Yeah, but it's not the version we'd actually like to see released. The missing Falcon dish is evidence enough that it's not quite the finished product. In the world of software (which is where I work), it'd be 0.9 or something.
Well, the fact is that the 70mm and 35mm versions were both released to the public in 1980, so in that sense they were both finished products, it's two cuts of the same film which was enjoyed by millions of people. Both are important IMO. Just the audio mix on the 70mm cut on its own is a huge part of its importance. There's still a missing radar dish on the Falcon in Star Wars as late as 2011...
Many people fell in love with at the time so called "final mix" for Star Wars which was the mono mix in '77, but have never been able to enjoy that on a video release after all these years, but if they would only release Star Wars with at the time seen by its creator as the final mix I would be disappointed because I fell in love with the earlier Dolby Stereo. So, I would definitely like to see both cuts of Empire preserved just like I would like to see all three original mixes on Star Wars preserved.
No one has seen the 70mm version outside of that initial release. I consider myself a pretty big fan and I wasn't even aware of its existence until a few years ago. The current version is what everyone knows as ESB.
You could say this about the '97 release as well which basically is just another step in the evolution of the films as Lucas see it, the difference is that homevideo was around when that happened, but many people took those "unfinished products" to their heart and would like to see them on a modern format.
BTW I think there is another audio change in ANH.
Luke now clearly says "BUT its not impossible" in the Rebel briefing. In the original it seems the "but" was partially cutoff in the audio.
I know this thread is for visual changes but I wanted to see if anyone can confirm.
Luke say "but it's not impossible..." in the original Dolby Stereo mixes at least, not sure about the Mono or how it is in subsequent versions. Edit: He starts the line with "but" in all three original mixes but like you said it's not something clearly audiable, misunderstood your question. Not heard the latest mix.