Sign In

George Lucas: Unreliable Narrator & Time Travelling Revisionist...

Author
Time
 (Edited)

Introduction…

 
Hopefully this OT•com signpost thread will help highlight and chronicle just some of George Lucas’ many contradictions and his continual retconning of Star Wars history - especially in regards to the ideas and planning stages for the Original Trilogy films.

To strive for an accurate, revision-free, and authentic record on the history & evolution of Star Wars.

To serve as an introductory source of information - attempting to catalogue the countless erroneous claims and seemingly hypocritical statements from Lucasfilm and / or George himself - in one centralised thread. Also featured in here is some information on the evolution of Star Wars; from the ideas & planning stages, to the screen, and then later changes made for the 1997, 2004, and 2011 Special Edition releases…
 

’Why is this needed?’ some may ask…

A recent conversation on here regarding some of Lucas’ re-writing of events struck a chord; for over 20 years now the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy has been suppressed. Other than old VHS tapes, laserdiscs or the substandard non-anamorphic DVD ‘bonus’ release in 2006 (a then-13 year old laserdisc transfer), the only way to watch these versions has been by unofficial means [cough] - or settle and watch the various official ‘George’s visions’ & much-changed ‘Special Edition’ releases…

Many of the new generation(s) of fans are seemingly oblivious that the original theatrical versions actually exist - and also seemingly quite unaware and uninformed about Lucas’ alterations to the history of Star Wars. Therefore, they are generally accepting of George’s revised statements; taking them as true and accurate accounts - when in reality… many are anything but.

Of course, some excellent and exhaustively detailed resources already exist and are available in book form - notably zombie84’s insightful ‘The Secret History of Star Wars’, and JW Rinzler’s illuminatory ‘Making Of’ trilogy of books (based on the Charles Lippincott interviews) for the three classic films, amongst other books of quality too. Yet these can be quite expensive to obtain - and are only up to date with information to hand at the time of going to the presses.
 

Simple, easy-to-find and free information cataloging Lucas’ revisionism & contradictions remains few and far between.
 

Whilst there are a few quality articles remain online, they often concentrate on a singular topic or issue - and are also now fewer in number - as years go by some sites become defunct, or links to them removed & broken. Though a number of posts and threads made here on the OT•com do highlight some of the historical alterations by Lucas, some are with links to articles and interviews that no longer function too, or are without citations, or focus more on the better-known revisionist aspects…

And so there is seemingly no focal point of information which catalogs many of the various retcons and conflicting statements from George himself - that can be found in one centralised place. Hence the creation of this thread - an attempt to try and remedy that… - or hopefully inspire (or horrify) someone to improve upon this & create a far better account of their own! 👍

(Though if anyone does find or know of such an online bastion of knowledge & information which already exists - please let us know!)

 

If you have any suggestions, or have specific subjects / topics for inclusion to this thread, or any additional info and quality sources, please post them below - with a citation (a link to an article, website, book, interview, or a video etc) - thank you.

 

Just a quick note…

As mentioned above, there have been quite a few contradictory claims and retcons on the history and development of Star Wars over the years from George himself. Attempting to highlight the intriguing and factual account of The Galaxy Far Far Away isn’t a ‘bashing Lucas’ exercise or unfounded criticism of the man himself - a philanthropist who has generously given much of his fortune away to charities, educational endevours and good causes. The same determined visionary who brought us these classic films and the universe within… yet this thread is more a striving for an accurate, revision-free, and authentic record on the history & evolution of Star Wars.

Also, not everyone will agree with certain segments of the information provided below - some of it is indeed subjective - and may likely come down to that old, familiar, and somewhat convenient phrase…

Speaking of which, for clarity - this post has been compiled as a member of this site - and NOT as a moderator.
 

 


 

Index Of Categories

 

1 • The origins and influences for Star Wars…

2 • The Changing Number of Episodes in the Star Wars Saga…

3 • How Star Wars Was Saved In The Edit…

4 • Star Wars 1977 title crawl - no ‘A New Hope’, and no ‘Episode IV’.

5 • Vader: ‘Luke, originally I was NOT your father’ (Anakin & Vader were two entirely separate characters)

6 • The origin of the Vader name…

7 • Who is the main character in the Star Wars Saga?

8 • On Leia not being Luke’s twin sister…

9 • Jabba originally was a human; from planning to filming…

10 • How secrecy drove a wedge between Darth Vader actor David Prowse and Lucasfilm, and later ostracisation from Star Wars events.

11 • Changes to the Return Of The Jedi script & film - and also Lucas’ outlook on film-making…

12 • The Importance of Tone Toys In Film-making…

13 • Lucas reduces the collaboration process of film-making during Return Of The Jedi, reducing it further over time, and into the Prequels…

14 • The many changes made to the Original Trilogy over time…

15 • How many differing releases have there been of the Original Trilogy?

16 • The 1997 Special Editions - George Lucas’ ‘vision’ - was a paid-for experiment and practice for the coming CGI-heavy Prequel Trilogy; as stated by the man himself.

17 • Lucas stated the 1997 Special Edition was meant to be ‘the final cut’…

18 • ‘George’s Vision’ - The Final Cut / 1997 Special Edition - was never released on DVD or blu ray (or other digital format)

19 • The 2004 Special Edition DVD release; there were no mistakes - just ‘deliberate creative decisions’…

20 • The Lucasfilm claim that… ‘The negatives of the movies were permanently altered for the creation of the Special Editions’…

21 • The 2006 DVD ‘bonus disk’ release of the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy (aka the GOUT…)

22 • The 2011 blu ray release; even more changes - ‘NOOooooo!’ - and yet still not many fixes…

23 • The changing colour and reduced detail of the Original Trilogy films - through the various Special Edition releases…

24 • Much of the original groundbreaking & award winning work, along with that by the talented artists and craftsmen (and women), has been lost or altered since the introduction of the Special Editions…

25 • What do people who worked on the unaltered Original Trilogy films think of the various Special Editions?

26 • Lucasfilm removing people who worked on / contributed to the Original Trilogy films from history…

27 • Han Shot First…

28 • George Lucas claims in 2012 that Han NEVER Shot First…

29 • How Harrison Ford got the part of Han Solo; Harrison’s story - and George’s…

30 • Han Solo was planned to appear in Episode III.

31 • Jabba; the differences from being human in a 1977 (deleted scene), to changes in 1997, and further changes in 2004…

32 • The contradictions / discrepancies / plot holes between the Prequel and Original Trilogies…

33 • Midichlorians and The Force… (and a 30 year retcon by Lucas)

34 • Buyer Beware: Lucasfilm authorised / released material indicating a certain era or time - may well contain Special Edition content inserted into it.

35 • Lucas attitude to the fans - and evasion of discourse on the suppression of the unaltered Original Trilogy films…

36 • Who made the Original Trilogy films…?

37 • Lucas hypocritical statements 1; George Lucas: ‘People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians’…

38 • Lucas hypocritical statements 2; George Lucas: ‘American works of art belong to the American public; they are part of our cultural history’…

39 • Lucas hypocritical statements 3; Do As I Say, Not As I Do: George Lucas Quotes on Film Preservation. Pt 1.

40 • Lucas hypocritical statements 4; Do As I Say, Not As I Do: George Lucas Quotes on Film Preservation. Pt 2.

41 • Lucas hypocritical statements 5; The Greatest Speech Against the Special Edition was from George Lucas…

42 • Lucas hypocritical statements 6; Lucas Refuses to Co-Operate with Government Film Preservation Organizations.

43 • Where are all the film prints for the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy films?

44 • The cost of restoring / preserving the Original Trilogy; by George…

45 • The cost of restoring / preserving the Original Trilogy; by the fans…

46 • Why does this site want a release of the unaltered theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy?
 

 


 

Category Subjects

 

1. The origins and influences for Star Wars…

 

The following image is taken from Star Wars Producer Blasts ‘Star Wars’ Myths - a 2014 article from an interview with Star Wars & Empire Strikes Back producer Gary Kurtz. Much more information can be found in the link above; from the Mashable website:-
 

^ It is interesting to note that George Lucas had not read Joseph Campbell’s book on mythology, ‘The Hero With a Thousand Faces’, until he’d “almost finished” [writing?] the original Star Wars film.

 

The following screenshot image is taken from Chapter 8 of Chris Taylor’s book ‘How Star Wars Conquered The Universe’ - in which there is another similar mention of overstating the effect of Joseph Campbell’s book upon Star Wars, by Gary Kurtz; noting that …‘the Campbell connection wasn’t mentioned in interviews until after Lucas had met the author in 1983’:-

 

Much has been made of the connection between Joseph Campbell’s book and the influence it had on the Original Trilogy over the years; a litany of online articles credit the book and impact on Star Wars, along with articles on the Star Wars website itself:-

Mythic Discovery within the inner reaches of Outer Space: Joseph Campbell meets George Lucas - Pt. 1

Mythic Discovery within the inner reaches of Outer Space: Joseph Campbell meets George Lucas - Pt. 2

and the ‘The Mythology of STAR WARS’ (a youtube link) - interview with George Lucas by Bill Moyers from 1999.

An online article on the above topic can be found here - ‘The Mythology of Star Wars with George Lucas’ - at BillMoyers.com

…yet as stated in the article above, there is no mention of the Campbell - or his book - ‘The Hero With a Thousand Faces’, having any impact or influence on Star Wars (1977) - or seemingly a significant impact or influence for the other two films in the Trilogy - during the planning or making of these three classic movies / before Lucas met Campbell in person in 1983.

If anyone knows of an article or interview with George mentioning Campbell or his book before 1983 please let us know!

 

There are, however, many interviews and articles which contain George mentioning various other origins and / or influences for Star Wars from that time-frame…
 

^ a screenshot image taken from the ‘Lucas: Galactic General of Star Wars’ article in the LA Times - back in June, 1977.

 

^ a screenshot image taken from the 'Once Upon A Galaxy: A Journal of The Making of The Empire Strikes Back’ book, published in 1980, by Alan Arnold (page 255)

 

^ a screenshot image taken from the August 25th, 1977 interview with George Lucas in Rolling Stone magazine; titled 'George Lucas: The Wizard of Star Wars’ - which can also be found online here:-

https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/movie-news/george-lucas-the-wizard-of-star-wars-2-232011

 

^ a screenshot image taken from a 1977 interview in the April issue of ‘American Film’ magazine titled ‘George Lucas Goes Far Out’ by Stephen Zito. This can be found on Page 47 of George Lucas: Interviews, a 1999 book, by Sally Cline.

 

The Influence and Imagery of Akira Kurosawa…

A comprehensive look Kurosawa’s influence on George Lucas as a film-maker can be found here, in a five part section, at The Secret History of Star Wars website, by OT•com member zomebie84 (aka author Michael Kaminski - for information about his encyclopedic & illuminating book of the same title) - and kindly saved, uploaded and re-hosted by fellow OT•com member ‘none’:-

The Influence and Imagery of Akira Kurosawa

 

‘What are the key influences on Star Wars’, ‘Six movies that directly influenced the making of Star Wars’ and ‘How Akira Kurosawa influenced Star Wars’ - three insightful online articles covering a range of influences for the Original Trilogy films - all from the quality In A Far Away Galaxy website.

 

^ a big thanks & credit to Shopping Maul for the idea of a Category covering Lucas’ claims re the origins and influences for Star Wars. ^

 

 

 

2. The Changing Number of Episodes in the Star Wars Saga…

 

12 Episodes…

Two interviews with quotes from George Lucas; one from Bantha Tracks, one from Prevue…

In May 1980, Lucas announced in Bantha Tracks the 12-film approach had been scrapped:-

Bantha Tracks: “At one point there were going to be twelve Star Wars films.”

GL: “I cut that number down to nine because the other three were tangential to the saga.”

&

in the 1980 interview with Prevue:-

GL: “When the smoke cleared, I said, ‘This is really great. I’ll do another trilogy that takes place after this.’ I had three trilogies of nine films, and then another couple of odd films. Essentially, there were twelve films.”

^ The Lost Star Wars Stories: Episodes X-XII - article from The Secret History of Star Wars website.

 

and from Issue 15 of the ‘Star Wars Official Poster Monthly’, in 1979:-

 

9 Episodes…

In the 'Once Upon A Galaxy: A Journal of The Making of The Empire Strikes Back’ book, published in 1980, by Alan Arnold (page 177) - George Lucas states…

and later, on page 247 of the same book, Lucas states…

^ OT.com Thread : TheForce.net Forum Thread

 

6 Episodes…

’Creating The Galaxy: Myth Maker And Jedi Master George Lucas In His Own Words’, by Amy Longsdorf.

GL: "Yes. The series starts with Darth Vader as a young lad and ends with him dying. So I don’t know where else I can take it.

Interviewer: “Wasn’t there talk at one time of three trilogies?”

GL: “That was created by the media, not by me.”

^ OT.com Thread

 

On Page 66 of the November 2004 issue of Empire Magazine (UK); from an exclusive interview with George Lucas:-

George Lucas: “There is no VII, VIII, IX. There never has been.”

^ Screenshots of Page 64, Page 65 and Page 66 of the entire interview can be found by clicking on the links.
 

^ a big thanks & credit to Mocata for remembering about this quote by George Lucas - and where to find it… ^

 

And yet George is also on film, clearly stating that…

GL: “There are nine films - I think of it more the as three three-act plays” - at 2m 27s in this video from Celebration 2019 - link

 

3 Episodes… (aka The Original Trilogy)

Yes, the following is the same quotes and source used above in a previous category… yet…

On Page 66 of the November 2004 issue of Empire Magazine (UK); from an exclusive interview with George Lucas:-

George Lucas: “The original story was meant to be IV, V & VI.”

^ Screenshots of Page 64, Page 65 and Page 66 of the entire interview can be found by clicking on the links.

 

1 Episode (and then a follow-up novel which would also be a cheap-to-film Sequel)…

Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye

'In the midst of fraught post-production on Star Wars, George Lucas was planning ahead. As we reported in our previous The Great Unmade: Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye, Lucas was hedging his bets. He wasn’t convinced that his space opera would be a great success, and considered using his ghost author for the novelization, Alan Dean Foster, to help him thrash out a sequel.

Rather than just be a tie-in novel, this could be a cheaply filmed follow-up. In October 1976, Lucas, Foster and Lucasfilm vice president Charles Lippincott had protracted story conferences about how to follow up Star Wars, and adapt this sequel for the screen.

Their conversation was recently transcribed by J W Rinzler, author of the acclaimed “Making Of” books on the Star Wars films, and appeared in Star Wars Insider magazine. Among the surprises that result from their brainstorming is the fact that:

  • Lucas didn’t think Vader was a strong villain
  • Leia could run off with a Wookiee, and possibly be killed off, or at least get a gruesome pummeling
  • Luke would be tougher and more worldly (they didn’t think they’d get Harrison Ford back)’

^ The above text, and more information can be found in the link below…

Star Wars Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye Story Conference - article at the Cinetropolis website.
 

‘Imagine if you will, Star Wars hasn’t taken off quite as well as we now know. George Lucas had a contingency plan. He approached writer Alan Dean Foster, who ghost wrote the novelization of Star Wars, to come up with a story that could be knocked out as a quickie screen sequel. That story became the first Star Wars spin-off novel, and later comic adaptation, Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye.’

^ The above text, and more information can be found in the link below…

The Great Unmade? Star Wars: Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye - article at the Cinetropolis website.

 

A Brief History of George Lucas’ ‘Star Wars’ Sequel Trilogy article at FilmSchoolRejects.com is also worth reading for piecing together the changing stories and contradictory claims of George in regards to the changing number number of episodes planned - and ideas & outlines for them.

 

 

 

3. How Star Wars Was Saved In The Edit…

 

An insightful video essay exploring how the talented editing team for Star Wars recut and rearranged 1977’s Star Wars to create the cinematic classic it became:-
 

How Star Wars was saved in the edit

^ How Star Wars was saved in the Edit youtube video, by RocketJump

 
 

‘Biographer Dale Pollock once wrote that Marcia was George Lucas’ “secret weapon.” Most people are aware that George Lucas was once married, and probably some are aware that his wife worked in the film industry herself and edited all of George’s early films before their 1983 divorce. But few are aware of the implications that her presence brought, and the transformations her departure allowed. She was, in many ways, more than just the supportive wife–she was a partner as well. “Not a fifty percent partner,” as she herself admits, but nonetheless an important one, and the only person that Lucas could totally confide in back then. Today, she has been practically erased from the history books at Lucasfilm.

Looking through J.W. Rinzler’s Making of Star Wars, she is mentioned only occasionally in passing, a background element, and not a single word of hers is quoted; she is a silent extra, absent from any photographs and only indirectly acknowledged, her contributions downplayed. In the documentary Empire of Dreams, she is barely even mentioned in passing, except when the narration states that she edited the film and Lucas says he “got divorced as Jedi was complete” in the last two minutes of the supposedly-definitive documentary. Other products fare not much better, since many of them are published through Lucasfilm; her entire existence has nearly been ignored. Marcia Lucas, the “other” Lucas, has basically become the forgotten Lucas.’

^ The above text, and more information can be found in the link below…

In Tribute to Marcia Lucas - article from The Secret History of Star Wars website.

 

It is interesting to note that Marcia Lucas remains the only Lucas to win an Academy Award for Star Wars - along with Richard Chew (left) & Paul Hirsch (right) for Film Editing - pictured above in 1978.

 

 

 

4. Star Wars 1977 title crawl - no ‘A New Hope’, and no ‘Episode IV’…

 

Not so much a contradictory statement or attempt to rewrite history - though listed here for info & reference…

Star Wars: Art Of The Title - article from the Art Of The Title website

&

'When Star Wars was originally released in 1977 it was but a single movie.

