The following are partial lists of changes in Star Wars re-releases. The commercial success of Star Wars has given George Lucas the opportunity to tinker with his original trilogy, now called Episode IV A New Hope, Episode V The Empire Strikes Back, and Episode VI Return of the Jedi. In a September 2004 MSNBC article, Lucas points out that the original films were "25 or 30 percent" of what he intended.
Many changes were motivated by the vast improvements in CGI technology and other production techniques that occurred in the two decades after the original trilogy was produced. Other changes improved the cohesiveness among the films, and eliminated continuity errors between the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy.
Changes to Star Wars films after the theatrical release aren't always limited to the original trilogy. In the release of The Phantom Menace DVD, two deleted portions were either partially or completely restored.
- 1 Changes to the original trilogy
- 1.1 Theatrical releases
- 1.2 TV broadcasts and VHS/Betamax/CED editions
- 1.3 LaserDisc editions
- 1.4 1997 Star Wars Trilogy Special Editions
- 1.5 2004 Star Wars Trilogy DVD
- 1.6 2006 DVD release
- 1.7 2011 Blu-ray release
- 1.8 2015 Digital Movie Collection
- 1.9 2019 Disney+ 4K restoration
- 2 Changes to the prequel trilogy
- 2.1 2001 Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace DVD
- 2.2 2002 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones DVD
- 2.3 2005 Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith DVD
- 2.4 2011 Blu-ray release
- 2.5 3D releases
- 2.6 2015 Digital Movie Collection
- 2.7 2019 Disney+ 4K restoration
- 3 Changes to the Sequel Trilogy
- 4 Controversy
- 5 Notes and references
- 6 External links
Changes to the original trilogy
Although not as obvious as the 1997 Special Edition re-release of the trilogy, there were still some alterations made in 1977, 1980, and 1981.
A New Hope
The earliest edits to the original film occurred between the initial release in May and the wider release later in 1977. The edits are minor, but noticeable. They consist of four changes. All of these changes were made before the foreign language prints were made later in 1977 and well before the last good interpositive was struck in 1985. These four shots run exactly the same length. All of them exist in the earliest bootleg video tapes and in the English 16 mm print. The original three effects shots exist in many home video English language versions released during the 80's. None of these shots are found in the Definitive Edition, Faces Edition, or 2006 bonus discs, nor are they in any of the known extant 35 mm prints, or Technicolor prints.
- When the Millennium Falcon is being chased after taking off from Mos Eisley, the effects shot where the Star Destroyer is shooting at the Falcon was changed. The early version has different explosions and different flashes and looks less finished.
- When the heroes arrive on Yavin 4, the outdoor composited shot with the matte painting of the temple is recomposited and is not synced the same. It also has an artifact in the image.
- When the fighters take off from Yavin 4, there is an extra cloud and the shot is not synced the same. It also has an artifact in the image.
- The scrolling end credits are completely redone with the spacing, both vertical and horizontal, altered, and a glitch in composition at the beginning has been removed.
The film was originally released with 35mm Dolby Stereo and 70mm 6-track audio. Since these were both mastered from the same mix stems, there is little to no difference between them in terms of content. Both feature 4 main audio channels with the 6-track having at least one LFE, channel. A mono mix was produced in June 1977 for exhibition in cinemas with no Dolby Stereo or Surround support, which did contain the following changes in content from the other versions. The majority of foreign language versions use a stereo mix with many, but not all of the mono effects alterations.
- As Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan, and the droids approach the Cantina in the mono sound version, a Cantina musical cue can be heard.
- C-3PO's line "Use the comlink? Oh my! I forgot, I turned it off." is from an alternate take.
- As the stormtroopers chase Han and Chewbacca, one now says "Close the blast doors!" before the Rebels narrowly run through.
- When R2-D2 shows the schematics of the Death Star's tractor beam, C-3PO now speaks over the scene, the line being "The tractor beam is coupled to the main reactor in seven locations. A power loss at one of the terminals will allow the ship to leave.". The sound effects for the schematics being displayed have also been changed.
- The line "Blast it, Biggs, where are you?" from the original stereo sound version was changed to "Blast it, Wedge, where are you?" to fix continuity.
- Aunt Beru's lines are alternate takes (possibly even a different actress).
- When Luke and Obi-Wan discover the wrecked sandcrawler, R2-D2 beeps.
- The stormtrooper who interrogates Luke and the others as they enter Mos Eisley's lines are timed earlier.
- During the search of Mos Eisley for the droids, the stormtrooper's lines have been changed from "Alright, check this side of the street. The door's locked. Move on to the next one." to "Alright, check that side of the street. It's secure. Move on to the next one."
- More growls are added to Chewbacca that were not present in the stereo and surround mixes.
- A different explosion sound is heard when the Tantive IV's reactor is destroyed.
- A different alarm sound is used as the rebel soldiers aboard the Tantive IV prepare for battle.
- Computer sounds are heard when Luke fires up the Millennium Falcon's targeting system.
- A short beep can be heard when the Death Star's superlaser system is booted up to fire at Alderaan.
- A different, lower frequency sound effect is used for Alderaan's explosion.
- The speech over the X-Wing's radios have less garble and static, and some lines are from alternate takes.
- Different, louder sound effects are used for the opening of the X-Wing's s-foils.
- The line, "We have an emergency alert in Detention Block AA-23" was changed to "Governer Tarkin, we have an emergency alert in Detention Block AA-23", possibly read by a different voice actor.
- Luke groans when he gets dragged by the Dianoga into the trash compactor's murky waters for a second time.
- When R2-D2 falls over after being shot by the Jawas, the thud when he hits the ground is different.
- The pipe creaks when it is being bent by the trash compactor walls.
- The line "What good will it do us if he gets himself killed?" spoken by Luke is from an alternate take.
- The heavy echo from Luke and Leia's speech at the chasm is absent.
- The blaster sound is different when Leia fires it at the stormtroopers.
- Luke's line, "So, you got your reward and you're just leaving, then?" is a different take.
- Porkins' scream when he is hit is cut out.
- When Tiree's Y-wing explodes, there is an additional explosion sound. This also appears in the 6-track mix.
- Sound effects for Red Leader's damaged X-wing engine were added before his crash.
- The voices announcing the progress of the Death Star's journey to Yavin 4 is different.
- For the 1981 re-release, the line "Episode IV: A NEW HOPE" was added to the opening crawl. While this is the most noticeable alteration, the entire opening crawl was redone. A new starfield was used, one that was made and used in The Empire Strikes Back, the "Star Wars" title is also from The Empire Strikes Back, but it fades out before the crawl starts. The crawl was reformatted for the music to stay in synchronization and the word "rebel" in "rebel spies" is capitalized, which was not capitalized in the original 1977 crawl. The Tantive IV and Star Destroyer were recomposited with finer border, removing some prominent black lines. More subtly, the lasers and engine glows were adjusted to fit and the moons are in different positions relative to the planet.
The Empire Strikes Back
The 70mm version of the film was slightly different from the 35mm version that was more widely seen. It is understood that when the movie was considered "finished," the elements were turned over to the lab and sound facilities so the desired 70mm print order could be prepared. The filmmakers, however, decided to make a few, albeit subtle, changes that, considering the expense and time involved in re-striking and and/or re-sounding 70mm prints, were reflected only in the film's 35mm prints. A couple of these differences can be found on the Ken Films Super 8 version of the film. An in theater recording of the audio exists (made by the same person who made a recording of the 70 mm showing of Star Wars) while only the first 4 minutes of video exist thanks to a CBS outlet. Some of the audio differences are likely because the in theater records captured the discreet left and right channels where the 35 mm release and subsequent home video used the matrixed Dolby Stereo track.
