The 6-track magnetic soundtrack of Star Wars found on 70mm prints has never officially been released on home video. With the dynamic range, bass, and discrete channel surround sound provided by the format, it gave the best sonic experience for the film. Later remixes have never completely captured the feel of the original.
It has been shown that the 1993 Definitive Collection laserdisc soundtrack comes the closest, since unlike other releases, much of this mix was sourced from the 70mm printmaster. But because of numerous sound effects added to the 1993 version (some of which are worthy additions, while others prove more distracting), it sometimes leaves the listener with the feeling that they are not hearing the film’s “real” sound mix. It is also a stereo/Prologic downmix while the original utilized discrete channels. The 1997 special edition was mixed for the 5.1 format, but contains even more added sounds and often has a rather different balance – and strangely, less dynamic range than the 1993 version. The 2004 DVD mix was done over from scratch, has no resemblance to the original whatsoever, and is – to put it mildly – highly questionable in its creative choices.
For a while I pondered whether it would be worthwhile to try to recreate the 70mm soundtrack, and in March 2010 I decided to find out. To do so required the altered segments of the 1993 mix to be replaced with their equivalents from earlier home video releases, adjusting the levels to match and retaining the '93 version’s bass content. To replicate the theatrical experience further, a custom LFE channel was assembled, edited carefully to blend with the rest of the soundtrack, and the matrixed stereo upmixed to five channels, creating a soundtrack in 5.1 format that sounds very much like what was heard on 70mm prints. With the only references available being in-theater recordings of 70mm screenings as well as the 1993 laserdisc mix itself, and no access to the discrete channels of the real thing, obviously this version cannot precisely replicate the original mix in every detail. But short of its ever being included in an official release of the original movie (for which I won’t hold my breath), this is the next best thing.
As of May 2018, I have produced the third version of this 70mm recreation soundtrack, which can be found accompanying the 4K77 project. Earlier versions have been used in the Despecialized Edition and elsewhere, and I hope this new version will provide a meaningful improvement in quality, as well as fulfilling the stated goal of trying to sound as much like the original mix as possible.