A single movie that smashed attendance records all around the world and everyone who saw that movie in that theatrical run saw that now famous title crawl without reference to ‘A New Hope’.

Star Wars was simply called Star Wars.

Spring forward to the making of The Empire Strikes Back. During production, George Lucas was sufficiently sound of a mind that he had lots of Star Wars stories to tell - some of them were set before Star Wars so he came up with the idea that The Empire Strikes Back was actually Episode 5.

So Empire was released in 1980 to even bigger success than the original film with a crawl that referenced the story as being Episode 5.

This lead to a second theatrical release of the original movies in 1981 and it was at this point that George Lucas added ‘A New Hope’ to the film’s crawl.’

^ The above text, and more information can be found in the link below…

When did Star Wars become known as A New Hope? - article from the In A Far Away Galaxy website.

 

‘The original opening crawl had text on 21 lines, so to still keep it the same runtime after adding the title in 1981 the spacing of the words were adjusted (1). This also changed the musical timing of the paragraphs (2). “Rebel” is now capitalized as well. (1981)’:-

^ The above text and image are taken from the Star Wars Comparison twitter page - by OT•com member doubleofive

 

 

 

5. Vader: ‘Luke, originally I was not your father’…

 

Vader and Luke’s father (Anakin - or rather ‘Annikin’) were two entirely separate characters…
 

The following images are taken from the Darth Vader’s Original Backstory (Before He Was Retconned To Be Luke’s Father) - article, with much more information in the link, from the ScreenRant website:-

^ and yet these claims by George are contradicted by the evidence below…

 

 

and also here…

^ the image screenshot is taken from the August 25th, 1977 interview with George Lucas in Rolling Stone magazine; titled 'George Lucas: The Wizard of Star Wars’ - which can also be found online here:-

https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/movie-news/george-lucas-the-wizard-of-star-wars-2-232011

 

More in-depth information can be also found in the following article…

The Birth of Father Skywalker - article from The Secret History of Star Wars website.
 

Also please read the ‘Darth Vader’s name does not mean Dark Father’ article from the In A Far Away Galaxy website, linked below, in the next category…

 

 

 

6. The origin of the Vader name…

 

^ from George Lucas and the Cult of Darth Vader - article from Rolling Stone (2005)
 

Yet we already know that Darth Vader was originally not Luke’s father (Anakin, a separate character was Luke’s father) - and Vader being made Luke’s father was only a ret-con made for Empire Strikes Back. It is in fact a pure coincidence that Vader became Luke’s Father - and the German “Vater” meaning father, are similar.
 

More information can be found here:-

Darth Vader’s name was NOT a clue that he was Luke’s father…

Darth Vader’s name does not mean Dark Father - article from the In A Far Away Galaxy website.

&

^ The above screenshot image is abridged (for adverts and length) and taken from Did German Speakers Understand The Darth Vader Reveal Before Anyone Else? - article from the Forbes website.

 

^ a big thanks & credit to adywan for the information, idea and inspiration to include the above topic in this thread. ^

 

 

 

7. Who is the main character in the Star Wars Saga?

 

George says it is Darth Vader…

 
’Creating The Galaxy: Myth Maker And Jedi Master George Lucas In His Own Words’, by Amy Longsdorf. : OT.com Thread

GL: “It’s really a story about Darth Vader. Luke and Leia became central figures and had a strong impact. But I knew if I gave Darth Vader his due, you would understand what a tragic story the whole thing was and it would change the way you look at the other movies. So that’s why I did it.”
 

Contrary to the above, in 1976 - George Lucas, author Alan Dean Foster & Star Wars publicist & advertising guru Charles Lippincott - when talking about a sequel film that would become the ‘Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye’ novel…

GL: “The other thing we haven’t dealt with is Darth Vader. But Darth Vader, as we discovered in this picture, tends to be pushy; he’s not strong enough as the villain to hold the villain role. he doesn’t have the persona that you need. You really need a Cushing guy, a really slimy, ugly….”

(As already listed in this thread - we know that Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader were two entirely separate characters… until being retconned in Empire Strikes Back.)

^ The above info (screenshot and text) is taken from the Star Wars Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye Story Conference article - at the Cinetropolis website.

 

George’s own scripts & story synopsis state it is Luke Skywalker - along with novelisations of the film…

 
Many of the draft scripts for Star Wars were titled ‘Star Wars: The Adventures of Luke Starkiller’ too (before Luke was given the surname ‘Skywalker’ instead), which would seem to confirm the story being about Luke, as can be found at the link below:-

Starkiller - The Jedi Bendu Script Site
 

There is also no mention of Darth Vader at all in the earlier 1973 Story Synopsis - yet a version of the character of Luke features prominently, which can be found at:-

Starkiller - The Jedi Bendu Script Site
 

Officially released Star Wars novelisations also referred to the ‘Adventures Of Luke Skywalker’ too…

‘Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker’ - archived StarWars•com website link to the novelisation of the film

‘Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker’ - Wikipedia page (for additional info)

 

As well as officially released record and cassettes for The Empire Strikes Back too…

The Empire Strikes Back - From the Adventures Of Luke Skywalker - vinyl & cassette cover info at the Restraining Bolt website

 

 

 

8. On Leia not being Luke’s twin sister…

 

Leia was not originally Luke’s sister - there was another character who was Luke’s sister in the planning stages, and through the Star Wars & Empire Strikes Back films (cue incestuous kisses - and more emphasis for a love triangle between Luke, Han & Leia in earlier drafts of Empire) - then retconned to be Luke’s sister for Return Of The Jedi…

The Empire Strikes Back – First Draft by Leigh Brackett article from T-bone’s StarWarz.com site

 

The name of Luke’s sister (before Leia was retconned to be his sister for ROTJ) was… Nellith.

 

and also this article…

Did German Speakers Understand The Darth Vader Reveal Before Anyone Else? article from the Forbes website.

 

These two snaphsot images from the ‘Thoughts on J.W. Rinzler’s The Making of Star Wars’ article at the The Secret History Of Star Wars website also shines a light under the history of the two characters - from planning stages to filming - featuring quotes from George Lucas himself…

^ the page numbers mentioned in the screenshot images refer to page numbers in JW Rinzler’s ‘The Making Of Star Wars’ book.

 

 

 

9. Jabba was originally a human - from planning stages to filming…

 

Jabba was originally planned to be human - and was indeed played by actor Declan Mulholland - in full screen-ready costume. The scene never made it to the final cut of the film - though was re-introduced for the 1997 Special Edition with a now alien CGI Jabba (with further changes being made on the CGI in 2004).
 

Also, George Lucas for some reason, also went back in time and altered the script of the film to include a reference to Jabba being an alien slug - when the original script made no mention of this at all:-

^ The above text, and more information can be found in the link below…

Jabba the Hutt: “Wonderful Human Being” - article from The Secret History of Star Wars website.
 

Additional info - The truth about Jabba the Hutt article, from the Episode Nothing: Star Wars in the 1970’s blog…

 

Interesting to also note there are no sketches, workings or plans for an alien Jabba in Star Wars '77 prior of those designed for the 1997 Special Editions. And despite the time and budget constraints at the time… a full screen-ready costume was still made and fitted for actor Declan Mulholland to wear for the part of Jabba.

 

Gary Kurtz being interviewed on video re the 1997 Special Editions; remarks if Jabba had been an alien the scene would have been shot differently, and that the 1997 SE Jabba scenes was superfluous - as the Greedo Cantina scenes had already explained what was needed to the audience beforehand:-

Gary Kurtz on the Star Wars Special Edition youtube video, by gordongecko1975 (aka OT•com member Haarspalter)
 

 

 

 

10. How secrecy drove a wedge between Darth Vader actor David Prowse and Lucasfilm, and later ostracisation from Star Wars events.

 

'When work began on The Empire Strikes Back the following year, Lucas went to famously elaborate lengths to protect further leaks. The film’s third-act revelation was left out of the shooting script given to the cast and crew; while the physical confrontation between Luke and Darth Vader remained, the famous line, “I am your father,” was kept a secret.

According to several interviews given by members of the cast since, the only people who knew about the line were Lucas, producer Gary Kurtz, and director Irvin Kershner. Kershner eventually told Luke actor Mark Hamill, but only shortly before the scene was filmed. James Earl Jones, the actor who provided Darth Vader’s voice, was given the correct dialogue much later during post-production; during filming, Prowse was either given a different line to utter on stage, or never said it at all, depending on which account you read.

To obfuscate the truth even further, the filmmakers took the unusual step of handing around fake versions of the script to actors “who we felt were security risks,” according to Richard Marquand.

“There was one particular actor who gave an interview to the English press about the movie’s plot,” Marquand said, “which extremely upset us. But we knew that the actor was a security risk and had actually not given him the correct lines of dialogue. He fell completely into the trap.”

Marquand then went on to suggest that the actor - who he doesn’t name - then repeated the information in the fake script to the journalist. Sure enough, the next day, “the paper came out, having printed all this totally misleading information.”

'The making of Empire and Return Of The Jedi were both difficult processes, for a variety of reasons, whether it was actors clashing with directors or directors clashing with Lucas. The desire for utmost secrecy certainly didn’t help - especially when wily reporters started calling.

According to Prowse, one journalist called him at his gym one day in the early 80s, ostensibly to talk to him about his weightlifting career. Prowse agreed, and, according to his recollection, published at The Void, the reporter didn’t start talking about Star Wars until halfway through their conversation.

He turned up at my gymnasium that evening and halfway through he says, ‘you know you’re being killed off in this movie, don’t you? And another guy’s playing the dying Darth Vader?’ I said ‘they wouldn’t do that – they wouldn’t go and unmask somebody else after I’ve played the part for six years’. He asked if I had a call sheet, and he looked at it and it said: ‘Dave Prowse, Darth Vader, Studio 1’, and underneath it ‘Sebastian Shaw, Anakin Skywalker, Studio 10’.’

Prowse goes on to say that, the next day, the Daily Mail ran a story with the headline, “Darth Vader to be killed off in the next movie, in an interview with David Prowse.”

“And that ruined my association with Star Wars,” Prowse said. “I was ostracised while on the movie, the producer and director wouldn’t work with me and Lucas wouldn’t speak to me. I had six weeks of purgatory.”
 

'Years later, director Marcus Cabotoa’s 2015 documentary ‘I Am Your Father’ attempted to dig into the story behind Prowse’s deteriorating relationship with Lucasfilm, and even managed to track down the Daily Mail journalist who’d spoken to Prowse at his gymnasium all those year earlier. According to the journalist, Prowse hadn’t spoiled anything - the leak had evidently emerged from another source.

Nevertheless, the damage was done. Prowse was barely used in Return Of The Jedi, lost contact with George Lucas after the film’s making and, in 2010, effectively blocked from appearing at official Star Wars conventions - apparently because of his participation in ‘The People Versus George Lucas’, a documentary that painted the Star Wars creator in a less than flattering light.’

^ The above text, and more information can be found in the link below…

Star Wars: how secrecy drove a wedge between Darth Vader and Lucasfilm - article from the Den Of Geek website.
 

 

^ The above image is taken from this 2010 article at TheGeekTwins website - Darth Vader actor banned from Star Wars Convention.

 

In 2014 David Prowse revealed he was suffering from dementia - article below from The Independent website:-

Darth Vader actor David Prowse reveals he has dementia
 

In the Autumn of 2017 David announced he will no longer make personal appearances or attend fan conventions due to his health problems - article below from the HomeCare website:-

Darth Vader actor ‘bows out’ of public appearances due to demands of dementia

 

 

 

11. Changes to the Return Of The Jedi script & film - and also Lucas’ outlook on film-making…

 

By the time Return of The Jedi was being planned… the Star Wars universe had already become a phenomenon, the first two films in the Trilogy had been box office successes, merchandise was everywhere, and The Galaxy Far Far Away had entrenched itself in popular culture.

Lucas was now in charge of his own very successful, respected and powerful film company - and yet he felt somewhat disappointed by the Empire Strikes Back. The film hadn’t made as much money as the previous Star Wars; was a much-delayed and costly production, had conflicted fans by not having a resolution to the end of the film, and wasn’t designed to appeal to younger fans - the very people who Lucas wanted to be buying more post-film toys and merchandise (of which Lucas had the lucrative exclusive licencing rights to).

Empire had been left in the hands of producer Gary Kurtz and director Irwin Kershner - Lucas had hardly featured onset for Empire (apparently only visiting for three days). Yet Empire came in significantly over-budget and yet despite making a handsome profit, had left Lucas somewhat disenthralled - he had risked his own money to finance the film, afterall.
 

Further Reading: The Empire Strikes Back and So Does George Lucas - 1980 article at RollingStone.com

 
George had since spent time on making ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’ with Steven Spielberg - a simple yet engaging set-piece adventure romp that proved to be a runaway success - which made considerably more money than Empire at a lower cost of production, and was also a less troubled & much shorter production too.

And so for the coming Return Of The Jedi, Lucas decided to back himself and reclaim the reigns for the final part of the Star Wars Trilogy - whilst making some adjustments; including bringing back on board ‘Raiders’ scriptwriter Lawrence Kasdan, and hiring of a young, more malleable, in Richard Marquand. This time Lucas would be on set every day, even doing 2nd unit directing - essentially being the co-director, and also overseeing the entire production.

Other adjustments were to the film story and script - gone was the original character-led bittersweet climax envisaged for ROTJ (discussed below), and it’s place a more action-led set-piece adventure - appealing to a more younger audience - complete with a simpler, happier and final resolution for the film. Afterall, it is the younger audiences who would be clamouring for all those toys and other merchandise of which Lucas also profited from.

Yet not everyone at Lucasfilm was enamoured by Lucas’ change of plans…

 

Gary Kurtz - on Return of the Jedi youtube video, - by gordongecko1975 (aka OT•com member Haarspalter)

^ The video includes why Gary Kurtz didn’t work on the Return Of The Jedi film, as well as the changes made to the story to establish a more more-action orientated film (and repeat plots already covered in previous films) - at the expense of originally planned character-developed film.

 

From a 2002 interview with Star Wars & Empire Strikes Back producer Gary Kurtz, by Ken Plume:-

^ The above images, and far more intriguing and detailed information from the entire absorbing interview can be found in the links below…

The An ‘interview with Gary Kurtz back in 2002’ (by Ken Plume) article from the A Site Called Fred website.

The screenshot images above are taken from Page 6 & Page 7 of the 9-page interview.

 

Various drafts, notes and the scripts for Return Of The Jedi (and when it was also known as ‘Revenge Of The Jedi’) can be found at the Starkiller - The Jedi Bendu Script Site - including the following…

Draft Variations for Return of the Jedi

Revenge of the Jedi – Revised Rough Draft (as of 12th June, 1981)

Revenge of the Jedi – Expanded Script (as of 1st December, 1981)

 

 

 

12. The Importance of Tone Toys In Film-making…

 

The following sceenshot image is taken from the ‘40-year-old George Lucas interview predicts Star Wars’ future with Disney’ - at LATimes.com (original interview in 1977):-

^ click on the above link to read the article in full.

 
 

Background Reading 1: The Real Force Behind ‘Star Wars’: How George Lucas Built an Empire - 2012 article at The Hollywood Reporter.

 

Background Reading 2: By George, He Can Thank His Lucky ‘Stars’ - 1997 article at The LA Times

 

Background Reading 3: George Lucas revolutionized movie merchandising via ‘Star Wars’ licensing - 1998 article at CNN Money.

 

Further Reading: List of highest-grossing media franchises - Star Wars with estimated $65 billion) - wikipedia article. (yes, I know… ‘wikipedia’; though it does contain cited sources.)

 
 

The following abridged screenshot image is taken from the Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz speaks out 2010 article, from an interview with Gary Kurtz by Geoff Boucher, on the LA Times website:-

^ The full online article, with much more information, can be found by clicking on the link above.

 

As also mentioned in the previous category, the following screenshot image is from 'An interview with Gary Kurtz back in 2002’ (by Ken Plume) article from the A Site Called Fred website.

^ The full online article, with much more information, can be found by clicking on the link above.

 

The following screenshot image is taken from the How Did Toy Sales Save Han Solo’s Life in Return of the Jedi? 2015 article - on the Huffington Post website:-

^ The full online article, with much more information, can be found by clicking on the link above.
 

A 45-second video with Harrison Ford discussing Han Solo in 2010 (as quoted in the article above) can be found here, titled ‘Harrison Ford: They should have killed Han Solo’:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpaR3KDt_no (from the ABC News youtube channel)

 

The following abridged screenshot image is taken from the George Lucas Rips Hollywood, ‘Stupid’ Cat Videos at Sundance 2015 article, on the Variety website:-

^ The full online article, with much more information, can be found by clicking on the link above.

 

 

 

13. Lucas reduces the collaboration process of film-making during Return Of The Jedi, reducing it further over time, and into the Prequels…

 

At 64m 48s in ‘The People vs George Lucas’ documentary:-

GL: ‘I did have a very strong feeling about being able to be in control of my work and not having people tamper with it.’

immediately continued with footage from a different interview:-

'I don’t have to answer to anybody, I don’t have anyone telling me what to do - that’s what I’ve earned.
 

Later, at 1h 21m 47s in ‘The People vs George Lucas’ documentary (and also from ‘The Empire Of Dreams’ documentary):-

GL: 'When I was sort of fighting the corporate system, which I didn’t like, and I’m not happy that the corporations had taken over the film industry… Now I find myself being the head of a large corporation. So there is a certain irony there - I have become the very thing I was trying to avoid. That is a bit Darth Vader - he becomes the very thing he tries to protect himself against.