70 mm Visual Differences
- The Bacta Chamber scene starts on a close-up of Two-One-Bee and pans right to a closeup of Luke in the tank. It then cuts to FX-7 extending it's arm to the tank. There is no cut to Leia, Han and Threepio observing.
- The Emperor's hologram does not fade in at the start of his conversation with Vader.*
- Millennium Falcon sensor dish is not visible with Luke on weather vane. The position of the vane is also different on the background.*
- The final scene begins with the first establishing shot of the rebel fleet, then cuts inside the Millennium Falcon for Lando to say, "Luke, we're ready for take-off" (but a different take of this was used). After Luke says (voice over), "Good luck, Lando" the scene cuts to inside the medical bay where Luke says, "I'll meet you at the rendezvous on Tatooine" etc. Not in this version are two more establishing shots of the fleet and an interim effects shot over which Lando says, "When we find Jabba the Hutt and that bounty hunter we'll contact you.". *
- 8mm Ken Films Print
70 mm Audio Differences
- When Luke runs out of the wampa cave, there is a sound of his lightsaber deactivating even though it stays lit onscreen, this error later reappeared in the Special Edition.
- Different laserfire can be heard during the snow battle, the sound used for TIE fighters instead of X-wings.
- When R2 is being loaded into Luke's X-wing, C-3PO says the word "and" before saying "do take good care of yourself." The 2004 DVD audibly cranks up the quiet “and”.
- Yoda says the word "Run!" before "Yes. A Jedi's strength flows from the force." The following lines "But beware the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side of the force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight" are also much louder and clearer.
- The Imperial fleet establishing shot after the scene of Luke's failure at the cave has a different TIE fighter sound effect. (Can also be heard on the foreign GOUT-tracks, SE versions have the music as originally composed for the scene)
- While C-3PO is on Chewbacca’s back when they enter the carbon freezing chamber, the line "Now remember, Chewbacca, you have a responsibility to me, so don't do anything foolish" is louder and heard more clearly.
- In Cloud City, after C-3PO says "That sounds like an R2 unit in there. I wonder if it..." he says "Hello?" only once instead of twice.
- Lando's line at the end, "Luke, we're ready for takeoff." is a different take. (The same take can be heard in the Special Edition).
- Lando’s line "When we find Jabba the Hutt and that bounty hunter, we'll contact you." is not present.
- Lando's line "Princess, we'll find Han. I promise." is a different take.
- In the final scene, there is no tracked music from "Yoda and the Force".
35 mm Mono Audio Differences
In addition to the differences between the 35 mm Dolby Stereo and 70 mm 6 track audio, there was also a separate mono mix that had a few changes. It was found on a 16 mm print but likely was also distributed on 35 mm prints.
- In the asteroid field, after C-3PO says "Oh, this is suicide", the line "There's no where to go" was added.
- In Cloud City, after C-3PO says "That sounds like an R2 unit in there. I wonder if it..." he says "Hello?" only once instead of twice.
- While C-3PO is on Chewie's back when they enter the carbon freezing chamber, the line "Oh dear, what now?" is added to the beginning of C-3PO's dialog.
- When Darth Vader falls off the carbon freeze platform he grunts instead of saying "Argh".
Alternate Audio sources
In addition to the differences in the 70 mm edit, There is an 8 mm shorter edit of the film and the audio from The Story of The Empire Strikes Back LP that contained the following differences.
- Luke: "Echo Three to Echo Seven. Han 'ole buddy, do you read me?" -Different take. *, **
- Luke - "I don't pick up any life readings" - Different take *, **
- Han - "I'm coming back" - Different take instead of the more widely heard “I'm going back” *, **
- Rogue 2: "Captain Solo, do you copy?" -Different take *
- Leia: "They're getting closer." -Different take *
- Han: "Oh, yeah? Watch this." -Different take *
- Obi-Wan's lines are not as 'echoed'.*
- The Cloud Car Pilots have alternate dialogue - "Any aggressive move will not be tolerated!" "Permission granted to land on platform 3-2-7. Any deviation from..." “Thank you!”-Han cuts off comlink.*
- After Lando tells Han, “Yeah, I'm responsible these days. It's the price of success.” The 8mm continues “And you know what, Han, you were right all along. It's over-rated.” as C-3PO talks with the other protocol droid.*
- More crowd noise as people flee Cloud City.*
* 8mm Ken Films Print
** The Story of The Empire Strikes Back LP
Return of the Jedi
Return of the Jedi was left unaltered. It did feature 70 mm 6 track, Dolby Stereo, and a mono mix, but there are no discernible differences. The Dolby Stereo mix was featured on all home video releases.
TV broadcasts and VHS/Betamax/CED editions
The mono mix was used for a 1980s UK ITV broadcast. There were also some minor changes made to a few 1980's pan and scanned TV broadcasts such as squeezing in the second Tusken Raider while looking through Luke's macrobinoculars.
The original releases of A New Hope on VHS, Betamax, and RCA's CED featured the Dolby Stereo mix, identical to that heard on the 35mm theatrical prints. Playing the mix through a home Dolby Pro-logic decoder authentically recreates the original 4-channel surround experience. This mix did not contain the line uttered by C-3PO "The tractor beam is coupled to the main reactor in seven locations. A power loss at one of the terminals will allow the ship to leave." This line was only present in the original mono mix. For the 1985 VHS/laserdisc releases, Ben Burtt supervised the creation of a new, digitally remastered audio track. CBS/FOX worked with the new multi-channel mix and made a new Dolby Stereo compliant downmix for home video.
Due to technical and cost limitations, the CED editions of A New Hope are presented time-compressed (sped up by 3%) from its original 121-minute length to 118 minutes to fit one double-sided two-hour disc.
In the UK and throughout Europe widescreen VHS versions of the original three films were released in 1991. An advertisement before the films started explained how widescreen showed more of the picture. They were re-released in 1994 with different artwork and released a third time as THX versions in 1995.
The VHS reissue in 1995, which was the last available release of the Pre-Special Edition trilogy prior to the 2006 DVD release, utilized THX digital remastering to enhance the picture and sound quality on all three films.
Due to technical limitations, most pan-and-scan versions of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back are presented time-compressed (sped up by 2% for Star Wars and 4% for Empire Strikes Back) from their respective 121- and 125-minute lengths to fit one double-sided two-hour LaserDisc. Letterbox versions of the original theatrical releases of the original three films have also been released.
The initial 1989 North American widescreen release of A New Hope suffered from a shrinking aspect ratio. The master that was used was the Japanese subtitled LaserDisc, in which the image appeared higher on the screen to allow for subtitles. For the North American release, it was shifted down, and a black bar was put up to cover the unused parts. However, as the film progresses, the image creeps up on the screen moving underneath the top bar, causing the image to become increasingly wider. By the time the film reaches the Battle of Yavin scenes, the image has widened from 2.35:1 to 2.55:1. This problem was fixed in the 1992 reissue of the disc. The original shrinking LaserDisc has the CBS/Fox logo on it, while the fixed edition has the newer Fox Video logo on the jacket. C-3PO's line about the tractor beam can be heard on this LaserDisc and the three original 1977 effects shots can be seen.
In 1993, the Star Wars Trilogy: The Definitive Collection box set was released based on the interpositives struck in 1985. This version featured the original trilogy on nine CAV discs, widescreen transfers, THX remastering, audio commentary tracks, assorted bonus features, a copy of the hardcover book George Lucas: The Creative Impulse, and for A New Hope, a new surround-sound audio mix. This mix, digitally remastered by Ben Burtt and Gary Summers, was supposedly a mix of the best elements of all three original mixes. However, it is primarily a fold-down of the 6-track 70mm mix, with some mono mix elements and additional elements "dialled in." An interview with Dave Schnuelle, printed in a 1993 issue of Widescreen Review magazine, corroborates these observations. Additionally, the transfer was somewhat sub-par, with scan lines often disappearing and colors being incorrectly switched.
