OK, I’d like to begin with saying this isn’t my idea and it is one from another editor they may or may not be end up using it, but its an idea none the less that I thought might be worth sharing as it requires little to no alterations, to already planned edits.
Rather than having Death Star I and then II the idea is to have the death star damaged or at least only partially
destroyed, and then repaired over the course of ESB to be once again fully operational.
I think this is a great idea !
It is easy to implement, and takes away that unrealistic second death star that was built in no time and it was clearly a proof that GL was out of ideas to be used in ROTJ. And fixes that unrealistic idea that an entire death star was simply vaporized. There should be a giant piece that was still there, despite broken by the big explosion caused by the main reactor (that of course took a big piece of the Death Star, but it didn’t destroy it completely).
In ESB the mentioning of the death star being repaired can be done in the crawl, and that’s it ! You don’t need to change anything else in this movie ! The audience would be expecting to see the repaired death star, but they wouldn’t see it, they would only see it in ROTJ, and it would still be broken, what makes it more realistic due to the size (it is the size of a small moon, something this big can’t be fixed fast).
Besides that, the only thing I would like to see is a fix for Luke becoming a Jedi without finishing his training. In the crawl of ROTJ can be mentioned that Luke returned to Dagobah to finish his training, and the Empire was chasing the rebels across the galaxy. So when ROTJ starts Luke is already a Jedi (some rearranging of the scenes can be done in the way it was done in a previous ROTJ Fanedit, I don’t remember who it was, sorry).
I have to say I’m on the other side of the room on this idea. While there is nothing wrong with the idea itself and it’s logic works well, I feel it should be part of a different set of fan edits (which this one could be used as a base for) rather than one that is more or less sticking to the original and widely loved story, including the 2nd Death Star which wasn’t an issue for most people. Of course it is Ady’s edit in the end, I am simply stating that personally I feel it would be a shame for what will be the perfect re-imagining of what the SEs could have been turn into another alternate take of the Star Wars story that one has to decide whether the story changes align with what they enjoy about Star Wars or not.
In regards to some of your comments about the 2nd Death Star, I don’t see how it was unrealistic when:
7 years had passed since the destruction of the first one (so not “no time”) and it is only partially built at probably around 55-60% when looking at what is visibly missing and still under construction with large gaping spaces they are yet to fill in on the more completed left hemisphere where the Superlaser resides and even the visible lights are only focused around the centre area right below the Superlaser.
Considering the vast resources of the Empire, the bulk of them usually unseen and the obvious urgent need to rebuild their ultimate big stick to keep all the local systems in line out of fear (as explained in ANH), it actually makes sense for them to pour more resources and effort into reestablishing that ultimate weapon even quicker than before especially considering the Rebel’s themselves know they are not indestructible as the general public are led to believe.
And I don’t see the first Death Star being vaporised as an issue either considering how much energy is stored in it such that it can destroy an untold amount of planets which are many magnitudes large than the Death Star itself.
I agree that something could be added to the crawl regarding Luke having become a Jedi in all but name but you can make this assumption anyway from the movie title and I feel it was meant to be left ambiguous as it elevates the tension of the Jabba rescue not knowing what Luke’s abilities are when seeing him again for the first time since the events of TESB 3 years ago (4 years in movie time) when he lost badly to Vader.
Technically he is not yet a Jedi though when you remember Luke’s exchange with Yoda later on where Yoda says only after confronting Vader will he truly be a Jedi. Luke also confirms for us that this is the first time he has returned since he left in TESB, intending to complete his training, so your idea for the crawl would clash with this:
Luke: But I need your help. I’ve come back to complete the training.
Yoda: No more training, do you require. Already know you that which you need.
Luke: Then I am a Jedi.
Yoda: [coughs trying to speak] Not yet. One thing remains: Vader. You must…confront…Vader. Then, only then, a Jedi, will you be. And confront him, you will.