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How do you feel about Star Wars being re-titled A New Hope in 1981?

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 (Edited)

Since 1981 was the first “Special Edition” what with the opening flyover being changed, I actually like that the title differentiates the '81 (& onward) version(s) from the original '77 film & makes the new version part of what would become a trilogy while leaving the original version to stand on it’s own.
In my mind, they’re two separate movies & I very much wish they existed that way publicly.
What do you think?

Ray’s Lounge
Biggs in ANH edit idea
ROTJ opening edit idea
Broom Kid agrees with me.

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It honestly surprises me how many people even on this forum refer to the first Star Wars movie from 1977 as “ANH”. I do it sometimes just for the sake of clarity, but I cringe inwardly whenever I do.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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Aside from my purism leading me to hate it because it’s an unnecessary change, it’s also just a really, really stupid title.

Could you imagine them successfully selling tickets to “A New Hope” in 1977? I don’t think the movie was ever marketed as such until DVD.

TV’s Frink said:

I would put this in my sig if I weren’t so lazy.

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Most people call it “Episode IV” these days. I think Ep IV and ANH are used on most media now.

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I do think it is a stupid title. But I do call it that. When I do a trilogy or saga viewing, I want it to say Episode IV A New Hope. And that wasn’t the first change to the film.

A careful review of all the different releases and comparing them to the timeline shows that the original May 1977 version of the film (see Moth3r’s bootleg and Puggo Grand) had 4 differences. 3 FX shots and the end credits. Not to mention the soundtrack. When the film went into wider release those 3 FX shots and the end credits were replaced and the mono soundtrack was created. So the original May 1977 version and the later 1977 version with the mono soundtrack are quite a bit different. For some reason, those 3 FX shots (though not the end credits) were in the version that sourced all the English Language home video (which included Japan). It wasn’t until the Definitive Collection from the newly struck interpositive prints that the real 1981 version of the film came to home video, though not with the original soundtrack so I guess it was technically a new version.

And it was the release of the PT that changed the accepted name of the film from just Star Wars. Every home video release before than, including the SE, had it as Star Wars (with some having A New Hope there as well, but in smaller lettering). But since then the quick version is either 4, Ep4, EpIV, or ANH, never just Star Wars or SW. I’m fine with that. The whole thing is Star Wars.

But I truly consider that first version of the film to be a different movie, like I consider the SE version to be different. If I was going to do a full marathon of the films, I’d do the un-numbered original, followed by the original theatrical versions, followed by the 9 episode saga with the SE versions.

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When it first came to my attention (via a comment in the SW Marvel comic circa 1980) I thought of it as mildly annoying. But I echo what Yotsuya said in that no-one seemed to take the title seriously until 1997.

Now I really hate it - not just because I’m old and cranky but because it’s yet another diminishment of Star Wars '77 as a piece of significant history. I see the saga as a kind of wheel with Star Wars in the centre and every episode since as spokes emanating from that point. Star Wars is not just the boring episode in a 9-film saga, its the very foundation from which this whole thing emanates. It doesn’t matter which order you view the saga - it all starts with Star Wars.

That’s not to say I don’t mind the episode thing. Indeed, giving Star Wars an episode number in this way was Lucas/Kurtz original idea a la the Flash Gordon serials. So as a legitimate ‘original vision’ interpolation I think it’s fine. But they could have done this and still called it Star Wars. There’s noting wrong with a book where chapter 4 (or 7 or 38) shares the same title as the book itself. So it would be Episode IV, Star Wars - now a part of a greater whole but still the acknowledged beginning point for this whole enterprise.

Plus ‘A New Hope’ is just a woeful title…

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It might be worth mentioning that the handwritten subtitle “New Hope” shows up on John Williams’ scoring sheets, so it was an idea that had occurred to George Lucas before the film came out.

I suppose “Star Wars” film 1, “A New Hope”, sounded better than his previous idea, which was “The Adventures of Luke Skywalker” film 1, “The Star Wars”. That actually made its way into the novelization.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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ATMachine said:

It might be worth mentioning that the handwritten subtitle “New Hope” shows up on John Williams’ scoring sheets, so it was an idea that had occurred to George Lucas before the film came out.

