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The Best Way to Own the Original Star Wars Trilogy:
There are essentially 4 different cuts of the original Star Wars trilogy that are available to you as a consumer. In this article, I will break down each cut of the trilogy, and take a look at each version that is available to purchase on home video, weighing the pros and cons of each one.
Because this article is about owning, and collecting the various releases of the Star Wars films, I will only discuss Harmy’s Despecialized Editions of the original three movies very briefly – his work in recreating the unaltered original trilogy is astounding, although limited by the combination of 1993 standard definition material, and various other sources which limits the final product to a resolution of 720p. Uncompressed, they look excellent, and for those who have no drive to own copies of the Original Trilogy, these are likely to be the best looking copies of the original, unaltered movies for the near future.
Now, onto the official home video releases. For this breakdown, we will only be looking at Laserdiscs, DVDs, and Blu Rays. There were several widescreen and fullscreen VHS tapes available, but due to the limited resolution of VHS tapes and the lack of digital stereo or surround sound tracks, I opted not to include them. Widescreen VHS tapes tend to have a very distinctly low definition look, because you’re taking an already small amount of analog picture area, and then using only the very center area to present the 2.35:1 aspect ratio image of the Star Wars Trilogy. As much as I appreciate the attempt to maintain the integrity of these incredible films, they hold up extremely poorly in 2016.
I have also determined that, because I have never owned a PAL video system, or any PAL DVDs or Laserdiscs, that I am completely unqualified to comment on them. For this round up, any non-high definition transfers are restricted to NTSC releases from America and Japan.
There are several distinct eras of the Star Wars Trilogy on home video, each having distinct quirks and elements added or subtracted. There has never been a completely perfect release of the Star Wars Trilogy, especially in the post-1997 time period. For this article, we will break things down into the 1986-1992 era, the 1993-1996 era, the 1997-2003 era, the 2004-2010 era, and the 2011- era, which we are currently in today.
This was the golden era for standard definition releases of the Star Wars films on home video. The analog tape master that was created for this release of Star Wars was never tampered with with any attempt to clean the image, or filter any detail. No new material was added, and there are no digital effects to be seen. An interpositive was scanned, and that’s essentially it. These widescreen masters were created in 1986, and served as the home video masters that were used up until 1993 for Laserdisc releases of the trilogy. They exhibit occasional print wear, with dirt and scratches showing up on screen. This was also the first time that the film was remixed for Dolby Surround, the home video equivalent of Dolby Stereo. Previous releases of the film were in mono sound only, assumed to be created from a stereo sound master used to make 35mm prints of the movies.
There are three different ways to acquire this version of the Star Wars Trilogy, and they are as follows.
CBS/FOX Video “Special Collection” Set (1986, 1987 CAV Laserdisc Release) – Japan Only
In December of 1986, Japanese Laserdisc collectors got the first ever taste of Star Wars in 2.35:1 letterboxed widescreen, courtesy of CBS/FOX using the 1986 home video master. Empire would follow in April of 1987, and Jedi was released in November of the same year, completing the trilogy set under the CBS/FOX “Special Collection” series. Each of the three Star Wars films are presented across 3 discs in CAV mode. CAV mode Laserdiscs run at roughly half an hour per side, and are typically slightly higher in visual quality to their CLV mode counterparts, which run at roughly an hour per side.
This is truly a prestigious release, and is one of the most sought after releases of the Star Wars Trilogy on Laserdisc. It is highly regarded for its clean, film-like look, and overall sharpness as far as Laserdiscs are regarded. Because these are Japanese releases, each of the three films has Japanese language subtitles burned into the image. They typically remain below the letterboxed frame, but on occasion creep into the film’s visible area.
CBS/FOX Video Special Widescreen Edition Set (1989 and 1990, CLV Laserdisc Release) – US
The first widescreen release of the Original Trilogy released in the US in 1989 and 1990, is somewhat problematic, particularly with its presentation of A New Hope. Each film is presented in CLV mode across two discs except Jedi, which has one CAV mode side, and all three of these releases recycle the specific Japanese master that was used to create the “Special Collection” set. As a result, during the final battle over the Death Star the letterboxing increasingly takes up more of the viewable image area in order to mask the Japanese subtitles that are visible in the frame. It creates something much closer to a 2.55:1 aspect ratio, and the transition happens gradually over time.
These releases of the trilogy are essentially the same as the “Special Collection” releases, except that they are noticeably softer in appearance. These releases are incredibly common, and can be had easily through marketplaces such as Amazon and Ebay here in the states.
Fox Video Special Widescreen Edition (1992, CLV Laserdisc Release) – US
In 1992, shortly before the brand new THX master of the Original Trilogy was finished and used to create the next generation of Star Wars releases on home video, Fox Video reissued A New Hope under their own brand, dropping the CBS/Fox logo. This repressing is slightly different depending on where it was pressed, as it was pressed at one of two different sites: Technidisc and Mistubishi. If you acquire a Mitsubishi pressing, it utilizes the exact same master was that used for the original Special Widescreen Edition US set. The Technidisc pressing allegedly uses a new master that fixes the aspect ratio issue present in the original 1989 release.
As far this version of the Original Trilogy goes, as long as you can stomach the subtitles that are burned into the image, and can foot the bill to import these releases, the Japanese “Special Collection” releases of the 1986 scans are the ones to acquire. The US releases are softer in terms of image quality, and the gamble you take on trying to acquire a copy of A New Hope with the proper aspect ratio is much too great.
Let’s take a trip back to 1993. Digital surround sound is just starting to become a thing in 35mm film projection, and the THX cinema standards are still relevant to theater owners. As a result, THX becomes a thing on home video. They start certifying video masters, ensuring that they are properly transferred to digital tape, and that the sound mixes are acceptable for listening in the home. The first Laserdisc home video release to carry this THX certification was the 1993 Laserdisc Box Set of James Cameron’s The Abyss, which I am sad to say that I do not own. The second release to champion the THX mastering brand? Star Wars: The Definitive Collection, which was released in September of 1993. The video master that was used to create this release of Star Wars would be used for multiple releases between 1993 and 1996, as well as the DVD presentations of the Original Trilogy unaltered for the Limited Edition 2006 DVD Standalone releases of the films.
This presentation of the Star Wars Original Trilogy was created from a fresh standard definition scan of a 35mm interpositive of the three movies. Unlike the earlier releases, which featured little to no filtering, the THX video mastering process used digital video noise reduction, as well as advanced digital color correction. As a result of the filtering applied to the movies, these transfers of the Original Trilogy are cleaner in appearance, but are also riddled with artificial sharpening artifacts, and smeared detail across all three films. The color of these releases of the film is somewhat healthier than the original 86 master. The soundtrack for each film was also remixed to meet THX quality standards, and presented in digital stereo and encoded for Dolby Surround processing.
The 1993 Version is available in these releases:
Star Wars: The Definitive Collector’s Edition Set (1993, CAV Laserdisc Release, THX Mastered) – US Release
This release of the Original Trilogy was the first time ever that the entire series was available in one, large, expensive Laserdisc box set. This set is absolutely massive, with each film presented across 3 discs in CAV mode. Each of the three films is split across 5 sides, and for the first time, extra bonus features are included as a part of the box for each film, with trailers, commentaries for specific scenes, interviews, and a large gallery of production photos. The box is made of sturdy cardboard materials, and includes a large hardcover book titled, “ George Lucas: The Creative Impulse,” which is a hefty 207 page book about George Lucas. A booklet, containing credits, chapter guides, and a small amount of material written about each film.
So, on paper, this release sounds incredible, especially for 1993, right?
The Definitive Collection initially was plagued with all sorts of different issues. Early pressings of the US box set were missing closed captioning signals, and had all sorts of strange trimmed footage and missing shots. On top of these issues, spelling mistakes were left in subtitles, as well as the included booklet. Side changes, which are frequent due to the half hour maximum time limit, are placed in convenient places, interrupting conversations and breaking the flow of the movie. The packaging for the discs themselves are essentially 3 fat cardboard sleeves, that frequently fall apart due to the cheap glue used to hold them together.
Visually, the films are sharper than their 1986 sourced counterparts, but the artifacts from the heavy handed THX processing are apparent in many shots, and many times detail disappears into the shadows and the analog noise inherent to the format.
NOTE: There is a Japanese release of this box set, which was released in 1994. The set is nearly identical, except that the written materials have been translated into Japanese, and Japanese subtitles are burned into the image.
There is also a second issue of the Japanese release of the this box set, which was released in 1995. It contains identical contents, but substitutes 3 making of features, “Star Wars: A New Hope: Making of: As told by C-3PO and R2-D2,” “Star Wars: SP FX: The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Star Wars: Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi” instead of the hardcover book.
Star Wars Trilogy: Faces Set (1995, CLV Laserdisc Release, THX Mastered) – US Release
Using the same exact video masters that were used to create The Definitive Collector’s Set, the Faces set was issued in 1995 as a budget alternative to the bulky box set, each one carrying a retail price of $59.99 and later reduced to $24.99 in the late 90s, compared to the $249.99 price tag for the 1993 box set. These releases are known as the “Faces” set, because A New Hope features a picture of Darth Vader’s head, Empire that of an Imperial Stormtrooper, and Jedi that of Yoda’s. These are each 2 disc sets, in nice gatefold sleeves.
These three releases are nearly identical in presentation to that of the Definitive Collector’s Box Set, in terms of color and image processing as well as sound quality.. Because of the fact that they are presented in CLV mode, I have always found them to be a tad bit softer overall when compared to the CAV mode presentation of the Box Set. The “Faces” set also lacks all of the features and audio commentary of the Box Set, instead opting for an interview with George Lucas. The interview is split into 3 parts, one for each of the three films.