Initial versions of this box set were missing approximately ten seconds from The Empire Strikes Back. Fox Video offered a replacement disc, and this mistake was corrected in later pressings.
The final LaserDisc edition of the original trilogy was released in 1995, sourced from the 1993 masters.
In 1997, Episodes IV, V, and VI were re-mastered and theatrically re-released as the "Special Editions." For the re-release, in addition to extensive clean-up and restoration work, Lucas also made a number of changes to the films in order to "finish the film the way it was meant to be" (as Lucas said in a September 2004 interview with Associated Press).
Many of Lucas' changes for the Special Editions were cosmetic, generally adding special effects which weren't originally possible. Other changes, however, are considered to have affected plot or character development. These changes, such as the change referred to by fans as "Han shot first," have proven to be controversial. The "Han shot first" situation can be generally described as this: in the original release of Episode IV, the character Han Solo shoots and kills a bounty hunter named Greedo, after Greedo threatens to kill him in order to collect a bounty which had been placed on Solo's head by Jabba the Hutt. In the Special Edition of the film, however, Greedo shoots first at close range. Only after he misses does Solo return fire. George Lucas has been quoted in Entertainment Weekly as saying that this version of the scene was meant to be the original, as in the original storyboards (Greedo fires first at Han Solo).
- In 2000, this version had box art redesigned to match the Box Art of Episodes I–III except the front of the box was white for Episodes IV and VI while Episode V retained the black used for the Prequel box art. Also the Star Wars logos on Episodes IV–VI used the logo design as featured for Episodes I–III. This was done to create a more uniform look for all 6 movies.
Special coverage on CNN in 1997 notes that Lucas spent $10 million to rework his original 1977 film, which was roughly what it cost to film it originally. $3 million of that was spent on the audio track for the special edition. Lucas also spent $2.5 million each on Episodes V and VI.
The following is a partial list of changes aside from overall audio and visual alterations:
A New Hope
- The opening crawl has been recomposed again using the original 1977 starfield and positions of the moons. The Tantive IV and Star Destroyer were recomposited again, using different engine glow effects. A side effect of this is that the green laser bolts are faded and almost white.
- The sunset over the canyon R2-D2 travels down has been enhanced and lengthened and the canyon scene has been darkened.
- A revised Jawa sandcrawler has the sky darkened and with a few scattered stars.
- The shot of the sandcrawler coming over the rise was reshot using the original model. The new shot is longer and closer with the camera panning to follow the sandcrawler.
- A new digital matte painting of the sandcrawler and extended sky were added when the Jawas are setting up shop in front of the Lars farm. Artificial zooming in is also present. More vaporators have been added, but they disappear in subsequent shots.
- Extended shot of the stormtroopers' search for the missing droids with additional troopers riding dewbacks. A Sentinel-class landing craft can be seen taking off, and new (costumed) stormtroopers have been added to the scene.
- The Lars dinner scene has a slight audio manipulation from Aunt Beru: "Luke's just not a farmer, Owen. He has too much of his father in him." There is a slight pause before she says "father," and the word "father" is changed to sound more worrisome.
- Shots of the landspeeder in motion have been enhanced to improve the shadow and make it look further off the ground.
- New CG shot of Ben Kenobi's hut replaces a previous shot of the landspeeder parked near Ajim.
- When Luke swings his father's lightsaber in Ben's hut, the effect has been redone and the blade looks greener than the normal sky blue.
- Skeletal remains of Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen were enhanced.
- The far shot of Mos Eisley spaceport shows a ship taking off from the ground.
- Mos Eisley is bigger and busier with an extended opening showing dinosaur-like rontos and the original speeder that would have been in the first version, featuring slapstick ASP droids in front of Dash Rendar's ship, the Outrider, followed by a short pause of the camera as a Jawa gets bucked from its Ronto mount. Two stormtroopers can also be seen in a far shot standing watch.
- Due to color timing errors, a "pink glow" was apparent in many of the new Tatooine scenes, including the extended entry into Mos Eisley.
- The dewback standing outside the cantina is animated and when the stormtroopers arrive one is shown dismounting from one as C-3PO says, "I don't like the look of this."
- A Mark IV sentry droid has been digitally added to most scenes with Imperial stormtroopers on Tatooine.
- New aliens are seen in the cantina replacing the "Wolfman" characters in two shots, though the Defel still appears in the cantina. Although these new characters look different from each other, they are actually both portrayed by the same mask. The mask was just turned around backwards for the second creature.
- Han's last line to Greedo, "Yes, I'll bet you have," was edited to a calmer "I'll bet you have."
- Greedo now fires an inaccurately aimed shot at Han before being shot in the cantina while Han bobs his head slightly to "dodge" the shot. (This change caused a great uproar in the community, and thousands of fans complained.)
- A CGI version of Jabba the Hutt confronts Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon's launch bay, replacing a Human actor from a deleted scene that is now re-inserted after the Greedo scene. New dialogue was recorded in the Huttese language for this scene. Also, Boba Fett has been added to the scene as a bystander and in one scene a close-up.
- A new Mos Eisley scene of the Falcon taking off with troopers firing upon it. The angle of the Falcon flying off has also been adjusted.
- Large Praxis-effect shockwaves from the destruction of Alderaan and the Death Star have been added, and Alderaan's explosion itself redone.
- The Death Star docking bay is revised to be more consistent with the one seen in Return of the Jedi, most notably in the overhead shot when the Millennium Falcon has landed.
- The flashes of blaster impacts on the Imperial officers' chests were censored in all but one shot
- C-3PO's line where he describes the tractor beam's power systems is put back in.
- When Han Solo and Chewbacca are chasing a squad of stormtroopers on the Death Star, instead of running to a dead end with more stormtroopers, the pair end up at a hangar bay with seemingly hundreds of stormtroopers and officers. Laser fire was increased in the next scene where Chewbacca approaches the corner.
- "Close the blast doors!" is put back into the scene where Han and Chewbacca jump through the doors as they close.
- A digital version of a shot of the Millennium Falcon flying below the planet Yavin towards Yavin 4.
- A scene between Luke Skywalker and Biggs Darklighter, just before the Battle of Yavin. A pilot has been digitally inserted walking past the camera at one point to mask a deleted line by Red Leader (which in the script indicated that he knew Luke's father and his reputation as a pilot).
- New CG shots of the X-wings and Y-wings taking off from Yavin 4 (in the original version, they just appeared as white dots) and assembling in front of the Death Star.
- New, additional, and revised dogfighting and attack run scenes during the battle with the Death Star.
- After Red Leader's unsuccessful trench run, the line "He's on your tail!" was added to the film.
- The shot of the Rebel fighters flying to the Death Star and away from the Death Star has been revised.
- Some garbage matte boxes around starships in space were removed (while others still remained).
- Several explosions were recomposited to remove black borders and other artifacts.
- When the Death Star explodes, a new digital explosion was added.
- During the victory celebration, as Luke, Han and Chewbacca enter the assembly hall, Rebel soldiers standing on the sides were a matte painting in the original; they have now been replaced with actors composited in.
- James Earl Jones was added to the credits as the voice of Darth Vader.
- "Luke's Theme" is partially repeated in the ending credits music to allow time for the added Special Edition release credits.
- In addition, many of the wipes were digitally recomposited to improve quality.
The Empire Strikes Back
- The opening credits were altered to lessen the effect that they move side-to-side sporadically.