I suppose “Star Wars” film 1, “A New Hope”, sounded better than his previous idea, which was “The Adventures of Luke Skywalker” film 1, “The Star Wars”. That actually made its way into the novelization.

That’s interesting - I didn’t know that. Thanks!

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It should have been there in the first place but everyone fought George on the idea that it would be too confusing. It was an idea to directly link to the cliffhanger serials of the past-and make it as if you wandered into an ongoing story much as kids used to if they hadn’t seen the previously screened chapters. So in '81 George was able to put it on there much like the '78 THX reissue he got to tweak the edit a tad.

I used to say ANH as a quick reference but the original film should be referred to as Star Wars for historical accuracy and as the original theatrical version. So for quite a number of years now I switched to just abbreviating as SW. Saying ANH should refer to anything 1981 and after.

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A New Hope is my second favorite title of all the movies behind RotJ, but I do prefer the original crawl with no subtitle for the same reasons you mentioned differentiating the saga from standalone. Still, even as a kid before there were any prequels I found it kind of thrilling that the starting point was Episode IV: A New Hope, it was a very small thing that added to the lived in quality of the universe and it made a weird sort of sense, it did feel like the middle of something larger. Other changes I can forgive or tolerate, but the subtitle I genuinely approve of, simple and inspiring.

“The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.” - DV

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yotsuya said:

A careful review of all the different releases and comparing them to the timeline shows that the original May 1977 version of the film (see Moth3r’s bootleg and Puggo Grand) had 4 differences. 3 FX shots and the end credits. Not to mention the soundtrack.

I’m curious, which FX shots are replacements?

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BedeHistory731 said:

yotsuya said:

A careful review of all the different releases and comparing them to the timeline shows that the original May 1977 version of the film (see Moth3r’s bootleg and Puggo Grand) had 4 differences. 3 FX shots and the end credits. Not to mention the soundtrack.

I’m curious, which FX shots are replacements?

When the Falcon leaves Tatooine, the shot of the Star Destroyer shooting at it, then the composite shot of the Yavin IV temple when Leia et al arrive, and then the shot with the Rebel lookout when the Rebel fighters blast off. There are subtle differences between those shots in Moth3r’s bootleg, Puggo Grand, JSC, and SWE and those same shots in Definitive Collection, Faces, GOUT, SSE, 4K77, and all the non-English versions (German, Spanish, and French specifically). Two of the were changed for the SE. Because SSE, 4K77 and all the non-English versions (even the earliest pan&scan releases) match the Definitive Collection and GOUT, the change had to be made for the late 77 release and they must have used a modified copy of the May 1977 edit for the early English language home video releases which would explain the JSC and SWE. But thanks to them we have them in widescreen. They aren’t too noticeable upscaled to 720p and spliced into 4K77.

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My favorite way to watch the original is 4k77 with the mono soundtrack. I was quite offended with the GOUT when I found out that because they reverted the opening crawl to the 1977 one and used the DC/Faces soundtrack that they had essentially created a new version. My favorite way to watch Episode IV is the DC/Faces version. It takes some editing to watch it that way in decent quality.

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The Princess of Alderaan would have been such a better title…

a trolling bantha

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ChainsawAsh said:

The Princess of Alderaan would have been such a better title…

I’ve seen that passed around, & I disagree.
If Leia was the main character, maybe. But it’s clearly Luke’s story.
(Also, the aping of Edgar Rice Burroughs is right on the nose. Dunno If I hate that or love it.)

I think it would be a fantastic title for a retelling of the events from Leia’s POV. And I’d absolutely love to see that told in any media.

Ray’s Lounge
Biggs in ANH edit idea
ROTJ opening edit idea
Broom Kid agrees with me.

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 (Edited)

yotsuya said:

BedeHistory731 said:

yotsuya said:

A careful review of all the different releases and comparing them to the timeline shows that the original May 1977 version of the film (see Moth3r’s bootleg and Puggo Grand) had 4 differences. 3 FX shots and the end credits. Not to mention the soundtrack.

I’m curious, which FX shots are replacements?