This set at one point after the announcement of the Special Editions of the Original Trilogy, was advertised as the, “last chance to own the original version of Star Wars.” What an omen.
Star Wars Trilogy: Collector’s Set (1995, CLV Laserdisc Release, THX Mastered) – Japan Release
This box set, issued in October of 1995 is essentially the same exact style of presentation as the American “Faces” set, except that it features different artwork, as well as a sleek white outer box. Each of the films is presented in CLV mode across two discs, and instead of the 3 part interview, an extra disc is included, which contains the 1983 TV Documentary, “From Star Wars to Jedi” in its entirety.
The box set was also issued as separate, standalone CLV mode 2 disc releases, which were cheaper in price than the entire box set, but have the exact same technical qualities, and no special features whatsoever.
Even though the 1993 version of the Original Trilogy is troubled with distracting visual processing, and the occasional hiccup, it is by far the most accessible release of the unaltered Star Wars Trilogy. That being said, as long as you can verify that it is not an early pressing, the 1993 Definitive Collector’s Edition Box Set is by far the best release of this edition, in terms of presentation and special features.
Here’s where things get a little ugly. In 1997 George Lucas and his film restoration team created three brand new, revitalized version of the Star Wars Trilogy in order to not only save the films from destruction at the hands of age, but to help get the masses excited for a new generation of Star Wars which would hit theaters in May of 1999.
In 1994, Lucas and a team headed up by Rick McCallum set about to restore the Star Wars Trilogy, as the prints they had at their disposal were unacceptable for presentation in theaters. The process was laborious, and took millions of dollars and a joint effort of many different teams to create a brand new, printable version of the Original Trilogy for the 20th anniversary of Star Wars in 1997. Most of the work was done on a photochemical level, which involved cleaning the negative, reprinting optical transitions, and creating a brand new color timing for the eventual theatrical prints that audiences saw in 1997. The rest of the work was handled in the digital domain at 2K resolution, which involved re-compositing effects material such as space battle sequences in which many layers of film were combined to create what you saw on screen, and fixing transparency issues that came from effects composites. Many pieces of damage were cleaned to create a fresh experience for the next generation of Star Wars fans. In the audio domain, a brand new 5.1 digital surround sound mix was prepared from the original six track magnetic sound stems used to create the original soundtracks for the various releases of the films.
If only George and his team had stopped there. This would have ended nearly 20 years of fighting before they even began.
Instead, George and his team of digital effects specialists used their nearly unlimited budget from 20th Century Fox to experiment with using the original film negatives as plates to animate on top of with new augmentations, or create brand new scenes that George felt fulfilled his vision of what the Star Wars films looked like to him. He used this second chance to slightly alter sound effect placements, such as adding Emperor Palpatine’s scream from Return of the Jedi over Luke falling into the depths of Cloud City, and many other unwarranted editions. He used digital technology to completely change the ending of Return of the Jedi, creating a more definite ending, and added a CGI song and dance number to the same film, arguably weakening the film’s already slightly diminished reputation when compared to A New Hope and Empire. Long story short, George Lucas created a new, definitive restored version of the Star Wars Trilogy, which served to enrage long time fans, and permanently tarnish his reputation as a filmmaker.
More information on the creation of the 1997 Star Wars Original Trilogy Special Editions can be found here.
A 35mm interpositive created for the 1997 Special Edition release of the Original Trilogy was scanned and used to create a digital master for home video. This master, much like the 1993 version of Star Wars, was THX certified on Laserdisc. Unlike the aggressive video processing that plagued the presentation of the 1993 master, this video master exhibits far less aggressive noise reduction and filtering. Color and contrast are greatly improved in this video transfer, as is the amount of detail visible in the 2.35:1 image, to the extent that the Laserdisc format can reproduce. The analog noise inherent to Laserdisc is far less obnoxious in this release of the Original Trilogy. The new sound mix is presented in both Dolby Surround, as well as in discrete 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound for the very first time on home video.
It is important to note that there was never a DVD or Blu-ray release of the 1997 version of the Star Wars Trilogy, as the final color timing, optical work, and general restoration work done was only ever contained in an interpositive for each of the three films. For reference, restoration work starts with the original camera negative, which is then printed using select chemical processing to create an interpositive with correct color. For the 2004 version of the film, George Lucas returned to the original camera negative, and had the films reconstructed in 1080p by Lowry Digital to emulate the changes made by the team that created the 1997 version.
The 1997 version is available in these releases:
Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition (1997, CLV/CAV Laserdisc Release, THX Mastered) – US Release
The only ever American release of the Special Edition of the Original Trilogy, this Laserdisc box set hit shelves in November of 1997 following the theatrical re-releases of the films. This box, packaged in a much more minimalistic presentation, which is simply a picture of Darth Vader with the title on the front, and the titles of the three films included on the back. Each of the five discs included in the box are presented in identical paper sleeves with a “Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition” logo on each sleeve. A large, full color pamphlet is included with a full chapter guide, and a piece of writing that describes all of the work put in to create the Special Editions. Each film includes the theatrical re-release trailer, as well as a selection of special features based around the creation of the the 1997 edition of the films that run after the conclusion of Return of the Jedi.
As far as technical qualities go for this box, the excellent clarity and contrast work from the restoration is evident in spades, and yet, the color suffered in this THX mastered video transfer. Right away, with the opening crawls for each film, the bright yellow text comes of as a pale, almost sickly yellow. The rest of the films look slightly more blue-ish than previous versions of the film, and while for the most part it looks unnoticeable, on occasion it becomes distracting. Bright scenes look a little blown out under this new color timing, while dark scenes are somewhat darker and have heavier shadows. The sound mix, presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital, is just incredible. The directionality of the sound is remarkable, and subwoofer activity is non-stop, in traditional Star Wars style.
Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition (1997, CLV Laserdisc Release, THX Mastered) – Japan Release
Even though the sources for this, and the US release are identical, this 1997 box set of the Special Editions features a fixed color timing, immediately apparently with the opening crawl of A New Hope. Otherwise, detail, contrast, and analog noise levels are just about the same, and my comments about them above are echoed. The only major difference of course, is that these films all feature Japanese subtitles, which are kept below the image frame.
The major difference however, is in the packaging. In 1997, DVD was on its way in, and Laserdisc had all but been abandoned in the United States, whereas in 1997, Laserdisc was still a huge market in Japan. The outer box features the identical picture of Darth Vader, except mirrored, and this time it is a velcro sealed flap. Opening the flap reveals three individual sleeves for each film, each one with artwork that matches the theatrical posters for the Special Editions, as well as a full color insert that features a breakdown of the new material in each chapter of the film, in Japanese language of course. The box feels more sturdy, and the artwork is absolutely gorgeous. Instead of a selection of features at the end of Return of the Jedi, each film contains a small making of feature at the end.
Unlike the American release, which was exclusive to the box set, each of these three films could be purchased separately. Each of the separate releases features identical content, without the comfort of the box packaging.
Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition (2000, CLV Laserdisc Release, THX Mastered) – Japan Release
Released in November of 2000, in the twilight days of the Laserdisc format, which would be over in a commercial sense by 2001, this is the last issue of the Original Trilogy on the Laserdisc format. The video transfer uses the same exact base that was used to create the 1997 US and Japanese box sets with identical subtitles to the 1997 Japan box, but takes advantage of three years of innovations, such as a lowered brightness level that increases contrast, and a slightly more natural color timing. Skin tones look remarkably better than their 1997 counterparts. The soundtrack presentation is exactly the same, with both Dolby Surround tracks, and discrete Dolby Digital tracks as well.
In terms of packaging, the outer box is slightly more compact than that of the two 1997 boxes, and features artwork that mirrors the US VHS tape box set that was also issued in 2000. Each film is packaged in its own individual sleeve, with brand new artwork to reflect the new box art, which is stunning for each of the three films. Other than an 11 minute behind the scenes look at the then upcoming release of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones placed at the head of A New Hope, there are no special features whatsoever.
The 1997 version of the Original Trilogy represents not only the best looking Laserdiscs of the Star Wars films, but the most controversial. They were the first releases to ever include the brand new CGI additions to the films, as well as the slightly altered sound mixes, which have driven fans nuts insane ever since, as Lucas has added and subtracted new additions with each future release. Because the US box set of these versions features a slightly off color timing, it is hard to recommend for any reason except that it has the largest selection of bonus features. The 2000 box set, although visually striking in terms of packaging and presentation, does not feature a transfer that really sets it miles ahead of the 1997 Japanese box set. Because of the incredible packaging, rock solid video transfer, and moderate selection of features for each film, the version of the 1997 Special Editions of the Star Wars Trilogy is definitely the 1997 Japanese Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition Box Set.
To prepare for the initial DVD releases of the Star Wars trilogy, prepared in time for the theatrical release of Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas tasked Lowry Digital with the task of creating a 1080p master to create widescreen DVD masters from. These DVDs not only featured new alterations to the films, such as the addition of Hayden Christensen at the end of Return of the Jedi, and new extended footage of the wampa in Empire Strikes Back, but feature a heavily altered color timing, as well as visual processing that create a visually distinct version of the film. This master heavily favors magentas and blue-ish colors. Many times, lightsabers look ugly, and greenish in hue, and many digital manipulations look goofy, such as incorrect placement of lightsaber hilts. The image has been processed and filtered to remove grain and make the image sharper. Weird framing issues are also present, mostly due to strange cropping during Empire Strikes Back, as well as audio mix issues with swapped surround sound channels. Because of the digital nature of the master used to generate these DVDs, they all feature identical video and sound quality.