 

Anthony Daniels: “George has changed a lot over the years, but I think he finds it slightly hard to collaborate. He made decisions that I believe might have been better discussed with other people.”

^ From Anthony Daniels Slams Disney’s ‘Kremlin Attitude’ Over ‘Force Awakens’ - article at the Variety website.

 

Mark Hamill: [on Gary Kurtz leaving Star Wars] it was like “Mom and Dad getting a divorce.”

^ From Original Star Wars producer explains what went wrong after Empire Strikes Back - article at the io9Gizmodo website.

 

Mark Hamill: “She [Marcia Lucas] was really the warmth and the heart of those films, a good person he could talk to, bounce ideas off of, who would tell him when he was wrong.”

^ From Mark Hamill Walks Down Memory Lane with Film Freak Central - article at the Film Freak Central website.

 

Dale Pollock: ‘He hated directing, because he hated collaboration. “I just don’t want my vision muddied,” he [Lucas] told me in an interview for my book ‘Skywalking: The Life & Films of George Lucas’, regarding accusations that he is resistant to feedback’.

^ From How Star Wars Nearly Destroyed George Lucas - article at The New Republic website.

 

^ From An ‘interview with Gary Kurtz back in 2002’ (by Ken Plume) - article at the A Site Called Fred website.

 

^ From An ‘interview with Gary Kurtz back in 2002’ (by Ken Plume) - article at the A Site Called Fred website.

 

GL: “There is no such thing as working over someone’s shoulder,” & “You’re either the dictator or you’re not. And to do that would never work, so I said ‘I’m going to get divorced.’ . . . I knew that I couldn’t be involved. All I’d do is make them miserable. I’d make myself miserable. It would probably ruin a vision — J.J. has a vision, and it’s his vision.”

^ From George Lucas: To feel the true force of Star Wars, he had to learn to let it go - article at The Washington Post website.

 

Star Wars Episode I: What Went Wrong - youtube video, by singletakeproduction

 

‘Lucas’ own conception of the series is lacking in character depth and nuance; Lucas lost creative control of Empire Strikes Back, creating the false expectation that the films would stylistically continue to be mature and character-driven; Lucas creatively collaborated in a very heavy manner in his earlier efforts; and he did not have as much clout or status and thus was challenged more. Conversely, beginning with Return of the Jedi a process of centralization occurred, where Lucas assigned himself dictatorial control and imposed his demands much more strongly, without as much counterbalance of input from others. This methodology was comparably minor in that film but in the prequels it became all-pervasive–the scripting was a singular effort, without much criticism, editing or input from outside individuals, at least in the same profound and integral manner that the earlier films were made with.’

^ From Nature of the Beast… (‘Lucas’ Early Methods’ section) - article at The Secret History Of Star Wars website.

 

The following screenshot image is taken from an article featuring a ‘Q&A’ session with Phil Tippett in 2011, which, if correct, also sheds some light on Lucas taking a more prominent role in the involvement of making the latter Prequel Trilogy - to the point of being contracted to do so through commercial endorsements and / or merchandising deals…

^ from the 'Brilliant Effects Master Phil Tippett Sheds Some Light on George Lucas’ Star Wars - Tinkering Mind - 2011 article at Movies.com

 

The collaboration process - of having many talented and skilled people in their respective fields of expertise around to offer advice, ask questions of, make suggestions, bounce ideas back and forth, to challenge you, and essentially say ‘no, that’s a bad idea’… which seemed to be there in abundance for the for Star Wars & Empire - with being somewhat reduced for Jedi…

And yet for the Prequels, these all seemed to be absent. George, as writer, director, producer and overseer of the whole project - seemingly did just too much, without the input from those around him previously. Even stating after watching an early edit of the film - ‘I may have gone too far in some places’ and also the later claim of it being a ‘bold new style’

Going on some of the various quotes above, George admittedly prefers it to be this way - which is his prerogative, of course. Fewer differences of opinion, fewer voices of dissent, the majority of filming done in a studio with CGI making it for a quicker, easier and cheaper process. No extreme weather conditions delaying filming anymore - costing valuable time & money - eating into the profits. Get the shot done whilst sitting and drinking coffee in the studio - and then just move onto the next shot.

George had evolved his film-making process over the years to just that - to be quicker, easier, more seductive - yet we all know what lay ahead down that path…

 

 

 

14. The many changes made to the Original Trilogy films over time…

 

Info on many of the changes made to the Original Trilogy films over the years:-

Complete Comparison of Special Edition Visual Changes - insightful & comprehensive OT•com thread 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

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

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

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

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

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

DVDActive•com’s (& OT member Mentasm)Star Wars - The Changes’ articles (via Web•Archive•org) - 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.
 

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 General Star Wars Discussion…
 

Many of the changes made to the Original Trilogy over time can be also found in the following thread:-

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

 

 

 

 

15. How many differing releases have there been of the Original Trilogy?

 

This Wookieepedia page provides a decent chronicle of the various home releases of the Star Wars films - including the Prequel and Sequel trilogies, along with many of the other Star Wars spin-offs:-

Star Wars home video releases
 

This quality resource (by OT•com member NeverarGreat) may be of interest for anyone wanting to know the screen quality of the various Original Trilogy official releases - and also some of the more popular preservation and recreation projects on here from down the years:-

Link to Image
 

Video Collector (also an OT•com member) has an informative website full of useful info and photos from the many various Original Trilogy release formats - all the way through to the DVD releases:-

The Star Wars On Video website
 

The ‘Star Wars Home Video Reference Site’, (by fellow OT•com member projectcclarke) also has a detailed look at many of the various home releases on a number of differing formats for the three classic films:-

Star Wars Home Video website

 

 

 

16. The 1997 Special Editions - George Lucas’ ‘vision’ - was a paid-for experiment and practice for the coming CGI-heavy Prequel Trilogy; as stated by the man himself.

 

[In 1993…] 'Lucasfilm and Fox began discussing the upcoming twentieth anniversary of the original film. “One of the reasons I chose to reissue the films rather than do a convention or one of the other things that was suggested for the twentieth anniversary was at the time we thought about all of this I had a two-year-old son,” Lucas would later explain. "And I thought, ‘I’m not going to show him the film on video, I’m going to wait and let him see it on the big screen the way it was meant to be, and let him really be overwhelmed by the whole thing.’ Lucas remembers in 1997: “This was supposed to be a nice little twentieth anniversary for the fans.” Lucas had also long complained about a compromising 1976 shoot, and surmised that perhaps a few special effects could be added or cleaned up, similar to the way Steven Spielberg had done a slightly spiffier Close Enocunters “Special Edition” in 1980.

FX wiz Dennis Muren then suggested that the release offered the opportunity to correct a list of fifteen to twenty shots that had always bothered him. “I suggested to George that we expand the vision and he was open to it,” Muren says. “Motion issues, particularly in the space battle scenes, were my concerns. Then Tom Kennedy and the others contributed their own ideas for redoing shots.”

The “Special Edition” was slowly growing in scale. Lucas was eager to use new CG technology–he had just announced he was making the Prequels, and the Special Edition of STAR WARS was free research and development since Fox was paying the bill. "We called it an experiment in learning new technology," Lucas says, “and hoped that the theatrical release would pay for the work we had done.” Many new insertions were decided upon the basis of their usefulness as learning tools–how to do crowd replication, how to handle extreme close-ups on CG characters, etc.

By the time this “Special Edition” was complete in 1997, the original camera negative had been restored, the sound remixed in 5.1 channel surround, many special effects were re-composited digitally, and the film had been enhanced with CGI in approximately 35 shots, and with an additional 30 brand new shots, offering a markedly different viewing experience.’

^ The above text, and more information can be found in the link below…

How the Grinch Stole Star Wars - article from The Secret History of Star Wars website.

 

‘While some changes [for the Special Editions] were enacted to re-introduce portions originally (and intentionally) left out of the film–like the Jabba scene, which was never intended to feature an alien Jabba anyway–the bulk of them were enacted for pure revisionism, as Lucas and the effects wizards admitted at the time (though not so much today). It was "an experiment in learning new technology," as Lucas said at the time, research for ILM that Fox was paying for, and most new shots and altered shots were the product of ILMers Tom Kennedy and Denis Muren, and art director TyRuben Ellingson, rather than Lucas.’

^ The above text, and more information can be found in the link below…

Saving Star Wars: The Special Edition Restoration Process and its Changing Physicality - article from The Secret History of Star Wars website.

 

The snapshot below, taken from a 1999 interview with George Lucas, in Issue 78 of Cinefex - and recently found by OT•com member doubleofive - contains George’s own words on the subject…

^ also worthy of note from the interview is GL’s claim of "The changes I wanted to make did not involve story issues, or anything like that - it was a matter of scope."

 

^ massive thanks & credit to doubleofive’s twitter post on the topic and also his superb Star Wars Visual Comparisons twitter page. ^

 

 

 

17. Lucas stated the 1997 Special Edition was meant to be ‘the final cut’…

 

‘This version–a “Special Edition”: an enhanced, “nice little twentieth anniversary for the fans” and “an experiment in learning new technology”– would soon enough replace the historical, groundbreaking original, which would never, ever be seen again.’

George Lucas: “There will only be one. And it won’t be what I would call the ‘rough cut’, it’ll be the 'final cut.’"

^ The above text, screenshot, and much more information can be found in the link below…

How the Grinch Stole Star Wars - article from the Save Star Wars website.

 

 

 

18. ‘George’s Vision’ - The Final Cut / 1997 Special Edition - was never released on DVD or blu ray (or any other digital format)

 

Although the 1997 Special Editions saw releases on VHS and laserdisc, as highlighted in the previous category…

'Lucas furthermore told American Cinematographer in 1997:-

“There will only be one. And it won’t be what I would call the ‘rough cut’, it’ll be the 'final cut.’ The other one will be some sort of interesting artifact that people will look at and say, ‘There was an earlier draft of this.’…What ends up being important in my mind is what the DVD version is going to look like, because that’s what everybody is going to remember. The other versions will disappear. Even the 35 million tapes of Star Wars out there won’t last more than 30 or 40 years. A hundred years from now, the only version of the movie that anyone will remember will be the DVD version [of the Special Edition]”.’

^ The above text, and more information can be found in the link below…

How the Grinch Stole Star Wars - article from the Save Star Wars website.
 

Yet, as we know, this 1997 Special Edition - ‘The Final Cut’ - was never deemed worthy enough of a release on DVD. Despite George admitting tapes (and analogue media; ie laserdiscs) wouldn’t last for many years - they remained the only options to buy ‘George’s vision’ (or rather that edition of his ‘vision’) of the Original Trilogy.
 

 
The first time the Original Trilogy would be released on a digital format (DVD) was in 2004 - for another version of the Special Editions - featuring yet even more changes…

The first time the Original Trilogy would be released on blu ray format was in 2011 - for yet another version of the Special Editions - again, and somewhat unsurprisingly, featuring more changes…

 

 

 

19. The 2004 Special Edition DVD release; there were no mistakes - just ‘deliberate creative decisions’…

 

In September of 2004 the Original Trilogy was released for the first time on DVD - with more changes made to all three films for another Special Edition release…

'These DVDs also received digital restoration and visual enhancement by John D. Lowry. All three films feature an extensively altered color palette, resulting in issues such as crushed blacks, strange blue or magenta color casts, miscolored lightsaber blades, and many other anomalies. The new 5.1 audio mix of [Star Wars ‘77] also had the music’s left and right channels swapped in the rear channels, and in several instances the music was nearly completely mixed out of the film.’

^ from the ‘List of changes in Star Wars re-releases’ - article at the IPFS website.
 

‘The music is also frequently dialed down so as to be buried under the sound effects; this is less apparent in the stereo mix but it’s noticeable in the 5.1 version. In the worst instances, it is totally gone. Particularly noticeable is the memorable swell during the very first dive towards the Death Star, which now simply isn’t there, whether in stereo or Dolby Digital. Like the swapped channels, it looks like they accidentally dropped the music track here.’

^ from the ‘Can’t Even Get the Special Edition Right’ article at the Save Star Wars website.
 

Fans at the time were already weary and apprehensive of further multiple changes to being made for another Special Edition release for the these beloved films. And yet Quality Control for this release had been somewhat found wanting - if there at all. Such was the media coverage and fans’ public disquiet on the subject that Lucasfilm issued the following response to try and allay fans’ concerns…

Lucasfilm: “We are always impressed with how closely fans listen to the many different sound mixes we have made for the Star Wars movies over the years. It is flattering to know that, indeed, the audience is listening. Consequently, each mix comes out differently and any changes that you hear on the all-new Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX tracks on the Star Wars Trilogy DVD set are deliberate creative decisions. We can confirm that there are no technical glitches as reported.”

The Lucasfilm statement was widely derided.

It is also worthy of note that for the 2011 blu ray release these ‘deliberate creative decisions’ had been fixed - so the 5.1 audio mix of Star Wars '77 had the correct left and right channels playing in the rear channels.

 

 

As stated above…

‘In 2004 George Lucas had the Star Wars Trilogy re-colored for the long awaited DVD release. According to StarWars.com, John Lowry had just "30 break-neck days" to recolor each film. The result was a completely new color palette. The final product has been screened for Lucas multiple times. Watch for crushed black levels, loss of detail, and oversaturation.’ (text taken from the video linked below…)

Star Wars: COLOR COMPARISON - Theatrical vs. 2004 DVD - YouTube video by Save Star Wars

 

^ Above, the starfield in the background has all but disappeared for the 2004 DVD release…

^ Above, picture detail is lost amongst the darker image for the 2004 DVD release…

 

Lightsaber colour inconsistencies…
 

^ From Empire; Vader’s pink lightsaber…

^ From the same scene in Empire, Vader’s lightsaber is now an orangey-yellow…

^ From Return Of The Jedi; Vader’s same lightsaber as used in previously is now reddish-orange… (with an obvious visual error somehow missed by the Quality Control for the 2004 DVD release)

‘In fact, in that example [above], the white cores aren’t just diminished, they don’t even have cores at all. This shot was so infamous that Lucasfilm corrected it for the 2011 Blu-ray (most other instances were left uncorrected).’
 

^ The above images and much more in-depth information can be found in the link below…

Can’t Even Get the Special Edition Right - article at the Save Star Wars website.

 

 

 

20. The Lucasfilm claim that… ‘The negatives of the movies were permanently altered for the creation of the Special Editions’.

 

Back in May of 2006, Lucasfilm responded to the the many emails, letters and messages received from fans all over the world voicing their displeasure and disappointment that the upcoming release of the 2006 DVD Boxset would feature a non-anamorphic (and 13 year old laserdisc transfer) release of the theatrical editions of the Original Trilogy films as a ‘bonus’ feature of the repackaged 2004 Special Editions.

Highlighted on this very website, (and also at 33m 20s of ‘The People vs George Lucas’ documentary), the following statement on the forthcoming 2006 DVD release of the Original Trilogy - and fans’ issues and concerns with it - was issued by Lucasfilm:-
 

 
The OT•com discussion thread on the Lucasfilm Statement from the time can be found here - The Official Lucasfilm Response

 

A few words on the above Lucasfilm statement…

“We hoped that releasing those “original” movies on a bonus disc would be a way to have some additional fun with the debut of the movies as individual DVDs.”

The original theatrical versions are just that - the original; they really don’t require “” around them. Being the only official digital release of the the original theatrical versions to date (albeit a substandard then-13 year old laserdisc transfer) is “additional fun”?
 

and then…

“…since these movies do not represent George’s artistic vision, we could not put the extraordinary time and resources into this project as we did with the Special Editions.”

Yet most of the film - bar the new Special Edition changes - had already been completed as part of the whole process. So it was just the sections of the film that were replaced or altered by the Special Edition changes that required “the extraordinary time and resources” which had already put into the release.

The “the extraordinary time and resources into this project” turned out not to be so ‘extraordinary’ either. As indicated by people who actually worked on the 2004 Restoration… time constraints and money prevented them from achieving a better quality product - as well as an apparent lack of quality control or care from Lucas himself…

More information on this can found in these two OT•com threads - Interview with Marc Wielage, colorist Star Wars 2004 DVD releases & 4K restoration on Star Wars (Lowry Digital / Reliance Media).
 

and later…

“We want you to be aware we have no plans, now or in the future, to restore the earlier versions.”

The earlier claim of “We certainly didn’t want it to become a source of concern or frustration for any of our fans” rings somewhat hollow when applied here.

 
 

Yet it was this statement by Lucasfilm that surprised many - a claim that the negatives of the theatrical films were no more…
 

“The negatives of the movies were permanently altered for the creation of the Special Editions, and existing prints of the first versions are in poor condition.”

 
Few people in the restoration industry believe Lucasfilm (or the restoration team working on the films) cut up the original negative - or that copies were not made before work commenced ‘on’ the negatives.

The Saving Star Wars: The Special Edition Restoration Process and its Changing Physicality article at the Secret History of Star Wars website, provides more in-depth information on this - for both the restoration processes for the 1997 and 2004 Special Editions of the Original Trilogy films.

 
 

An article that appeared in American Cinematographer magazine (Vol. 78, No. 2 - February 1997) - with quotes from the people who worked on the restoration of the Original Trilogy films for the 1997 Special Editions, can also be found here (at the ASC website):-

Saving The Star Wars Saga - Page One and Saving The Star Wars Saga - Page Two

 

This article from 2017, also contains an overview of information on the restoration process Lucasfilm undertook with the negatives of the Original Trilogy films, addresses some of the claims by Lucasfilm, what it would take to restore the films - and also covers the possibility of such a thing happening (at the time of writing in 2017):-

Could Disney finally give us the remastered, unedited Star Wars we want? - article from the ARS Technica website.