When the Falcon leaves Tatooine, the shot of the Star Destroyer shooting at it, then the composite shot of the Yavin IV temple when Leia et al arrive, and then the shot with the Rebel lookout when the Rebel fighters blast off. There are subtle differences between those shots in Moth3r’s bootleg, Puggo Grand, JSC, and SWE and those same shots in Definitive Collection, Faces, GOUT, SSE, 4K77, and all the non-English versions (German, Spanish, and French specifically). Two of the were changed for the SE. Because SSE, 4K77 and all the non-English versions (even the earliest pan&scan releases) match the Definitive Collection and GOUT, the change had to be made for the late 77 release and they must have used a modified copy of the May 1977 edit for the early English language home video releases which would explain the JSC and SWE. But thanks to them we have them in widescreen. They aren’t too noticeable upscaled to 720p and spliced into 4K77.

I’m not sure if those shots are actually different. Having captured the 16mm myself for PG (and PE), I can say there are many ways I could have captured it, which would have led to differences is appearance. The one and only proven shot difference that any of my 16mm captures uncovered was in ESB when Luke was rescued from Cloud City. That caused a bit of a stir, I might add.

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That’s why I describe the 1977-1996 versions as “Star Wars”, and the 1997-today versions as “A New Hope”. When George added a bunch of CGI effects and bizarre comedy that make the movie feel like it was made in the 90’s, it stopped being the same movie to me.

My preferred saga experience:
TPM/AOTC/ROTS (Hal 9000), ANH/ESB/ROTJ (Despecialized), The Mandalorian,
TFA (Starlight), TLJ (Fallen Knight), TROS (Resurgence).
May the midichlorians be with you.

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I would say every “special edition” version is a different film, but the 1981 release is not a different film just because a subtitle was added to the opening ruining the musical cue. It’s just a worse version of the same film.

I’m kind of indifferent to the ANH title being added, but the poor editing and the awful reformatting of the crawl itself means I can’t say it doesn’t hurt the film. I think it works better without ANH anyway. Since it is the first film, it seems reasonable for episodes to be ‘missing’ between SW and TESB.

In conversation I always call it Star Wars, and if someone wants me to clarify, I say “the first one” or “the original.”

Army of Darkness: The Medieval Deadit | The Terminator - Color Regrade | The Wrong Trousers - Audio Preservation
SONIC RACES THROUGH THE GREEN FIELDS.
THE SUN RACES THROUGH A BLUE SKY FILLED WITH WHITE CLOUDS.
THE WAYS OF HIS HEART ARE MUCH LIKE THE SUN. SONIC RUNS AND RESTS; THE SUN RISES AND SETS.
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The only effects change made to the 1981 release is a recomposite of the flyover after the crawl, which obviously had to be done since they used a different starfield for the opening. Every other supposed effects change was made during the original release. Some of the '81 release was even done by splicing the new opening onto old prints. It’s still the same film.

Army of Darkness: The Medieval Deadit | The Terminator - Color Regrade | The Wrong Trousers - Audio Preservation
SONIC RACES THROUGH THE GREEN FIELDS.
THE SUN RACES THROUGH A BLUE SKY FILLED WITH WHITE CLOUDS.
THE WAYS OF HIS HEART ARE MUCH LIKE THE SUN. SONIC RUNS AND RESTS; THE SUN RISES AND SETS.
DON’T GIVE UP ON THE SUN. DON’T MAKE THE SUN LAUGH AT YOU.

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“A New Hope” has always sounded like a title that literally took all of 3 seconds worth of thought before being added to the film. I never liked it, just for aesthetic reasons alone. I’d probably be okay with a revisionist/retconned title, if it was a GOOD TITLE. A New Hope is just bland. The only other title in the series that suffers from that sort of rote-ness is “The Rise of Skywalker.”

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So how would y’all feel if in '77 this happened:

STAR WARS

EPISODE IV

DEATH STAR

or

A DOCTRINE OF FEAR

or

LIGHT OF THE KILLING MOON

…or anything to do with the Death Star, really, since it feels like the main character of the story.

What a grand and intoxicating innocence. How could you be so naive? There is no escape. Come, lay down your weapons. It is not too late for my mercy.
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