Objectively, this is worst of the post-Special Edition cuts of the original trilogy. This release features not only the controversial changes that Lucas implemented with the 1997 Special Edition releases, but implements newer, arguably worse changes to the films. This, on top of the terrible color and destructive filtering used to artificially sharpen the film make for a terrible viewing experience. I’ll admit that I was absolutely thrilled with these DVDs when they released in 2004, as it was the first time I’d ever seen Star Wars in widescreen, but then again, I was also 9 years old.
The 2004 cut of the Original Trilogy are available in these packages:
Star Wars Trilogy DVD Set (2004 DVD Release, available in both Widescreen and Fullscreen)
Star Wars Trilogy Limited Edition Standalone DVDs (2006 DVD Release – 2 discs each, with both the 2004 cut of the film as well as the 1993 cut of the film, described in detail above)
Star Wars Trilogy DVD Set (2008 DVD Re-release of the 2006 Limited Editions with new packaging, no new material)
Because of the inclusion of both the original and 2004 cuts of the Original Trilogy, the Star Wars Trilogy Limited Edition Standalone or 2008 DVD Set releases are the most recommended for the 2004 cuts of the Star Wars films.
These are the most recent cuts of the Star Wars films that have been made available to consumers. Allegedly sourced from the same 1080p scan that George Lucas had created in the early 2000s to prep for the DVD releases of the trilogy, these cuts are essentially the 1997 Special Edition prints of the film, with various new digital modifications and sound edits. Many of these additions are holdovers from the DVD release of the trilogy, such as Hayden Christensen’s appearance as Anakin Skywalker as a force ghost at the end of Return of the Jedi, and the extended footage of the wampa in Empire Strikes Back.
Other additions made are the inclusion of some digital rocks during one of the Tatooine sequences in A New Hope, the digital implementation of blinking eyes for the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi, and the use of James Earl Jones’ “No” dialogue during the final throne room battle between Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and Emperor Palpatine at a critical moment in the film.
The 2011 cuts of the film feature the most ridiculous of the changes that George Lucas has ever had made to the film, combining the worst additions from the 1997 Special Edition restoration and modification, as well as some of the strangest additions from the 2004 DVD cuts of the films with some brand new additions, further diluting the integrity of the three original trilogy Star Wars movies. However, this brand new presentation of the 1080p masters created by Lucas in 2004 largely resolves all of the picture quality issues that plagued the DVD releases. Colors are far more stable, with lightsabers appearing with the proper colors, and the kind of ugly color timing used for the DVDs has been corrected to a much more pleasing look. Grain resolves nicely, and although these prints of the film are not perfect, detail is nice, and the presentation is of higher quality than the previous releases of the film, due to their high definition nature.
The 2011 cut of the Star Wars Original Trilogy are available in these packages:
Star Wars: The Complete Saga (2011 Blu-ray release)
Star Wars: Original Trilogy (2013 Limited Steelbook Blu-ray release)
Star Wars: The Complete Saga (2015 Blu-ray Re-release)
Star Wars: Episode IV-VI (2013 Blu-ray + DVD release)
Star Wars Individual Steelbooks (2015 Blu-ray release)
With these releases, the content is essentially the same, as they all utilize the 2011 1080p master. Where they differ is in terms of packaging, and special feature content. If you have a need for these films in 1080p, these are the only way to acquire them. However, because of the 3 discs of special features, I would, without question, recommend that you buy one of the Complete Saga releases above all else.
There is a release of the Original Trilogy for every man, and a large selection of options for each of the 4 distinct version of the film. With the help of this article, I hope you will have a much easier time determining which version of each is the right one for you.
I used a vast variety of pictures to fill in for the Laserdisc, DVD, and Blu-ray releases that I do not have.
Sources used were as follows: LDDB.com users: takou, admin, joe, recobanchou; amazon.com store pages; starwars.wikia.com; /u/exharrison
Star Wars Trilogy
|Star Wars Trilogy|
The Star Wars Trilogy logos
|Music by||John Williams|
20th Century Fox
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures[a]
|Budget||76.5 million (total for IV, V, VI)|
|Box office||1.798 billion (total for IV, V, VI)|
The Star Wars Trilogy, also known as the original trilogy or the classic trilogy, is the first set of three films produced in the Star Wars franchise, an American space opera created by George Lucas. It was produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by 20th Century Fox, and consists of the original Star Wars film (1977),[b]The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983). Beginning in medias res, the original trilogy serves as the second act of the nine-episode Skywalker saga. It was followed by a prequel trilogy between 1999 and 2005, and a sequel trilogy between 2015 and 2019. Collectively, they have been referred to as the "Skywalker Saga" to distinguish them from spin-off films set within the same universe.
The films center on the Galactic Civil War between the Rebel Alliance and the tyrannical Galactic Empire, as well as the archetypical hero's journey of Luke Skywalker in his quest to become a Jedi under the tutelage of exiled Jedi Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. Luke joins forces with Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2 and the Rebel Alliance in facing the Empire and the evil Sith LordDarth Vader. The original Star Wars received widespread acclaim from critics for its storytelling, characters, John Williams' music and groundbreaking visual and sound effects, and surpassed 1975's Jaws as the highest grossing film of all time, turning science fiction films into a blockbuster genre, until it was surpassed by E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1982. Both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back have been hailed as among the greatest films of all time. With the trilogy's success, Star Wars became a pop culture phenomenon, spawning a multi-million dollar merchandising empire.
In 1971, Lucas wanted to film an adaptation of the Flash Gordon serial, but could not obtain the rights. He began developing his own story inspired by the work of Edgar Rice Burroughs.[c] Immediately after directing American Graffiti (1973), Lucas wrote a two-page synopsis for his space opera, titled Journal of the Whills. After United Artists, Universal Studios and Disney rejected the film, 20th Century Fox decided to invest in it. Lucas felt his original story was too difficult to understand, so on April 17, 1973, he began writing a 13-page script titled The Star Wars, sharing strong similarities with Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress (1958). By May 1974, he had expanded the script into the first draft of a screenplay, but found that the script had grown too long for a single film. Subsequent drafts evolved into the script of the original film.
Lucas negotiated to retain the sequel rights. Tom Pollock, then Lucas's lawyer, writes: "We came to an agreement that George would retain the sequel rights. Not all the [merchandising rights] that came later, mind you; just the sequel rights. And Fox would get a first opportunity and last refusal right to make the movie." Lucas was offered $50,000 to write, another $50,000 to produce, and $50,000 to direct the film; his directing compensation was later increased to $100,000. He also negotiated the sequel rights and ownership of 40% of the merchandising profits.American Graffiti cast member Harrison Ford had given up on acting to try to become a carpenter, until Lucas hired him to play Han Solo.
Thousands of actors were assessed in the search for the trilogy's main cast. The selected actors are considered by many viewers to have onscreen chemistry even though some of them were inexperienced, with the notable exceptions of Alec Guinness and Peter Cushing. Some, like Ford, have called the dialogue in the scripts clunky, and several lines were unscripted; some of these are considered the most memorable moments in the films.[d]
Star Wars[b] was released on May 25, 1977; unlikely hero Luke Skywalker is drawn into a galactic conflict between the Empire and Rebel Alliance by two droids and an old Jedi Knight; he helps make one of the Rebellion's most significant victories. The film's unanticipated success led Lucas to make it the basis of an elaborate serial. With the backstory he created for the sequel, Lucas decided that the series would be a trilogy of trilogies, with the original film given the subtitle Episode IV – A New Hope to establish it as the first part of the second trilogy. The first sequel, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, was released on May 21, 1980, and sees Luke begin training as a Jedi under the last living Jedi master, Yoda. Luke confronts Sith LordDarth Vader, who is revealed to be Luke's father. Vader attempts to convert Luke to the dark side of the Force. The third film, Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, was released on May 25, 1983, and follows Luke as a full-fledged Jedi. Luke attempts to redeem Vader, thereby saving the galaxy from the Empire. The sequels were self-financed by Lucasfilm, and generally advertised without the episodic number distinction present in their opening crawls.
Main article: Star Wars (film)
A Rebel spaceship is intercepted by the Empire above the desert planet of Tatooine. Aboard, the deadliest Imperial warlord Darth Vader and his stormtroopers capture Princess Leia Organa, a secret member of the Rebellion. Before her capture, Leia makes sure the droid R2-D2 will escape with stolen Imperial blueprints for an armored space station, the Death Star, and a holographic message for the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, who has been living in exile on Tatooine. Along with C-3PO, R2-D2 falls under the ownership of Luke Skywalker, a farmboy who has been raised by his aunt and uncle. Luke helps the droids locate Obi-Wan, now a solitary old hermit known as Ben Kenobi. He reveals himself as a friend of Luke's absent father, Anakin Skywalker, who was Obi-Wan's Jedi apprentice until being murdered by Vader. He tells Luke he must also become a Jedi. After discovering his family's homestead has been destroyed by the Empire, they hire the smuggler Han Solo, his Wookieeco-pilotChewbacca and their space freighter, the Millennium Falcon. They discover that Leia's homeworld of Alderaan has been destroyed, and are soon captured by the planet-destroying Death Star itself. While Obi-Wan disables its tractor beam, Luke and Han rescue the captive Princess Leia, passing through incredible dangers. Finally, they deliver the Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance with the hope of exploiting a weakness, and launch an attack on the Death Star.