 

The From Interpositives to Separation Masters: How Film Preservation Works 2010 article at the Save Star Wars website demonstrates how film preservations are usually undertaken - and also in respect to how a preservation for the Original Trilogy films could be undertaken.

 

and finally, this interview with Star Wars producer Rick McCallum in 1997, who was in charge of the restoration of the Original Trilogy prints at the time… when asked about the colour change shift between the the new scenes and the original material in the 1997 Special Editions, of which he states if you could see the print that stuck of the original negative that we have done - it’s perfect.

Which indicates the O-neg was actually in a good condition - at least good enough to generate a 1st generation interpositive print that Rick McCallum himself described as… “perfect” - and contradicts the claims in the 2006 statement above from Lucasfilm that “the existing prints of the first versions are in poor condition”, and also that “The 1993 Laserdisc Masters represented the best source for providing the original versions as DVD material.”

Below is a screenshot image of this section of the interview (the whole interview, titled ‘Rick McCallum - Producer of the Star Wars Special Edition’, can be found here - http://www.maikeldas.com/SWrick1eng.html):-

 

Note: Although not negatives of the films, there are prints of the theatrical version of the Original Trilogy films that, are held by Lucasfilm…

Phil Tippett also makes reference to “a really good 1983 print” - pre-Special Edition - being shown at an official Pixar event to celebrate the ‘Making Of Return Of The Jedi’ book, here…

“Well, CGI is the tool that is used to create effects these days,” he responds. “But I think a lot of practical work from that era holds up better. Last year, I went to a 30th anniversary screening of Return of the Jedi and they found a really good 1983 print that had none of the later computer graphics in there [shown at Pixar to celebrate the release of the Making of book–Ed]. It was in really good shape and I was really shocked at the work we did back then - some of it is so much better than a lot of stuff you see today.”

^ from Page 66 of the ‘Tippett Talks’ interview in ‘Star Wars Insider’ (148) magazine - March 2014; Issue No. 126).

and also in the Jedi 30th Ann. screening at Pixar…of the original version! OT•com thread (2014) - re the ‘Star Wars Insider’ interview above.

 

 

 

21. The 2006 DVD ‘bonus disk’ release of the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy (aka the GOUT…)

 

After much pressure from fans - led and backed by this very site along with the petition here - Lucasfilm finally relented and announced there would be a DVD release of the original theatrical versions for 2006.
 

The following screenshot image is from an article on the Baltimore Sun website - titled ‘Star Wars DVDs are coming’, from May 2006, with quotes from Lucasfilm spokesman John Singh…

 
 

Unfortunately, as we all later found out, they would be released as ‘bonus discs’ in a repackaged box set of the 2004 Special Editions on DVD. It was presented in an outdated Letterbox format (non-anamorphic); and was sourced from a transfer for a 1993 Laserdisc release - having poor image quality; plagued by poor digital video noise reduction, and with a compressed Dolby Digital 2.0 sound - resulting in a lazy, underwhelming, and substandard quality release - even by 2006 standards.

 

 

The following text and images below, along with much more information, are from the following article at the Save Star Wars website:-

Got GOUT? The 2006 Original Version DVD Bonus Feature Fiasco

‘Some people might argue: “What are you complaining about? Weren’t the original versions of the films released on DVD in 2006?” This is true. You might also have noticed how poorly the films look. “That’s because they are old, unrestored films, the original versions with all their defects.” Right? Not by a long shot. The original, unaltered films on the DVD look poor because the transfer was done in the early 1990s for Laserdisc, and was hopelessly outdated by the home video standards of 2006.’
 

‘Aside from the poor resolution of a 1993 master, this particular telecine was plagued with DVNR, or digital video noise reduction. However, DVNR, when it was introduced in the early 1990s, was notorious in home theatre circles when not used carefully, because it made the image look worse. In smoothing out the image, it erased detail, and more noticeably left trailing artifacts behind in its attempt to blend frames for a smoother image, so you have elements of the previous frame still visible in any moving object. Below is an example from Star Wars–the notorious four-eyed stormtrooper. As his head pops up into frame, detail from previous frames is left behind as he moves’:-

 
‘The detail in the sand has been smoothed away too. You can see this when you watch the film: the stationary camera that starts the shot has all the fine detail, and then as it pans left all the detail gets smeared away and leaves trails. A lot of the spaceship shots have this problem as well, and sometimes the stars leave trailing artifacts behind. Luke moving his head back and forth smears away his face as it blends the two frames’:-

 

It isn’t that surprising such little effort was put into this substandard ‘bonus’ release though, especially going on previous comments from Lucas…
 

GL in 2004: “The other version, it’s on VHS if anybody wants it,” he said in a 2004 interview. “I’m not going to spend the, we’re talking millions of dollars here, the money and the time to refurbish that, because to me, it doesn’t really exist anymore. It’s like this is the movie I wanted it to be, and I’m sorry you saw half a completed film and fell in love with it.”

^ However… ‘making a new transfer from a 35mm source is not expensive. It literally costs thousands of dollars, which is why stuff like Revenge of the Nerds 2 are presented in modern, anamorphic transfers from 35mm material. Lucas has convinced some people that one would have to totally restore the films for them to look good and spend millions of dollars, but they would still look acceptable if taken from existing prints and materials, and certainly many times better than a master made in 1993’.
 

GL in 2006: “It’s just the original versions, as they were. We didn’t do anything to it at all. But we’re not sure how many people want that…Now we’ll find out whether they really wanted the original or whether they wanted the improved versions. It’ll all come out in the end.”

'However, fans had a sneaking suspicion about the reasons for the quality of the release. It borders on paranoia, but there seems to be lots of truth in it. On originaltrilogy.com, the release was coined the GOUT – George’s, Original, Unaltered Theatrical versions.

…the least amount of quality possible to still have this as the “best available version.” A high quality new transfer is unwanted because it also makes the Special Edition not look as good, so all you have to do is pull that 1993 master tape out of a dust bin in the Lucasfilm archives and you’ve accomplished your mission of not letting people really enjoy watching the originals; they look rough, crude, the way Lucas wants us to think they look.’

^ The above text, and more information can be found in the link below…

Got GOUT? The 2006 Original Version DVD Bonus Feature Fiasco - article from the Save Star Wars website.

 

^ a big thanks & credit to Rodney-2187 for suggesting the inclusion of a Category covering the 2006 GOUT DVD bonus disc release… ^

 

 

 

22. The 2011 blu ray release; even more changes - ‘NOOooooo!’ - and yet still not many fixes…

 

'In September 2011, a Blu-ray version of the Special Edition was released. Although many hoped this would be a chance to do a fresh scan in a higher resolution and solve a lot of the problems from the previous release, such was not the case. The 2011 master is just the 2004 master, with additional content changes layered over top.

The colours and black levels have not been adjusted at all. They look the same. So, unless noted, everything noted so far applies to the Blu-rays. The 2004 master was always intended to be used as the primary master for the films from here on out–it was, as noted, approved by Lucas.

However, Lucasfilm did thankfully fix a handful of issues. The main one was the lightsaber issues. In this promotional piece for the official site, an ILM Associate Visual Effects Supervisor tries to pass off the “deliberate artistic choices” as problems caused by technology. “Some of the issues come from these movies being finished for film and projected for film, and that’s how people saw them. A lot of things that look a little different on HD or DVD are really the nature of how video treats color space,” he says in regards to the saber problems.

Of course, this is patently absurd, and totally untrue. Besides which, the 1997 home video of the Special Edition had no such issues - nor did the 1995, 1993, 1992 and on and on home video versions.’

^ The above text, and more in-depth information can be found in the link below…

Can’t Even Get the Special Edition Right - article at the Save Star Wars website.

 

 

’NOOooooo!’…

'Remember how in 2005, in Revenge of the Sith when Darth Vader had a really important scene where his character was supposed to be cemented for the following three films. Where he finds out he accidentally killed his wife, and now he turned to the dark side for nothing, transformed into a mechanical monster. But instead of it being dramatic, Vader yelled out “NOOooooooo!” and it was completely hilarious in an unintended way and completely ruined the emotional climax of the film. Remember how much flak that got, and it became a whole internet meme with entire websites and mockumentaries about how embarassingly dumb it was?

Well, Lucas put it into Return of the Jedi. When Vader has to decide to kill the Emperor, instead of the tension-driving silence, where we can enter Vader’s head and immediately understand the life-changing decision he is contemplating as he watches his son die…now he cries out, “No! NOOoo!” as he picks up the Emperor. It’s really prominent in the mix too.’

^ The above text, and more in-depth information can be found in the link below…

Site News - section article at the Save Star Wars website.
 

The above scene in question can be viewed here:-

‘Return of The Jedi’ Blu-Ray : Darth Vader’s “No” - video from the movierereleases youtube channel

 

Putting aside the continuing changes made to the Original Trilogy films throughout the Special Editions so far… the 2011 blu ray release was the 3rd Special Edition home release - and yet despite this, many simple and obvious gaffes and mistakes remain that George hasn’t bothered to yet fix or amend. Some of which can be found listed here, in this OT•com discussion thread from 2011:-

What HASN’T been changed on Blu-ray - the uncorrected mistakes of Star Wars

 

And yet, as mentioned in the linked thread above, adywan - OT•com member and the talented fan editor behind the Revisited Editions of the Original Trilogy - managed to fix all these, and much more, for his own Special Edition of the three classic films…

Star Wars: Revisited : Empire Strikes Back: Revisited : Return Of The Jedi: Revisited

 

The blu ray release is also a main source of the Despecialized Editions of the Original Trilogy - a HD preservation project by OT•com member Harmy, with the aim to get as close as possible to the original versions of the films as seen in cinemas on opening day, while maintaining high picture and audio quality:-

Star Wars: Despecialized : Empire Strikes Back: Despecialized : Return Of The Jedi: Despecialized

Harmy’s video - Introducing the Despecialized Edition and Its Sources - contains more information about his Despecialized Editions - and also insightful background material on why they came to be…

 

 

 

23. The changing colour and reduced detail of the Original Trilogy films - through the various Special Edition releases…

 

As previously stated in ‘The 2004 Special Edition DVD release’ category…

‘In 2004 George Lucas had the Star Wars Trilogy re-colored for the long awaited DVD release. According to StarWars.com, John Lowry had just “30 break-neck days” to recolor each film. The result was a completely new color palette. The final product has been screened for Lucas multiple times. Watch for crushed black levels, loss of detail, and oversaturation.’ (text taken from the video linked below…)

Star Wars: COLOR COMPARISON - Theatrical vs. 2004 DVD - YouTube video by Save Star Wars

 

The following videos also highlight the colour changes between the various releases of the original Trilogy…

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

 

^ More in-depth and detailed information can also be found in this article here - ‘Can’t Even Get the Special Edition Right’ - from the Save Star Wars website.

 
 

Some comparison images from the Original Trilogy films highlighting some of the colour changes over time - and the various Special Edition releases…

(the three images below are from the Star Wars Comparison twitter page - by OT•com member doubleofive)
 

Star Wars:-

SW

^ https://twitter.com/StarWarsVisComp/status/970705499518853120

 

Empire Strikes Back:-

ESB

^ https://twitter.com/starwarsviscomp/status/1029759621102067712

 

Return Of The Jedi:-

ROTJ

^ https://twitter.com/StarWarsVisComp/status/1096454089032970241

 
 

Also from doubleofive’s Star Wars Comparison twitter page…
 

^ ‘As Lucas was never pleased with the expanded Falcon cockpit set made for ESB, every shot of the cockpit was zoomed & cropped for the DVD release. (2004)’ - https://twitter.com/StarWarsVisComp/status/1161683759126786049

 

^ ‘The lightsabers in this shot have been given better digital cores in the Blu-ray, though the glows are identical. (2004/2011)’ - https://twitter.com/StarWarsVisComp/status/1144636583607296000

 

^ ‘Which of course, begs the question of how he fit in there, and what happened to the rocks on the left when he gets out.’ - https://twitter.com/StarWarsVisComp/status/1135580323473965057 & https://twitter.com/StarWarsVisComp/status/1023964702966206464

 
 

Mike Verta’s Star Wars Legacy restoration project - also highlights the differing and changing colours between the theatrical version of the Original Trilogy and that of the 2011 blu ray release.

A couple of videos demonstrating these changes can be found here - on Mike Verta’s vimeo page:-

R6S001 - Blu-Ray vs. Legacy’ - https://vimeo.com/124147988

The Look of Star Wars - Color Comparison’ - https://vimeo.com/123475322

^ Of which there are many more insightful videos on his project, as well as information on how different some of the home releases of the three classic films look - in comparison to earlier releases and the theatrical versions… as well as covering the challenges of doing such a monumental restoration.

 

 

 

24. Much of the original groundbreaking & award winning work, along with that by the talented artists and craftsmen (and women), has been lost or altered since the introduction of the Special Editions…

 

The removal and alteration of scenes from the theatrical films has resulted in these scenes, and the work, craft and talent that went into making them, no longer being able be to viewed. The very work that which won awards and accolades, and helped change the face of modern cinema - essentially lost - replaced by CGI; then replaced by newer CGI for further Special Edition releases for ‘George’s vision(s)’.
 

Regarding the changes made to the theatrical editions of the Star Wars Original Trilogy… ‘George Lucas may be the brainchild behind Star Wars; he may have come up with the story and a lot of the characters, but everyone who participated in making those films had some type of creative input. I mean they won an Oscar for best special effects. Some of those effects are stripped out and replaced with CGI enhancements, if you wanna call them that. I think that that’s really disrespectful to the people who worked on those models and did those shots.’ - some bloke named Jay.

^ The People vs George Lucas - IMDb website quote for erm… The People vs George Lucas documentary, released in 2010.
 

Star Wars 40th Anniversary: 71 Awesome Behind-The-Scenes Photos - article at the Empire website.
 

An array of interviews with some of the people who worked on the Original Trilogy were filmed at the 40th Anniversary Reunion in 2017. These can be found at:-

https://vimeo.com/athenastudios

http://www.32ten.com/celebrating-star-wars-at-forty

^ Featuring Marcia Lucas & Duwayane Dunham, Howard Kazanjian, Scott Farar, Phil Tippett & Kirk Thatcher, Kim Marks, Bruce Logan, Ben Burtt, John Alexander, Ned Gorman, Jean Bolte, Richard Edlund, Patrick Sweeney, John Dykstra, Harrison Ellenshaw, Peter Kuran, Jim Bloom, David Scott, Pete Ronzani, Frank Ordaz, Christopher Evans, Ken Ralston, Marty Brenneis, Patricia Rose Duignan, Steve Gawley, Craig Barron, Ira Keeler, Ease Owyeung, Don Dow, Charlie Bailey, Sid Ganis, Jeff Mann, Neil Krepela, Warren Franklin, Tom Smith, Randy Ottenberg Parenti, Cory McCrum, Joe Johnston, Jon Berg, Randy Dutra, and Lorne Peterson, and not forgetting with the those who have sadly passed away over the years, or also those who couldn’t attend the Reunion. Some of whom likely haven’t seen their work, skills and contributions for the Original Trilogy films since the Special Edition changes altered it - or even replaced it.
 

^ People who had worked on the Original Trilogy at the 40th Anniversary Reunion in 2017.

^ The ILM Model Shop Crew in 1977.
 

Even if taking George at his word regarding his ‘vision’ for the Original Trilogy films [insert whichever version of the Special Editions being his one true vision, here] - and that “the other version no longer exists”… it does NOT mean the work featured in the films for 20+ years before being replaced (or altered) should ‘no longer exist’ too.

Despite Lucas not wanting them as part of his later vision(s) for the OT films… they would still make for insightful, informative and educational accounts in Star Wars film history. The notion that these works are somehow unworthy of preservation or of being archived seems unjust. That the replaced or unaltered works remain unavailable to view and experience in a modern high quality format seems disrespectful to those who worked on them.

 

The Original Trilogy Film Crew & People Behind The Scenes: Profiles, Info & Links… thread contains some introductory information on a number of people who worked on the original three landmark & groundbreaking classic films.

 

 

 

25. What do people who worked on the unaltered Original Trilogy films think of the various Special Editions?

 

Some interviews & quotes from people who worked on the Original Trilogy films and what they think of the alterations made to the films via the various Special Editions…
 

Gary Kurtz (Producer for Star Wars & Empire Strikes Back):-

'Gary Kurtz - on the Star Wars Special Edition’ youtube video, - by gordongecko1975 (aka OT•com member Haarspalter)
 

^ From an ‘interview with Gary Kurtz back in 2002(by Ken Plume) article from the A Site Called Fred website. The snippet images above are taken from Page 9 of the interview.

 

Lorne Peterson (ILM Visual Effects):-

'Another 2006 DVD release also has Peterson grinning these days: When we spoke in mid-2005, he had lamented the fact that the original, pre-Special Edition trilogy had not been released in a digital format. That changed this fall, and he says it does mean something special.

“It’s almost unimaginable to think of the (original) Star Wars films sitting somewhere and rotting within your own lifetime,” he said.’

^ The above text, and more information can be found in the link below…

Sculpting His Journey: An interview with Star Wars model maker Lorne Peterson - article from the Fields Edge website (interview by John Booth).

