Hal9000's Custom Star Wars: A New Hope Special Edition
First and foremost, I must give credit Harmy for making this endeavor plausible for me. His companion pieces of the Despecialied and Respecialized Editions are so alike visually, that it makes it a no-brainer for someone like me to cobble them together with ease. Credit is also due to dark_jedi and TeamBlu for creating the source material for the Respecialized Edition, and Kk650 for color corrected '11 footage.
Having satiated my restlessness with the Star Wars prequels, I wanted to put together a custom 'Special Edition' of the original trilogy to place on my shelf alongside the original, theatrical versions (currently represented by Harmy's Despecialized Editions). I thought about calling them the "So You've Decided To Watch The Special Edition" version, because they wouldn't be intended as one's sole version of the films. Rather, a companion piece to the original versions, as a Special Edition should be.
I do not consider this a "fan edit," as I am merely hybridizing existing official versions of the film, keeping changes I can appreciate and excluding those I feel hinder the film. Of course, this is highly subjective, and everyone's perfect blend would be slightly different.
I utilized three primary sources for this project: Harmy's Despecialized Edition 2.5, Harmy's Respecialized Edition, and Kk650's Semi-Specialized Edition. I used Harmy's Respecialized Edition, a recreation of the 1997 SE, as my basis, including audio. Given these sources, and their sources in turn, this project is presented as a 720p BluRay-compatible mkv with 5.1 AC3 audio, which happens to be compact enough to fit onto a DL-DVD.
Here follows a list of changes made to the 1997 SE starting point for this project.
Used DEed to remove added vaporators to address continuity problem caused by the SE:
Used DEed for Leia's hologram in Luke's garage, to reinstate the "cone of light" missing from R2 in the SE.
Used DEed to remove ghostly Luke in a must-have-been-recomped establishing shot of morning at the Lars homestead.
Used Kk650 to include the '04+ recomped version of Luke's speeder being sniped by Tuskens.
Retooled the Mos Eisley entrance. The 1997 SE version is used for the speeder heading toward the town, followed by the 1997 SE speeder driving past a few troopers (removing the CGI 'helicopter' shot, and swoop bike startling a ronto), followed by the DEed version of the entire conversation with the checkpoint trooper. The 1997 SE establishing shots are used as they head toward the cantina, as well as the CGI dewback outside. Bottom line: minimum of distracting CGI during entrance, removal of foreground ronto in front of camera, removal of CGI droid flying past camera, though keeping a few establishing shots and CGI dewback in front of cantina (partially in order to keep the enhanced establishing shot of the cantina itself).
Used DEed to reinstate the Wolfman.
Used DEed to remove CGI stormtrooper and dewback as Threepio takes note of stormtroopers outside the cantina.
Needless to say, Han shoots first thanks to the DEed.
Used DEed to remove floating CGI droid following troopers around as they search the streets.
Used DEed to remove SE Jabba the Hutt scene.
Used DEed to reinstate censored blaster flashes and flames across the chests of shot Imperial officers.
Used DEed to restore a blinking light in the background of the Death Star elevator scene that was static in the 1997 SE+.
Used Kk650 to include the '04+ fixed set extension painting for the cell bay (including newly melty trash grate as Leia fires at it).
Used Kk650 to include new Aurabesh text on the Death Star tractor beam display, and later on as Tarkin is preparing to fire upon Yavin IV.
Used DEed version of the shot where Han rounds a corner to find troopers lying in wait.
The sabers are as seen in Harmy's Respecialized Edition. Most have had the original compositing restored by Harmy, save Luke's while training aboard the Falcon. (Exception: I used Kk650 for a few shots where Vader's saber turns white after dueling Ben.)
Used Kk650 to use the '11 version of a shot of the Falcon firing upon a TIE that fixed a framing error.
Used Kk650 to use the '04+ version of a shot of three Y-wings descending upon the Death Star that fixed a compositing error.
Did a little work to recreate the original version's final shot. The SE+ freezes the frame a bit later, and catches Leia mid-gesture before wiping to credits. The original freezes frame a few frames earlier. But I retained the 1997 version of the end credits themselves.
I stuck with the 1997 mix for the most part. It features a great deal of sounds that were previously only present in the mono mix, and its the sound mix that feels right to me, having grown up with it. However, here are the audio changes I remember making, aside from changes to ensure audio matches changes made to the video:
Used hairy_hen's audio to remove the 'whizzing' space debris sounds as the Falcon exits hyperspace near the Death Star.
Used hairy_hen's audio for the shootout in the cell bay to remove excessive glass shattering sounds and anachronistic ESB blaster sounds.
I'm giving this project a soft release on Myspleen only, and I'd prefer not to have it listed at FanEdit.org due to the large dependence it has on the prior work of others. It's just something for my own enjoyment that others may appreciate.
Well done. I will disengage self-destruct initiative.