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Star Wars film versions and best DVD sources

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 (Edited)

For the purpose of information and research, I threw together a list of all the versions of the Star Wars films that have been released, and what is currently the best known DVD source for each film.

Note: I am only including visual differences here - a list including all the different audio versions would be substantially longer. Also, I have not taken into account all the various different non-English releases.


Star Wars film versions:


Star Wars (original theatrical version)
Best source: widescreen bootleg telecine transfer
Best simulated source: official 2006 [G]OUT DVD (original crawl spliced into 1981 version)

Star Wars (1981 version)
Differences: "A New Hope" subtitle added to crawl
Best source: various laserdisc transfers

Star Wars Special Edition (1997 version)
Differences: various added scenes and digital alterations
Best source: TB digital broadcast transfer

Star Wars Special Edition (2004 version)
Differences: further digital alterations added
Best source: official 2004 DVD
Best HD source: WookieGroomer's 1080p WMV files

Star Wars Special Edition (2011 version)
Differences: even further digital alterations added
Best source: official 2011 Blu-ray

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The Empire Strikes Back (original theatrical version)
Best source: official 2006 bonus DVD

The Empire Strikes Back (70mm version)
Differences: various minor scene and editing differences
Best source: [none known]

The Empire Strikes Back Special Edition (1997 version)
Differences: various added scenes and digital alterations
Best source: TB digital broadcast transfer

The Empire Strikes Back Special Edition (2004 version)
Differences: further digital alterations added
Best source: official 2004 DVD
Best HD source: WookieGroomer's 1080p WMV files

The Empire Strikes Back Special Edition (2011 version)
Differences: even further digital alterations added
Best source: official 2011 BD

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Return Of The Jedi (original theatrical version)
Best source: official 2006 bonus DVD

Return Of The Jedi Special Edition (1997 version)
Differences: various added scenes and digital alterations
Best source: TB digital broadcast transfer

Return Of The Jedi Special Edition (2004 version)
Differences: further digital alterations added
Best source: official 2004 DVD
Best HD source: WookieGroomer's 1080p WMV files

Return Of The Jedi Special Edition (2011 version)
Differences: even further digital alterations added
Best source: official 2011 BD

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The Phantom Menace (press screening version)
Differences: Darth Maul does not split in half when falling down the shaft
Best source: [none known]

The Phantom Menace (original theatrical version)
Best source: TB digital broadcast transfer

The Phantom Menace (extended DVD version)
Differences: various extended scenes
Best source: official DVD
Best HD source: WookieGroomer's 1080p WMV files

The Phantom Menace (extended BD version)
Differences: various extended scenes plus further digital alterations
Best source: official BD

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Attack Of The Clones (original theatrical film version)
Best source: bootleg camcorder transfer

Attack Of The Clones (digital theatrical/DVD version)
Differences: various digital alterations, Anakin takes Padme's hand at wedding
Best source: official DVD

Attack Of The Clones (IMAX edit version)
Differences: various scenes edited down to fit IMAX running time
Best source: [none known, VCD bootleg rumored]

Attack Of The Clones (2011 version)
Differences: order of some scenes changed
Best source: official BD

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Revenge Of The Sith (original theatrical film/theatrical digital version)
Best source: official BD

Revenge Of The Sith (DVD version)
Differences: diagonal wipe to Anakin crawling up the volcanic slope is now a straight cut
Best source: official DVD
Best HD source: WookieGroomer's 1080p WMV files

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The Star Wars Holiday Special
Best source: KCCI broadcast recording

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The Ewok Adventure
Best source: various laserdisc transfers

Caravan Of Courage (aka The Ewok Adventure)
Differences: "The Ewok Adventure" title card changed to read "Caravan Of Courage"
Best source: official DVD

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The Battle For Endor (aka Ewoks: The Battle For Endor)
Best source: official DVD

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For a detailed rundown of the differences between movie versions (with screenshots), see Chris Gould's articles here.

--SKot

Projects:
Return Of The Ewok and Other Short Films (with OCPmovie) [COMPLETED]
Preserving the…cringe…Star Wars Holiday Special [COMPLETED]
The Star Wars TV Commercials Project [DORMANT]
Felix the Cat 1919-1930 early film shorts preservation [ONGOING]
Lights Out! (lost TV anthology shows) [ONGOING]

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Originally posted by: SKot
Revenge Of The Sith (original theatrical version)
Source: workprint copy
Do you mean the workprint with timecode ?
I liked adywan's better (no timecode) and Zion's better still.