- New scenes on Hoth with a fiercer-looking wampa ice creature (man in a suit), including showing the wampa screeching in agony following the loss of its limb. Two close-up shots of the original wampa mask are still noticeable.
- The opening battle sequence was cleaned up.
- Cockpits of the Snow speeders were cleaned up so as not to appear transparent.
- The blaster bolts of the TIE fighters have been made more green.
- An additional CG shot of Slave I pursuing the Millennium Falcon out of the Star Destroyer's floating garbage has been added.
- R2 whistles twice after Luke crashes into the swamp and before the huge shot of it with the Bogwing instead of once.
- Luke's line, "You're lucky you don't taste very good," after R2-D2 is spit out by a Dagobah swamp creature, is changed to "You were lucky to get out of there."
- Vader's breathing in the cave scene is at a lower pitch.
- New and additional shots of Cloud City with a CG Falcon and Cloud Cars approaching and flying through.
- Background cityscapes have been replaced in some areas with new CG versions.
- New sequence added following a Cloud Car patrolling Cloud City.
- Several wall panels have been digitally replaced with windows on Cloud City.
- In the scene where Luke heads to Cloud City, the Cloud Car is replaced by a Tibanna refinery.
- Lando Calrissian says "Attention" twice when he speaks on the Cloud City PA.
- Shot of Tian Chyler, a Bespin Wing Guard, and an unidentified blonde woman listening to Lando on the Cloud City PA ordering the evacuation of the city are added. Exterior shot of people milling about in Downtown Plaza.
- Luke screams as he jumps off the platform in Cloud City (the scream is actually lifted from the Emperor's death scream from Return Of The Jedi)
- Darth Vader's line "Bring my shuttle." is changed to "Alert my Star Destroyer to prepare for my arrival." The rest of the scene is extended with an additional shot of Vader walking to his shuttle and arriving on his Star Destroyer, where an outtake from Return of the Jedi was used (that's Moff Jerjerrod with his lines muted out who greets Vader).
- A digital hatch has been added to replace the white light that appears when Lando opens the outer hatch of the Falcon to rescue Luke.
- Some garbage matte boxes around starships were removed (but not all).
- "The Imperial March" is partially repeated in the ending credits music to make room for the Special Edition release credits.
- James Earl Jones was added to the credits as the voice of Darth Vader.
Return of the Jedi
- A new Max Rebo Band musical number, "Jedi Rocks" replaces "Lapti Nek"; Oola is now accompanied by three back-up dancers. Some other footage is added from the extended music video of Lapti Nek.
- A new shot of Oola was added showing her getting up inside the rancor's den and screaming.
- Boba Fett is briefly shown flirting with Rystáll Sant at Jabba's palace, and walking past Jabba.
- Subtitles to Jabba the Hutt have been added to the dialogue between Boushh and the latter when discussing the bounty for capturing Chewbacca, although C-3PO still interprets the conversation.
- Added scene on Tatooine of a herd of Banthas before heading to the Pit of Carkoon.
- Right after the scene of the Banthas, the poorly composited guard walking about on the Sail Barge's deck was redone.
- A revised version of the Sarlacc at the base of the Pit of Carkoon which features a beaklike mouth and extra tentacles.
- When the skiff Han and Chewbacca are on is shot at from Jabba's barge, it now rocks to the side and forward rather than its original forward tilt.
- Some CGI ropes has been added around Han's ankles as he hangs onto the skiff by his feet.
- In the original version, where Han is about to shoot the tentacle that is grabbing Lando, Han says "It's all right, trust me!" In the Special Edition, Han says "It's all right, I can see a lot better!"
- The shot of Luke covering his damaged cybernetic hand with a glove was reshot in order to stay congruent with the re-shot scenes in The Empire Strikes Back. The damage in the original scene featured only blinking lights, whereas the new scene showcases shifting parts within the exposed artificial skin.
- In the original version, a flight of four TIE fighters appear from behind the camera flying towards the Death Star and disappear a second before the scene changes to the Emperor's arrival. This is corrected and the fighters continue heading toward the Death Star.
- As with the destruction of the first Death Star, the second has been given a shockwave ring.
- At the end of the trilogy after the Empire is defeated, scenes of celebration on Endor, Bespin, Tatooine, and Coruscant are shown. The "Ewok Celebration" song (often referred to as "Yub Nub") during this sequence has been replaced with an entirely new John Williams composition, "Victory Celebration".
- The idea of this concept was discussed during the actual pre-production of Return of the Jedi.
- A few quick shots of the Ewoks celebrating by bonfires and with different musical instruments (horns) have been added.
- During the end celebration, a brief shot of Luke hugging Wedge Antilles was inserted.
- The Force Ghost scene has been edited. In the original version, there is a medium shot of the ghosts of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Yoda, cut to a shot of Luke rejoining his friends, and then another long shot of Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Yoda. In the Special Edition, the medium shot is split in two by the shot of Luke rejoining his friends. After the medium shot, there is another cut to Luke, and then a cut to the long shot of the ghosts.
- "Parade of the Ewoks" is partially repeated in the ending credits music to make room for the new Special Edition release credits.
- James Earl Jones was added to the credits as the voice of Darth Vader.
In 2004, in addition to an extensive and comprehensive hi-definition digital cleanup and restoration job by Lowry Digital, the original trilogy films were changed once again for their release on DVD. In these new versions of the films, a few changes which had been made for the 1997 Special Editions were removed. Even more changes were made to the films, however. With this release, Lucasfilm created a new high-definition master of the films, which will be used in future releases as well. Its sound mix was a combination of the first SE mix and the original mono mix.
One of the most notable of these new changes includes new footage shot during the filming of Revenge of the Sith of Ian McDiarmid portraying Palpatine, which has been inserted into The Empire Strikes Back, replacing the original performance (voiced by actor Clive Revill and portrayed by Marjorie Eaton, wearing a specially made mask) recorded for the film. Another notable and quite controversial change was to a scene at the end of Episode VI, when the spirits of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, and Anakin Skywalker look upon the Rebels' celebration. The original actor who played Anakin in this scene (Sebastian Shaw) was replaced by Hayden Christensen, the actor who played Anakin in Episodes II and III.
In 2005, the 2004 Special Editions were again released on DVD; however, this time they were repackaged and sold as a three-disc set that did not include the bonus materials disc. This was done to provide a more affordable trilogy set.
The 2004 DVD changes were made in an attempt to make a better connection between the old and new trilogies. The 2004 DVD releases also received John D. Lowry's digital restoration visual enhancement treatment. The following is a partial list of changes:
A New Hope
- Darth Vader's voice filter was changed to match the rest of the saga.
- A buzz is now heard when R2-D2 opens the escape pod aboard Tantive IV.
- When the Jawa Sandcrawler stops outside the Lars Homestead, C-3PO says "We've stopped" before telling R2-D2 to wake up. He also says "Wake up!" an additional time.
- The long shot of Luke's landspeeder in the canyon, with the two Tusken Raiders taking aim, has been improved. Now instead of being merely a moving white "blob," the landspeeder is visible in minute detail.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi's scream to scare off the Sand People has been changed to a higher-pitched wail. The new version of Kenobi's scream in the 2004 version sounds similar to a krayt dragon (first seen in Star Wars Galaxies). This is similar to the sound that Boga on Utapau in Revenge of the Sith makes. Previously the sound had a dewback roar tacked onto the end.
- Luke's lightsaber is now the original blue again when he tried in Ben's hut.
- A brief shot of Luke's landspeeder as it enters Mos Eisley carrying Luke, Ben Kenobi, and the droids has been redone.
- All the scenes shot in Tunisia were found to have dirt on them and were cleaned. This made the sky look much bluer in most shots.
- The odd "pink glow" is removed from the extended Mos Eisley entrance sequence (which includes what is described in the precedent entry).
