.

Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

  • Extended argument scene between Han and Leia in Echo Base. There is more dialogue between the two after Han says, "You could use a good kiss!"[Note 1]
  • A number of Wampas infiltrate the Rebel base and kill at least one tauntaun. An image exists of a medical droid inspecting a tauntaun carcass. The Wampa attack is mentioned and shown in the Marvel Comics adaptation of the movie.[Note 1]
  • Extended scene of Luke recovering in the Bacta Tank. Luke speaks while unconscious and the medical droid states that he has been fully healed.[Note 1]
  • While Luke is recovering inside a Bacta Tank, Han, Leia, Chewie, and C-3PO are in an adjacent room discussing what happened to Luke and the Wampa infiltration.[Note 1]
  • Luke is recovering from the Bacta treatment and has his bandage mask removed. He and Leia have an intimate conversation afterwards that lead them toward a kiss but before they are able to do so, R2-D2 and C-3PO enter.[Note 1]
  • While travelling through Echo Base's corridors, R2-D2 is attacked by a Wampa. He is rescued and the wampa is killed by Rebel troops.[Note 1]
  • Inside Echo Base, Luke mans a laser cannon. Various sites on the internet including starwarz.com show a photo of this scene.
  • General Veers is killed when a snowspeeder piloted by Derek "Hobbie" Klivian crashes into his AT-AT Walker cockpit.[Note 1]
  • While fleeing Imperial troops, Han suggests they take a shortcut through a room that has a sign on it. Leia tells him "that's where they keep those creatures" (the Wampas, which have been confined to the room). They run off and C-3PO tears off the warning sign, hoping the troops will mistake it for another room. Though never seen in any version of the film, shots of this scene were used in television ads and trailers, and the door is visible in the movie. Two Star Wars video games reference this room: Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire and Star Wars Trilogy Arcade.[Note 1]
  • Originally, Luke's training on Dagobah was to include a montage sequences showing Luke's training and pace under master Yoda's watchful eye, from an extended run across the swamps to various force ability exercises and using his Lightsaber against four remotes (hovering Lightsaber training globes from Episode IV). Black and white pictures exist of Luke training with Yoda on his back while practicing with his Lightsaber. A page outlining the montage sequences was seen in the Marvel comic book adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back.
  • As a part of his training, Luke attempts to cut with his lightsaber a metal rod which is being levitated by Yoda.[Note 1]
  • While the Millennium Falcon is hiding in the giant asteroid, Han and Leia react to explosions that are shaking the ship.[Note 1]
  • An alternate version of Han and Leia's kiss, in which Leia kisses Han a second time.[Note 1]
  • In the carbon-freezing sequence, C-3PO's complete line would have been "I'm not ready to die on the back of a demented wookiee!" (the italicized words were deleted from all versions of the film, but were heard in their entirety on the Story of The Empire Strikes Back LP).
  • A scene involving Lando, Leia, Chewbacca and the droids getting stuck in an elevator during the escape on Cloud City. In this scene, Lando climbs through a trapdoor in the ceiling of the elevator and uses his blaster to release the mechanism holding the elevator in place. The scene where they enter the elevator remains in the movie, yet the scene immediately after shows them appearing around a corner on an entirely different level of the city.
  • After Lobot helps Lando to escape, he is captured by stormtroopers.[Note 1]
  • During the rescue of Luke from beneath Cloud City, Leia positions the Millennium Falcon underneath Luke just as he lets go of the weather vane. Luke lands heavily on the top of the Falcon and Lando rushes off to bring him inside. Opening the top hatch, Lando attaches a ship cable to his belt and crawls out onto the roof of the Falcon. He sees Luke and grabs him, dragging him back to the safety of the ship as Leia steers the ship away from Cloud City.
  • In an extended version of the scene where Leia is tending to an injured Luke on the Millennium Falcon, they discuss Han's fate. Leia mentions Boba Fett by name in the deleted scene. He is never mentioned by name in the final film.[Note 1]

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi

  • After arriving on the second Death Star, Darth Vader communicates with Luke via the Force while he is assembling his new lightsaber on Tatooine just before R2 and 3PO travel to Jabba's palace. [Note 1]
  • Just after Jabba tells Leia that she will learn to appreciate him, he pulls her closer and makes her drink from his jug.
  • Two of Jabba's minions, Ree Yees and Saelt Marae (Yak Face) get into a confrontation with Salacious Crumb as C-3PO is caught in the middle. Stills of this scene have been found in the photo insert of the novel.
  • After Luke falls into the Rancor pit, he force-jumps and grabs ahold of the grate before Jawas smash his hands with their rifle butts. Luke then falls into the eye of the Rancor. Stills of this scene exist, as noted in the 1983 official movie storybook.
  • Right after Jabba's Sail Barge blows up, Luke, Han, Leia, Lando, and the droids go back to the Millennium Falcon and Luke's X-Wing, both of which are in the middle of a sandstorm. [Note 1]
  • Moff Jerjerrod and two Royal Guards refuse to let Darth Vader in to see the Emperor, so Vader uses his Force-chokehold on Jerjerrod, but does not kill him. [Note 1]
  • Darth Vader lands in the Death Star docking bay with Luke, taking him to the Emperor. This scene was reused in The Empire Strikes Back Special Edition as Vader returns to the Executor. Although Luke cannot be seen, Moff Jerjerrod can be seen mouthing his lines from Return of the Jedi.
  • General Madine is coordinating the Rebel fleet just before they jump to hyperspace. Madine's lines are spoken by Admiral Ackbar in the final film.
  • The Sullustan Ten Nunb has some scenes of him piloting a B-Wing star fighter, as well as a Mon Calamari and two human female pilots. One of the female pilots appears in the finished film, but with a male voice.[Note 1]
  • Extra scenes of Rebel crew members on the Millennium Falcon.[Note 1]
  • Additional footage of Han, Leia, Chewbacca, and a squad of Rebel troops engaged in combat with Stormtroopers as they infiltrate the shield generator bunker on Endor. Han reacts incredulously when he is called "Rebel scum." [Note 1]
  • The Emperor commands Jerjerrod to have the Death Star blow up the Endor moon should the Rebels destroy the shield generator. Jerjerrod is reluctant at first but eventually complies.[Note 1]
  • When Luke is hiding from Vader in the Throne Room, Luke offers Vader a chance to come and speak with him. Vader rejects the offer saying that he would not give him that kind of advantage. Luke throws his lightsaber to Vader and Vader realizes that he is protecting Leia from Vader. After Vader discovers his feeling, Luke uses the Force to take the lightsaber from Vader. Evidence of this still exists in the final scene. As Vader talks to Luke, he can be seen holding Luke's lightsaber.
  • Several scenes of Lando's Rebel flight crew while manning the quad-guns during the battle of Endor exist, as do General Madine's shouts of victory while piloting his cruiser.

Notes:

  • Note 1. ^ Available on Star Wars: The Complete Saga 2011 Blu-ray edition.

Future

3-D edition

At a ShoWest convention in 2005, George Lucas demonstrated new technology and stated that he was planning to release all six films in a new 3-D film format, beginning with either A New Hope or The Phantom Menace in 2007. In January 2007, StarWars.com's Questions & Answers section stated that Lucasfilm was busy with other upcoming media such as the Star Wars live-action TV series, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and media related to the 30th anniversary of Star Wars.[4] In September 2010, it was announced that the Star Wars films will be released in 3-D beginning in 2012 with the release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.[5]

References

External links


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