I had made the decision to replace the sabers after seeing what happened when those shots were brightened to proper levels - they really don’t hold up in my opinion, being oversaturated and blobby due to degradation. In order to fix that, as well as the color variation between shots, I would have had to do complicated effects work anyway, and decided that I might as well have the original un-degraded elements. The same thing happened with the Star Destroyer flyover - the SE lasers and flashes were completely degraded and I replaced each one with film elements, so this is consistent with the goal of reverting degraded sources back to superior versions. I wouldn’t revert things like scene transitions because those were recomposited to be higher in quality than the original, on average, whereas the degraded lightsaber elements and blaster bolts were recomposited because the original negative had to be rebuilt and they decided that these elements were good enough. It wasn’t a creative decision to degrade these elements, and with more care they would have used an interpositive for these shots.
I’m rendering out a version of the lightsaber scenes that doesn’t have these changes, so I could make this available for everyone who wants it.
Whenever there is a difference between the 2004 and 2011 versions, I have chosen the source which is closer to the original. So for example, the 2011 version of the Greedo shootout stays, since it’s closer to Han shooting first than the 2004 version. The jump cut roll and the rocks around R2 are out, since they are changes deviating from the original.
So there is a method to this madness. Essentially, it’s merging all versions of the Special Edition (1997/2004/2011) together and showing this in the best possible light. Choices must be made.