 

Phil Tippett (ILM Visual Effects):-

'Last night the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX held a very special screening of Jurassic Park and flew in Phil Tippett, one of the visual effects masterminds behind the film, for a Q&A, which ended up being the surprise highlight of the night. Tippett was candid and honest as usual.

Questions came regarding the new Star Wars Blu Rays, since they were on everyone’s minds as of late. Tippett, you may recall, began his career as one of the original artists at ILM when it opened up shop. He provided the stop-animation for Star Wars (the 3D chess board), and performed the stop-animation for the AT-AT Imperial Walkers and the Taun-Taun’s in Empire Strikes Back, and the Rancor puppeteering on Return of the Jedi, among other duties. It didn’t take long before he was asked about Lucas’ endless tinkering with all the pioneering visual effects work on the films, and Tippett, perhaps not surprisingly, hates the changes as much as fans.

“They’re shit,” he says about the Special Editions. He calls them unnecessary, citing as one example Lucas’ choice to shoot Mos Eisely originally as a barren bordertown that recalled similar locales in Sergio Leone westerns. Now, he says, it’s “filled with a bunch of…CGI shit.”

He shares an additional anecdote with the website regarding a conversation between Lucas and Return of the Jedi director Richard Marquand that’s pretty amusing (“What we’re doing now is kind of like a cross between Benji and what we did on Empire Strikes Back”, Lucas told him)’.

Article can be found at: http://www.movies.com/movie-news/phil-tippett-star-wars/4324

^ The above text, and more information can be found in the link below…

Site News - section article from the Save Star Wars website.
 

Mondo Mystery Movie #2: Q&A (Part 2)’ youtube video, - by Crab Rangoon - a Q&A with Phil Tippett after a screening of ‘Jurassic Park’, from 2011.

 

John Knoll (ILM Visual Effects):-

^ the above image is taken from Pages 279 & 280 of the ‘Blockbuster: How Hollywood Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Summer’ book by Tom Shone (an amazon link to the book).

 

Denis Muren (ILM Visual Effects):-

'I came up with a list of probably about 25 shots of spaceships, mainly during the dog fight sequence at the end of the original film, that we never quite had right. There’s big giant map lines showing, there’s huge black, or gray things that are just in the shot, they shouldn’t be in it. It just made it look real funky, and I was all for fixing that stuff up. That’s what I where I thought it was going to end, I wasn’t getting anything with plots or anything like that.

But my thought always was that the originals will always be there, this would be like the original there and then you’d have this, you could look at like this was what they meant to do at that time. That’s not what happened, George just was really sort of making them like forever and apparently just wants one version out there forever. I agree that it’s too bad there isn’t the handwriting of how you were in 1983, and how you thought the movie should look or something. But an artist can do what he wants, and that’s what George is doing. So there are, you know, you got the laser disk around, and maybe sometime the stuff will come back. I don’t know. There are still very nice prints around of those original films, so it’s not like they’re gone.’

^ The above text, and more information can be found in the link below…

Dennis Muren on Making ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, the Special Editions, and Directing ‘Star Tours’ - article from the Collider website.

 

Ben Burtt (Sound Designer & Film Editor):-

^ The above image, and more information, is taken from the article linked to below…

‘Voice of RD-D2 speaks out on film trickery’ - a 2009 article from the News AU website.

 

 

Finally, and on a slightly different tangent, the Lucasfilm Vice President acknowledging that a truly countless number of fans want to see the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy (after the 2004 DVD release of the Special Editions)…

Jim Ward (President of LucasArts, and Senior Vice President of Lucasfilm), speaking in 2006:-

Jim Ward: “Over the years, a truly countless number of fans have told us that they would love to see and own the original version that they remember experiencing in theaters,” said Jim Ward, President of LucasArts and Senior Vice President of Lucasfilm Ltd. “We returned to the Lucasfilm Archives to search exhaustively for source material that could be presented on DVD. This is something that we’re very excited to be able to give to fans in response to their continuing enthusiasm for Star Wars.”

^ The above text, screenshot, and more information can be found in the link below…

This September: Original Unaltered Trilogy on DVD - 3rd May, 2006 article from the Star Wars official website.

 

 

 

26. Lucasfilm removing people who worked on / contributed to the Original Trilogy films from history…

 

Below is an abridged screenshot image taken from Star Wars’ Marketing & Publicity Supervisor Charles Lippincott’s article - “The ‘secret weapon’ behind Star Wars” - at the insightful & engrossing From the Desk of Charles Lippincott blog:-

^ The full online article, with much more information, can be found by clicking on the link above.
 

‘Gary Kurtz’ daughter, Tiffany Hillkurtz, commented "This is an interesting article. Dad had a similar influence and was for a long time “written out” of history."

&

'The books [Rinzler’s 3 ‘Making Of’ OT books] which have been written were done so with the assistance of LFL, which means, Marcia was written out of history. Gary was written out of history. I was written out of history. I don’t know if it’s altruistic of me, but up ‘til now, I’ve lived without financial benefit from the work I did on STAR WARS, so I can die without them.’ - Charles Lippincott

 
 

'Today, she has been practically erased from the history books at Lucasfilm. Looking through J.W. Rinzler’s Making of Star Wars, she is mentioned only occasionally in passing, a background element, and not a single word of hers is quoted; she is a silent extra, absent from any photographs and only indirectly acknowledged, her contributions downplayed.

In the documentary Empire of Dreams, she is barely even mentioned in passing, except when the narration states that she edited the film and Lucas says he “got divorced as Jedi was complete” in the last two minutes of the supposedly-definitive documentary. Other products fare not much better, since many of them are published through Lucasfilm; her entire existence has nearly been ignored. Marcia Lucas, the “other” Lucas, has basically become the forgotten Lucas.’

^ The above text, and more information can be found in the link below…

In Tribute to Marcia Lucas - article from The Secret History of Star Wars website.
 

^ Marcia Lucas - pictured at “50th Annual Academy Awards” with Richard Chew & Paul Hirsh - collecting their Oscars for winning the ‘Best Film Editing’ category - for Star Wars, in 1978. (Also pictured is Farrah Fawcett.)

 

 

 

27. Han Shot First…

 

For many people it is the most well-known change made for the 1997 Special Editions, and for the new generation of fans who have never seen the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy (as years go by they increase in number)… it is worth highlighting in it’s own category here. (As well as helping illustrate the next category below in this thread, too.)
 

Star Wars Greedo scene Comparison 1977-2011

^ from TheStarWarsTrilogy.com youtube channel

 

Han Shot First MEANING - a youtube video by HelloGreedo; an explanation on the meaning of the term ‘Han Shot First’.
 

Who Shot First? Remembering the most infamous Special Edition change 20 years later - article from ScreenCrush examining the original scene - and history of the changes made to this scene over time.

 

 

 

28. George Lucas claims in 2012 that Han NEVER Shot First…

 

Lucas claiming that Han NEVER shot first is somewhat outlandish - even for George himself…

GL: ‘The controversy over who shot first, Greedo or Han Solo, in Episode IV, what I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo [who seemed to be the one who shot first in the original] to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t. It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down.’

^ from the George Lucas Now Says That Han NEVER Shot First article at the Gizmodo website.

The original interview, in an article with the Hollywood Reporter, can be found here - 5 Questions With George Lucas: Controversial ‘Star Wars’ Changes, SOPA and ‘Indiana Jones 5’

 

The articles below however, not to mention the various scripts (from drafts to shooting scripts) available at the Starkiller: The Jedi Bendu Script Site, put George’s claim above to bed…
 

The guy who played Greedo just ended one of the biggest ‘Star Wars’ debates - article at the BGR website.
 

Greedo actor wants ‘Star Wars’ to restore Han Solo shooting first scene: ‘It does give him a little more glory’ - article at NY Daily News website.
 

Chewbacca Actor Confirms Han Shot First In Original Star Wars Script - article at the ScreenRant website, including an image of Peter Mayhew’s script…

 

 

From an interview with George Lucas in the September 2004 issue of EW magazine:-

George Lucas: "The thing that really caused the trouble on Star Wars is the whole question of whether Han Solo or Greedo shoots first. The way it got cobbled together at the time, it came off as [Han] fired first. He didn’t fire first." followed by It’s a correction [When I made Star Wars] I said ‘Well, I don’t have that shot, so I’ll just, you know, fudge it editorially’.

^ OT•com member doubleofive posted this thread on his comprehensive Star Wars Visual Comparisons twitter account, re ‘Greedo shoots first. (1997/2004)’:-

https://twitter.com/StarWarsVisComp/status/1168554173136166913 (and also here on the OT•com - link)
 

doubleofive: “Frame by frame comparisons, GIF’s, the whole nine yards. I conclude that the “new” shot is based on a wide shot of Han shooting Greedo. They took the clarifying shot Lucas claims didn’t exist in the 70’s and changed it so Greedo shoots (at different times with different effects).”

& “In the end, Lucas saying that it was “cobbled together” from “close ups” is false. The shots of Han shooting Greedo were unchanged from the Jympson rough cut. He had the time & technology to use this exact wide shot back then (if Greedo had ever fired on set).” - link

& “Saying that the fans got the wrong impression of Han for 20 years or implying that they’re bloodthirsty is insulting. Lucas either changed his mind or wanted an excuse for ILM to see if they could make a shot like that look good.” - link

 

 

 

29. How Harrison Ford got the part of Han Solo; Harrison’s story - and George’s…

 

Star Wars, a franchise that’s full of myths, has developed a few myths about its own improbable creation over the years. One of them was repeated by Star Wars creator George Lucas himself. It’s about how Harrison Ford was hired to play Han Solo in the first place.

But the version of the story Lucas told, on a Star Wars Celebration panel Thursday celebrating the original movie’s upcoming 40th anniversary, was immediately contradicted by Ford, who happened to be sitting right next to him.

See the below for more details…

Harrison Ford schooled George Lucas on how he got the Han Solo role - article from the Mashable website

 

The video of the Star Wars 40th Anniversary Celebration Panel can be found at the link below, from the Disneyland Experience youtube channel (around 52 minutes into the video):-

40 Years of Star Wars Panel Full - Star Wars Celebration 2017 Orlando

 

 

 

30. Han Solo was planned to appear in Episode III.

 

Not so much a contradictory statement or attempt to rewrite history - though listed here for info & reference…

‘George Lucas wanted to include a young Han Solo in Revenge of the Sith, but due to the timeline of that film, the character was only to be about ten years old. This idea made it far along in the development process. He appeared, complete with dialogue, in the Kashyyyk battle scenes of the rough draft of the screenplay. Lucasfilm even had concept art approved. Solo’s role was to be a helpful kid who helps find the elusive General Grievous’ location.’
 

Concept image art and lines from-the then-script; Han talking with Yoda…

 
^ The above text, image, and more information can be found in the link below…

See Lucasfilm’s Concept Art of Young Han Solo - article from the SlashFilm website.
 

Artist Iain McCaig talks about his Solo concept art, in the officially licensed Lucasfilm book ‘The Art of Revenge of the Sith’.

 

 

 

31. Jabba; the differences from being human in a 1977 (deleted scene), to changes in 1997, and further changes in 2004…

 

^ The Star Wars Special Editions - article from The Star Wars Trilogy website.

&

Jabba Scene Comparison 1997-2011 youtube video, by Conker

 

 

 

32. The contradictions / discrepancies / plot holes between the Prequel and Original Trilogies…

 

This category will likely be one of the ‘from a certain point of view’ school of thought…

It is also a subject that likely deserves it’s own thread given the topic’s sheer scope and size - though it’s also worth of a cursory mention in here too.
 

The Prequel Trilogy - whether you like them, or love, loathe, tolerate, ignore them, or are indifferent to them [or insert your own descriptor here]… do contain some contradictions in according to what was stated - and previously established - in the Original Trilogy.
 

Not the universe-shrinking Vader having built C3PO, or the Falcon appearing in Episode III, the abandoned plans to have Han Solo appear in III, or have members of pop band 'N Sync cameo in Episode II…

Content such as Chewbacca now knowing, and fighting alongside the great Jedi Master Yoda in Episode III - and yet… despite being Han Solo’s friend and partner in crime for some time, decided to keep quiet and let Han carry on with his ‘Kid, I’ve flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s one all-powerful force controlling everything. There’s no mystical energy field that controls my destiny.’ spiel - and not say anything at all… even to Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Or other discrepancies such as…

  • ‘For over a thousand generations the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic…’ or ‘I will not let this Republic, which has stood for a thousand years, be split in two.’
  • ‘Do you remember your mother, your real mother?’ - Leia remembers her mother, yet after Episode III how can she…
  • Obi Wan Kenobi doesn’t remember R2D2? (let alone ‘…don’t seem to remember owning a droid’)
  • ‘Well of course, of course I know him. He’s me! I haven’t gone by the name Obi-Wan since oh, before you were born.’ - Errrr…
  • R2D2 knows who Yoda is - the great Jedi Master of the Clone Wars etc - having met him a few times before in the Prequels… Despite this, R2 will fight with Yoda over a torchlight when Yoda is acting like a crazy little creature on Dagobah.
  • R2D2’s rocket boosters from the Prequels sure may have come in handy for when in the Original Trilogy…
  • ‘Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough’ - it would seem not, after viewing the Prequels.
  • ‘There you will learn from Yoda, the Jedi Master who instructed me’ - and not Qui-Gon Jinn; as seen in the TPM…
  • ‘An old friend has learned the path to immortality’ - and yet we’ll hear no more from him of this…
     

For some fans, these may not be a problem or much of an issue - and don’t detract from the enjoyment of viewing the films. And let’s not forget the Original Trilogy also contains some contradictions within them too…

Yet the discrepancies and plot holes can also be viewed as lazy writing (and also a lack of care and attention) on George’s part here. It was George who (in the main) wrote the Prequel Trilogy - and yet didn’t seemingly check for continuity issues between the two trilogies… or maybe did and yet decided to pay them no heed? (and apparently neither did anyone else working on the Prequels too?)

Afterall, it is quite puzzling that Lucas took the trouble to alter and retcon the Original Trilogy films to fit in more with the newer Prequel Trilogy (inserting Prequel actor Hayden Christensen into Return Of The Jedi to replace the original actor Sebastian Shaw, for example) - yet decided on not bothering to address the above discrepancies (and also a fair few more too) - or even adapt the writing of the Prequels in the pre-filming stages to fit in more with the already established Original Trilogy…
 

 

A collection of various OT•com threads from over the years which discuss some of the plot holes, discrepancies and contradictions from the films can be found in the ‘Star Wars Scenes, Tropes and Meta etc’ section of the ‘General Star Wars Discussion’ category of this linked Index Thread - An Index Thread for General Star Wars Discussion….

For anyone wishing to continue discussing these issues it is probably more fitting to do so in those already established threads - rather than starting again in this thread - thank you.

Obviously, there are countless online articles highlighting some of these issues. Many await to be found by your good selves if you are so inclined to read up on them - a few may not even just be repeating each others’ article lists and findings… 😉

 

 

 

33. Midichlorians and The Force… (and a 30 year retcon by Lucas)

 

As stated in the linked article below, for many the main issue with introducing Midichlorians in the Prequel Trilogy was that it directly contradicted his original description of them. Obi-Wan says that The Force is “an energy field created by all living beings.” - but Midichlorians aren’t an energy field. They are cells inside living beings which somewhat retcons the issue…

‘All of a sudden, instead of there being an energy field that “binds the galaxy together,” there are little microscopic life forms inside of the Jedi, allowing them to… do what? What do the microscopic entities have to do with the galaxy-wide life force? Are they like symbiotes that allow you to connect to the energy field? If the Force is in every living thing, then why do only some people have Midichlorians? Does the Dark Side of the Force have different-flavored Midichlorians than the light side? What was a fairly clear-cut explanation suddenly becomes incredibly muddled.’

The Real Problem With Midichlorians - article by Charlie Jane Anders on the io9.gizmodo website (with a few Lost references - apologies, it was 2010!)
 

More reading can be found here - with the view that the Force is open and accessible to many more people than those with a high Midichlorian count (Caution!: contains praise for The Last Jedi 😉)…

Star Wars: The Last Jedi fixes one of the prequels’ worst problems article at the Polygon website.

 

It is also worth noting that some 30 years later… George retconned the term Midichlorians into JW Rinzler’s ‘Making Of Star Wars’ book (page 353) - changing the words and quote Lucas had used in 1977, when explaining some notions regarding ‘the Force’ - as admitted by JW Rinzler, here:-

‘[Please note: While we were preparing the text for The Making of Star Wars, Lucas added a note to this passage about midi-chlorians, bringing his original words in line with his later thoughts and the events of the prequel trilogy.]’

^ from the So what the heck are Midichlorians? article at the official Star Wars website.

 

The original quote from Lucas’ 1977 interview with Carol Titelman (author of ‘The Art of Star Wars’) is:-

”It is said that certain creatures are born with a higher awareness of the Force than humans. Their brains are different. The Force is a perception of the reality that exists around us.”

 

The ret-conned quote added by Lucas in JW Rinzler’s ‘Making Of Star Wars’ book is:-

”It is said certain creatures are born with a higher awareness of the Force than humans. Their brains are different; they have more midi-chlorians in their cells. The Force is a perception of the reality that exists around us.”

 

^ a massive thanks & credit to RogueLeader & canofhumdingers for the above info - and also for the inspiration to start this thread. ^

 

 

 

34. Buyer Beware: Lucasfilm authorised / released material indicating a certain era or time - may well contain Special Edition content inserted into it.