- The Han/Greedo scene is redone yet again, so that Greedo and Han shoot at almost exactly the same moment, but Greedo is still fractionally ahead. Han also dodges Greedo's shot by moving to his right in the new version in a slightly more lifelike manner. In addition, Han's original "Yes, I'll bet you have" line was restored, but was moved to a few frames earlier.
- After Han shoots Greedo, a frying sizzle can be heard.
- An improved CGI version of Jabba the Hutt now confronts Han Solo in the scene added to the 1997 re-release. This new version more closely resembles the way Jabba looked in Episode I.
- During the dialogue between Tarkin and Leia, their voices change modulation noticeably mid-sentence, and Leia's lines exhibit background hiss whenever she speaks.
- When Luke trains with his lightsaber on the Falcon, several shots are very green. The others remain very pale like they were originally.
- The line "There's no one here" has been added as the stormtroopers are searching the Falcon.
- When the docking bay controller tries to contact TK-421, slightly audible static can be heard over the communicator.
- The detail on Vader's chest has been digitally rotoscoped in one shot for unknown reasons.
- The matte painting in the detention block has been extended, making the corridor seem longer. The painting's perspective has been edited to make it appear more realistic.
- The dianoga's eye stalk that pops up over the water to spy on the heroes has been modified so that it blinks.
- The English lettering in the Death Star tractor beam control panel ("POWER - TRACTOR BEAM 12 (SEC. N6)" and "INOPERATIVE") is changed to Aurebesh lettering. The word "INOPERATIVE" is truncated out of the full-screen DVD version.
- An audible bump was added to the infamous gaffe where the stormtrooper on the screen-right bumps his head on the door-frame when they break into the control room. This mistake was alluded to in Episode II when Jango Fett, escaping from Obi-Wan on Kamino, bangs his helmet on the closing door of the Slave I.
- Luke and Leia's voice echo when they are trapped in the Death Star chasm has been redone more realistically.
- There are also several lightsaber mistakes visible in the battle between Obi-Wan and Vader, such as their lightsabers changing color, and Obi-Wan's missing its core, plus a few far shots still show uncolored lightsabers.
- As the blast door closes after Luke blasts the controls, Darth Vader's lightsaber glow was added.
- John Williams' score has been quieted or eliminated from some portions of the Battle of Yavin scene, such as "The Force Theme" when the X-wings make their first attack run which is now drowned out by the loud engines (except on the French audio track).
- The "He's on your tail!" that was added for the 1997 Special Edition was removed.
- The Code Cylinders in Grand Moff Tarkin's uniform jacket no longer move up and down between shots.
- The shot of the Y-wings descending to make the first attack run has been fixed. Originally, the two lead Y-wings disappeared too early, and only the third Y-wing exited the frame properly. Now all three move smoothly out of frame.
- The credits are unchanged from the 1997 Special Edition, except that the format was changed to make it more in line with the credits roll of the prequel trilogy.
- The left and right rear channels of the score have been swapped. 20th Century Fox claims these and other audio changes are "deliberate creative decisions" and not mistakes.
- Due to color timing issue, the entire movie has a magenta tint, especially noticeable in skin tones and explosions. Several segments show heavier color correction, especially the early shots of C-3PO and R2-D2 on the blockade runner. the entire film is oversaturated with many of the reds, greens, and blues nearly glowing, in particular, R2-D2 and R5-D4. The explosions recomposed for the 1997 theatrical release are all muted instead of bright.
The Empire Strikes Back
- The wording in the opening credits has subtle transparency errors.
- Due to color timing issues, the explosion accompanying the destruction of the shield generator appears with a strange tint of green and purple.
- At least one shot of R2-D2 in space has been modified with CG recoloring to make him have blue panels instead of black (the blue screen technique in the original film removed all color from the droid). With the new coloring, his black central "eye" appears much smaller than normal. Despite this fix, R2-D2's domes appear black in several other shots throughout this release of the trilogy.
- In the original and special edition, when Darth Vader asks if the Falcon's hyperdrive is deactivated, Admiral Piett's rank plaque and code cylinders are on the wrong side of his uniform (the plaque is supposed to be on the left side of his tunic, but it was on his right side). This is corrected and Piett has the correct rank placement on his uniform. The same was done for another officer in the same shot.
- Due to color timing issues, Yoda appears much more green than in previous versions, although this is also true of his incarnation in the prequel trilogy and therefore may have been intentional.
- In a scene where Darth Vader speaks to the Emperor via hologram, the Emperor is now Palpatine as portrayed by Ian McDiarmid (in the original film and the Special Edition, Marjorie Eaton, wearing a specially made mask with chimpanzee's eyes superimposed over her own portrayed the Emperor, whose voice was dubbed in by Clive Revill.) A few lines of new dialogue have been added to this scene as well, in which Palpatine informs Vader that their new enemy is "the offspring of Anakin Skywalker."
- The four lines spoken by Boba Fett (Originally in the voice of Jason Wingreen) are now in the voice of Temuera Morrison, the actor who played Jango Fett (Boba Fett's clone "father"). The engine sounds of his ship, Slave I, have also been modified to sound as they did in Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones.
- The odd "pink glow" on the scene where the Cloud Car is replaced by the Tibanna refinery in the Special Edition version is removed.
- In both the original and Special Edition versions of the film, during the scene in which Han is lowered into the carbon-freezing chamber, a shadow on the actor's clothing has given rise to a rumored (but false) wardrobe blooper of him wearing his dark jacket during one shot (behind the scenes shots of the scene dispel the rumor). The "jacket" has been digitally erased in this release.
- Due to color timing issues, Darth Vader's lightsaber in the Luke/Vader duel now looks pink instead of red in almost all the shots it is in (this problem is also in the Episode VI lightsaber duel as well). It also changes to orange in a few shots (when Vader leaps at Luke in their duel in the Carbon freezing chamber, and when they encounter in the cave on Dagobah).
- The tracked Emperor death scream by Luke Skywalker introduced in the Special Edition re-release, which is heard during Luke's voluntary fall from the Cloud City platform after his fight with Vader, was removed.
- The credits are unchanged from the 1997 Special Edition, except that the format was changed in make it more in line with the credits roll of the prequel trilogy. Consequently, Clive Revill remains credited as the voice of the Emperor, despite being replaced by McDiarmid, who remains uncredited.
Return of the Jedi
- The dialogue spoken by Jabba the Hutt in the scene where he is discussing the price for Chewbacca that had the subtitles added in the 1997 Special Edition has the subtitles removed, making C-3PO's dialogue in the scene relevant again.
- The matte lines on the rancor have been completely erased and the blue screen glow on the figure of Luke has been removed, with the colors being retimed to match, making the two appear to be in the same scene together.
- The effects of the scene from the interior of the Imperial Shuttle have been again improved, as to further decrease the transparency, which caused the Forest Moon of Endor to be seen through the cockpit in earlier releases.
- Due to color timing errors, Leia's makeup in the shuttle on their way to the Endor mission and on the ground appears very caked on and pasty.
- During the Speeder Bike chase through the Forests of Endor, Luke's Speeder Bike has had its speed decreased when Luke slows down to attack the two Imperial scouts following Himself and Leia. This was made to add realism upon braking speed and to also match Commander Neyo's Speeder Bike attack upon Jedi Master Stass Allie on Saleucami in Revenge of the Sith.
- At the beginning of the duel between Luke and Vader, in the scene where their sabers clash in front of the Emperor's face, the scene has been noticeably darkened. The lowered brightness hides the "Emperor's slugs" gaffe (dark colored blobs on the actor's hood to cover gaps in the makeup). This darkening makes the lightsabers appear to intersect, and makes it appear that Vader's saber is in front of Luke's, suggesting that he was trying to kill his master rather than defend him (this is of course an unintended consequence of the gaffe).
