Before I started to read this forum more than a decade ago I thought that Star Wars has 3(4) versions - an “original” version which was called just “Star Wars”, an “original” version called Episode 4 A New Hope, the 1997 special edition and the 2004 DVD (I am talking about time long before the 2011 Blu-rays).
However during the years so many new discoveries were done by various members of this forum, who had access to let’s call it “unofficial versions”, but I can’t find anywhere some thread which would contain all the information in one spot, so I’m trying to start one 😃
So the main question I hope somebody here will be able to answer is HOW MANY versions of Star Wars exist? Right now I mean only the firsts movie.
1977 - 2 types of prints were released, 35mm prints with stereo audio and 70mm prints with 4.2 audio. I think that people who examined the 70mm recording claim that both the stereo and the 6 channel mix have the same content, just mixed differently, and that the 70mm version is just a “blow up” of the 35mm negatives, so if I understand it correctly, “content-wise” the 35mm versions and the 70mm versions should be exactly the same, correct?
However somebody (none? negative1 ?) posted here pictures of different composites of the leaving Yavin 4 scene, one version had clouds and the second one didn’t if I remember correctly, I can’t find the pictures anymore. Also the closing credits were different, I think that John Williams’s name was separated from the orchestra? Does anybody here know what’s the connection, in other words can we say that e.g. the version with the cloudy composites has the Williams name and the orchestra name separated? In yet another words, are these 2 versions or 4 versions or “x” versions?
1978 - the 16mm version was released with the unique mono mix. However the “visual content” was the same, right?
1981 - the movie was retitled to A New Hope and has a new crawl, plus if I remember correctly a new starfield in the opening shot.
1985 - new home video release with a new sound mix (‘The tractor beam’), but the video should be the same? Just cropped to 4:3, right?
1993 - new mix and horrible DVNR but the same visual content
1997 - the famous special edition
2004 - the DVD version
2011 - the Blu-ray version.
Is that all? I remember also the canyon sequence and binary sunset were artificially darkened for some versions, also the color grading was different for the sunset scene, but I have no clue in which versions which changes were done.
Also wasn’t there at least one (or more) differently edited 8mm releases?
And the final question - what are the best sources for all the pre-1985 versions?