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Reasoning Behind Changes from Release to Release

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After looking over doubleofive's amazing screen shots of the various versions of the film, I begin to wonder why some changes, especially the small ones, are made.  I have read through some interviews from GL that explain the pretty major SE changes, mostly due to his vision but limited technology/funding at the time, but what about the other minor changes.

Could anyone direct me to anything that possibly interviews other people besides GL that have say in the changes and the reasoning behind them.

Are there any other Theatrical vs SE debates besides forum discussions and the documentary "The People VS George Lucas" on Netflix available? Any books out there?

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Lucas is like a plastic surgery addict - no matter what he does, how much he cuts out, adds, or alters, he'll never be pleased with the end result and he'll just continue going the way he's going.

TRANSMODERNISM > POSTMODERNISM > MODERNISM > PREMODERNISM

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I guess I was referring to stuff like, the 2011 blu ray change of hiding r2d2 behind a rock during the Tuscan raiders scene.  Why after 35 years would he change that? Changing obi wan's krayt dragon call? Items like those. They aren't enhancing the film, just changing it.

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I don't think any rhyme or reason will ever be found in those changes.

The original purpose of changing anything at all was to update some of the more dated effects. And let's be honest, the effects in Star Wars are largely great, but some of them just don't fly. If not for the desire to update the bad effects, "Special Edition" would have simply been a film restoration and 5.1 mix and this site wouldn't exist.

The best part is, a lot of those bad effects are still in the films to this day, look on the Blu-ray, you will find them. And contrarily, some of the best effects have since been replaced by worse CGI effects.

No reasoning can be assigned to this, it is for all intents and purposes, random.

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 (Edited)

The '97 Special Edition was often marketed "The way Lucas originally envisioned it". The simple truth is that most of it was research & development done for the upcoming prequels all paid for by Fox. That's why most of the updates are so random and out of place. If the new additions hurt the story or pacing never was a question it seems. And with this R&D approach you simply don't get a nice finished product, you cannot add or update one effect to state of the art of '97 and leave other effects state of the art of '77 untouched. So even the more nice looking CGI effects like the added sequence of the Falcon taking off from Mos Eisley feels largely out of place, not only does it hurt the pacing, make some earlier and subsequent effect shots look weak, the way it is shot simply don't mesh with the filmmaking style of the original film. In short, a Frankenstein monster...

Besides using these old classics as a vehicle for his R&D, you also have Lucas modern sensibilities for filmmaking that just boggles the mind; Greedo missing Han at point blank range, censoring of Imperials getting hit by laser fire, Luke screaming like a bitch (audio lifted from ROTJ) in his act of self-sacrifice in Cloud City, showing the audience exactly how Vader ends up on the Executor even though we all assumed he didn't use teleportation or flew from Cloud City like Superman, and on and on... often over-explaining to make sure we all see and hear what's going on, the wampa sequence is another. Except for the censoring, this is simply bad filmmaking, nothing left to your imagination, no subtlety allowed.

odel0022 said:

I guess I was referring to stuff like, the 2011 blu ray change of hiding r2d2 behind a rock during the Tuscan raiders scene. Why after 35 years would he change that? Changing obi wan's krayt dragon call? Items like those. They aren't enhancing the film, just changing it.

Basically the same reasons he did those changes in '97. New over-explanations, sprinkled with R&D for the upcoming 3D release I presume. He simply doesn't look at it from a story point of view or an artistic one when doing these things. If he did, the most logical would be to remove the stones hiding the fact that the landspeeder isn't hovering without support instead of adding rocks for R2-D2's hiding place, not even that stupid addition is consistently done or even makes any sense. For Obi-Wan's "krayt dragon call" in the original film, they used the same sound that was used for the dewback earlier in the film, with his track record of over-explaining things, I thought he altered it because the sound effect was similar to the sounds of the tusken raiders but it has now been changed twice. Now I am over-explaining. ;)

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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I don't see how the addition of the Falcon taking off hurts the pacing but in every other aspect of what you say I agree with you.  I have always defended Lucas's changing to the films as being the act of a perfectionist, a condition with which I sympathise, but when he adds rocks to Artoo's hiding place after living with the scene for over 30 years and yet still doesn't address the fact that Luke's lightsabre doesn't know what colour it is then I hold my hands up in dismay.
That's some bad hat, Harry
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Easterhay said:

I don't see how the addition of the Falcon taking off hurts the pacing but in every other aspect of what you say I agree with you.

It interrupts an originally perfectly edited and scored action sequence. Williams score is another thing that constantly takes a hit with his mindless re-editing, not only in the obvious ways like in the Falcon takeoff, but the way Williams wrote the score is definitely not how he would've written it if the film had the editing of the SE.

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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Knowing John Williams as you do, of course!

I don't know how many times I've seen the newly edited A New Hope but that take-off of The Falcon has never interrupted the flow for me. Although it probably will now that you've pointed it out!