- Vader's lightsaber appears pink or red-violet in several scenes, then changes back to the normal red (compare the shot where he is searching for Luke who is hiding, versus most of their fight prior).
- In Anakin Skywalker's final scene, when he is not wearing his helmet, the eyebrows of actor Sebastian Shaw have been digitally removed. This is meant to indicate what happens to Anakin's eyebrows when he gets burned alive on Mustafar after the duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi. His eyes have also been changed to blue, to better resemble the Anakin portrayed by Hayden Christensen in the prequel trilogy. His skin tone has also been altered so it appears gray and colorless, instead of fleshy and pale like it was previously (also compare to his exposed head in Empire Strikes Back).
- Another scene of celebration, this one on Naboo, is shown after the Empire is defeated, some Gungans partake in the celebration, and one is heard chanting "Wesa free!", Some Star Wars fans believe that this is Jar Jar Binks even though it is not Jar Jar's voice.
- On the Coruscant celebration scene, one can see the Galactic Senate building in the distance at the start of the shot, and the Jedi Temple at the end. These replaced generic buildings that appeared in the 1997 Special Edition. This is meant to indicate that the Jedi Temple was not destroyed during the Great Jedi Purge. We can also see a stormtrooper being "crowd-surfed" against his will and uttering the infamous Wilhelm scream.
- In the final scene where the spirits of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Yoda appear to Luke, the Sebastian Shaw (as Anakin) has been replaced by Hayden Christensen. Only the head was replaced, but the rest of Anakin's body has been digitally altered to look more like Hayden Christensen, however, the details that show through from the background are identical in every respect revealing that only Hayden's head was used while it is still Sebastian Shaw's body. Lucas has said that the reason he made this change was because after redemption, Anakin returned to his "inner persona," once one with the Force, and appeared the way he was before he turned to the dark side of the Force.
- Note that in all three films, the ending credits have remained unchanged from the Special Edition releases in 1997. Thus, they do not reflect such changes as Ian McDiarmid's Emperor in The Empire Strikes Back or Hayden Christensen's Anakin in Return of the Jedi. However, the font was changed in order to reflect the credits of the prequel trilogy. In the case of pan-and-scan versions of the re-releases, the 2004 DVD releases were pan-and-scanned differently from the 1997 theatrical releases.
2006 DVD release
On September 12, 2006, the original trilogy was re-released on DVD for a limited time (until December 31, 2006). Each film (Episodes IV, V, and VI) is packaged as a two-disc set with the first disc presenting the 2004 Special Edition with remastered THX sound and video and the second disc containing the "original, unaltered theatrical release" of each film as "bonus material".
These original editions are presented as they were first shown theatrically. For example, Star Wars has the 1977 opening scroll (before "Episode IV: A New Hope" was added and other adjustments made for the April 10, 1981 re-issue). Though the original features are presented in Dolby 2.0 Surround audio, the video transfer is derived not from original masters, but from the 1993 Laserdisc transfer (aside from the original Episode IV opening scroll taken from a best available original 1977 print), meaning that the film's 2.39:1 Panavision format is letterboxed into a non-anamorphic 4:3 video frame, even for widescreen television playback. 
Instead of using the original theatrical sound mixes, the "bonus" DVD presentations use the 1993 laserdisc remixes. However, the Spanish and French audio tracks on the Star Wars DVD appear to be based on the original theatrical mono sound mix for the film, not the Definitive Collection version. Certain sound effects from the 1993 mix are missing (such as all of the "exploding glass" sounds when Luke and Han blast the various cameras and such in the Death Star's detention center), and certain sounds have been added (such as metallic clicks when R2-D2 and Chewbacca press buttons on the Millennium Falcon's holographic chessboard). Luke Skywalker also says "Blast it, Wedge, where are you?" during the final battle on the alternate language tracks, something he only said in the theatrical mono mix. In all other versions of the film, he says, "Blast it, Biggs, where are you?"
The French and Spanish audio tracks for The Empire Strikes Back 2006 DVD also feature a different sound mix than the 1993 Definitive Collection mix. This alternate mix features additional sounds that were not heard on the 35mm and subsequent home video versions, but which were later reincorporated into the 1997 and 2004 mixes. Such sounds include additional R2-D2 beeps when Yoda rummages through Luke's supplies, which are missing from prior mixes, and additional TIE Fighter engine sounds in the establishing shot of Darth Vader's Star Destroyer (after Luke Skywalker beheads the illusory Vader on Dagobah), which are missing from the prior sound mixes.
2011 Blu-ray release
In 2004, Lucasfilm's then-Vice President of Marketing Jim Ward speculated on future releases: "As the technology evolves and we get into a high-definition platform that is easily consumable by our customers, the situation is much better, but there will always be work to be done."
At Celebration V on August 14, 2010, a version of all six films released on the Blu-ray high-definition format was announced. It was said to include never-before-seen and otherwise unreleased deleted scenes from the original trilogy, although the set did not include the original editions.
A New Hope
- A rock was added in front of R2-D2 while he's hiding from the Tusken Raiders after they attack Luke. This confused many fans, as the hole he peeked out of was smaller than R2 himself.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi's Krayt Dragon call was changed.
- A subtle beep can be heard from R2 before Obi-Wan looks over at him.
- Some frames have been removed during Han and Greedo's shootout, leaving the scene more seamless.
- Blue hue during Death Star's explosion has been removed.
- During Luke's lightsaber training inside the Millennium Falcon, the green lightsaber effect was corrected to blue, but only the one shot was fixed, leaving the rest of the lightsaber effects in their original state.
- Some lines are from alternate takes.
- Matte boxes that occasionally surround the TIE fighters were removed.
- Missing portion of the frame that occurs during the TIE fighter attack on the Millennium Falcon was restored.
- Additional sound effects are added, and some are altered.
- Many of the audio changes made for the 1977 mono version were incorporated, with the exception of Beru's lines.
The Empire Strikes Back
- Digitally removed puppeteering flaw of rig visible on Wampa arm attacking Luke.
- A reflection has been added to a window in Cloud City when a cloud car passes by.
- Sparks have been added to the melting chamber when Chewbacca is searching for the remains of C-3PO in Cloud City.
Return of the Jedi
- The door of Jabba's Palace was edited to appear larger.
- There are brighter flashes of light when Han is released from the carbonite.
- A computer-generated Dug was added to Jabba's Palace.
- Computer-generated eyelids were added to some Ewoks.
- When R2-D2 is shot, some additional effects have been added, revealing his many hidden tools. In the same scene, an exposed cable from the production equipment laying across the ground was removed.
- Most of the lightsaber shots were restored by giving them back their white cores. Most notably during the shot where Vader and Luke cross blades in front of the Emperor.
- The "Emperor slugs" have been removed when the restoration team was working on the lightsabers of that shot.
- Vader shouts "No" in anger before he throws the Emperor down the pit.
2015 Digital Movie Collection
- The 20th Century Fox Fanfare was removed from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The ending of the track "The Rebel Fleet/End Title" from The Empire Strikes Back now plays over the Lucasfilm logo. A New Hope retained the fanfare, as 20th Century Fox owns permanent distribution rights to the film. Following the acquisition of 20th Century Fox by Disney in 2019.
2019 Disney+ 4K restoration
Coinciding with the launch of Disney+ on November 12, 2019, previously unannounced 4K versions of all films were released to the service. The restorations began in 2010 when George Lucas intended to restore the films for a 3D release, but the plans were shelved after Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012. The new restorations correct many of the DVNR and color correction issues that plagued the DVD and Blu-ray releases. Beyond those fixes, most of the changes from previous releases are left intact. These restorations were later released on 4K Blu-ray as part of the Skywalker Saga box set on April 10, 2020.