The first rough draft, titled The Star Wars, introduced "the Force" and the young hero Luke Starkiller. Annikin [sic] appeared as Luke's father, a wise Jedi knight. Between drafts, Lucas read Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces, and was surprised to find that his story "was following classical motifs." The third draft replaced (a deceased) Annikin with Ben Kenobi.[h] Some months later, Lucas had negotiated a contract that gave him rights to two sequels. Lucas hired Alan Dean Foster, who was ghostwriting the novelization of the first film, to write them—with the main creative restriction that they could be filmed on a low budget. By 1976, a fourth draft had been prepared for principal photography. The film was titled The Adventures of Luke Starkiller, as taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars. During production, Lucas changed Luke's name to Skywalker and shortened the title to The Star Wars, and finally just Star Wars. At that point, Lucas was not expecting the film to warrant full-scale sequels. The fourth draft of the script underwent subtle changes to become a self-contained story ending with the destruction of the Empire in the Death Star. The intention was that if the film was successful, Lucas could adapt Foster's novels into low-budget sequels. By that point, Lucas had developed a tentative backstory to aid in developing the saga.
Star Wars exceeded all expectations. The success of the film and its merchandise sales led Lucas to make Star Wars the basis of an elaborate film serial, and use the profits to finance his filmmaking center, Skywalker Ranch. After the release of the first sequel, the original film was subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope in the screenplay released in the 1979 book The Art of Star Wars and for all subsequent rereleases beginning with a theatrical rerelease in 1981.
The Empire Strikes Back
Main article: The Empire Strikes Back
Three years after the destruction of the Death Star, the Empire forces the Rebel Alliance to evacuate its secret base on Hoth. Instructed by Obi-Wan's spirit, Luke travels to the swamp world of Dagobah to find the exiled Jedi Master Yoda. Luke's Jedi training is interrupted by Vader, who lures him into a trap by capturing Han and Leia at Cloud City, governed by Han's old friend Lando. During a fierce duel, Vader reveals a shocking truth about Luke's father.
Owing to financial concerns, Alan Dean Foster's sequel novel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye (1978), restricted the story to Luke, Leia, and Darth Vader. After the success of the original film, Lucas knew a sequel would be granted a reasonable budget, and hired Leigh Brackett to write it from Lucas's story. She finished a draft by early 1978, but died of cancer before Lucas was able to discuss changes he wanted her to make. His disappointment with the first draft may have made him consider new directions. Lucas penned the next draft, the first screenplay to feature episodic numbering for a Star Wars story. Lucas found this draft enjoyable to write, as opposed to the yearlong struggle writing the first film, and quickly wrote two more in April 1978. The plot twist of Vader being Luke's father had drastic effects on the series. After writing these drafts, Lucas fleshed out the backstory between Anakin, Obi-Wan, and the Emperor.
With this new backstory in place, Lucas decided that the series would be a trilogy of trilogies, designating the first sequel Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back in the next draft.Lawrence Kasdan, who had just completed writing Raiders of the Lost Ark, was hired to write the next drafts, and given additional input from director Irvin Kershner. Kasdan, Kershner, and producer Gary Kurtz saw the film as a more serious and adult story, and developed the sequel from the light adventure roots of the first film.
Return of the Jedi
Main article: Return of the Jedi
About a year after Han's capture, Luke joins Leia and Lando in a rescue attempt to save him from the gangster Jabba the Hutt. Afterward, Luke returns to Dagobah to complete his Jedi training, only to find Yoda on his deathbed. In his last words, Yoda confirms the truth about Luke's father, and that Luke must confront Vader again in order to complete his training. As the Rebels lead an attack on the second Death Star, Luke engages Vader in a lightsaber duel as the Emperor watches; both Sith Lords intend to turn Luke to the dark side and take him as their apprentice.
Ford had originally not signed on to appear in a second sequel, but was convinced to return under the condition that his character would die. Kurtz wanted a bittersweet and nuanced ending outlined with Lucas that not only saw Han dead, but also depicted the Rebel forces in pieces, Leia struggling as a queen, and Luke walking off alone (as in a Spaghetti Western)—while Lucas wanted a happier ending, partly to encourage toy sales. This led to tension between the two, resulting in Kurtz leaving the production.
The Star Wars trilogy, unlike science fiction that features sleek and futuristic settings, portrays the galaxy as dirty and grimy in Lucas's concept of a "used universe". This was in part inspired by the period films of Akira Kurosawa, which like the original Star Wars trilogy, often begin in medias res without explaining a complete backstory.
Political science has been an important element of Star Wars since the franchise launched in 1977, focusing on a struggle between democracy and dictatorship. Darth Vader's design, initially inspired by Samurai armor, also incorporated a German military helmet. Lucas originally conceived of the Sith as a group that served the Emperor in the same way that the Schutzstaffel served Adolf Hitler; this was condensed into one character in the form of Vader. Lucas has also drawn parallels between Palpatine and historical dictators such as Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, and politicians like Richard Nixon.[i]Stormtroopers borrow the name of World War I "shock" troopers[need quotation to verify], Imperial officers wear uniforms resembling those of German forces during World War II, and political and security officers resemble the black-clad SS down to the stylized silver death's head on their caps. World War II terms were used for names in the films; e.g. the planets Kessel (a term that refers to a group of encircled forces) and Hoth (Hermann Hoth was a German general who served on the snow-laden Eastern Front). Shots of the commanders looking through AT-AT walker viewscreens in The Empire Strikes Back resemble tank interiors, and space battles in the original film were based on World War I and World War II dogfights.
The original Star Wars film was re-released theatrically in 1978, 1979, 1981 and 1982. All three films were released on various home video formats, including LaserDisc and VHS, until 1996. The trilogy was theatrically re-released in a 1997 "Special Edition", featuring various additions and changes, some of which were negatively received. These versions were released on VHS, replacing the original versions of the films as Lucas's 'original' vision, and were created in part to reinvigorate interest in the saga ahead of the prequel trilogy. The special edition of Star Wars made its broadcast premiere on February 5, 1998 on WB stations across the country (including New York and Los Angeles). Further changes to all three films were made for a DVD release in 2004, intended to bring the films into greater continuity with the prequels. These were re-released in 2006 with bonus discs of the original versions of the films (transferred from the 1993 LaserDiscs). In 2011, original and prequel trilogy box sets were released on Blu-ray, all including another round of alterations.
In the early 2010s, 3D releases were planned for the then-six-film franchise. However, after the financially disappointing 2012 3D release of The Phantom Menace, the rest were cancelled.
In 2019, Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm since the 2012 acquisition of the company by Disney, stated that she would not make alterations to Lucas's original trilogy, because "those will always remain his." While promoting The Rise of Skywalker, director J. J. Abrams expressed his hopes that the original versions of the trilogy would be officially released, but said that the powers that be had told him "that that's not necessarily possible". He further said that when making The Force Awakens, he had gotten into a disagreement about the dialogue between Vader and the Emperor in The Empire Strikes Back before realizing that different versions of the film were being referred to; he cited the Despecialized Editions of the films, while the other party had recalled the current official version.
It was initially unclear whether the first six films of the Star Wars franchise would be available on Disney+ upon the service's launch, as TBS held streaming rights through 2024 as part of its cable rights to the franchise. However, on April 11, 2019, it was announced that the films would be available at launch.
Further information: List of Star Wars films § Critical and public response
The original Star Wars film was released in the summer of 1977 to critical acclaim and was a huge summer blockbuster, surpassing Jaws (1975), until 1982 when it was surpassed by E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. The following year, it won six out of its eleven nominations at the 50th Academy Awards. The success of the first film led to it becoming a pop cultural phenomenon spawning countless TV spin-offs, video games, films and a multi-merchandising empire. It was then proceeded by two instalments, The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983), which were also both very successful, with the former's climax, where Vader is revealed as Luke's father, becoming one of the most iconic plot twists in motion picture history.
The original trilogy was praised for its groundbreaking visual and sound effects, John Williams' music, writing, characters and concept. Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back are considered by many to be among the greatest movies ever made, while Return of the Jedi was well-received but not considered to be on par with its predecessors.
Box office performance
|Film||Release date||Budget||Box office revenue||Box office ranking||Refs.|
|North America||Adjusted for|
|Star Wars||May 25, 1977||$11 million||$460,998,007||$1,608,419,900||$314,600,000||$775,598,007||#16||#90|||
|The Empire Strikes Back||May 21, 1980||$33 million||$290,075,067||$886,571,200||$257,900,000||$547,975,067||#91||#183|||
|Return of the Jedi||May 25, 1983||$32.5 million||$309,306,177||$849,356,500||$166,000,000||$475,306,177||#75||#220|||
In 1989, the Library of Congress selected the original Star Wars film for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry, as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."The Empire Strikes Back, was selected in 2010. 35mm reels of the 1997 Special Editions were the versions initially presented for preservation because of the difficulty of transferring from the original prints, but it was later revealed that the Library possessed a copyright deposit print of the original theatrical releases. By 2015, Star Wars had been transferred to a 2K scan which can be viewed by appointment.
Impact and legacy
The popularity of the films have generated numerous references in popular culture works from TV series such as The Simpsons, Family Guy, South Park and Robot Chicken and films such as Clerks, Free Guy and Toy Story 2, and in the political lexicon, as in Ted Kennedy's nickname for Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative. The trilogy's artistic and technological achievements have been influential on other filmmakers, including Ridley Scott, James Cameron, David Fincher, Joss Whedon, Peter Jackson and Christopher Nolan, as well as sequel trilogy director J. J. Abrams.