However, in practice you must take into account the “fuckwit factor”. Just talk to Darth Mallwalker…
-Moth3r

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I like that that site included the PT, although they neglected to include the original establishing shot of Palpatine's office (which was a very beautiful shot); interesting that they noticed the deletion of BG traffic from AOTC--apparently there are over a hundred such minor edits, which were included on the digital version of the film but not the 35mm version (hence these are not actually DVD changes).

Also, according to your list there is an HD version of the 1997 SE's--where the hell can i download this???

And the ROTS bootleg is not necessarily from the "workprint," which implies the rough cut, but rather a timecode print of the final version.

Also, regarding the 1977 bootleg--I don't believe this is a camcorder bootleg, but an actual telecine.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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Originally posted by: zombie84
Also, regarding the 1977 bootleg--I don't believe this is a camcorder bootleg, but an actual telecine.

I pondered that question before uploading The Starkiller's capture @demonoid.
In the end I chose to call it a Cam because a) demonoid didn't have telecine as a choice on the drop-down list, and b) because I thought "VHS Rip" would be misleading to potential downloaders who might have expected retail VHS quality.

However, in practice you must take into account the “fuckwit factor”. Just talk to Darth Mallwalker…
-Moth3r

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Originally posted by: Darth Mallwalker
Originally posted by: SKot
Revenge Of The Sith (original theatrical version)
Source: workprint copy Do you mean the workprint with timecode ?
I liked adywan's better (no timecode) and Zion's better still. I listed the timecoded copy, but intended to change it later since I know there were better sources. I nearly forgot I had a non-timecoded copy long before the official DVD came out that had German/English audio tracks, and the quality was amazing. I don't know where the source came from, but somebody must have had access to a digital copy. I assume it's the theatrical version, but I'll have to double-check that. I have no idea if there's a name for that particular release.

What are adywan and Zion's versions like?

Originally posted by: zombie84
I like that that site included the PT, although they neglected to include the original establishing shot of Palpatine's office (which was a very beautiful shot); interesting that they noticed the deletion of BG traffic from AOTC--apparently there are over a hundred such minor edits, which were included on the digital version of the film but not the 35mm version (hence these are not actually DVD changes). Yes - I know there are more of those kinds of changes, but spotting them all would be both difficult and mind-numbingly tedious. Also, the poor quality of the only available copies of the theatrical version of AOTC confound this even further. We got lucky on the traffic deletion shot because ILM actually mentioned that particular one during a seminar.

Also, according to your list there is an HD version of the 1997 SE's--where the hell can i download this???
I wish I knew. Somebody really needs to torrent those; I've had no luck finding them so far.

And the ROTS bootleg is not necessarily from the "workprint," which implies the rough cut, but rather a timecode print of the final version.
Bingo--that's a much more apt description of it, and I suspected something like that must be the case since it's exactly the same as the final version. I think you're right, and I will note accordingly.

Also, regarding the 1977 bootleg--I don't believe this is a camcorder bootleg, but an actual telecine.
On watching it, I tend to agree. It looks a lot more like a telecine than some kind of camcorder job, and Darth Mallwalker's comments seem to point to the same conclusion. I'll note that as well.

Thanks for the comments and corrections, guys.

--SKot

Projects:
Return Of The Ewok and Other Short Films (with OCPmovie) [COMPLETED]
Preserving the…cringe…Star Wars Holiday Special [COMPLETED]
The Star Wars TV Commercials Project [DORMANT]
Felix the Cat 1919-1930 early film shorts preservation [ONGOING]
Lights Out! (lost TV anthology shows) [ONGOING]

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Originally posted by: zombie84
Also, according to your list there is an HD version of the 1997 SE's--where the hell can i download this???
Those TB releases are sourced from digital broadcasts, but I don't think they were broadcast in HD.

(Regardless of source, the released DVDs are SD PAL.)

However, in practice you must take into account the “fuckwit factor”. Just talk to Darth Mallwalker…
-Moth3r

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Originally posted by: Darth Mallwalker
Originally posted by: zombie84
Also, according to your list there is an HD version of the 1997 SE's--where the hell can i download this???
Those TB releases are sourced from digital broadcasts, but I don't think they were broadcast in HD.

(Regardless of source, the released DVDs are SD PAL.)
Changed accordingly to 'digital broadcast transfers'.

I'm trying to gather more info about the various bootleg digital copies of the theatrical ROTS. I can only assume since the 35mm and digital theatrical versions were around at the same time in the the theaters (like AOTC), and the digital theatrical version supposedly had no changes this time around, that the bootleggers somehow got hold of a digital theatrical copy as their source. Then later the official DVD version came out, with the single change to that version being the diagonal wipe just before the scene of Anakin clawing his way up the volcanic slope.

