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Anyone else think Empire Strikes Back's Special Edition is actually better than the Theatrical Cut? — Page 3

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It’s all awful apart from the speeder effects, and I’ve never been entirely sure how they cleaned up so well.

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A big No from me, they butchered Williams score to have Vader land on the Super Star Destroyer, ruined the tension of Luke being rescued as well.

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 (Edited)

The thing that really tied together the Special Edition of Empire was the Emperor’s scream.

When Luke lets go and falls into the chasm, the first thing you naturally want to know is: “What does the Emperor think about this turn of events?” And with the scream, you know. The Emperor is distraught! His well-laid plans have gone awry! He just starts screaming as if he’s the one falling into the void, not Luke.

But that’s not the most brilliant part. It’s one of those things that’s difficult to notice until someone points it out and afterwards it’s obvious, like the stormtrooper bonking his head, but there’s something else about that scene where the Emperor screams. I’m going to use spoiler tags, because it will blow your mind.

The Emperor is not even there. Really! Go check. Not on Bespin. At. All.

This gives us a few possibilities:

  1. The Emperor IS there, in secret, hiding in the enclosed area at the other end of the bridge, certainly close enough to see what’s going on and be heard yelling about it. In fact, maybe he’s always been running the Empire from the dark, mechanical underbelly of Cloud City.
  2. The Emperor is not there, but his hologram is there to witness events.
  3. The Emperor is using his previously undisclosed “force yell” ability, where you can yell so loud that it can be heard several planets away. Note that this is not the same as the force telepathy Luke uses to contact Leia (the audience could not hear his voice on the Falcon, after all), but something much, much louder.

#1 is appealing, but flawed. Lando clearly knows all the arrivals, departures, and goings-on at Cloud City. If the Emperor was there, he’d have known it. And if he knew it, he’d have appealed to the Emperor directly when Vader unilaterally changed the terms of their deal. That’s not the sort of stunt you can pull when the boss is literally right down the hall.

#3 also has a certain poetry to it. But again, it’s flawed. A force yell of that magnitude would have deafened people between the Emperor and the chasm. And yet people on the Falcon, and on Vader’s Star Destroyer, are later shown talking to and understanding each other, even when their backs are turned. No, much as a force yell would round out the spiritual aspect of the force, it did not happen here. That’s not to say the force yell could not be a real thing, but for that, we must still wait, and hope.

This leaves us with #2. Vader was talking to the Emperor’s hologram at the other end of the bridge, before the last round of the fight started. There are two possible times Vader could have had a brief opportunity to talk to the Emperor’s hologram: before the scene where Vader blows Luke out the window, or after. To start up a call with the boss at such a critical time must have meant he had an important question that could not wait.

If it was before he blew Luke out the window, the question was clearly “Can I fight him two-handed now?” because right when Luke comes in, Vader makes the big show about fighting him two-handed. If it was after Luke went out the window, the question was clearly “Can I tell him I’m his father?”. But here’s the thing: Vader never ended the call – the hologram was still hanging out and watching, otherwise it wouldn’t have screamed when Luke fell. So it clearly could not have been before Luke got blown out the window, or else he (and we) would have seen the Emperor’s hologram when he was inside.

So after Luke’s out the window and struggling to climb back onto the catwalk, THAT’S when Vader makes the call to the Emperor. When Luke tries to re-enter the building, Vader reacts with the speed of a man with an embarrassing website on his browser (watch that scene again, you’ll see it), and Luke never sees the hologram.

So what does this tell us? Vader sought and got permission to tell Luke all of those things at the end of the bridge, and that the Emperor was watching the whole thing. So after Vader said they could join forces to overthrow the Emperor and rule the galaxy together, the scream allows the audience to know this critical fact (sit down for this one):

Vader was being dishonest. Ergo, Vader is actually… a bad guy! Think about this: how else would you have known this? Like Greedo shooting first, sometimes the audience needs these little cues to keep the heroes and villains straight.

And THAT’S why the Emperor’s scream was so brilliant, and why it was heartening to hear that, like all Special Edition changes, it was how Lucas planned the movie to be all along, but simply lacked the technology at the time to do it (in this case, the technological issue was that they hadn’t yet cast Ian McDiarmid, so his voice wouldn’t match the other holographic Emperor, and one thing I know Lucas would never stoop to is using two completely different voices or faces for the same character in the same film, so they obviously had to wait).

Although I am puzzled and disappointed that they removed it later.

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the 1997 versions yes. I will always love the enhancement of cloud city and a few other small changes, plus we still get Fett’s original voice. As far as the old emperor hologram I don’t really mind it though I would prefer Ian just not in such a huge in your face appearance like they gave him in 2004.

The only change I didn’t like for the 97 ESB was the “Alert my star destroyer to prepare for my arrival” sequence.

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Luke’s scream as he falls after the duel with Vader is another 97SE atrocity, thankfully removed in all subsequent SEs.

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There are a few things in the SE that I like - full body shots of the Wampa, added shot of Slave I following the Falcon, extended sequence of the Falcon entering Cloud City, and especially the unbutchered music cues. However, I think there are more changes that do harm than good. The worst offender being the added scene where Vader boards the Executor (the interior of which by complete coincidence looks EXACTLY like the DSII that hasn’t been built yet). It completely ruins the pacing of what in the original version was a masterfully crafted climax to one of the greatest achievements in the history of American film.