The trilogy's impact has led to future careers of its stars including Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), James Earl Jones (Darth Vader), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) and Warwick Davis (Wicket W. Warrick).
Prequel and sequel trilogies
Further information: Skywalker Saga, Star Wars prequel trilogy, and Star Wars sequel trilogy
The success and large impact of the original Star Wars trilogy led to two more trilogies, both financially successful, with individual installments receiving mixed to positive reviews.
The prequel trilogy consists of Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) and Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005), all directed by George Lucas. The prequels feature Baker, Daniels, Oz, Mayhew and McDiarmid reprising their roles, alongside Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Liam Neeson and Samuel L. Jackson. After completing his six-film saga, Lucas stated that there would be no further sequels.
In 2012, Disney purchased Lucasfilm and produced a sequel trilogy. This consists of The Force Awakens (2015), The Last Jedi (2017), and The Rise of Skywalker (2019). Lucas had little direct involvement in the creation of these films. The new cast features Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson and Andy Serkis, with the main original cast reprising their roles.
Main article: Star Wars in other media
Star Wars has also been spun off into films outside of the Skywalker Saga, numerous TV spin-offs like Star Wars: The Clone Wars, The Mandalorian and other upcoming live-action series for Disney+, as well as hundreds of video games, books, and comics.
- ^According to the 2012 deal, physical distribution rights to Episodes V–VI were set to move to Disney in 2020, while rights to Episode IV were set to stay with Fox, but eventually rights for the trilogy moved to Disney in 2019 as a result of the acquisition of Fox.
- ^ abLater titledStar Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
- ^Flash Gordon creator Alex Raymond had been influenced by John Carter of Mars in particular.
- ^ Ford's lines "We're fine. We're all fine here, now, thank you. How are you?" in A New Hope and "I know" in The Empire Strikes Back were improvised, and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) was not aware he was being filmed when he said "I can't see a thing in this helmet" during the filming of A New Hope.
- ^Also known as Star Wars: A New Hope or Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.
- ^Also known as Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.
- ^Also known as Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.
- ^In the draft, Kenobi's first meeting with Luke is lifted directly from The Hobbit, acknowledging Gandalf as a source of inspiration.
- ^In his early drafts, Lucas used the plot point of a dictator staying in power with the support of the military. In his comment (made in the prequel trilogy era) Lucas attributed this to Nixon's supposed intention to defy the 22nd Amendment, but the president was actually impeached and never ran for a third term. Fellow Republican President Ronald Reagan sought to repeal the movement after leaving the office.
- ^Alec Guinness for the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi
- ^Ben Burtt for the creation of the alien, creature, and robot voices
- ^Brian Johnson, Richard Edlund, Dennis Muren and Bruce Nicholson for visual effects
- ^Richard Edlund, Dennis Muren, Ken Ralston and Phil Tippett for visual effects
- ^Adjusting for inflation is complicated by the fact that the first films have had multiple releases in different years, so their earnings cannot be simply adjusted by the initial year of release. Inflation adjusted figures for 2005 can be found in Block, Alex Ben; Wilson, Lucy Autrey, eds. (2010). George Lucas's Blockbusting: A Decade-By-Decade Survey of Timeless Movies Including Untold Secrets of Their Financial and Cultural Success. HarperCollins. p. 519. ISBN . Adjustment to constant dollars is undertaken in conjunction with the United States Consumer Price Index provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, using 2005 as the base year.
- ^"Star Wars: Episode IX Cast Announced". StarWars.com. July 27, 2018. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
- ^Young, Bryan (December 21, 2015). "The Cinema Behind Star Wars: John Carter". StarWars.com. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
- ^Vallely, Jean (June 12, 1980). "The Empire Strikes Back and So Does Filmmaker George Lucas With His Sequel to Star Wars". Rolling Stone. Wenner Media LLC.
- ^Smith, Kyle (September 21, 2014). "How 'Star Wars' was secretly George Lucas' Vietnam protest". The New York Post. Retrieved September 22, 2014.
- ^Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy (DVD). Star Wars Trilogy Box Set DVD documentary. 2004. 14 minutes in.
- ^Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy (DVD). Star Wars Trilogy Box Set DVD documentary. 2004. 16 minutes in.
- ^ abc"Starkiller". Jedi Bendu. Archived from the original on June 28, 2006. Retrieved March 27, 2008.
- ^ abFleming, Mike Jr. (December 18, 2015). "An Architect Of Hollywood's Greatest Deal Recalls How George Lucas Won Sequel Rights". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
- ^Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy (DVD). Star Wars Trilogy Box Set DVD documentary. 2004. 18 minutes in.
- ^"The Real Force Behind 'Star Wars': How George Lucas Built an Empire". The Hollywood Reporter. February 9, 2012. Retrieved September 26, 2018.
- ^"30 pieces of trivia about Star Wars". BBC. May 23, 2007. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
- ^Taylor, Chris (April 13, 2017). "Harrison Ford to George Lucas: You're wrong about Han Solo". Mashable. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
- ^Romano, Steven (August 20, 2015). "Actors Who Almost Appeared in Star Wars". StarWars.com. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
- ^Wilson, Kevin (March 1, 2016). "What If The Original Star Wars Trilogy Was Cast Today?". ScreenRant. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
- ^Chiodaroli, David (May 20, 2019). "10 Behind the Scenes Stories from the Original Star Wars Trilogy". ScreenRant. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
- ^Mitchell, Maurice (May 4, 2018). "9 Greatest Unscripted Moments in "Star Wars" Movie History". The Geek Twins. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
- ^ abSteranko, "George Lucas", Prevue #42, September–October 1980.
- ^Saporito, Jeff (November 11, 2015). "Why was "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" originally released under another title". ScreenPrism. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
- ^Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 2006.
- ^Stephen and Robin Larsen, Joseph Campbell: A Fire in the Mind. 2002, p. 541.
- ^Taylor, Chris (2015). How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise. Performing Arts. p. 96. ISBN .
- ^Baxter, John (1999). Mythmaker. p. 173. ISBN .
- ^Hidalgo, Pablo [@pablohidalgo] (February 15, 2019). "(And just to preemptively 'well, actually' myself, 'Episode IV: A New Hope' was made public by publishing it in the screenplay in 1979's Art of Star Wars book. But it wasn't added to the crawl until 1981)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- ^James Ryan. "When did Star Wars become known as A New Hope? - In A Far Away Galaxy".
- ^ScreenPrism. "Why was "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" originally released under another title - ScreenPrism".
- ^The Empire Strikes Back (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 2004.
- ^Wenz, John (January 1, 2018). "The First Star Wars sequel: Inside the writing of Splinter of the Mind's Eye". Retrieved August 16, 2018.
- ^Fry, Jason (July–August 2000). "Alan Dean Foster: Author of the Mind's Eye". Star Wars Insider (50).
- ^ abBouzereau 1997, p. 123
- ^Susan Mackey-Kallis (2010). The Hero and the Perennial Journey Home in American Film. University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 221–. ISBN .
- ^Return of the Jedi (DVD). 20th Century Fox. 2004.
- ^Geoff Boucher (August 12, 2010). "Did Star Wars become a toy story? Producer Gary Kurtz looks back". Los Angeles Times, Calendar section
- ^Woods, Bob, ed. (1997). "Launching the Rebellion". Star Wars: Official 20th Anniversary Commemorative Magazine. New York: Topps. p. 9.
- ^Jones, Brian Jay (2016). George Lucas: A Life. New York City: Little, Brown and Company. p. 59. ISBN .
- ^Rees Shapiro, T. (March 5, 2012). "Ralph McQuarrie, artist who drew Darth Vader, C-3PO, dies at 82". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
- ^Gilbey, Ryan (November 1, 2017). "John Mollo obituary: Star Wars costume designer who dressed Darth Vader". The Guardian. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
- ^"Star Wars: Attack of the Clones". Time. April 21, 2002. Archived from the original on June 5, 2002. Retrieved December 13, 2009.
- ^Reagin, Nancy R.; Liedl, Janice (October 15, 2012). Star Wars and History. p. 32. ISBN . Retrieved August 30, 2013.
- ^Molotsky, Irvin (November 29, 1987). "Reagan Wants End of Two-Term Limit". The New York Times. New York City.
- ^Reagin, Nancy R.; Liedl, Janice (October 15, 2012). Star Wars and History. p. 144. ISBN . Retrieved August 30, 2013.
- ^Christopher Klein. "The Real History That Inspired "Star Wars"". HISTORY.com.
- ^Young, Bryan (January 21, 2014). "The Cinema Behind Star Wars: Battle of the Bulge". StarWars.com. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
- ^Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy (DVD). Star Wars Trilogy Box Set DVD documentary. 2004.
- ^"Star Wars Ep. IV: A New Hope – Box Office Data, DVD and Blu-ray Sales, Movie News, Cast and Crew Information". The Numbers. Retrieved May 19, 2014.
- ^Fitzpatrick, Eileen; Goldstein, Seth (July 1, 1997). "Video at 'Miracle' Price; Last Shot for 'Star Wars'". Billboard. p. 107. Retrieved July 19, 2017 – via Google Books.
- ^Kirby, Ben (January 31, 2017). "Who Shot First? The Complete List Of Star Wars Changes". Empire. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
- ^Nast, Condé (February 10, 2017). "The 'Star Wars' We'll Never See". GQ. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
- ^Britt, Ryan (April 25, 2017). "Why Lucasfilm Says Unaltered 'Star Wars' Trilogy Will Never Return". Inverse. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
- ^Now This [@nowthisnews] (December 11, 2019). "J.J. Abrams is calling for the original versions of 'Star Wars' to be released" (Tweet). Retrieved December 15, 2019 – via Twitter.
