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Complete Comparison of Special Edition Visual Changes

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 (Edited)

I am working on upgrading/expanding/completing the Special Edition visual changes for eventual use on savestarwars.com, but figured I’d share it outside of that thread for those interested. I used WookieGroomer’s Splitscreen 1080p wmv to take the frame-by-frame shots, and msycamore provided the 1997 screencaps.

Star Wars 1977/2011

I’m still tweaking it, especially the text. Please submit suggestions for possible text and let me know if I missed anything.

The most interesting thing we’ve noticed is that each wipe from 2004 starts early enough to cover up the original optical wipe and the fades from black start a lot later, almost as if they were trying to cover up the original wipes instead of recreating them. This goes against all previously known facts about the wipes.

EMPIRE STRIKES BACK:

Empire Strikes Back 1980/2011

RETURN OF THE JEDI:

Return of the Jedi 1983/2011

JEDIT: All links are to the final versions.

JEDIT 2: You can also find all the links on http://starwarsviscomp.doubleofive.com
 

 


 
 

Mod Edit: For the many of us wanting to have an official release of the unaltered theatrical version of the Original Trilogy…
 

Disney+ Should Offer the Star Wars Original Cuts’ article on the Wired website by doubleofive : #ReleaseTheOriginalTrilogy

#ReleaseTheOriginalTrilogy : OT.com thread on doubleofive’s article : ‘What We Want And How To Make It’ - a sequel article.
 

❗ #ReleaseTheOriginalTrilogy | OriginalTrilogy•com’s enduring goal | How YOU can help… ❗

^ The OT•com supporting the #ReleaseTheOriginalTrilogy campaign - the call for an official release of the unaltered theatrical version of the three classic Star Wars films - and what YOU can do to help restore them to the galaxy. MTFBWY… Always.

 
 


 

Additional sources of information on many of the changes made to the Original Trilogy films over the years:-

 

Star Wars Visual Comparisons - website by doubleofive

Star Wars Special Edition Visual Comparisons’ - blog by doubleofive; with links to Photo Galleries here - SW : ESB : ROTJ

Star Wars Special Edition Visual Comparisons’ - twitter page by doubleofive

Disney+ Should Offer the Star Wars Original Cuts’ article on the Wired website by doubleofive : #ReleaseTheOriginalTrilogy : #ReleaseTheOriginalTrilogy : OT.com thread on doubleofive’s article : ‘What We Want And How To Make It’ - a sequel article.

'A Visual Guide to Changes, Fixes & Tweaks in the 2019 SE Version - article by doubleofive on The Digital Bits : SW : ESB : ROTJ

StarWars•com Official 2004 Changes Preservation : SW : ESB : ROTJ - compiled by doubleofive

StarWars•com Official 1997 Changes Articles : SW: SE : ESB: SE : ROTJ: SE - via the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine website

A helpful overview of the changes to the OT - and surrounding issues - from zombie84’s SaveStarWars•com’s FAQ Page

Special Edition Changes’ - 2010 article on the changes made for the 2004 DVD release - from zombie84’s SaveStarWars•com

Shot List Spreadsheet - v0.6.05 - 6 films - Multiple SW Audio Mix Changes Added’ - OT•com thread, by none.

Star Wars Changes’ (Original Trilogy) - YouTube Videos by 13las : SW : ESB : ROTJ : Disney+ : The Prequels

All Changes Made To Star Wars’ (Original Trilogy) - YouTube Videos by Marcelo Zuniga : SW - Part 1 : SW - Part 2 : ESB : ROTJ

DVDActive•com’sStar Wars - The Changes’ articles (via the Internet Acrhive’s WayBack Machine) - SW : ESB : ROTJ : The Prequels

The Big List of Changes to the SW films’ OT•com thread on the FromScriptToDVD site’s comparison articles - by Gregatron

Who Shot First? The Complete List Of Star Wars Changes - an Empire film magazine article

Wookieepedia’sList of changes in Star Wars re-releases’ page

List of changes in Star Wars re-releases’ - from the IPFS•io website

Star Wars Comparison’s YouTube video channel for comparing theatrical cuts to official blu ray and various fan projects.

 

and also reading through these superb OT•com threads (by doubleofive):-

‘Sources on the Special Edition’ - in the Theatrical Cuts vs. Subsequent Releases section of the site.

‘Modern SE Revisionism’ - in the Theatrical Cuts vs. Subsequent Releases section of the site.

 

these three discussion threads on the issue of uncorrected mistakes that still feature in the official Special Edition releases:-

You’d think they’d clean this up… - uncorrected mistakes (2004 OT DVD release thread)

What HASN’T been changed on Blu-ray – the uncorrected mistakes of Star Wars (2011 OT Blu ray release thread)

Uncorrected mistakes or unfixed issues of the 2019 SE (Maclunkey) Original Trilogy release?