So yeah, as much as I like some of the changes, the original will always reign supreme for me.

I hate the Disney Channel Live Action Universe

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The 1980 theatrical release is perfect - why mess with it?

I do like the added SE shot of the SLAVE-1 pass-by. That’s it.

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The Snowspeeder no longer being so transparent and see through. Its the only change i like. Other than improvements in audio fidelity in the 97 edition, or how the prints were not as murky and dirty, nicer colors.

The standard Eastman prints of Empire were absolute crap. I’ve never actually seen a nice 35mm print that was not severely faded. Dirty looking, never the same colors, splicy.

If only there was a way to get the 1980 version restored to the same level of quality as the special edition from 97.

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The reason i like the ESB special edition is because it doesn’t ruin the pacing in my opinon.

The jabba scene in ANH ruins the reveal of the falcon, it removes the mystique of Jabba & it is redundant. We already learned everything we need to know from Greedo.

Don’t get me started on Jedi rocks from ROTJ, but i will say i prefer the celebration song from the Special edition of ROTJ.

What, no Turkey?!

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To me as you have stated the “Bring my shuttle” being replaced did bothered me as well however as an added quick shot of the falcon at cloud city that was a little better than the original shot of the falcon just landing I like the “falcon flyover” of cloud city was a nice touch added to the film. It kinda gives you o lets you know and understand the scope of how big Cloud Cloud really is and where the Falcon was heading and going to land at.

I Am The Way, The Light, and The Force.

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When I first saw TESB SE in the theater, I did think it was better. As I analyze it now, I’m not so sure. I think Ian as Emperor is better, but the extra dialog they added needs to be cut. And the original Wampa scene was better. And the flaws in the windows added to Bespin have begun to annoy me. If I was making my cut, I would use the SE and restore the original wampa scene, a lot of the original Bespin shots (including the Falcon shots), a cut down Emperor scene, but I’d leave the rest. I actually like the Vader’s new line at the end and thought that new edit to the end built even more tension. I’d either cut, swap, or do something so the ROTJ commander isn’t there. Maybe some subtle editing with Admiral Piet.

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The windows added made it look more sci-fi and like a space station and not a soundstage, i’m fine with those. The Wampa shot is crap and removes the tension from that scene. The cgi in general isn’t better than the original model photography just like Star Wars Special Edition.

The Jango Fett Boba Fett and Revenge of the Sith Emperor being added in 2005 are all garbage. At least the 97 is Wingreen and Clive Revill.

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I do agree whole heartly on the Wampa Part it does look stupid but disagree slightly on Cloud City windows thats only because I saw the original as it was and like it as is. don’t know how old are you but I saw it in the theatre when I came out it looked fine to us.

I Am The Way, The Light, and The Force.

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Some of the shots are just needless tinkering like when Lucas would change a building exterior or the way the camera moves in a shot. If your going to do a “special edition” a least what is changed should be an improvement.

Like the zoomed in Falcon cockpit interior to tighten a shot in the Special Edition, what was the purpose of that?

Or when he goes about fixing a continuity error like with Ian as the Emperor in the reshoot, only to not bother to keep it within continuity by having him wear his Revenge of the Sith makeup. Not bothering to have the makeup artists and costumers get his ROTJ look right for one redone scene. Its incredibly lazy.

Or when he pasted Hayden on Shaw’s body instead of shooting a replacement plate of new footage.

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mate said:

Although I really hate the Special Editions for ANH and ROTJ, ESB’s Special Edition is different to me. It doesn’t really change much from the film other than a few things like Ian playing the Emperor and showing the wampa creature, both of which in my opinion actually improve the film. Only the “Bring my shuttle” line being changed really bothered me.
I especially liked that they opened up Sky City, an idea that actually came from Kirshner himself. Though the matte paintings of the Theatrical Cut hold a special place in my heart, the CGI rendition of the city is still acceptable and thankfully it’s the only time a practical effect was replaced, which is another thing I love: One thing that pissed me off about ANH’s Special Edition was taking practical effect shots and replacing them with CGI, especially because the CGI looks worse than the original shots (Even for the Death Star battle, but for some reason most people actually think the CGI version of that one looks better) but ESB’s Special Edition doesn’t do that and while it still adds some CGI shots: No practical effect was replaced, something I really appreciate.

Are CRAZY you must going mad? The original theatre is the best out all three but some of the special insert shot do bug me. The “Wampa” arm cut off shot that stunk it too away the mystery of it. Also and some of the new dialogue did bothered me somewhat. What your take?

I Am The Way, The Light, and The Force.

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crissrudd4554 said:

My vote no. The suspense of the Wampa scene is reduced by showing it too much, expanding Cloud City is nice but IMO calls too much attention to itself, using Ian would’ve been better if he wasn’t delivering his lines like he’s literally reading from cue cards, recycling footage from ROTJ to show Vader returning to his shuttle was pointless, and, no, getting rid of ‘Bring my shuttle’ for me was a big no no. I will agree though ESB is the more tolerable of the SEs.

I agree with you 100% I see you noticed the Vader Dialogue change and the Vader going to the Death Star was unecessary as well.

I Am The Way, The Light, and The Force.