- ^Shaw, Lucas (August 2, 2018). "Disney Is Seeking 'Star Wars' Rights Back From TBS, TNT". Bloomberg. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
- ^Whitbrook, James (April 11, 2019). "The Mandalorian Will Premiere on Disney+ November 12". io9. Retrieved April 11, 2019.
- ^Hughes, Jason (May 31, 2014). "'Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back' Voted Greatest Movie of All Time". TheWrap. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
- ^Newbold, Mark (July 2, 2014). "Critical Opinion: Return of the Jedi Original Reviews". StarWars.com. Retrieved August 11, 2019.
- ^"Star Wars". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
- ^"Star Wars: Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- ^"Empire Strikes Back". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
- ^"The Empire Strikes Back". Metacritic. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- ^"Return of the Jedi". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 25, 2020.
- ^"Return of the Jedi". Metacritic. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
- ^1634 to 1699: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How Much Is That in Real Money? A Historical Price Index for Use as a Deflator of Money Values in the Economy ofthe United States: Addenda et Corrigenda(PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1700-1799: McCusker, J. J. (1992). How much is that in real money?: a historical price index for use as a deflator of money values in the economy of the United States(PDF). American Antiquarian Society. 1800–present: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
- ^"Star Wars (1977) - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com.
- ^"Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
- ^"The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com.
- ^"Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
- ^"The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - International Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com.
- ^"Return of the Jedi (1983) - Box Office Mojo". www.boxofficemojo.com.
- ^"Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
- ^"U.S. National Film Registry Titles". U.S. National Film Registry. Archived from the original on August 21, 2006. Retrieved September 2, 2006.
- ^"'Empire Strikes Back' among 25 film registry picks". Retrieved December 28, 2010.
- ^Barnes, Mike (December 28, 2010). "'Empire Strikes Back,' 'Airplane!' Among 25 Movies Named to National Film Registry". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 28, 2010.
- ^Andrews, Mallory (July 21, 2014). "A 'New' New Hope: Film Preservation and the Problem with 'Star Wars'". soundonsight.org. Sound on Sight. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
- ^"Request Denied: Lucas Refuses to Co-Operate with Government Film Preservation Organizations". savestarwars.com. Saving Star Wars. 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
- ^Ulanoff, Lance (December 17, 2015). "The search for the 'Star Wars' George Lucas doesn't want you to see". Mashable. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
- ^The Force Is With Them: The Legacy of Star Wars. Star Wars Original Trilogy DVD Box Set: Bonus Materials. 2004.
- ^"Christopher Nolan's Star Wars Inspiration". ContactMusic.com. July 16, 2010. Retrieved September 24, 2010.
- ^Wakeman, Gregory (December 4, 2014). "George Lucas Was Terrible At Predicting The Future Of Star Wars". CinemaBlend. Archived from the original on January 14, 2020. Retrieved June 11, 2021.
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- Bouzereau, Laurent (1997). The Annotated Screenplays. Del Rey. ISBN .
- Kaminski, Michael (2008) . The Secret History of Star Wars. Legacy Books Press. ISBN .
- Rinzler, Jonathan W. (2007). The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film (Star Wars). Del Rey. ISBN .
Changes in Star Wars re-releases
Wikipedia list article
Changes in Star Wars re-releases vary from minor differences in color timing, audio mixing, and take choices to major insertions of new visual effects, additions of characters and dialogue, scene expansions, and replacement of original cast members with newer ones. Though changes were also made to the prequel trilogy, the original trilogy saw the most alteration. Dissatisfied with the original theatrical cuts of the original Star Wars film,[a]The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, creator George Lucas altered the films in ways that were ostensibly not initially possible, primarily due to limitations of time, budget, and technology.
The first substantial changes were made in 1997 with the release of a Special Edition remaster in commemoration of the franchise's twentieth anniversary. These changes were largely made as visual effects tests for the forthcoming prequel films, demonstrating the possibilities of computer-generated imagery (CGI). Additional notable changes were made when the original trilogy was released on DVD in 2004, in an attempt to create more consistency with the prequel trilogy. More changes were made to the films for their Blu-ray release in 2011 and for their 4K Ultra HD release in 2019.
Although some critics felt that many smaller changes were improvements, innocuous, or understandable, most larger changes were received negatively by fans and critics—particularly those made to the original trilogy.
People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians. ... Today, engineers with their computers can add color to black-and-white movies, change the soundtrack, speed up the pace, and add or subtract material to the philosophical tastes of the copyright holder. ... Our cultural history must not be allowed to be rewritten. ... Attention should be paid to this question of our soul, and not simply to accounting procedures. Attention should be paid to the interest of those who are yet unborn, who should be able to see this generation as it saw itself, and the past generation as it saw itself.
George Lucas in 1988
- 1977: In May, Star Wars was theatrically released. Three different audio versions (a Dolby Stereo mix, a six-channel mix for 70 mm screenings, and a mono mix print) were created, with significant differences. Later that year, among others, a silent, English-subtitled Super 8 reel version of the film was released by Ken Films.
- 1980: In May, The Empire Strikes Back was theatrically released. After its initial opening, but before its wide release, George Lucas extended the end sequence. A 70 mm print of the film differed from the more widely distributed 35 mm print in takes of dialogue, visual and sound effects, shot choices, and transitions between shots; none of these changes appeared in later releases, with exception of one dialogue change.
- 1981: In April, Star Wars was re-released, with the addition of the subtitles "Episode IV" and "A New Hope".
- 1983: In May, Return of the Jedi was theatrically released.
- 1985: The original Star Wars film was re-released on VHS, LaserDisc, and Capacitance Electronic Disc (CED) with an improved audio mix. The LaserDisc and CED sped the film up by 3% to fit onto a single disc.[b]
- 1993: The original trilogy was released on LaserDisc as "The Definitive Collection". With the exception of a new THX audio mix, scratch and dirt removal, and color balance changes, it matched the original theatrical releases.
- 1995: The original trilogy was re-released on VHS with THX audio, advertised as the final release of the theatrical versions.
There will only be one [version of the films]. 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-foot-by-40-foot screen with perfect quality. I think it's the director's prerogative, not the studio's, to go back and reinvent a movie.
George Lucas in 1997
- 1997: The "Special Edition" of the original trilogy was released theatrically from January through March for the 20th anniversary of Star Wars. This release featured the first significant changes, which were intended to prove that Industrial Light & Magic could effectively produce CGIvisual effects for the prequel trilogy.[c]
- 1999: In May, Episode I – The Phantom Menace was theatrically released.
- 2001: In November, The Phantom Menace was released on DVD, which features a slightly extended cut from the theatrical release.
- 2002: In May, Episode II – Attack of the Clones was theatrically released. A version made for digital-projection theaters included a few special effects which were not ready for the initial wide release;[d] the DVD features the digital version with some extended lines of dialogue.
- 2004: In September, the original trilogy was released on DVD. Further significant alterations were made, including replacing Latin script text with Aurebesh.
- 2005: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith was theatrically released. The DVD release features a minor editing change.[e]
- 2006: In September, Limited Edition DVDs of the 2004 versions of the original trilogy were re-issued; these contain the original unaltered versions on bonus discs. These match the 1993 LaserDisc release, but remove the subtitles Episode IV – A New Hope.[f]
- 2011: The original and prequel trilogy were released on Blu-ray. Alterations were made to all six films.
- 2015: The original and prequel films were released digitally to streaming services. They are identical to their Blu-ray release, except for changes to the opening logos and fanfares.[g] The U.S. Library of Congress made the original release of Star Wars available to watch in person.[h]
- 2019: The original and prequel films, along with The Force Awakens and Rogue One, were released in 4K resolution on Disney's streaming service, Disney+.[i][j] Color, compositing, and minor effects adjustments were made to all three films of the original trilogy.
The first film was released in 1977 under the title Star Wars. The subtitleEpisode IV – A New Hope was retroactively added to the opening crawl in a subsequent release. Lucasfilm dates the addition to the theatrical re-release on April 10, 1981. This change was made to bring the original film in line with the titling of its sequel, Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
Some scenes on Tatooine were modified for the 1997 Special Edition, most notably an alteration to the Greedo scene and the restoration of a deleted scene featuring Jabba the Hutt. Other modifications include new and modified shots of stormtroopers and dewbacks to have the creatures move using CGI,[k] a CGI replacement of the Jawa sandcrawler, a different sound effect for Obi-Wan Kenobi making a krayt dragon call to scare off the Tusken Raiders,[l] the addition of rocks in front of the cave R2-D2 hides in,[m] the replacement of an external shot of Obi-Wan's hut with a new angle showing Luke Skywalker's parked landspeeder, and color and continuity changes involving the binary sunset. The shadow of the landspeeder was redone in one shot, and creatures, robots, and ships were added to Mos Eisley, including elements created for the Shadows of the Empire multimedia campaign.[n] A shot of the Millennium Falcon fighting its way out of Mos Eisley was also added.
Main article: Han shot first
Han Solo (Harrison Ford) is cornered in the Mos Eisley cantina by the Rodianbounty hunter Greedo (Paul Blake), and Han shoots under the table to kill Greedo. The 1997 Special Edition release of the film alters the scene so that Greedo shoots first and misses (with Han's head digitally altered to move away from the laser blast). The scene was altered again for the 2004 DVD release of the film so that Han and Greedo shoot simultaneously; this was shortened by several frames for the 2011 Blu-ray. The scene was further modified for the 2019 4K Ultra HD release with the addition of a close-up shot of Greedo speaking (without subtitles),[o] the removal of a reverse shot of Greedo, and a re-rendering of the visual effects.[p]
Because I was thinking mythologically – should he be a cowboy, should he be John Wayne? And I said, "Yeah, he should be John Wayne." And when you're John Wayne, you don't shoot people [first] – you let them have the first shot.