- The 20th Century Fox logo and fanfare have been restored for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, due to the Disney-Fox merger earlier that year. For these versions as well as A New Hope, the 1994 logo is used minus the News Corporation byline. The 1997 Lucasfilm logo has also been replaced by the 2015 logo.
- After having been changed in the 2004 DVD release to fit in line with the prequels, the original typeface for the "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." card before the opening crawl has been restored.
A New Hope
- Various shots throughout the film were recomposited or had effects slightly altered to appear properly in 4K.
- When R2-D2 and C-3PO part company in the desert, the clouds in the final longshot over C-3PO have been changed again.
- The color of the sky when Luke looks out at the Tatooine suns was redone. It now appears more solidly pink as opposed to pink and blue like in the 2004 version.
- A mistake from the 1997 version showing a transparent Luke visible in a doorway in the Lars homestead was finally removed.
- A fly which landed on the camera lens during a shot of Owen in the Lars homestead was digitally removed from the picture.
- The shadows cast on R2-D2 by the rocks added in the 2011 Blu-ray release were redone to give a greater sense of depth.
- The shot of the CG landspeeder entering Mos Eisley was slightly altered so the landspeeder's location is more to the right.
- A new edit is made to the Han/Greedo confrontation with a new shot of Greedo saying "ma klounkee" (spelled "Maclunkey" by fans), which roughly translates to "I'll end you" (based on what Sebulba said to Anakin in The Phantom Menace during their first confrontation), just before he and Han fire at each other (which is now one shot towards each other at the same time). The shot of Greedo exploding has also been altered by removing the Greedo dummy and changing the explosion cloud to give the impression that the explosion shot happened at the same angle Han and Greedo fired at each other. Disney stated that the change was done at the behest of George Lucas before the restoration was shelved following Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm.
- The laser bolt fired by the Training Remote on board the Millennium Falcon has its color restored to red.
- Luke's lightsaber color during his training scene aboard the Millennium Falcon has been fully corrected to blue.
- Various lightsaber effects were redone for the Obi-Wan vs. Vader duel in order to fix color errors and missing glows.
- A visible cable seen on Obi-Wan's hands during his duel with Vader has been removed.
- Some visual fixes during the Battle of Yavin that were made in the 2004 release were not replicated for the 2019 4K version, including missing Y-wings and Y-wings suddenly disappearing out of frame.
The Empire Strikes Back
- Various shots throughout the film were recomposited to appear properly in 4K.
- The close-up shot of the Wampa's arm swiping at Luke was slightly re-framed in order to better hide the edge of the puppeted arm.
- The wipe from Leia and General Rieekan speaking in Echo Base to the Imperial fleet in space was redone.
- The shield generator explosion was redone in order to hide the color timing error made in the 2004 version.
- Shots of the interior of the Millennium Falcon cockpit were slightly cropped to appear tighter.
- Luke and Vader's lightsaber colors during their duel in the Dagobah cave were redone to appear paler.
- The window that Leia looks out in the Cloud City apartment was slightly touched up again.
- The new smoke and sparks added to the Cloud City furnace in the 2011 Blu-ray release were slightly touched up.
- New artificial lighting was added to Han's computer generated shoulders (added in the 2004 DVD release) before he is put into the carbon chamber.
Changes to the prequel trilogy
2001 Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace DVD
Several deleted scenes are added into the film:
- Several introductions of other racers are included.
- Footage of the second lap in the Pod Race was reinserted.
- Removal of a scene of Watto screaming, "SEBULBA!"
- An air taxi sequence was reinserted after the arrival on Coruscant.
2002 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones DVD
Most of these changes did not appear in the main theatrical release, but made it into a version shown in select digital theaters.
- Several speeders were removed from a shot during the Bounty Hunter pursuit scene.
- New dialogue added to the scene where Anakin confesses to the Tusken slaughter to Padmé.
- Additional sparks and smoke have been added to Jango Fett's jetpack shortly before his death to better present its malfunction.
- After falling out of the gunship on Geonosis, a clone trooper asks if Padmé is alright. Her alert, somewhat offended-sounding response of "yes" has been changed to a more realistic groggy "Uh-huh."
- During their duel on Kamino a shot of Jango Fett headbutting Obi-Wan is removed from the UK version of the film and DVD.
- Anakin's mechanical hand now holds Padmé's hand during the closing wedding sequence (this was originally included in the DLP theater release of the film).
Despite Lucasfilm's official statement that there were absolutely no changes made to the theatrical version of the film, the November 1, 2005 DVD release of Revenge of the Sith had a few slight changes from the theatrical cut.
- In the scene where a shot transitions to Vader crawling up the lava bank, a wipe from the shot of Obi-Wan and Threepio in the cockpit of Padmé's ship leaving Mustafar to Vader's mechanical hand grasping at the volcanic soil has been replaced with a straight cut to this shot from the cockpit of Padmé's ship on the DVD.
- There is a different wipe and slightly shorter "Noooo!!" from Darth Vader.
2011 Blu-ray release
For the Blu-ray and future 3D release, The Phantom Menace went through an extensive restoration using the original digital files (although shot on film, a digital version of the movie was created back in 1999 for a short release in four theaters with digital projection). This restoration provides a clearer picture with no image magnification or artifacts, flaws which are present on the DVD release.
The Phantom Menace
- The scene composition affected by image magnification in the original DVD release was restored bringing around 8% more picture to the frame.
- Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan's Force speed effect was redone to look more realistic.
- A close-up shot of Nute Gunray and Rune Haako watching a viewscreen showing the Jedi escaping was replaced for a wide shot with a new effect for the screen itself.
- The puppet version of Yoda was replaced with a CGI version as in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
- An effects error causing Fode and Beed's hand to pass through their vest was fixed.
- Right after Jabba the Hutt's introduction before the podrace a new voice is heard from a spectator when the camera is focused on the crowd.
- Calls from the Senate to "Vote now!" when Queen Amidala puts forward a motion of no confidence have been replaced with the sound of a general uproar.
Attack of the Clones
- During the chase on Coruscant, when Anakin and Obi-Wan pass through the power couplings, several shots are rearranged.
- During Anakin's nightmare scene, a voiceover of his mother Shmi is added.
- After Yoda saves Obi-Wan and Anakin from Dooku's falling pillar, the reaction shots of Yoda and then Anakin and Obi-Wan are moved to before the shots of Dooku escaping on his ship and Padmé and the clonetroopers arriving and firing at him. This edit creates an irregularity in the background music.
Revenge of the Sith
- The scene in which Obi-Wan encounters General Grievous on Utapau and the Clone Army arrives is altered, adding dialogue from the troopers as they land on the platform.
- The Kashyyyk headquarters rooftop was rendered to appear more significantly aged by adding moss and rust.
- The transition from Padmé's ship to Vader's hand on Mustafar is changed from a straight cut back to a wipe, restoring the original theatrical release.
At a ShoWest convention in 2005, George Lucas demonstrated new technology and stated that he was planning to release all six films in 3D. The Phantom Menace was released in 3D on Februrary 10, 2012, based on the 2011 Blu-Ray master. The only confirmed change was the sharpening of a magnetic wand during the podracing scene. Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith were originally set for release in September and October 2013 respectively, but were postponed following Disney's buyout of Lucasfilm.
2015 Digital Movie Collection
- The 20th Century Fox Fanfare was removed from all three prequel films. The ending of the track "The Rebel Fleet/End Title" from The Empire Strikes Back now plays over the Lucasfilm logo.