 

This may come as a surprise to some people - though maybe not to others…

As an example, the lavish and deluxe (in both price and quality)The Star Wars Archives: 1977-1983’ book, by Paul Duncan, does contain images and info from the various Special Editions too; some 20 years out of place, and more - depending on which Special Edition content has been inserted…

So if you thought the ‘1977-1983’ part of the title for the above book to mean it would specifically feature content from that era… think again. For example - the frame grabs of the films used in the book are from the various Special Editions - and not from the original theatrical versions of the films.

Amazon link for the ‘The Star Wars Archives: 1977-1983’ book - link
 

If you are thinking of purchasing some Original Trilogy products or merchandise that you believe to be from a certain time or era - it may well be best to check thoroughly before buying; what it says on the cover isn’t always what is inside…
 

And we already know, Lucas is not above retconning information and quoted statements from the past to include his more modern and revisionist terms or statements - as per the changing of quotes re Midichlorians in JW Rinzler’s otherwise quality and absorbing ‘Making Of Star Wars’ book. Also, the retcon change to the script of Star Wars to insert a mention of Jabba now being a ‘slug-like creature’ - where previously there was no mention of this.

 

^ from Star Wars Comparison twitter page - by OT•com member doubleofive

 

doubleofive’s Modern SE Revisionism OT•com thread highlights some of the instances where Special Edition content has been inserted into, and passed off as, material from the theatrical versions (or that era) of the Original Trilogy.

 

 

 

35. Lucas attitude to the fans - and evasion of discourse on the suppression of the unaltered Original Trilogy films…

 

The following screenshot is taken from an article ‘George Lucas keeps ruining our childhood’ on the LaineyGossip website, from 2011 (more information can be found in the linked article):-

&

^ There is only the writer’s uncorroborated version of events that occurred - yet given Lucas’ attitude and stance in not releasing the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy - knowing many Star Wars fans’ disappointment and frustration by in doing so, it does not come across as surprising.

 

The following screenshot is from is taken from the SavingStarWars website article - ‘Don’t Rock the Boat’, from in 2011 - when George was still head of Lucasfilm:-

 

It is interesting to note there hasn’t been any detailed discourse with George (or many of the ‘higher-ups’ at Lucasfilm or - now Disney) over the decision not to release the theatrical editions of the Original Trilogy on a modern digital format. There is a the simple ‘they’re George’s films’ / ‘my films’ stance as noted above - yet no really discussions with the fans on the subject.

It’s possible they are aware of George’s past ‘my films’ claims (some quotes are listed in categories above) which are in contrast to stating that…

“American works of art belong to the public; they are part of our cultural history.”

or

“I don’t know. It’s my classic. On the one hand, I’m doing this, while on the other hand I’m on the Artists Rights Board, a foundation that’s trying to protect films from being changed - which I feel very strongly about, because with the technology we have today, anybody can go back and do this kind of thing. I can sort of see the future, and I want to protect films as they are and as they should be. I don’t want to see them colorized, I don’t want to see their formats changed, I don’t want to see them re-edited, and I don’t want to see what I’m able to do now, which is add more characters and do all kinds of things that nobody even contemplated before.”

or

“People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians…”

and so on…
 

That a discussion with fans hasn’t taken place is quite baffling - in the interests of openness, honesty and transparency alone. Afterall George, Lucasfilm and now Disney are aware of the demand for such a release, and of the important moral, historical and preservation aspects too. As Lucasfilm VP Jim Ward once said (re the substandard 2006 bonus disc DVD releases)

“Over the years, a truly countless number of fans have told us that they would love to see and own the original version that they remember experiencing in theaters,” and “We returned to the Lucasfilm Archives to search exhaustively for source material that could be presented on DVD. This is something that we’re very excited to be able to give to fans in response to their continuing enthusiasm for Star Wars.”

 

^ a big thanks & credit to JayArgonaut for suggesting the inclusion of a Category covering George’s words & statements to fans… ^

 

 

 

36. Who made the Original Trilogy films…?

 

As highlighted in the previous category, George Lucas only actually made one of the Original Trilogy films - Irvin Kershner made The Empire Strikes Back, & Richard Marquand made Return Of The Jedi. Yet George states that they are his films. Again, this is a claim by George which has changed considerably over the years…
 

^ The above image, and more information, can be found in the link below…

Lucas talks as ‘Star Wars’ trilogy returns - a 2004 article from the Today website.
 

Did Kershner know his work was ‘not finished’, Did Marquand?

Did they know Lucas thinks the work in their respective films was ‘not very good’?

Did they know that George considers them to be his work - his movies - and not theirs; ‘I wanted to actually finish the film the way it was meant to be when I was originally doing it.’ & ‘I’m making the movies, so I should have it my way.’

 

And yet in 1997 George stated…

“A hundred years from now, the only version of the movie that anyone will remember will be the DVD version [of the Special Edition]…I think it’s the director’s prerogative, not the studio’s, to go back and reinvent a movie.

^ The above image, and more information, can be found in the link below…

How the Grinch Stole Star Wars - article on the Save Star Wars website.

 

The original plan for the Star Wars films was to have different directors for each movie - to benefit from having the respective input, styles and focus brought by each director…

^ from an interview with Gary Kurtz, on Page 22 of the 'Once Upon A Galaxy: A Journal of The Making of The Empire Strikes Back’ book, published in 1980.

 

On Page 38 of JW Rinzler’s ‘Making Of The Empire Strikes Back’ book, has this quote by director Irvin Kershner:-

“I said that under certain conditions I’d make the film. First of all, if I felt I could make the film better than the first one that means having freedom. And sufficient money. George assured me that money was not a problem - within limits, of course. He further assured me it would be my film completely.

 

From George Lucas himself back in 1979 - from Issue 15 of ‘Star Wars Official Poster Monthly’ - when asked if it bothered hims allowing other directors to make other Star Wars films:-

 

and George Lucas quoted as saying “There should be at least three or four [further films], but I won’t direct them. I made the prototype. I’ll not do that again. Let others interpret it their own way… below…

^ a screenshot image taken from the ‘Lucas: Galactic General of Star Wars’ article in the LA Times - back in June, 1977.

 

and from this 1999 interview with George Lucas in Wired magazine - entitled Grand Illusion - The Master of Myth Rewrites History:-

 

From an interview with George Lucas for ‘The Empire Strikes Back and So Does George Lucas’
1980 article in Rolling Stone magazine:-

 

George has come a long, long way from the four quotes above… not forgetting that if George really does now consider Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi to be his films… then why involve other directors and their respective input & vision in the first place?

This is especially baffling when years later George decided to make numerous changes to the two Original Trilogy films made by directors Kershner & Marquand, claim these films as his, state “so I should have it my way” - and then suppresses the other two directors’ original unaltered films claiming “they don’t really exist anymore”; containing work and content which had stood, and was available to view, for some 20-30 years…

 

 

 

37. George Lucas: ‘People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians’…

 

Many years ago, colorization of black and white movies was a hot-button issue. In 1988 the U.S. Congress actually held hearings on the topic, and number of prominent filmmakers spoke on the subject. One of those filmmakers was George Lucas…

GL: “People who alter or destroy works of art and our cultural heritage for profit or as an exercise of power are barbarians, and if the laws of the United States continue to condone this behavior, history will surely classify us as a barbaric society.”

^ What George Lucas Thinks Of Other People Altering Old Films - article from the CinemaBlend website.

 

 

 

38. George Lucas: ‘American works of art belong to the American public; they are part of our cultural history’…

 

'Many years ago, colorization of black and white movies was a hot-button issue. In 1988 the U.S. Congress actually held hearings on the topic, and number of prominent filmmakers spoke on the subject. One of those filmmakers was George Lucas…

Lucas has often stated that the reason he has made the changes was because he wanted to make them more in line with his original vision. This is a fine argument, but according to himself, he’s not the person in possession of those films’:-

GL: "American works of art belong to the American public; they are part of our cultural history."

^ What George Lucas Thinks Of Other People Altering Old Films - article from the CinemaBlend website.

 

 

 

39. Do As I Say, Not As I Do: George Lucas Quotes on Film Preservation. Pt 1.

 

‘A modest collection of George Lucas quotes pertaining to film preservation and the public’s right to their own cultural heritage’…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do: George Lucas Quotes on Film Preservation - article from the Save Star Wars website.
 

Just to whet the appetite for clicking on the above link…
 

 

 

 

 

40. Do As I Say, Not As I Do: George Lucas Quotes on Film Preservation. Pt 2.

 

The Film Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1990 by director Martin Scorcese dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history - of which George Lucas is a board member.

The quotes below are taken from a video of George Lucas talking about the Film-Foundation - and the importance of preserving movies. Click on the Film-Foundation link above and then on the George Lucas image icon to watch the actual video.
 

George Lucas - “The idea of film history, the idea of preserving films, which are so important to our heritage and culture, and which are part of what I think are a very significant art form, especially going into the future, I think is paramount. The reality that we face which is half the films before 1950 have been lost and we’ll never see them again… is a tragedy. And it saddens me every time I think about the fact that I’ve seen stills, I’ve heard stories about certain movies and I’ll never, ever be able to see them. Because they’re gone now. And I think preserving films - in terms of the legacy for the future - is probably the most important thing we can do.”

 

On the 1995 ‘Faces’ VHS & laserdisc box set releases of the Original Trilogy; this message from George Lucas:-

 

 

 

41. The Greatest Speech Against the Special Edition was from George Lucas…

 

‘So, what happened to this man? How could he hatch plans to permanently alter his and other directors’ films a mere half-decade later? This is especially troublesome as his big push in this speech, not quoted due to its irrelevance, is that only directors and the primary writers can agree to alteration of a film, and if one of them is dead the film is locked as it was; which would freeze Return of the Jedi, since director Richard Marquand died in 1987, and need to have Kershner and Kasdan be the decision-makers for Empire.

However, I believe Lucas started down a slippery slope. In 1993, he wanted to add only a few enhancements to Star Wars, mainly the deleted scene with Jabba the Hutt. As the writer and director of the film, and as restoring material shot for the original production, he saw it as his prerogative to change the film. Indeed, even in 1988 he emphasizes that if a film is to be altered it must be at the filmmaker’s choosing–he doesn’t explicitly state how this can be reconciled with “preserving cultural heritage as it was,” but he seems to imply that rights holders should continue to release the original versions out of respect for its history, which is a very reasonable stance.

'However, the insertion of a couple new effects and a deleted scene to Mos Eisley slowly gave way to trying out new shots for the space battle as people like Dennis Muren got involved. Lucas then wanted to try new techniques as research for the prequels he had at that point begun to plan, and so many new changes were arbitrarily added. The negative was then discovered to have deteriorated massively, and so a full-out restoration was enacted, literally taking apart the film. At this point, by now 1995, he began to look at Empire and Jedi as the films reached new heights of renewed popularity that year.

The project gradually ballooned. Perhaps he began to see the films as “his”, as he would explain in years shortly later, conveniently forgetting his implicit assertion that Kershner and Kasdan should be arbitrers for Empire and that out of respect for the deceased Richard Marquand Jedi be left as it was. He at first began to speak about “his vision”, and then how all the changes were always “meant to be” and therefore justified. When he began adding Hayden Christensen to Return of the Jedi in 2004 he wasn’t even saying this anymore, he was just changing Marquand’s film for the hell of it. But he had gradually worked his way up to doing that.’

^ The above text, and more information can be found in the link below…

The Greatest Speech Against the Special Edition was from George Lucas - article from the Save Star Wars website.

(^ For some reason the formatting of the site is not quite ‘correct’; though the invisible text within the large white block of space in the above link… can be viewed via highlighting it).
 

The speech by George Lucas can also be found here - ‘George Lucas explains why you shouldn’t digitally alter films’ - an article on the Force Material website, and also with a screenshot image of the speech below, from the ‘George Lucas Speaks Out Against Altering Films in 1988’ article, at the SlashFilm website:-

 

 

 

42. Request Denied: Lucas Refuses to Co-Operate with Government Film Preservation Organizations…

 

Despite many of the quotes from George Lucas on the importance of preserving films listed in the categories above… he refuses to hand over prints of the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy for archiving and preservation…
 

‘While Lucas refuses to restore the original versions and has expressed his desire to see them never released again and entirely forgotten, some optimists see hope in the coming century: public domain. Eventually, Star Wars will become public domain. It is pointed out that the Library of Congress is the best source outside of Lucasfilm, since they professionally store and maintain historical films. They received prints of the original trilogy in their copyright depository at the time of their release, for one. Most importantly, in 1987 and 1988, George Lucas and other filmmakers went to Congress to testify on the need for the protection of films, both against companies wishing to alter them and against the forces of time. Lucas expressed that historic films are our cultural heritage and need to be preserved for future generations.’

^ The above text, and more insightful information on George Lucas / Lucasfilm’s refusal to co-operate with various Film Preservation Organisations with the respective FPO efforts to archive and preserve the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy films, can be found in the link below…

Request Denied: Lucas Refuses to Co-Operate with Government Film Preservation Organizations - 2010 article from the Save Star Wars website.

 

However, as the following article demonstrates, as of 2015 the Library Of Congress does now have 35mm prints of the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy films… though not from Lucas or Lucasfilm - from the 35mm prints that were submitted for the copyright process when the films were initially released!

‘The search for the ‘Star Wars’ George Lucas doesn’t want you to see’ - article from the Mashable website (the text below is abridged - click on the link to read the full article):-
 

'Lucas has either seized and destroyed or hidden away all copies of the original films in order to roll out modified versions that are ostensibly better than the originals. Owing to its age, the first film, which was released in 1977, has probably undergone more updates and spit polish than the rest.

There is, however, one place beyond the reach of Lucas’s twitchy, compulsively dissatisfied grasp: the Library of Congress.

…the Library doesn’t just have a preserved 1977 negative of the film. That negative has been transformed into a glorious 4K file that anyone can view by appointment.’

“What we have are 35mm prints that were submitted for copyright when the films were released,” explained Mike Mashon, the Library of Congress’s Head of the Moving Image Section in an email to me.

But those prints were beyond the reach of mere mortals, and perhaps even those possessing The Force. They had been “elevated to preservation, non-access status,” to keep them from harm, Mashon said. Star Wars, obviously, is no longer just any film.

Thankfully, Mashon also told me that the Library was “planning” to scan the negatives so people could come in and view the films in digital form. After multiple emails and phone calls, I found out that the Library had produced a 2K scan, rather than the HD 4K version I’d read about — and that I could call to make an appointment to view it.

When I called though, another Library of Congress employee informed me that the digital transfer had occurred only days before, and that it still “has to be ingested into the system.”

A day or so later, I got confirmation that the files were now ready. So I booked my flight…’

(more information can be found in the linked article above)

 

 

 

43. Where are all the film prints for the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy films?

 

Why don’t the various Film Preservation Organisations just use one of the countless film prints out there are a way of archiving / preserving the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy films?

or

Why don’t the fans on film preservation sites use one of the countless prints used in cinemas to preserve the films?

you may ask…
 

Unfortunately, at the time film prints were often destroyed, returned to the distributor / studio, or thrown out after they had finished being played in theatres - which were the usual way for film prints to be dispatched.

A few of any surviving prints may well have also been lost over time - mislaid, misfiled, forgot about, thrown away, or even perished over time - through the film stock fading - or poor storage conditions etc.

Also of note is that in certain countries it is illegal own such prints - the prints belong to studio / distributor - and they do not sell prints to the public. They do however, at times, somehow end up in private ownership… as demonstrated by this article on actor Roddy McDowall - who had assembled a large collection of film prints for private viewings at his US home:-

When Roddy McDowall Was Busted by the FBI for Pirating Films - 2017 article at the MentalFloss website.

 

And there is also the often talked about, yet difficult-to-confirm, ‘seize & destroy order’ from George / Lucasfilm…

 

Below is a screenshot image from the ‘Request Denied: Lucas Refuses to Co-Operate with Government Film Preservation Organizations’ 2010 article - from the Save Star Wars website:-

 

From ‘The search for the ‘Star Wars’ George Lucas doesn’t want you to see’ article on the Mashable website - also linked to in the previous category:-

‘Lucas has either seized and destroyed or hidden away all copies of the original films…’.

 

The screenshot image below is taken from the ‘Technicolor I.B. Screening’ article at the Save Star Wars website; with the main article referencing a theatrical showing of the unaltered version of Star Wars in 2010. Also highlighted are the difference in quality between the main types of film stock used at the time for prints:-

 

The screenshot image below is taken from the ‘The Fans Who Saved Star Wars’ 2016 article at the Movie Mezzanine website; with the main article referencing referencing both the ‘seize and destroy order’ and also various fan projects aimed at preserving the theatrical versions of the three classic films:-

 

It is no wonder that collectors are somewhat secretive about having Original Trilogy prints in their possession - given the legality around of owning film prints - and also the Lucas / Lucasfilm ‘seize & destroy order’.

 

Obviously, there still a few film prints of the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy still out there in reasonable condition… yet any prints (or scans of) that become available may well require substantial work on them to restore them to their former glory. Also required is a lot of research, knowledge, skill, devotion, respect, time, patience - and a fair bit of money - along the way…

 

 

 

44. The cost of restoring / preserving the Original Trilogy films; by George…

 

George Lucas on the supposed cost of restoring the Original Trilogy films in the Lucas talks as ‘Star Wars’ trilogy returns - a 2004 article from the Today website:-

“I’m not going to spend the, we’re talking millions of dollars here, the money and the time to refurbish that, because to me, it doesn’t really exist anymore.”

That’s quite the disingenuous statement from George. Afterall, the bill for the entire 1997 Special Edition project was paid for by Fox, and as we can see from the quote below… “the theatrical release would pay for the work we had done”.

