Sign In

Is the 1997 Special Edition important?

Author
Time
 (Edited)

I’ve been going back and forth on this question for a little bit.

On the one hand, it’s the last time the Star Wars trilogy had a big theatrical re-release, it’s the last time a big effort was made into changing the film (imo), and it’s the version that the O-Neg’s conform to.

On the other hand, it’s neither the original version nor the latest edition, which with Lucas gone will most likely stand as the final version of the trilogy, for better or worse. Basically it’s just a stepping stone that only those who saw it at the pictures when they were young care about.

Thoughts?

Author
Time

The fact that it was the last major re-release of the movies in theaters is reason enough to consider it important.

Like I’ve said before, if the OT were ever to get the Blade Runner treatment it honestly wouldn’t bother me if the ‘04 and ‘11 versions were jettisoned. They could easily be branched onto the same disc as the ‘97 version (just as the ‘92 Blade Runner was branched onto the same disc as the ‘82 cuts), but the ‘97 version takes priority. It’s the first and still the most significant round of revisions to the films. It’s what got us into this whole mess in the first place, which gives it historical value. For seven years it was the final version of the films, George’s “vision,” until he changed it again while finishing up the PT. The stuff he introduced in ‘04 like TPM Jabba, Temuera’s voice as Boba and Hayden as Anakin’s ghost reminds many viewers of movies they don’t like while they’re trying to enjoy movies they do, and the ‘97 cuts at least take advantage of cgi without actively reminding the viewer “hey, this trilogy is part of a longer saga now.” Even if the SE was created in large part because the PT was right around the corner, it’s still a pre-PT version.

But at the same time, I acknowledge that any change to the content of these movies is going to put off fans of the OT as it existed originally. Had the SE been basically the same films we remembered, maybe with just the fx shots re-comp’d and the wipes re-done, this site wouldn’t exist. But since they decided to flat out erase the groundbreaking vfx work of many talented artists in order to “modernize” these movies, any improvements that come along with that is soured. I didn’t even get into the Han and Greedo / “Alert my Star Destroyer to prepare for my arrival” / Jedi Rocks of it all.

The ‘97 version was the expensive $20 million restoration of Star Wars even if it introduced a lot of changes we don’t like. It was the first time I saw the OT on the big screen after only seeing it on tv throughout the early-to-mid 90’s via home video and USA network airings. I was eleven, and don’t remember noticing Greedo shooting first until I saw it again almost a year later on letterboxed vhs! I wasn’t hip to internet fan culture at the time (we didn’t even have internet until late ‘97, and that was 28k dial-up), so I don’t think it even dawned on me how big of a deal that particular alteration was until I saw Ben Affleck commenting on it in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

Author
Time

Seven years is plenty of time for a first-time viewer to become a devoted fan, so yes. Also interesting that it’s the one version never to be released on DVD.

If Plagueis shows up in the ST, not only will I refuse to watch the movies, but I won't so much as watch the trailers, either. - DuracellEnergizer

Author
Time

darklordoftech said:

Seven years is plenty of time for a first-time viewer to become a devoted fan, so yes. Also interesting that it’s the one version never to be released on DVD.

Were the 2011 DVDs BD editions or were they still 2004? I forgot.

And in the time of greatest despair, there shall come a savior, and he shall be known as the Son of the Suns.

Author
Time

LexX said:

darklordoftech said:

Seven years is plenty of time for a first-time viewer to become a devoted fan, so yes. Also interesting that it’s the one version never to be released on DVD.

Were the 2011 DVDs BD editions or were they still 2004? I forgot.

BD editions.

If Plagueis shows up in the ST, not only will I refuse to watch the movies, but I won't so much as watch the trailers, either. - DuracellEnergizer

Author
Time
 (Edited)

Where are all the 1997 Special Edition fans? 😉
 

They would be quite useful in voicing their opinion that this version should be preserved and released on a modern format!

Which is quite easy and cheap to do… with Disney+ being a free and viable platform to showcase these particular versions - upon which the 2019 Special Edition release is based on - in 4K quality.

So, basically there is a beautiful 4K print of the 1997 Special Edition available, with no additional work to do, ready for release…
 

And then, if there is then enough demand for a physical release of the 1997 Special Editions…
 

Those 20th Anniversary versions of the Original Trilogy are “the Final Cut” after all, according to George himself 😉

The version of the films he released in the cinemas in 1997 with much publicity & fanfare - and also made hundreds of millions of $$$s from around the world from in cinema ticket sales alone…

For some fans, the 1997 Special Editions are both memorable and exceptional in their own right, and they certainly performed very well at the box office outperforming some very notable movies:-

20 Years Ago, ‘Star Wars: Special Edition’ Made ‘Star Wars’ Special Again - a 2017 article at the Forbes website.
 

George spent a lot of time and effort justifying the changes he made at the time, and since, yet never made this ‘Final Cut’ version available on a digital or HD format since.

It is high time to change that… and also officially release the 1997 special Editions in 4K quality!

 

(Plus, a few preservatioinsits on here wouldn’t mind getting their hands on 4K quality 1997 Special Edition release - to use as a base for an unaltered theatrical version of the Original Trilogy movies…)
 

50 Cent is just an imposter

Author
Time

I was born in April 1995. I do not remember the first time I saw Star Wars. All I do know is that when the 97 SE (Fullscreen) trilogy set released in the UK my Dad bought it immediately. I do not remember seeing Star Wars. By the time I was 3 and able to form long-term memories, I already KNEW Star Wars.

That 97 VHS set sits on my bookcase pride of place. Star Wars and RoTJ are both pristine (Though I loved them both dearly) but the slipcover for Empire is all beat-up because the tape was rarely in the slipcover - it lived in my VCR.

They are not perfect - and I love the original theatrical versions - but the 97SE films are MY Star Wars. I hope beyond hope for a proper 4K97 treatment for all 3 films.

Thank you for attending my TED Talk.