I am not the first to try my hand at this edit. TM2YC had a go at it, and to my understanding intends to complete it someday.
Likewise, Obi Benuubi also began work on it, though he has fizzled out and has not been heard from for some time. To his credit, he already typed up a great deal of the same background information and links that I would provide. Therefore, I will be reusing some of his OP here.
There exists a rough cut of Star Wars: A New Hope. This has become what people now call “The Lost Cut”. This version was originally spliced together by John Jympson. The film was later re-cut to form the film I saw in theaters back in May 1977.
David Reynolds published an article in the Star Wars Insider #41 that talked about it. Here’s a brief rundown of what he mentioned:
Black-and-white, silent 13 35mm reels.
The reel cans are labeled “The Star Wars”, which was the original title.
30-40% different footage (including unused scenes and longer/alternate takes).
Feels less dramatic than theatrical cut; more documentary-like.
Live projected backgrounds were often used in place of blue screen effects.
There is more time given to both main and secondary characters.
For reference, here are pictures to the article describing the “Lost Cut.”
Star Wars Insider #41 scans: Pages 68-75, 4 files, 2 pages each: http://i.imgur.com/T43degX.jpg | http://i.imgur.com/JKQGxxg.jpg | http://i.imgur.com/FmXE3YP.jpg | http://i.imgur.com/x4JVqx9.jpg
I am working on recreating this same cut as closely as we can with today’s existing footage. Admittedly, this is a hypothetical cut that comes closer to matching this “Lost Cut” than the version we all love, but it certainly is not the same.
I am very fortunate to have TM2YC’s permission to use his rough draft, where he had already made a great deal of wonderful progress. We don’t have exactly the same plans, but he did so much that I am truly amazed and appreciative of the foundation he has laid. If I do actually end up completing this project, I still could hardly take any credit for it, because truly it is his edit with my tailoring. I have no intention to steal his thunder, and therefore, if he ever decides to revoke his permission, I feel I owe it to him to give him back his work. However, I hope he will continue to allow me to work using his project as a starting point.
The scenes will be structured to match the original script, with the novel providing assistance.
I will use as many deleted scenes and alternate takes as possible.
Existing footage will be downgraded with scratches and dirt, and all will be in black and white.
I will add audio from the Radio Drama on rare occasions to flesh out dialogue or add emotion
Luke will make two trench runs as described in the novel and originally scripted
Among the differences from the true Lost Cut are the obvious facts that I will retain sound and music. Also, there will be times when I keep shots that only existed in reshoots, such as some of the creatures from the cantina.
I also have a bit of a different vision from TM2YC when completing this project. While he was trying to retain a compelling storyline at the expense of historical accuracy, I am going to reproduce the Lost Cut with greater accuracy, though it will probably be a less interesting story for it.
I already have numerous alternate and deleted shots available, though I am open to new material if you find something I was not aware of.
I am also open to suggestions. For instance, there are times where it would be useful to have a shot, yet the closest we might have available is a single frame. Should I include these pictures, perhaps with a “SCENE MISSING” overlay and dialogue/soundtrack to help fill in gaps? Should I use stock footage from WWII at times, or should I just stick to Star Wars footage? Should I use pre-effects footage when available?
While most of the audio editing shouldn’t be too problematic, there is one area where it truly becomes difficult: the Battle of Yavin; the music and dialogue are so intertwined that one cannot isolate the dialogue, and yet the scene requires a great deal of reordering. This results in a very awkward audio experience. I intend to rebuild the audio for this particular scene, but it is difficult without isolated dialogue. I found some lines from the soundboard on starwars.com, but that is only a small percentage of the total lines. I will probably have to capture each individual line, reduce the sound, and insert a low-quality line back into the movie, hoping the new soundtrack will cover most of the flaws.
I would appreciate is some help with special effects. Yes, I know that Star Wars did not utilize the CGI I am requesting, but I believe they are within the spirit of the original movie and make certain elements work better. I cannot do even the most basic of tasks, but I imagine my requests are rather simple for some of the technical wizards I’ve seen around here:
Take one of the shots of Luke zooming down the Death Star trench towards the camera and add a proton torpedo launch - this is to give variety to the proton torpedo launches since Luke is making two runs. It will still be a reused element, but it will appear different with the torpedo launch.
Remove the view of the trench outside Luke’s cockpit after Red Leader dies and he looks concerned - as he looks far more distressed after Red Leader dies than after Biggs dies, and as we will be reintroducing the Biggs scenes, I believe it is better to switch the shots, but the reaction to new Biggs’s death shows the trench walls through the windows.
Add the effect of an exploding Alderaan to the screen that Leia is watching when she sees her homeworld destroyed - there is actual video of her watching the viewscreen, but this picture of her walking away is merely a lone still.
Assistance with recreating a different Star Wars opening crawl - this is an earlier version of the crawl with a different logo that recedes with the rest of the text. This picture actually belongs to a YouTube video that recreates the crawl, but it fades earlier than would be ideal.
Has anyone ever obtained individual sound elements from the 1983 Star Wars arcade game? I know that there are some lines there that might prove useful.
Many, many thanks go to TM2YC for putting so much work into this edit already. He has created effects that allow for the inclusion of more material and has allowed me to use his draft as a springboard.
This post has been edited.
The ROTJ collaborative thread is a wealth of ideas, both on how to edit Return of the Jedi, as well as how to collaborate in an edit.