I know of the adywan version, Zion's version, and the German/English version I have (the 'GTR Presents' version, which is actually missing the end credits). Can anyone provide screenshots for comparison?

Here's mine - using the same frame that is in the comparison guide, to show it's the theatrical version:

http://www.starwarscutscenes.com/images/GTR_ROTS1.jpg
GTR Presents version

--SKot

Projects:
Return Of The Ewok and Other Short Films (with OCPmovie) [COMPLETED]
Preserving the…cringe…Star Wars Holiday Special [COMPLETED]
The Star Wars TV Commercials Project [DORMANT]
Felix the Cat 1919-1930 early film shorts preservation [ONGOING]
Lights Out! (lost TV anthology shows) [ONGOING]

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http://img125.imageshack.us/img125/999/adywanht8.png
adywan's NTSC version

Zion's version
http://img155.imageshack.us/img155/2729/zionff4.png

However, in practice you must take into account the “fuckwit factor”. Just talk to Darth Mallwalker…
-Moth3r

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They both look pretty good; Zion's version seems to look slightly better and also seems to be truer aspect ratio.

What are the differences between the adywan version and the Zion version? I know mine (GTR version) is missing the credits. Are both of these complete?

--SKot

Projects:
Return Of The Ewok and Other Short Films (with OCPmovie) [COMPLETED]
Preserving the…cringe…Star Wars Holiday Special [COMPLETED]
The Star Wars TV Commercials Project [DORMANT]
Felix the Cat 1919-1930 early film shorts preservation [ONGOING]
Lights Out! (lost TV anthology shows) [ONGOING]

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Time
Originally posted by: zombie84
I like that that site included the PT, although they neglected to include the original establishing shot of Palpatine's office (which was a very beautiful shot); interesting that they noticed the deletion of BG traffic from AOTC--apparently there are over a hundred such minor edits, which were included on the digital version of the film but not the 35mm version (hence these are not actually DVD changes).


If anyone knows of stuff that I haven't listed in those articles then just let me know and I'll try to include it in a future update. I included most of the major changes, but I never really expected the articles to get as big as they have, so the little things didn't make it. What establishing shot are you referring to, and in which film is it in?
"Whatever! I digitally put Jabba the Hutt back into the original Star Wars movie! I'll do what I want!"
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Originally posted by: Mentasm
Originally posted by: zombie84
I like that that site included the PT, although they neglected to include the original establishing shot of Palpatine's office (which was a very beautiful shot); interesting that they noticed the deletion of BG traffic from AOTC--apparently there are over a hundred such minor edits, which were included on the digital version of the film but not the 35mm version (hence these are not actually DVD changes).


If anyone knows of stuff that I haven't listed in those articles then just let me know and I'll try to include it in a future update. I included most of the major changes, but I never really expected the articles to get as big as they have, so the little things didn't make it. What establishing shot are you referring to, and in which film is it in?


In TPM. The new air taxi sequence replaces the original establishing shot that followed qui gons "the situation is much more complicated," which was a shot of Palpatine's office tower at sunset.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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Ah right, you mean this:

http://www.dvdactive.com/misc/chris/scratch/palpsofficesmall.jpg

Never noticed it, but then I don;t have a copy of the theatrical release of TPM myself. I'm still waiting ont he TB release of that and the 97 SEs. I'll add it when I get five minutes.
"Whatever! I digitally put Jabba the Hutt back into the original Star Wars movie! I'll do what I want!"
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Originally posted by: SKot
What are the differences between the adywan version and the Zion version? I know mine (GTR version) is missing the credits. Are both of these complete?
Here's what I've been able to piece together. My sources include adywan's .NFOs, Zion's .NFO, "scene" release groups' .NFOs from VCDQuality website, and comments from VCDQuality forum.

adywan released three ROTS DVDs.
The first was mostly sourced from two "scene" releases by TUN & METEOR of (same?) Russian telecine, which had crawl & credits in Russian.
adywan recreated both crawl & credits in English. Not pictured above (I don't have it) but mentioned here because he would later use the same recreated credits in subsequent releases.

adywan's second was mostly sourced from an XviD released to the "scene" by aAF group. XviD lacked credits, so adywan added his own.
XviD audio was distorted with L/R channels reversed and video showed some color banding, which led some to theorize it was an analog capture (with levels set too high) from a digital projection source.

adywan's third is the NTSC screencap above (first two were PAL,) mostly from a DVD released by aAF (likely same source as their XviD.)
aAF's first DVD (they would later release another after adywan was done) was missing everything after Vader's NOooooooooooo! line.
adywan patched in the final scenes from the aAF XviD and his own recreated credits to complete it.