It was also a free lesson, a practice run, invaluable research and development - “an experiment in learning new technology” for the coming CGI-laden Prequel Trilogy.

To roll back the 35 new ‘enhanced with CGI’ shots made for the 1997 Special Edition theatrical releases… to the original theatrical editions, to remove (or just not insert) the 30 brand new shots, and the other changes / edits made for the 1997 SE certainly would NOT have cost millions of dollars.
 

^ The above image (abridged to remove images), and more information, can be found in the link below…

How the Grinch Stole Star Wars article on the Save Star Wars website.

 

All of the above, of course, ignored the possibility of using any of the numerous recently recalled film prints of the theatrical version of the Original Trilogy films from circulation… to aid in any issues with restoring or preserving the original negatives from the three classic films, which were in an apparent state of disrepair…

^ The above image, and more information, can be found in the link below…

The Frequently Asked Questions section of the Save Star Wars website.

Working links contained in the above image can be found here:-

From Interpositives to Separation Masters:How Film Preservation Works - at the Save Star Wars website.

Saving Star Wars: The Special Edition Restoration Process and its Changing Physicality - at the SHoSW website (re-hosted by ‘none’).

 

We have X in HD, but we still don’t have Star Wars - an OT•com thread listing some of the more obscure movies - and possibly a few films of dubious quality (or ‘cinematic masterpieces’ for some 😉) that are available in HD to buy - whilst the theatrical version of the Original Trilogy is not…

 

^ a big thanks & credit to Mocata for the idea for inclusion of a Category covering Lucas’ claim the OUT would cost millions to restore. ^

 

 

 

45. The cost of restoring / preserving the Original Trilogy films; by the fans…

 

Whilst George claims a restoration of the Original Trilogy would cost millions of dollars, people in the industry, as of 2018, put the figure at US $100,000 or so to cover the cost of a professional restoration of the Original Trilogy films; ‘to 4K and do it right’.

Obviously, and somewhat unfortunately, not many people have that amount of spare cash lying around… (though please get in touch if you have! 😉)
 

And yet…

It is the fans ourselves have undertaken many and various preservation projects of the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy films; in many cases have (or when finished, will have) also eclipsed the quality of the latest official releases - all for FREE!

(Some donations have been made by fans to help cover project costs etc - yet nothing like George’s claim of ‘millions of dollars’.)
 

A brief outlining of the evolution of fan-made preservations on the OriginalTrilogy•com…

 
In little over a year since the OT•com came online in 2003 the site had become a hive of scum and villainy community where dedicated members began putting together our own fan-made preservation projects of the theatrical Original Trilogy releases - in the form of various Laserdisc to DVD transfers.

These early fan-made pioneering Laserdisc-based preservations, which were completed at a time where information on Laserdisc players, the various Original Trilogy Laserdisc releases, technical info on capturing Laserdisc content, and general technical guides themselves were all limited…

Also limited was the hardware available; few people even had dvd writers on their home computers, or broadband internet, or hard drives large enough to store the films on. There were also very few file-hosting sites capable of storing such large files. Torrent sites were still in their infancy (and so very, very slow)… so a Pay-It-Forward system, via postal services, was the usual means of distributing many fan-made Star Wars projects - all across the world!

It was often the sheer determination and effort of members here - collaboratively learning, sharing and harnessing various skills, techniques, information, experiences, advice, as well as finding answers to many questions & unknowns - along with trials and errors, breakthroughs, failures and successes along the way… which evolved, progressed and finally resulted in many fan-made quality releases of the Original Trilogy onto DVD - all available for free.
 

Obviously since then, a lot has changed and progressed in technology - the use of home computers has grown more prevalent; more affordable, more widespread… with substantially improved internet speeds, as well as a wider choice of file-hosting storage solutions… along with the invaluable experience and know-how on how to extract better results for higher-quality and improving preservation projects…

As time progressed there began HD and blu-ray based reconstructions, despecializations, colour-corrected projects & restorations for the Original Trilogy films.

Even fan-made ‘Special Editions’; featuring newly scenes and content created by the editors themselves - yet with the onus on keeping these films feeling more akin to the theatrical editions - than that of the 1997, 2004 or 2011 official SE releases. Some even fix many of the uncorrected errors in the OT films… of which Lucasfilm so far have not addressed or fixed in three decades of releasing the official Special Editions.

Such projects are still undertaken and completed by the fans - in their valuable spare time, countless hours upon hours, ‘on our own dollar’, working and toiling away on these ventures - continually trying to further improve and perfect these projects - so we can all benefit from having the best quality preservations or edits available.
 

All the way through to the present - working with 35mm film scans - and where fan donations are being asked for…

 
We are now in a place where scanned 35mm film preservation projects of the theatrical version of the Original Trilogy exist - ready for playback on high quality modern digital devices - are readily available, with more projects in progress, and more being planned…

However, even with the advances in technology in the home & office and available to fan preservationists - along with a raft of experience of preserving / restoring films, undertaking such a preservation project with scanned 35mm film is quite an expensive venture.

Whilst certainly not the millions of dollars that Lucas claims it would cost, nor close to the US $100,000 costing a professional company would charge… these scanned 35mm film projects undertaken by us - the fans - do still run into thousands of dollars

And so to help complete such projects… donations from fellow fans (no matter how small) are being asked for.
 

As an example, this screenshot taken from The Star Wars Trilogy’s 4K77, 4K80 & 4K83 Projects in July 2019, details some of the outlay involved for their respective project:-

 

Information on some of the various 35mm or HD preservation projects for the Original Trilogy films…

 
A comparison image highlighting the quality that some HD & 4K fan-made theatrical version preservations are aiming for - or have already achieved - in their respective projects:-
 

^ The above image, and more information, can be found in the link below…

Project 4K77 section of the The Star Wars Trilogy website. (Donations welcome)

There are also site sections for Project 4K80 & Project 4K83, and also OT•com threads on the Projects here - 4K77 : 4K80 : 4K83.

 

More information chronicling the quality of some fan-made preservation projects - in comparison with the official releases of the films - can be found here, on the Star Wars Comparison youtube channel.

 

poita’s The Original Trilogy restored from 35mm prints project thread; a bastion of information & knowledge. (Donations welcome)

 

mverta’s StarWarsLegacy.com - The Official Thread project for his 35mm restoration of Star Wars '77.

 

Information on many more of the fan-made Star Wars Preservation Projects on the OT•com, and more, can found here
 
^ including info on Harmy’s Despecialized Editions (a 720 HD reconstruction of the Original Trilogy) - SW : ESB : ROTJ

 

Information on many more of the fan-made Star Wars Fan Edits on the OT•com, and more, can found here
 
^ including info on adywan’s Revisited Editions (a fan-made Special Edition of the Original Trilogy) - SW:R : ESB:R : ROTJ:R (Donations welcome)

 

There are of course many Star Wars projects on this site - preservation projects, fan edits, documentaries, subtitles and audio dubs, technical projects etc; not just for the Original Trilogy - but also for the Prequel Trilogy, Sequel Trilogy, Special Editions, standalone films, the many various animated series, the Holiday Special, the two Ewok features, for adverts, promos & trailers, the radio dramas, curiosities, & more - all for free (though donations are welcome for some projects), all made by us - the fans…

 

 

 

46. Why does this site want a release of the unaltered theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy?

 

'While many of us appreciate and enjoy George Lucas’ creative evolution of the classic Star Wars films via the various releases of the ever-changing ‘Special Editions’, we respectfully state that there is tremendous importance in the original theatrical prints of the Star Wars Trilogy.

Above and beyond the nostalgic value that they hold for millions of fans the world over, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi are landmark films that represent watershed moments in motion picture history. To preserve the original, award-winning work of the many artisans, sound technicians, craftsmen, and special effects artists is to do justice to their priceless contributions.

Undeniably, these movies are also cultural placeholders for millions of film fans. The impact that the original Star Wars Trilogy made on countless numbers of children, young people, and grownups everywhere is indisputable. Preserving the unaltered theatrical release forms of these movies and making them available to the public is of utmost importance.

An entire generation grew up with these movies and still love them dearly. We have created treasured memories and will always hold a place in our lives. We have bought the cinema tickets, video tapes, Laserdiscs, VCDs, DVDs, Blu Rays, artwork, posters, comics, books, soundtracks, games, figures, toys, lunchboxes, the various Special Editions, spin-offs, the Prequels, the Sequels, Standalone movies, Holiday Special, the Ewok movies, the many animated tv series - and literally bought the t-shirt…

…we just ask to have the option to purchase the unaltered original Star Wars Trilogy on a modern, high quality, digital format.’
 

^ some bloke named Jay (paraphrased)
 

 

 


 
 

Credits, Links to more In-depth information, & Suggestions for Further Reading & Viewing

 

• The SavingStarWars.com website, - by zombie84. : OT.com thread
The Secret History of Star Wars website, - by zombie84 (rehosted by none).
• ‘The Secret History of Star Wars’ book, - by zombie84. : OT.com Thread
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
Sources on the Special Edition OT•com thread by doubleofive
Modern SE Revisionism OT•com thread by doubleofive

• ‘The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film’ book, - by JW Rinzler. : OT.com Thread
• ‘The Making of The Empire Strikes Back: The Definitive Story Behind the Film’ book, - by JW Rinzler. : OT.com Thread
• ‘The Making of Return of the Jedi: The Definitive Story Behind the Film’ book, - by JW Rinzler. : OT.com Thread
• ‘Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy’ book, - by JW Rinzler. : OT.com Thread
• ‘Star Wars - Costumes: The Original Trilogy’ book, by Brandon Alinger. : OT.com Costume Thread

• ‘From the Desk of Charles Lippincott’ blog, - by Charles Lippincott
• ‘Star Wars Chronicles’ - book, - by Deborah Fine.
• ‘Skywalking: The Life And Films Of George Lucas’ book, - by Dale Pollock
• ‘Once Upon a Galaxy: A Journal of the Making of The Empire Strikes Back’ book, - by Alan Arnold
• ‘Mythmaker: The Life and Works of George Lucas’ book, - by John Baxter

• ‘The Art of Star Wars: ANH’ book, - by Carol Titelman
• ‘The Art of Empire Strikes Back’ book, - by Vic Bullock & Valerie Hoffman
• ‘The Art of Return Of The Jedi’ book, - by Lucasfilm Ltd
• ‘Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy’ book, - by Brandon Alinger

• 'Introducing the Despecialized Edition and Its Sources youtube video, - by Harmy
• 'How Star Wars was Saved in the Edit youtube video, - by RocketJump
• 'Gary Kurtz - on the Star Wars Special Edition youtube video, - by gordongecko1975 (aka OT•com member Haarspalter)
• 'Gary Kurtz - on Return of the Jedi youtube video, - by gordongecko1975 (aka OT•com member Haarspalter)
• The Starkiller - The Jedi Bendu Script Site website, - at T-bone’s www.starwarz.com
Blockbuster: How Hollywood Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Summer book by Tom Shone (amazon link to book)
How Star Wars Conquered The Universe book by Chris Taylor (amazon link to book)

 

• For information on more of the changes made to the Original Trilogy over the years, as well as the contributions of some of the artists and craftspeople that worked on original films - some of which no longer appears - despite winning awards & accolades, helping change the face & filming of modern cinema, and being a significant part of Star Wars history… lost to the various changes of the Special Editions… these two OT•com threads may be of interest:-

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

Complete Comparison of Special Edition Visual Changes (a comprehensive discussion thread with links to many sources of info)
 

• An array of various OT•com threads over the years discussing the many contradictory and somewhat hypocritical statements - and the rewriting of Star Wars history - by George, can be found in the ‘Archival / Historical Discussions’ section of this thread, linked below:-

An Index Thread for General Star Wars Discussion…

and also in the relevant threads found in the An Index Thread for Theatrical Cuts vs. Subsequent Releases… too.

^ Credit, kudos and massive thanks to every member here who has highlighted, researched, and debated the issues in those threads - many of which can be found in the links above. Also credit to anyone who is still awake & reading this thread in just one sitting too 😉

 

Articles online:-

What Did The Original Script For The Empire Strikes Back Look Like? - at io9.gizmodo.com
10 things you didn’t know about The Empire Strikes Back - at io9.gizmodo.com
Star Wars Producer Blasts Star Wars Myths - at Mashable.com
The Anatomy of Star Wars Class - Reviewed - at TheForce.net (Gary Kurtz on some unfair revisionism of history)
Did German Speakers Understand The Darth Vader Reveal Before Anyone Else? - at Forbes.com
American Cinematographer interview with George Lucas - in 2002 - at the ASC.com
The Star Wars Special Editions - at TheStarWarsTrilogy.com
The Great Unmade? Star Wars: Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye - at cinetropolis.net
Star Wars Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye Story Conference - at cinetropolis.net
George Lucas and the Cult of Darth Vader - at RollingStone.com
50 Things You Might Not Know About Star Wars - at MentalFloss.com
A Brief History of George Lucas’ Star Wars Sequel Trilogy - at FilmSchoolRejects.com
The Mythology of ‘Star Wars’ with George Lucas - article at BillMoyers.com
The Mythology of ‘Star Wars’ with George Lucas and Bill Moyers - video at the BillyMoyers.com Vimeo site.
George Lucas’s Revisions - By William Rogers - at Confluence.com
From The Vault: A 2002 interview with Gary Kurtz (by Ken Plume) - at ASiteCalledFred.com
Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz speaks out - at LATimes.com
40-year-old George Lucas interview predicts Star Wars’ future with Disney - at LATimes.com
How Star Wars Nearly Destroyed George Lucas - at NewRepublic.com
George Lucas: To feel the true force of Star Wars, he had to learn to let it go - at TheWashingtonPost.com
George Lucas Admitted He “May Have Gone Too Far” After Early ‘Phantom Menace’ Screening - at TheHollywoodReporter.com
RARE INTERVIEW: Charles Lippincott - Marketing Star Wars - at RebelForceRadio.com
Thoughts on J.W. Rinzler’s The Making of Star Wars - at SHoSW.com
Revisionism - Our Cultural Heritage - at watchstarwars.com
Star Wars, Blu-Ray and a Boycott - at LiveGeekOrDie.com
George Lucas keeps ruining our childhood - at LaineyGossip.com
George Lucas And The Not-So-Special Editions - at FilmBuffOnline.com
Darth Vader’s Original Backstory (Before He Was Retconned To Be Luke’s Father) - at ScreenRant.com
Lucas talks as ‘Star Wars’ trilogy returns - at Today.com
George Lucas and the Cult of Darth Vader - at RollingStone.com
The Empire Strikes Back and So Does George Lucas - at RollingStone.com
Star Wars: Leigh Brackett and The Empire Strikes Back You Never Saw - at DenOfGeek.com
‘Voice’ of RD-D2 speaks out on film trickery at News.com.AU
‘Brilliant Effects Master Phil Tippett Sheds Some Light on George Lucas’ ‘Star Wars’ - Tinkering Mind’ - at Movies.com (2011 article)
Could Disney finally give us the remastered, unedited Star Wars we want? - at ARSTechnica.com
Grand Illusion - The Master of Myth Rewrites History - at wired.com
What are the key influences on Star Wars - at InAfarAwayGalaxy.com
Six movies that directly influenced the making of Star Wars - at InAFarAwayGalaxy.com
How Akira Kurosawa inspired Star Wars - at InAFarAwayGalaxy.com
The Influence and Imagery of Akira Kurosawa (5 part section) - at TheSecretHistoryOfStarWars.com
George Lucas: The Wizard of ‘Star Wars’ - at RollingStone.com
Star Wars DVDs are coming - at BaltimoreSun.com (all credit to none for mentioning the article in this OT•com thread here)
Saving The Star Wars Saga - at ASC.com (American Cinematographer website)
Film Foundation - video of George on the importance of Preserving Films - at Film-Foundation.org
StarWarsLegacy.com - The Official Thread at OriginalTrilogy.com (by mverta)
The search for the ‘Star Wars’ George Lucas doesn’t want you to see at Mashable.com
Rick McCallum - Producer of the Star Wars Special Edition at MaikelDas.com
How Did Toy Sales Save Han Solo’s Life in Return of the Jedi? at HuffPost.com
George Lucas Rips Hollywood, ‘Stupid’ Cat Videos at Sundance at Variety.com
The Real Force Behind ‘Star Wars’: How George Lucas Built an Empire at TheHollywoodReporter.com

 

Websites of note / interest (not already mentioned above):-

In A Far Away Galaxy website
Episode Nothing blog
The People vs George Lucas website (for the 2010 Documentary) is currently offline : IMDb page : OT•com threads 1 & 2
HelloGreedo youtube channel
HelloGreedo - Star Wars Profiles youtube playlist of some of the people in front & behind the camera in the Original Trilogy
Star Wars Interviews with people in front & behind the camera of the Original Trilogy
40th Anniversary Reunion for people who worked on the Original Trilogy website by 32Ten Studios. Athena Video Channel
Filmumentaries website by Jamie Benning. Featuring his filmumentaries + interviews with people associated with the OT films
Star Wars Archives website; a great source of info on the Original Trilogy
Star Wars At The Movies website; another great source of info on the Original Trilogy
Restraining Bolt website; a great source of info on older OT music releases (with sections on Props, Galleries, Collections, etc)
The Making of Star Wars blog
Force Material blog
Star Wars Scenes youtube channel
Star Wars On Video website by Video Collector

 

Special thanks to zombie84, none, doubleofive, NeverarGreat, adywan, Haarspalter, Rodney-2187, canofhumdingers, JayArgonaut, Mocata, Shopping Maul, RogueLeader, Jay, Zion, Moth3r, Anchorhead, & SilverWook - for either having previously researched or produced much of the information featured in this ‘bullet-point’ style compilation thread (material of which is abundantly more detailed & in-depth than listed in here), contributions to this thread, or for their dedication to making the OriginalTrilogy•com what it is - and what it stands for.
 