 

as well as these Index Threads which link to many topics of discussion here on the OT•com regarding the changes made to the Original Trilogy films:-

An Index Thread for Theatrical Cuts vs. Subsequent Releases…

An Index Thread for Original Trilogy Discussion…

 

and this Index Thread focusing on the Audio of the Original Trilogy:-

An Index of OT•com threads on all things the Audio of the Original Trilogy… (2020 thread)

 

plus these three similarly related threads, pinned in the Original Trilogy Discussion section of the site…

An OriginalTrilogy.com timeline thread - a history of the site and why & how it came to be…

George Lucas: Star Wars Creator, Unreliable Narrator & Time Travelling Revisionist…

Some useful OT.com threads re the non-release of the theatrical OT films | How you can help…

 

If you know of any suitable and quality articles, videos or links to be added to those listed above, please post them in here.

Also, if you see any broken links or errors please also post them in here too - thank you.
 

Last updated: 23rd October, 2021.

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This wipe is the most obvious that starts earlier than the original:

However, of all the wipes, this one is the only one that actually starts later than the original:

Very strange.

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Why did they not erase the reflexion of the wall on the floor ?

You see ? We can see the relexion of the vertical columns of the wall which is no longer present in the SE !

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You also have a CGI desert in that shot, it looks horrible.

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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Yes, you can even see some computer generated sand blowing in the wind from the left of the frame.

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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Well, what with the colour creative fuck-ups erm... decisions, there isn't a single unmolested shot in the 04 version.

 

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I think you can change the description to this comparison.

The original opening crawl had the text on 21 lines, so to still keep it as 21 lines when adding two new lines (Episode IV, A NEW HOPE) they simply changed the spacing of the words in the first two paragraphs of the text. That's my theory, but they still didn't get the timing exactly right as the music is now slightly out of sync with the reveal of Tatooine.

Secondly, the capitalization of "Rebel" was not done to match the first (the first Rebel starts a sentence, that's why it has a capital "R") I think it was done to match how it now was written in Empire, I also think they capitalized rebel when they revised the script to ANH in '79.

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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You have done a good job on this, doubleofive. Several changes I didn't know existed, the alternate takes for example, very interesting.

I checked the '97 version for you, and I can confirm that this Alderaan shot is a 2004 alteration.

...and maybe you could use this pic for a better demonstration of this comparison and definitely change the description of it.

I like how they managed to erase a big part of the speeder in the process of "improving" this shot. ;) 

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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ray_afraid said:

msycamore said:

I like how they managed to erase a big part of the speeder in the process of "improving" this shot. ;) 

I'm not seeing it...

The whole bottom of the speeder is completely shaved off, Look at how much thinner the new speeder looks compared to the old one.

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Thanks guys, that is a much better frame. I'll try to replace it tomorrow. Keep the suggestions/confirmations coming. This can't be all of them, can it?

Any way we can confirm the timing on the wipes or fades? Does the 97 fade to 3PO have as much blank screen as the 2004? That may be the easiest one to test.

EDIT: just realized that that was my frame, you just wanted me to replace the GOUT image with that one. Where did yours come from, so I can label it?

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It looks like it's from the JSC set.

A Goon in a Gaggle of 'em

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It's slightly thinner, helps give the speeder the illusion of a little more lft. Never been a big deal to me..

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Check this out:

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_1WBvrwBY-EI/TIkheFqWMZI/AAAAAAAAFWU/cjbwHWzCc8Y/s400/Comp-126.jpg

It looks like the canopy is completely different. CG, you think?

EDIT: looking at it again, they may just have used a retimed original element.

I just finished going through and restoring the original captions back to their original wording (I kept my grammatical fixes as some of them were in present tense) and put them in quotes, with space for commentary at the bottom. I also more clearly labelled when the change first took place.

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 (Edited)

ray_afraid said:

Yeah, I can see it now. Still looks better..
Clearer, yes, but had they gone back to the original element and erased the wheels properly instead of erasing the vasoline smear they wouldn't have had to crop the speeder itself.

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doubleofive said:

Any way we can confirm the timing on the wipes or fades? Does the 97 fade to 3PO have as much blank screen as the 2004? That may be the easiest one to test.

EDIT: just realized that that was my frame, you just wanted me to replace the GOUT image with that one. Where did yours come from, so I can label it?

I'm not sure which fade you're talking about, I believe the wipes on the '04DVD is the same as on the '97SE, but I can of course check it for you.

Yes, that pic is from the JSC LD.

This is a '97 recomp, the '81 version only changed the opening scene and when it cuts to this shot it's back to '77 again.

I cannot see why they recomposited this shot, there is a different starfield but I can't see any significant improvement done, not to the blockade runner either, maybe the material was damaged or too dirty? Any ideas?

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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msycamore said:

I'm not sure which fade you're talking about, I believe the wipes on the '04DVD is the same as on the '97SE, but I can of course check it for you.
I'm talking about this:

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_1WBvrwBY-EI/TIk3vv4ecRI/AAAAAAAAFhg/dMinwhFcG7U/s400/Wipe-006.jpg

The 1977 version fades to 3PO almost completely before the 2004 version even starts, leaving black screen for a longer period of time. It's not an issue of the wipes being the same, its that the timing is different.

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I checked that fade to C-3PO in the oil bath and the timing is exactly the same on the '97 SE as in the '04 DVD.

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com