2019 Disney+ 4K restoration
Along with the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy was remastered in 4K for Disney+ upon the service's launch on November 12, 2019. Unlike the original trilogy, which used brand-new scans for restoration, these are up-scaled versions of the digital master files used for the 2011 Blu-Ray release, with some improvements to picture quality. For The Phantom Menace, visible instances of digital video noise reduction (DVNR) that were present in the Blu-ray release have been removed, restoring much of the original picture. Like the original trilogy, these restorations were released to 4K Blu-ray as part of the Skywalker Saga box set.
- The 20th Century Fox logo and fanfare have been restored for all three prequel films due to the Disney-Fox merger earlier that year, minus the News Corporation byline. The 1997 Lucasfilm logo is replaced by the 2015 logo.
Changes to the Sequel Trilogy
2016 Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens Blu-Ray/DVD
- The ending music, The Jedi Steps and End Title, was altered at the 4:00 mark, replacing part of Rey's Theme with Scherzo for X-Wings.
Many fans were displeased by some of the changes Lucas has made. It is the most evergreen topic for fan criticism of George Lucas and is the most broadly accepted as inspiring legitimate objections. Re-release changes were also the first major cause of the reactionary criticism phenomenon that takes a vehemently anti-Lucas stance, known as "Lucas bashing". Even some people associated to the franchise have come to hate these changes, such as original trilogy producer Gary Kurtz, who felt that a movie is what it was at the time, which is one of his reasons for which he rails against changing movies all the time.
Greedo shooting at Han is particularly contentious. In the 2004 Special Edition DVD set the shots are timed to occur almost simultaneously, with Greedo's shot being just a hair faster and with Solo now effectively dodging his head out of the way from the blast. However, many argue that not only should Greedo not have made his shot, but that the scene undermines Solo's character. Han's original action marked him as a tough, independent-minded character; having him respond to Greedo makes him appear weaker, though he is still nonchalant about killing him. This change was so controversial that it spanned a movement called "Han shot first", a retort to Lucas' assertion that Greedo shot first.
There was also controversy over Lucas' decision to place Hayden Christensen in the end scene of Return of the Jedi instead of Sebastian Shaw, as well as replacing the heavy fan favorite "Boba Fett's" voice with Temuera Morrison's (Jango Fett). Many longtime fans feel that it's disrespectful to the original trilogy, although others feel that it helps the two trilogies flow together better.
The altering of the dialogue between the Emperor and Vader has also been criticized as creating a contradiction, since it implies Vader does not realize Luke is his son until this moment, despite his being "obsessed" with finding Skywalker, mentioning him by name and pursuing him for the rest of the movie until this point. Defenders have argued that the scene is an improvement because it provides another blatant example of Vader plotting against his master by playing dumb in the face of this revelation.
Other fans especially missed the "songs" that were altered in Return of the Jedi ("Lapti Nek" and "Yub Nub"). They point out that the new music makes the Ewok's dancing and antics seem out of place (for example the "Stormtrooper Helmet drums" were beat in sync with the original music in the theatrical version). Others have argued that the new flute music and pan over shots of the planets being liberated makes a more effective end to the entire saga, rather than just a celebration of the single battle. The alteration of "Lapti Nek" into the new "Jedi Rocks" to many critics helps to undermine the serious nature and threat of Jabba the Hutt and his evil henchmen. They characterize the new sequence as "cartoonish," with overt pandering to Boba Fett "fanboys" by introducing superfluous shots of Don Bies in the bounty hunter suit.
A final alteration, unique to the 2004 DVD release, is that of lightsaber discoloration. In the scene in Episode IV where Luke trains against the practice droid aboard the Millennium Falcon, his lightsaber blade is inexplicably given a faint (but distinct) green color. Also, Vader's blade, in particular, is given a "pink" hue throughout the original trilogy. Perhaps the largest infraction is a scene in which two blades are seen to pass "through" one another during the final climax of Episode VI. This appears to be the result of color balance changes for the 2004 release.
On December 9, 2005, a new set of Star Wars original trilogy DVDs were released, also with the label "Limited Edition". However, it was merely a repackaged and discounted version of the 2004 set with no changes, and no original versions (despite packaging that some felt was misleading in that it used the original theatrical film posters, as if to imply that these were the original versions). The set was discounted in price, with the fourth (bonus) disc from the previously released 2004 set removed.
Reportedly, nostalgia for the original versions of the original Star Wars Trilogy on a high quality format has driven up the demand for the Laser Disc editions of the movies released prior to 1997, as well as the proliferation of fan made DVD's, often encoded from the Laser Disc originals. How far the demand will go depends upon sales of the current "official" releases of the original versions of the classic trilogy on DVD.
In 2019, George Lucas gave his approval for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to screen a non-Special Edition 70mm print of A New Hope (alongside Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). The print in question was a negative from the United Kingdom used for the film's 1981 re-release, which featured the aforementioned opening crawl modifications.
Notes and references
- Star Wars Special Edition Changer HD. Google Plus. Archived from the original on September 19, 2016.
- Google Plus. (backup link not available)
- Google Plus. (backup link not available)
- Star Wars Lucas DVD LD Laserdisc Review and comparison. Archived from the original on March 21, 2002.
- This is Madness!. Archived from the original on May 10, 2016.
- Star Wars in 100 Scenes
- Google Plus. (backup link not available)
- Google Plus. (backup link not available)
- 'Star Wars' Series Comes To Blu-ray Next Year, Deleted Scenes (And More) In Tow. MTV. Archived from the original on August 18, 2010.
- Blu-ray: Some More Tinkering With The Saga?. TheForce.net. Archived from the original on July 18, 2020.
- Upcoming Star Wars Blu-Ray Films Have Corrections. Archived from the original on July 30, 2012.
- Google Plus. (backup link not available)
- Hunt, Bill (December 4, 2019). Star Wars: A New Hope – A Visual Guide to Changes, Fixes, and Tweaks in the Disney+ 4K Version. thedigitalbits.com. Archived from the original on August 20, 2020.
- Breznican, Anthony (November 12, 2019). George Lucas Himself Gave Greedo the Last Word in Controversial New Star Wars Edit. vanityfair.com. Archived from the original on January 16, 2020.
- Star Wars: A New Hope – A Visual Guide to Changes, Fixes, and Tweaks in the Disney+ 4K Version. Archived from the original on August 20, 2020.
- P., Ken (November 11, 2002). An Interview with Gary Kurtz. IGN. movies.ign.com. Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved on November 24, 2018.
- Can't Even Get the Special Edition Right, on savestarwars.com.
- Cavanaugh, Patrick (July 1, 2019). George Lucas Approved Rare Pre-Special Edition Star Wars Screening. comicbook.com. Archived from the original on July 2, 2019.
Fan/news media links:
- DVD Active - A New Hope Differences between versions of A New Hope
- DVD Active - The Empire Strikes Back Differences between versions of The Empire Strikes Back
- DVD Active - Return of the Jedi Differences between versions of Return of the Jedi
- DVD Active - The Prequel Trilogy Differences between versions of The Prequel Trilogy
- The Starkiller's Guide to the Mono Sound Mix of Star Wars Website about differences between the mono and original stereo version of A New Hope. Includes samples.
- The Original First-Week Engagements of "Star Wars" Article that includes info on the multiple theatrical sound mixes of A New Hope
- May 25, 1977: A Day Long Remembered Another article that includes info on the multiple theatrical sound mixes of A New Hope
- CNN presents - STAR WARS: Twenty Years Later
- MSNBC - Lucas talks as ‘Star Wars’ trilogy returns
- Star Wars Compendium of Lost Footage
- Censored Star Wars QuickTime movie illustrating the laser blast removal on the Special Editions. (1.3MB)