 


 

If you are new to the OriginalTrilogy•com then the following info may be of some assistance…

 
The Welcome to the OT.com; Introduce yourself in here thread is just that; a place to make your first post on here - and for more longstanding members to welcome new additions to our community.

Secondly, the About and Help sections may be of interest to you regarding this site and what the OriginalTrilogy•com is about.

Thirdly, the ’How do I do this?’ on the OriginalTrilogy.com - some info & answers to members’ queries thread should also hopefully be of some help as to many of the functions of the site, along with other related info as well.

The Announcements Section - including Site Rules & Guidelines, Fan Edit & Preservation Rules & FAQ, as well info for Signatures, Linking Policy for Downloads, and Plot Spoiler Policy (and much more) that may be of use too.

If you are having any issues with the site, have a question, an idea to improve the site, or would like to give some feedback - then these can be done in the Feedback Forum and General Assistance sections.

There are also several Index Threads pinned at the top of many respective sections of the OT•com - which may help members find various topics of discussion, fan edits, preservations and other projects etc.

To Join the OT.com Discord server! click on the link. There is also the OriginalTrilogy.com Twitter too.

’An OriginalTrilogy.com timeline thread - a history of the site and why & how it came to be…’ chronicles both the history of this site & also it’s continuing evolution.

The ’Complete Comparison of Special Edition Visual Changes’ thread by doubleofive contains many sources of information as to the numerous changes made to the Original Trilogy films over time - as well as serving as an insightful and comprehensive discussion thread and reference point on the subject.
 

 


 

A wise man - also a cunning Fan Editor on here (and one of the best in the Galaxy 😉) - once said that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly upon our own point of view. This post was merely another…

If you have any suggestions, or have specific subjects / topics for inclusion to this thread, or any additional information and quality sources, please post them below - with a citation (a link to an article, or website, book, interview, video, or a scanned image etc).

Also, if you see any broken links or errors please also post them in here too (or send me a PM) - thank you.

 

Last updated - 4th November, 2019.
 

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

I find that answer vague and unconvincing. Why don’t you knock it off with them negative waves?
Why don’t you dig how beautiful it is out here? And say something righteous and hopeful for a change?

Author
Time
 (Edited)

 

A space for announcements, updates to the above post, or more categories etc; if needed in the future…

 

An update to Category Number 9 - Jabba… : an image of two differing script exerts from Star Wars; one is from the script Lucas retrospectively altered to insert a mention of Jabba now being a “slug-like creature”, and the other is from the original real script - where there is no mention of this “slug-like creature” at all.
 

An update to Category Number 10 - David Prowse… : more information added as to his ostracisation from official Lucasfilm & Star Wars events, and apparently events where Lucasfilm are present. Plus, information added as to his health in recent years. Credit to Rodney-2187 for suggesting additional content.
 

An update to Category Number 8 - Leia not being Luke’s twin sister : images added from the first draft of the Empire Strikes Back script - with Nellith being stated as the name of Luke’s sister (and also Darth Vader not being Anakin Skywalker; they were two separate characters). Highlighting different ages of the two characters - and Lucas’ own quotes on them having a romance in Empire Strikes Back.
 

An update to Category Number 25 - What do people who worked on the unaltered Original Trilogy films think of the various Special Editions? : added screenshot image (and linked article) of an interview with Ben Burtt (sound designer, and film editor for AOTC & ROTS).
 

An update to Category Number 16 - The 1997 Special Editions - George Lucas’ ‘vision’ - was a paid-for experiment and practice for the coming CGI-heavy Prequel Trilogy; as admitted by the man himself : found by, and all credit to, doubleofive : added screenshot image of a 1999 interview with George Lucas stating in his own words… “so yes, the Special Editions were a means of researching and testing what I was going to try and do on this film [The Phantom Menace]”
 

An update to Category Number 2 - The Changing Number of Episodes in the Star Wars Saga… : An interview in 2004 with George Lucas, where he is quoted as saying there was only six episodes of Star Wars (and earlier that there was only three episodes)… GL - “There is no VII, VIII, IX. There never has been”. Credit to Mocata for leading us where to find this quote.
 

An update to Category Number 36 - Who made the Original Trilogy films…? : An interview in 1999 with George Lucas, where he is quoted as saying “Everybody signs on to bring forth the director’s vision - that’s part of the way movies have been made and always have been. The real issue is whether a corporation that buys the movie 10 years later has the right to change it. My response continues to be no.” (in the category covering Lucas making numerous changes to the two OT films he did not direct.)
 

An update to Category Number 1 - The origins and influences for Star Wars… : Multiple sources of information and quotes from George Lucas on the category subject have now been added, as well as a few insightful links covering homages to / inspirations from other films, tv & media.
 

An update to Category Number 21 - The 2006 DVD ‘bonus disk’ release… : added article link and image screenshot from May 2006; re Lucasfilm referencing the OriginalTrilogy•com website, the passion of the fans here, and why the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy were finally being released (on DVD).
 

An update to Category Number 20 - “The Lucasfilm claim that… ‘The negatives of the movies were permanently altered for the creation of the Special Editions’” : added article link and image screenshot of Star Wars producer Rick McCallum from a 1997 interview talking about the restoration process of the original theatrical version of Star Wars… stating that “if you could see the print that stuck of the original negative that we have done - it’s perfect.” - seemingly contradicting claims the O-neg of was in poor condition - and also the 2006 Lucasfilm statement that “the existing prints of the first versions are in poor condition” and also that “The 1993 Laserdisc Masters represented the best source for providing the original versions as DVD material.”
 

A new category: Number 43 - “Where are all the film prints for the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy films?” : highlighting the Lucas / Lucasfilm ‘seize and destroy’ order when encountering prints of the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy films - and the relative rarity of surviving prints.
 

A new category: Number 12 - “The Importance Of Tone Toys In Film-making…” : highlighting the shift around the ESB/ROTJ era of the growing influence of merchandising upon the film (and stories therein) themselves.

 

If you have any suggestions for topics or subjects to be included here, please let us know - thank you.

 

Last Category Update - 13th October, 2019 (Category No. 12)

 

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

I find that answer vague and unconvincing. Why don’t you knock it off with them negative waves?
Why don’t you dig how beautiful it is out here? And say something righteous and hopeful for a change?

Author
Time

Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaang. This is gonna take forever to read, haha! Good job oojason.

Author
Time

What a fantastic and very important post, oojason! I haven’t read through your entire post yet so apologies if you touched on what I’m about to say.

This topic is so fundamentally tied to the purpose of this website: to petition for the unaltered original trilogy to be released officially. This website is now over 10 years old, and still the potential of this happening is still just rumors and speculation (although Disney’s acquisition of Fox and the conclusion of the last Skywalker Saga film this year could be hints to it finally happening).

I really think reiterating this truth is more important now than ever. Since the Disney purchase of Lucasfilm and the release of some of the newer movies, I’ve noticed a pretty growing support for George Lucas and the prequels that just didn’t exist as much during the 2000s. On one hand, it is great to see that prequel generation growing up and giving George and those films some love (I am a prequel child myself). On the other hand, I’ve begun to notice that this has also lead to many fans supporting George’s Special Editions, and supporting George’s wish to maintain those as the definitive versions, seeing George as a mastermind who had everything planned out from the beginning.

Hopefully fans who feel this way will stumble across this post and see that what fans really deserve is the truth about how this franchise we all love actually came to be, and how the fight for a release of the unaltered original trilogy is just an extension of that desire to preserve a special piece of film history.

Author
Time

Amazing job with the thread!

Concerning Lucas’s “revisions”, I don’t think there is an inherent problem with the guy changing his opinion on Star Wars. As time goes on he is going to change his opinions, this is fine by me as long as it does not get out of hand. This is why I am fine with JK Rowling’s recent changes… but that’s another debate…

The problem starts when Lucas refuses to release to provide the original versions. Fans should be allowed to choose what version of the movie or story they want to watch, just like Lucas gets to choose what he wants. Who knows? Maybe some people like the special editions. The should be allowed to remain. But we should also have access to the versions so many people fell in love with in 1977.

In the past, the concept of releasing all different versions simulations sounded financially foolish… and well confusing to consumers. BUT streaming services could be the answers. Maybe under the movie, there could be a selection where you choose which version you want to see. I think this would be a great solution that satisfies everyone.

Maul- A Star Wars Story

Author
Time
 (Edited)

This amazing amount of work on your part is Exactly why we’re here and why this site is so important. Particularly for those of us who have lived through every year of it.

Consider a glass raised, sir!

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

"Why are you here, Rey from nowhere?”

Author
Time

Wow, that’s really something! I’ll bookmark this and read it over properly. Kudos for that insightful piece! It’s right in our wheelhouse.

PM me for links to my edits; apparently, some feel shy about this.

Author
Time

• 'Gary Kurtz - on the Star Wars Special Edition youtube video, - by gordongecko1975
• 'Gary Kurtz - on Return of the Jedi youtube video, - by gordongecko1975

Now i feel honored that my youtube uploads contributed to this awesome thread. 😃 A truly intricate collection of sources oojason! Great work.

Rogue One is redundant. Just play the first mission of DARK FORCES.
‘Star Wars is a buffet, enjoy the stuff you want, and leave the rest.’ - SilverWook

Author
Time
 (Edited)

This is a great thread. Thanks for all the hard work.

Maybe add a section on the GOUT and George’s comments he made then?

https://savestarwars.com/gout.html

“The other version, it’s on VHS if anybody wants it. I’m not going to spend the, we’re talking millions of dollars here, the money and the time to refurbish that, because to me, it doesn’t really exist anymore. It’s like this is the movie I wanted it to be, and I’m sorry you saw half a completed film and fell in love with it.” - George Lucas.

“It’s just the original versions, as they were. We didn’t do anything to it at all. But we’re not sure how many people want that…Now we’ll find out whether they really wanted the original or whether they wanted the improved versions. It’ll all come out in the end.” - George Lucas

He’s being very disingenuous with these comments.

(I still love George Lucas anyway though.)

Author
Time

Great thread - thanks! It’s both entertaining and extremely frustrating at the same time. It’s interesting to note (in one of the Kurtz links you provide) that the whole ‘Joseph Campbell’ connection has supposedly been blown out of proportion by GL as well.

It saddens me to say that I work with a few young SW fans that really don’t care that there was ever an ‘unaltered’ version of the films. In this regard Lucas seems to have succeeded with his revisionism. Still, hopefully threads like this will help to keep the flame alive. Thanks again!

Author
Time
 (Edited)

Haarspalter said:

• 'Gary Kurtz - on the Star Wars Special Edition youtube video, - by gordongecko1975
• 'Gary Kurtz - on Return of the Jedi youtube video, - by gordongecko1975

Now i feel honored that my youtube uploads contributed to this awesome thread. 😃 A truly intricate collection of sources oojason! Great work.

^ Ha! Brilliant mate 😃 I’d no idea of that - though am really pleased to find more of the sources used for this are from members of our own community ❤️
 

And many thanks everyone for all the kind words - they are very much appreciated

 

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

I find that answer vague and unconvincing. Why don’t you knock it off with them negative waves?
Why don’t you dig how beautiful it is out here? And say something righteous and hopeful for a change?

Author
Time

There is one particular matte painting in Return of the Jedi where Han is telling Lando to take the Falcon that looks pretty bad. It sure seems George left it alone just to emphasize how much better his special edition changes were by comparison.

Author
Time

The list of things George could have fixed given his mandate for the SE’s but didn’t could make it’s own thread. For example, he replaces the wolf guy in the Cantina, but does nothing about the shot of the little bat head guy where you can clearly see through the eye holes of the hollow mask as his head turns slightly. That would have been a relatively easy CGI fix.

It’s possible those shots simply don’t bother him for whatever reason…

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

Author
Time
 (Edited)

SilverWook said:

The list of things George could have fixed given his mandate for the SE’s but didn’t could make it’s own thread.

I finally managed to track down the thread which highlighted some of the things that George still hadn’t fixed in his 3 Special Edition attempts…

What HASN’T been changed on Blu-ray-- the uncorrected mistakes of Star Wars, by Gavin-, back in 2011.
 

For anyone interested, and as mentioned in the linked thread above, it’s also worth a look for at adywan’s Revisited Edition threads for a list of fixes that adywan has somehow managed to complete - whereas as George seemingly chose not to (or didn’t bother him)…

Star Wars: Revisited : Empire Strikes Back: Revisited : Return Of The Jedi: Revisited
 

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

I find that answer vague and unconvincing. Why don’t you knock it off with them negative waves?
Why don’t you dig how beautiful it is out here? And say something righteous and hopeful for a change?

Author
Time

Don’t forget when he ranted to his own fans in 2011, “Grow up. These are my movies, not yours.” In response to polite questions about the prospect of releasing remastered editions of the unaltered OT. That was a far more revealing and candid answer than the PR spiel of Jim Ward in 2004 that, “this is about art and filmmaking.”*

The geeks eventually got their face time with Lucas and I want to stress how respectful these guys were, and that they paid a lot of money for face time with Lucas. This was not a surprise interaction; Lucas came to this event knowing he’d be expected to mingle with the peons. I don’t advocate bugging celebrities in their daily lives, but this was a professional event designed to encourage these interactions. The guys were not out of bounds. They started by telling Lucas that they loved him/the movies/grew up watching them. Then they very politely asked why he wouldn’t make the original versions of the movies available on DVD/Blu-Ray. They stressed that they don’t mind the retroactive edits (doubtful, but they were being nice), they just wanted good digital copies of the original cuts, too. Lucas’s response? An eyeroll and a huffy, “Grow up. These are my movies, not yours.”

https://www.laineygossip.com/George-Lucas-was-ungracious-to-Star-Wars-nerds-as-the-series-goes-Blu-Ray-06sept11/21142

*Referenced here in a very good article from 2004 on Lucas’ refusal to make the original versions available on DVD: http://www.filmbuffonline.com/FBOLNewsreel/wordpress/2004/07/19/george-lucas-and-the-not-so-special-editions/

“Logic is the battlefield of adulthood.”

  • Howard Berk
Author
Time

This is a lot of stuff. It should be posted somewhere more prominently, or even turned into a video series.

Yub Nub for life

Author
Time
 (Edited)

“Evil” George Lucas creating the movies you love and cherish! “Evil” George Lucas pioneering the technology yourselves used to restore the original theatrical versions! Fans can restore the past as good as an official company (to some extent, I understand you don’t have access to the original negatives, but you can still get pretty close).

Also. What man in his right mind celebrates the woman who divorced him? She wanted to live a quite life for a reason, do you really think she wants to be credited as the major reason her ex-husbands masterpiece was so successful? That seems like rubbing salt into wounds.

Author
Time

The stuff about George saying “Grow up, etc.” was proven false, I believe.

Also, my ex-wife is one of my closest friends, just for the record. 😛

Author
Time

eiyosus said:

The stuff about George saying “Grow up, etc.” was proven false, I believe.

You believe or do you know? If you have evidence that it was proven false, please share.

“Logic is the battlefield of adulthood.”

  • Howard Berk
Author
Time

Jesta’ said:

“Evil” George Lucas creating the movies you love and cherish! “Evil” George Lucas pioneering the technology yourselves used to restore the original theatrical versions! Fans can restore the past as good as an official company (to some extent, I understand you don’t have access to the original negatives, but you can still get pretty close).

Also. What man in his right mind celebrates the woman who divorced him? She wanted to live a quite life for a reason, do you really think she wants to be credited as the major reason her ex-husbands masterpiece was so successful? That seems like rubbing salt into wounds.

The Academy said so, not us.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

Author
Time

Jesta’ said:

“Evil” George Lucas creating the movies you love and cherish! “Evil” George Lucas pioneering the technology you used yourselves to restore the original theatrical versions! Fans can restore the past as good as an official company (to some extent, I understand you don’t have access to the original negatives, but you can still get pretty close).

Also. What man in his right mind celebrates the woman who divorced him? She wanted to live a quiet life for a reason, do you really think she wants to be credited as the major reason her ex-husband’s masterpiece was so successful? That seems like rubbing salt into wounds.

If we’re going to suppress art on the basis that its creator suffered relationship issues during its creation, we’re basically going to lose every film, painting, piece of music etc in existence. The Beatles’ ‘White Album’ and Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ spring to mind as obvious examples.

Secondly, Lucas didn’t create his awesome technology so that we as fans could reassemble the OT. Lucas is on the record as specifically wanting the original films to be erased from existence.

Thirdly, I can buy pretty much any movie on earth on DVD and/or Blu Ray - from Citizen Kane to the rejected 1978 Dr Strange TV pilot. But I can’t buy the film that changed my life in 1977 - one of the most important and significant movies in the history of film. Fine, that’s Lucas’ prerogative. But to have him appear at the 40th Anniversary celebrations of that 1977 film and sit there banging on about the genius of his ‘mythological motifs’ whilst simultaneously denying the very existence of the actual film is beyond appalling.

Author
Time

A couple of strips by Penny Arcade that really epitomised the revisionist behaviour of Lucas…

Meow Skywalker

Lucas taped over the OT

“Logic is the battlefield of adulthood.”

  • Howard Berk
Author
Time

Ironically, Tom Selleck was almost in Raiders. 😉

There’s also the Robot Chicken sketch about the Jaws Special Edition, which is really about Star Wars.
https://youtu.be/pkba-r8NmJk

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?