George Lucas in 2015
According to Paul Blake, the scene was originally created as a result of Lucas having to cut a special-effects-heavy scene introducing Jabba the Hutt due to budget and schedule concerns. The original version of the Greedo scene is considered iconic, while the altered version is one of the most controversial changes to the film. Fans have coined the phrase "Han shot first" to protest the change, which according to Polygon alters Han's moral ambiguity and his fundamental character. Lucas has stated that he always intended for Greedo to shoot first. In 2015, a replica of an early script for Star Wars was discovered in the archives of the University of New Brunswick library. In the script, dated March 15, 1976, only Han shoots.
Jabba the Hutt
The original script for Star Wars included a scene between Jabba the Hutt (who was designed in concept art drawings similarly to his appearance in Return of the Jedi and often traveling on a sedan chair) and Han Solo, set in Mos Eisley's Docking Bay 94. The scene was filmed with Harrison Ford as Solo and Declan Mulholland, a large man, wearing a furry vest as a stand-in for Jabba. Lucas intended to replace Mulholland in post-production with a stop-motion character. Due to time limitations and budget constraints, the scene was cut. In the 1997 Special Edition, the scene was reinserted with a CGI Jabba replacing Mulholland. In the original footage, Ford walked too close to Mulholland; as a workaround, Han was digitally moved to appear as if he steps on Jabba's tail, causing the Hutt to squeal. Several Rodians (at least one of whom looks exactly like Greedo) appear in the background of the scene.Boba Fett also appears at the end of the scene, and seems to break the fourth wall.
The insertion of this scene into the film was criticized for being superfluous to the previous cantina scene with Greedo, slowing down the pacing, and failing to move the plot forward. The 1997 CGI Jabba has been described as "atrocious", and was replaced for the 2004 DVD release, making the character more realistic and similar to his depiction in Return of the Jedi. On the audio commentary for this release, Lucas reflected that while he did not mind cutting the scene when he was not sure if he would make sequels, he subsequently wanted it to be included as it introduces a character important to Han's story arc.
During the training scene aboard the Millennium Falcon, Luke's lightsaber—which in some releases had erroneously appeared green—was corrected to blue for the 2019 4K Ultra HD release.
For the Special Edition, a scene of Han chasing a squad of stormtroopers on the Death Star was altered to replace a couple of stormtroopers at the end of the corridor with almost a hundred. Den of Geek criticized the change as being "too much" and opined that "it's hard to believe that Han would even bother turning round to shoot at them when there were so many."
In the original version of Obi-Wan and Darth Vader's duel, Obi-Wan's saber appeared to "short out" when foreshortened toward the camera (a result of the in-camera effects failing to account for this viewing angle). A glow was added in 2004, and a fully finished blade was added to these shots in 2019. Also in the 2019 version, Obi-Wan's lightsaber was adjusted to appear consistently blue, and the flash effects of the lightsabers clashing was redone.
The Special Edition of A New Hope incorporated a deleted scene on Yavin 4, in which Luke is briefly reunited with his childhood friend Biggs Darklighter. This was felt by some to strengthen the relationship of the characters during the climactic Death Star attack run.[q]
A 180° turn of CGI X-wing fighters flying from Yavin 4 towards the Death Star was added to the 1997 Special Edition. Wired points out that this erroneously shows that the moon is "very clearly in range of the Death Star from the very beginning of the battle." Additionally, engine sounds were added to the battle scene which make parts of the musical score difficult to hear.
The Empire Strikes Back
Close-up shots of the wampa that captures Luke on Hoth were inserted.[r]
The Emperor's hologram
For his appearance as a hologram in The Empire Strikes Back, the Emperor was originally portrayed by an actress wearing a mask and a male voice actor. For the 2004 DVD edition and subsequent releases, this was replaced by new footage of Ian McDiarmid, who plays the character in later films.[s] The dialogue was changed in the new version, making Vader seem to have been unaware of Luke's paternity despite having known his last name.
ScreenCrush argues that this change is the worst to any Star Wars film, owing to the altered dialogue.Wired writes that it is unclear whether the new dialogue is meant to portray Vader and Palpatine "deliberately testing one another", and also that McDiarmid "looks more like he did 20 years before in the timeline than he does a year later in Return of the Jedi".Polygon regards the actor replacement itself as inoffensive.
Boba Fett's dialogue in the film was originally recorded by Jason Wingreen. Subsequently, Attack of the Clones revealed Boba to be a clone of Jango Fett, played by Temuera Morrison. To reflect this, Morrison re-recorded Boba's lines for the 2004 DVD release of the film.[t]
In the shot when the Millennium Falcon detaches from the Star Destroyer, Boba Fett's ship, the Slave I, was replaced with a version following the Falcon more closely.[u]
New establishing shots were added to Cloud City, which create some inconsistencies with later shots. Another shot has a railing added to it, which does not reflect properly. New shots of Cloud City's citizens reacting to Lando Calrissian's evacuation orders were added.[v]
In the 1997 Special Edition, the audio of Emperor Palpatine falling down the shaft in Return of the Jedi was played when Luke Skywalker falls down the chute; this was removed in later releases.
Following the initial limited theatrical release, Lucas added three exterior shots to the denouement to clarify that Lando and Chewbacca are on the Falcon, not the Rebel frigate that Luke, Leia, and the droids are on. In the 1997 Special Edition, a line of Vader's dialogue was replaced and a shot of his shuttle landing in his Star Destroyer (using stock footage of the second Death Star from Return of the Jedi) was inserted into the sequence in which Luke uses the Force to contact Leia.Wired calls this "Yet another addition that answers a question no one had."
Return of the Jedi
In the Special Edition, an establishing shot of a bantha herd was inserted, and a CGI beak and extra tentacles were added to the sarlacc. The 2011 Blu-ray extended the front door of Jabba's palace, making the door appear three times longer from the outside than it does on the inside.
The scene in which Jabba feeds the dancer Oola to his rancor opens with a performance by the Max Rebo Band and its lead singer, Sy Snootles. In the original theatrical release, the song is "Lapti Nek", sung in the fictional language Huttese. The Special Edition changed the performance to the new song "Jedi Rocks", which mostly received negative criticism.[w] The puppet used for Snootles was also replaced with CGI. According to Special Edition producer Rick McCallum, this change was made because Lucas could not originally achieve the "large musical number" he envisioned because characters could not move in certain ways; Snootles could not open her mouth to lip sync correctly, and her eyes did not move. The Special Edition increased the size of the Max Rebo Band from three members to twelve. Additional footage was filmed of Boba Fett flirting with one of the dancers.
In the theatrical release of the film, Oola's death is filmed from outside the rancor pit: she falls into the pit, and her scream is heard from off-screen. In the 1997 Special Edition, extra shots were inserted depicting her in the pit, including shots where she looks up to the crowd, the pit door being raised, and a shot of her terror. The rancor and Oola as she screams remain off-screen.Femi Taylor, who played Oola, impressed critics with her ability to reprise the role over a decade later without visible difference.[x] James Whitbrook at io9 praised the additions to the scene, writing that it teased the rancor well while still keeping the monster a surprise for Luke's later battle with it. Conversely, Den of Geek UK criticized the additions as unnecessary and felt that they made the audience familiar with the pit, weakening Luke's scene.
Climax on the second Death Star
See also: Second Death Star
At the climax of the film, the Emperor tortures Luke with Force lightning, prompting Darth Vader to throw the Emperor down a chasm. In the original version of the scene, Vader has no dialogue. In the 2011 Blu-ray and later releases, Vader mutters "No" and then yells a drawn-out "No!", creating a parallel with his near-identical cry at the end of Revenge of the Sith. This addition was described as being unnecessary at best, and at worst being clumsy, sounding terrible, and seeming to mock the scene in the prequel. A Polygon writer argues that the change displays a distrust in the audience's ability to interpret Vader's emotions and further that it made the emotional scene "laughable".
In the scene where Anakin Skywalker is unmasked, the 2004 DVD release digitally removed his eyebrows to reflect Anakin burning on Mustafar at the end of Revenge of the Sith. Actor Sebastian Shaw's brown eyes were also digitally changed to blue to match Hayden Christensen's eye color.
The film ends with a scene of the Rebel Alliance and a village of Ewoks on Endor celebrating the death of the Emperor and victory over the Empire. The original theatrical release of the film featured the song "Ewok Celebration", also known as "Yub Nub", playing over the celebration. The 1997 Special Edition release of the film replaced "Ewok Celebration" with score composed by John Williams titled "Victory Celebration", and the scene was lengthened to include shots of celebration on the planets Coruscant,Bespin, and Tatooine. The 2004 DVD release further added a shot set on Naboo, in which a Gungan is given a line of dialogue, and added the Senate building and Jedi Temple to Coruscant.
Anakin's Force ghost
At the end of the film, Darth Vader is redeemed by killing the Emperor to save Luke Skywalker's life, then dies of his injuries shortly after, and appears to Luke as Anakin Skywalker alongside the Force spirits of Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi. In the 1983 theatrical release, Sebastian Shaw plays this Force ghost in addition to an unmasked Vader. Hayden Christensen later played Anakin in the prequel trilogy films Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. To reflect this, the 2004 DVD release of Return of the Jedi replaced Shaw's appearance as the Force ghost with Christensen, which was considered controversial by some.Den of Geek rated it as the worst change to the original trilogy.The Digital Bits notes that the 2019 4K restoration made it more obvious where Anakin's head was replaced.