That's some bad hat, Harry
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msycamore said:

The '97 Special Edition was often marketed "The way Lucas originally envisioned it". The simple truth is that most of it was research & development done for the upcoming prequels all paid for by Fox. That's why most of the updates are so random and out of place. If the new additions hurt the story or pacing never was a question it seems. And with this R&D approach you simply don't get a nice finished product, you cannot add or update one effect to state of the art of '97 and leave other effects state of the art of '77 untouched. So even the more nice looking CGI effects like the added sequence of the Falcon taking off from Mos Eisley feels largely out of place, not only does it hurt the pacing, make some earlier and subsequent effect shots look weak, the way it is shot simply don't mesh with the filmmaking style of the original film. In short, a Frankenstein monster...

Besides using these old classics as a vehicle for his R&D, you also have Lucas modern sensibilities for filmmaking that just boggles the mind; Greedo missing Han at point blank range, censoring of Imperials getting hit by laser fire, Luke screaming like a bitch (audio lifted from ROTJ) in his act of self-sacrifice in Cloud City, showing the audience exactly how Vader ends up on the Executor even though we all assumed he didn't use teleportation or flew from Cloud City like Superman, and on and on... often over-explaining to make sure we all see and hear what's going on, the wampa sequence is another. Except for the censoring, this is simply bad filmmaking, nothing left to your imagination, no subtlety allowed.

Yep. The one exception I might've been willing to make is the wampa cave sequence. If stuff like that informed all the changes that were made and they only fixed shit they never got working right to begin with (bad matte lines, two or three bad matte painting jobs, etc)... well, I'd probably still prefer the originals but I could at least see where Lucas is coming from.

The other thing though is that the changes alter the tone. Mos Eisley was originally a rough, barren, inhospitable town full of cut throats. Now it's a densely packed (by Tatooine standards) space port that has a few rough elements. Why would someone on the lam want to go to such a major, visible hub of travel? Wouldn't they prefer some place a little more out of the way and low key? The new Mos Eisley may look "better" (by some standards) but that doesn't mean it's improved.

Worst of all though, a lot of the changes have been done on the cheap. Bad enough to have unnecessary CGI and whatnot but when it's all done so poorly, it's adding insult to injury. "We can't be bothered to fix lightsaber problems that any idiot can see but, hey, look at this new song and dance sequence in Return of the Jedi!"

All I really want is each film as it was originally seen and heard in theaters; no fixes, corrections, "improvements" or modifications necessary.

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Easterhay said:

Knowing John Williams as you do, of course!

Well, you don't need to know him in order to understand this simple fact, it's the way film scoring usually works. Sure there is tracked sections in the original films as well, but in the SE you've got music originally written for the trash compactor scene and music originally written for ROTJ dropped right into the Mos Eisley scenes.

Just take the scene where Luke and we as the audience see the Millennium Falcon for the first time. The score beautifully builds up to that moment, would he have written the music this way if we already had seen the ship in the Jabba sequence some time earlier?

One scene leads to the next... Lucas new additions are as subtle as a TV-commercial break.

thecolorsblend said:

The one exception I might've been willing to make is the wampa cave sequence.

Yet another addition where Williams score takes a hit, IMO it's unnecessary and destroys the great editing and drama of the original scene.

We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions. 

Sincerely, Lynne Hale publicity@lucasfilm.com

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The 3D point is an interesting one. I wonder if a lot of the changes in the blu rays were done in anticipation of this. Rocks in front of R2 to increase dimentionality, etc

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Whatever the opinion on whether the changes were done well or are in any way valid, I would have liked to have heard George Lucas's comments on the alterations made in the Blu-ray versions of the films. Why make the change in the DVD of Revenge Of The Sith and then go back to the theatrical version for the Blu-ray, for instance?

I did have hope once when the scream was removed from The Empire Strikes Back when Luke makes his leap of faith. But then they left in the changes to Vader's dialogue after the duel and the very jarring insertion of Vader arriving at his star destroyer.

That's some bad hat, Harry
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To me, one of the music casualties is the great cue that accompanies the first shot of the X-wings approaching the Death Star. Instead of entering from off camera, which the music was done very precisely for, the digital ships are already there, the engines are already loud, etc.

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There are a couple of musical snips in both A New Hope and Return Of The Jedi: the cue that starts the scene where Leia is about to be tortured and the beginning of a tune by Jabba's house band after Boushh has sold him Chewbacca.  The scenes haven't been trimmed so I don't know why the music has.
That's some bad hat, Harry
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The jabba band is a weird one, I know they added a shot of boba fett hitting on a dancer, maybe they had to make up for those frames on the music track somewhere. I also have no idea if that makes sense.

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Yes, my son picked up on Boba securing himself a date with the dancer when we watched the film at the weekend.

The cue I meant happens a little later, after the deal has been struck. I think it's right after Threepio says "He agrees!" There's nothing cut visually, it's just an audio cut and it's a tiny one at that.

That's some bad hat, Harry
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I just don't understand why everything was done so half-assed for the 97SE.