The Phantom Menace
The DVD released in 2001 features a slightly extended cut of the podrace sequence, as well as a brief scene on Coruscant focusing on Anakin and Jar Jar Binks.
The extended podrace includes a longer introduction of the racers and the second lap of the race, both of which ScreenRant says do not contribute to the story, and potentially negatively affect the film's pacing. Additionally, Watto cheering for Anakin's rival Sebulba was removed for home media releases.
In the original version of The Phantom Menace, a puppet was used to portray Yoda except for two scenes near the end of the film. This was changed for the 2011 Blu-ray release, with the puppet being replaced with a CGI model, similar to those used for the film's sequels Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
Attack of the Clones
A few special effects which were not ready for the initial wide release were completed for release in digital-projection theaters.[d] The DVD features the digital version with some extended lines of dialogue. The 2011 Blu-ray features a small editing change to the Coruscant speeder chase, adds a voiceover to Anakin's vision of Shmi, and changes the order of shots depicting Count Dooku's escape.
Revenge of the Sith
The theatrical release had a diagonal wipe from Obi-Wan leaving Mustafar to Anakin using his hand to crawl from the lava. The DVD changed this to a direct cut, which was reverted on the 2011 Blu-ray. The latter release also has additional clone trooper dialogue as they land on Utapau, and added moss to the treehouse on Kashyyyk. The version released on Disney+ has the reprise of "The Throne Room" music from A New Hope in the end credits removed, making the end credits shorter.
Various media outlets have called attention to the changes deemed the most offensive and condemned them. In 2015, Lance Ulanoff of Mashable viewed the original theatrical print of Star Wars submitted to the Library of Congress, and noted merit to Lucas's belief that technology did not allow him to achieve his vision, citing a visible marquee around Leia's ship "so jarring that it temporarily pulls me out of the film" because the original print is "lack[ing] the seamless quality [he has] come to expect from sci-fi and fantasy". Despite this, Ulanoff wrote that he "hate[s] each and every one" of the later added CGI effects. In 2017, a writer argued that the Special Edition changes to the original Star Wars "stripped the film of every aspect that it had won its Academy Awards for", including those for Best Visual Effects, Best Production Design, and Best Original Score.
A smaller number of changes have been cited as an improvement. A Polygon article asserts that "there was a solid logic behind" a number of minor changes, such as adding windows to Cloud City or sparks to Jango Fett's jetpack, saying these "angered, to a close approximation, nobody".
Lucas's changes are often cited as a point of reference for retroactive changes to other films. By contrast, some media outlets positively reviewed the 2020 4K release of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which was remastered and adjusted for color consistency with The Hobbit trilogy, but not otherwise significantly altered.
Asked why he was opposed to releasing the original versions of the films alongside the modified versions, Lucas stated in 2004: "To me, [the original movie] doesn't really exist anymore. ... I'm sorry you saw half a completed film and fell in love with it. But I want it to be the way I want it to be." In addition to a number of extant continuity errors throughout the films, a CGI character omission in The Phantom Menace has never been corrected—despite special effects supervisor John Knoll calling attention to it in the film's 2001 DVD commentary. ScreenRant says this "highlights how George Lucas' motivations for tweaking the Star Wars movies are more about improving and updating than removing imperfections."
In 2019, Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm since the 2012 acquisition of the company by Disney, stated that she would not make alterations to Lucas's original trilogy, because "those will always remain his." While promoting The Rise of Skywalker, director J. J. Abrams expressed his hopes that the original versions of the trilogy would be officially released, but said that the powers that be had told him "that that's not necessarily possible".[y] On whether he thought the sequel trilogy should be altered at some point, Abrams stated, "I respect anyone who feels like they want to go back and adjust and add; I get that. But I also feel like it's not the way I think about projects ... I feel like [when] you're done with a thing, ... that's what it is." Contrarily, some media outlets have called for the climax of The Rise of Skywalker to be altered to show the Force spirits of the Jedi who aid Rey. Fan pleas for a director's cut of the film trended on social media following the release of Zack Snyder's Justice League.[z]
- ^Later titledStar Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
- ^Some releases additionally had minor aspect ratio changes.
- ^Some state that the changes were intended to modernize the films and create consistency with the prequel trilogy.
- ^ abThese include the addition of sparks to Jango Fett's jetpack just before he is beheaded by Mace Windu and Anakin Skywalker using his mechanical hand to take Padmé's hand during the wedding scene.
- ^This was reversed for the 2011 Blu-ray.
- ^According to Empire, "the quality of the transfer is laughably bad, with a non-anamorphic letterboxed4:3 aspect ratio creating huge black bars on all sides of the film, if watched on a widescreen TV."
- ^The 20th Century Fox logo and fanfare were removed from The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and the prequel films as a result of Disney's 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm.
- ^In 1989, the original release of Star Wars was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. In 2014, it still did not have a "working copy" (a copy available for public viewing) of the 1977 film; George Lucas refused to submit the original, stating that he no longer authorized the release of the theatrical version.Lucasfilm offered the 1997 Special Edition release, but the Registry refused it as the first published version must be accepted. The Library subsequently used a 35 mm print of the original version of the film (which had been submitted in 1978 as part of the film's copyright deposit) to make a digital working copy.
- ^They, along with The Rise of Skywalker, were released on Ultra HD Blu-ray on March 31, 2020.
- ^The 20th Century Fox logo and fanfare were restored to the five films they had been removed from in 2015 as a result of Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox earlier in 2019.
- ^A Wired article criticizes this addition, saying, "in a movie that has focused almost every scene on the droids, it's not necessary to have shots that don't feature them, particularly medium shots of people wandering aimlessly." The article further notes that "the dewback model was rebuilt for the prequels, and the test model was left front-and-center in a classic film."
- ^Yahoo! says "Sound designer Ben Burtt's original effect is haunting and memorable, but Lucas swapped it out with a higher-pitched noise for the 2004 DVD release, then again with another sound for the 2011 Blu-ray."Wire notes that the latter sound "hilariously sounds like someone shouting into an empty bathroom."
- ^Wired notes that "There is no visible way for R2 to have gotten into this cave to hide from the Tusken Raiders."
- ^The computer-generated Imperial landing craft was created for the 1997 release of the film, but first appeared in Shadows of the Empire media.
- ^The close-up is composed of cropped footage used a few seconds before. The dialogue, transcribed by fans as "maclunkey", is also spoken in The Phantom Menace, where the apparently Huttese phrase is subtitled "This will be the end of you."
- ^The change was made by Lucas before the 2012 sale of his company to Disney.
- ^Wired writes, "The one interesting part of the [full version of the cut scene] was how Red Leader mentioned flying with Luke's father, a possible tie to the prequels ... cut out by having a technician walk across the screen and hiding the cut dialog with a time jump. Unfortunately, this is done poorly, as the missing time is reflected by R2's literal jump by several feet in his rise to the X-wing."
- ^Wired states that this "is one of the rare changes I'm sure the filmmakers intended when they first shot the movie, but when they couldn't get the creatures to look right, they edited the scene to depend on tension of the unknown. Now the tension is different."
- ^Filmed during the production of Revenge of the Sith
- ^Wired criticizes the change, writing, "This might make sense if it wasn't for the fact that accents aren't genetic. Jango died 25 years earlier, it's highly unlikely Boba would still sound exactly like his father, even if they were genetically identical." Fett was later reprised by Morrison for the post-Return of the Jedi live-action series The Mandalorian.
- ^According to Wired, the change "makes it so that Fett is so close it looks like Han could just look out the window and see him."
- ^According to Wired, "The frantic pace of our heroes trying to escape is now interrupted by shots of characters we've never seen and will never see again."
- ^A Polygon author wrote that the new material is "an overproduced intrusion that takes twice as long to add nothing" and distracts from the scene's intention: to establish the trapdoor leading to the rancor and Jabba's deadliness. The same writer stated that he thought "Lapti Nek" was a better song, describing the vocals of "Jedi Rocks" as difficult to listen to and having "the volume and vocal fry of a higher pitched Tina Turner but none of the soul". A Wired writer similarly states that the new song is a grating, "pointless Pointer Sisters rip-off" and that the additions crowded the scene with unsatisfactory CGI.Den of Geek notes that the change negatively altered the tone of the scene and only "replaced one flawed effect with another", writing that "What was once a low-key yet appealing background moment in the movie's first act [has] grown into ... an in-your-face audio-visual spectacle".
- ^Wired notes that "they put a different eyeshadow color on her, so she's not exactly seamless."
- ^He further said that when making The Force Awakens, he had gotten into a disagreement about the dialogue between Vader and the Emperor in The Empire Strikes Back before realizing that different versions of the film were being referred to; he cited the Despecialized Editions of the films, while the other party had recalled the reworded dialogue.
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Trilogy 2008 wars star
I continued. I am selfish and possessive. And he is still a misanthrope and escapist. I can lie in bed or in the bath all day long without doing anything at all. I can chase you on all sorts of stupid errands.Star Wars: The Original Trilogy (Trailer #1) - Artifice
What for. I didnt understand. -Lie down, do not twitch, smiling, I slapped the boy on the ass, it's more convenient for me. Strongly apart and bending my ward's legs at the knees, I sat down on a chair between them, behind Stas, and put both hands on my son's bare buttocks.
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