There's NO excuse for eliminating nearly all of the stars in STAR WARS.

If they couldn't render Jabba well (even by 1997 standards!), then they shouldn't have tried to render him at all.

The amount of work Adywan put into ANH:R should have been the minimum amount that the team put into the 97SE, even if the time-to-render was orders of magnitude longer.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Post 102 is worth more.

I’m late to the party, but I think this is the best song. Enjoy!

—Teams Jetrell Fo 1, Jetrell Fo 2, and Jetrell Fo 3

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 (Edited)

One change that could have been made that would have made sense to me would be at the end of the trash compactor scene. When they have opened the door and are getting ready to leave, suddenly there is this klaxon and Chewie loses it inexplicably and runs away from the door. Then Han shoots at the garbage again for no reason.

In the script, Chewie is afraid of a tentacle from the Dia Nogu, which is worming its way through the hatch. Han then shoots the tentacle.

If a CG tentacle was added in one or two shots so that Han could actually shoot something other than garbage, I would have actually have understood what was supposed to be going on in that scene. As it stands now, Chewie is being afraid for no reason, Han is being recklessly noisy for no reason, and the scene feels a little pointless.

Though of course I'm against changes in general, I wonder why Lucas would put rocks in front of R2 and not fix a scene that makes little sense as it is presented.

Edit: Has Adywan or someone else added this in any fanedit?

DuracellEnergizer: “^He’s embraced the absurd. Don’t expect to gain any conventional understanding from his posts.”
A New Hope Technicolor Recreation (Released!)
The Force Awakens Restructured (V2 Released!) and The Starlight Project

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NeverarGreat said:

One change that could have been made that would have made sense to me would be at the end of the trash compactor scene. When they have opened the door and are getting ready to leave, suddenly there is this klaxon and Chewie loses it inexplicably and runs away from the door. Then Han shoots at the garbage again for no reason.

In the script, Chewie is afraid of a tentacle from the Dia Nogu, which is worming its way through the hatch. Han then shoots the tentacle.

As it stands now, Chewie is being afraid for no reason, Han is being recklessly noisy for no reason, and the scene feels a little pointless.

I'm actually surprised GL hasn't already made that change as he seems hell bent on insuring that even the most mentally challenged can follow what was already obviously happening.

Seriously though (actually, I was already being quite serious) it's not a terrible idea for a small SE change.

Ray’s Lounge
Biggs in ANH edit idea
ROTJ opening edit idea

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Hm. I don't feel all thyt mentilly shallengd.

Sometimes when a person sees something wrong the first time watching a movie, or doesn't pick up on it, it remains a blind spot for a long time. I had always assumed that the Dia Nogu was long gone after the compactor scene, so I never made the connection. The change could be as simple as making the garbage move, as if the creature was wriggling around underneath it, and when Han shoots it the movement stops.

DuracellEnergizer: “^He’s embraced the absurd. Don’t expect to gain any conventional understanding from his posts.”
A New Hope Technicolor Recreation (Released!)
The Force Awakens Restructured (V2 Released!) and The Starlight Project

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OH! No, no I didn't actually mean that you are mentally challenged! After reading my comment, I can see how it seemed targeted at you, but I really wasn't trying to put anyone down... except for GL, maybe...

I just meant that many of the changes made have been along the lines of "Alert my star destroyer that I'm about to enter my shuttle on Cloud City and fly to said star destroyer and then exit my shuttle once I've landed on the previously mentioned star destroyer." This is slightly along those lines, but as I said, it could actually add to the scene.

Ray’s Lounge
Biggs in ANH edit idea
ROTJ opening edit idea

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NeverarGreat said:

One change that could have been made that would have made sense to me would be at the end of the trash compactor scene. When they have opened the door and are getting ready to leave, suddenly there is this klaxon and Chewie loses it inexplicably and runs away from the door. Then Han shoots at the garbage again for no reason.

In the script, Chewie is afraid of a tentacle from the Dia Nogu, which is worming its way through the hatch. Han then shoots the tentacle.

If a CG tentacle was added in one or two shots so that Han could actually shoot something other than garbage, I would have actually have understood what was supposed to be going on in that scene. As it stands now, Chewie is being afraid for no reason, Han is being recklessly noisy for no reason, and the scene feels a little pointless.

Though of course I'm against changes in general, I wonder why Lucas would put rocks in front of R2 and not fix a scene that makes little sense as it is presented.

Edit: Has Adywan or someone else added this in any fanedit?

It's not a klaxon, it's the Dianoga roaring, That's why Chewie runs away and Han shoots the trash

ANH:REVISITED
ESB:REVISITED

DONATIONS TOWARDS MATERIALS FOR THE REVISITED SAGA

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Still no reasons from George, Lucasfilm, ILM, or Disney yet?

I suppose the ‘it was always meant to be this way’ or ‘this is the real finished version - not that one which has stood for 20 years’ only works so many times? 😉

Tighten Up and then turn it all the way up to 11!