Zion's DVD was also mostly sourced from the aAF XviD. He generated new opening logo and crawl, as well as credits.

Both adywan's & Zion's feature motion menus, scene selection, and covers in a DVD-ROM directory.
Zion also included an Easter egg of the fan spoof trailer "A Lost Hope" which keeps getting more and more hilarious each time I watch it.


I'd guess your GTR version is from the aAF XviD. "KKi" also made a DVD (not listed on VCDQuality, but mentioned in their forum) presumably from the same XviD.

However, in practice you must take into account the “fuckwit factor”. Just talk to Darth Mallwalker…
-Moth3r

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Thanks, Darth Mallwalker... that's the kind of info I was hoping to find.

When you say "recreated" crawl and credits for both adywan and Zion, do you mean they were created from scratch, or cribbed from another video source?

My GTR version is NTSC (which surprised me), has a menu with animated scene selection, English/German audio, and the credits cut off just as they start (which points to the XviD as the source).

I also found that I have a copy of a telecine version, easily identifiable by the typical on-screen noise (white speckles occasionally). It's also a tad dark. I'll have to check it later to see what is has for crawl and credits (if anything).

I gather that Zion's version is the best copy of the theatrical version we know of at this point then, with the third adywan release being a close second.

--SKot

Projects:
Return Of The Ewok and Other Short Films (with OCPmovie) [COMPLETED]
Preserving the…cringe…Star Wars Holiday Special [COMPLETED]
The Star Wars TV Commercials Project [DORMANT]
Felix the Cat 1919-1930 early film shorts preservation [ONGOING]
Lights Out! (lost TV anthology shows) [ONGOING]

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Time
Originally posted by: SKot
When you say "recreated" crawl and credits for both adywan and Zion, do you mean they were created from scratch, or cribbed from another video source?
From adywan's .NFO file:

It is NOT just the workprint edited into the beginning but i have fully recreated the opening crawl to match the real one. I am really pleased with the results of this especially when the crawl finished and the camera pans down to the ships the starfield pans down and seemlessly merges into the telecine. I also recreated all of the end credits so this is the full film from start to finish.


From Zion's .NFO file:

I have generated new opening logos, crawl, and credits for this release.
Yes, I typed out the whole damn credits by hand. Don't ask.


However, in practice you must take into account the “fuckwit factor”. Just talk to Darth Mallwalker…
-Moth3r

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Originally posted by: SKot
Star Wars Special Edition (1997 version)
Source: TB digital broadcast transfer
Whatever happened to the version sourced from a digi-beta tape that was posted to the newsgroup? How did that compare to the TB version?

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Originally posted by: Moth3r
Whatever happened to the version sourced from a digi-beta tape that was posted to the newsgroup? How did that compare to the TB version?
Yes, I was wondering about that... never heard the results.

--SKot

Projects:
Return Of The Ewok and Other Short Films (with OCPmovie) [COMPLETED]
Preserving the…cringe…Star Wars Holiday Special [COMPLETED]
The Star Wars TV Commercials Project [DORMANT]
Felix the Cat 1919-1930 early film shorts preservation [ONGOING]
Lights Out! (lost TV anthology shows) [ONGOING]

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Time
Originally posted by: Moth3r
Whatever happened to the version sourced from a digi-beta tape that was posted to the newsgroup?
Ah yes, the Flunk release:
http://img218.imageshack.us/img218/966/7318kz0.png
http://img106.imageshack.us/img106/6221/25896sz9.png

I think maybe that digi-beta tape has been through the wringer. Or else his digi-beta player needed its head cleaned.

Might be useful for de-SE projects, but it's not my first choice for standalone viewing.

However, in practice you must take into account the “fuckwit factor”. Just talk to Darth Mallwalker…
-Moth3r

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Originally posted by: Darth Mallwalker
I think maybe that digi-beta tape has been through the wringer. Or else his digi-beta player needed its head cleaned. Ah, now that's a crying shame. Even sadder is the missing SW movies from the same source where the tape was too bad to even use. Such a great potential resource lost there.

Might be useful for de-SE projects, but it's not my first choice for standalone viewing.
Yes, it might be possible to get some high-quality segments out of it. Still worth preserving.

--SKot

Projects:
Return Of The Ewok and Other Short Films (with OCPmovie) [COMPLETED]
Preserving the…cringe…Star Wars Holiday Special [COMPLETED]
The Star Wars TV Commercials Project [DORMANT]
Felix the Cat 1919-1930 early film shorts preservation [ONGOING]
Lights Out! (lost TV anthology shows) [ONGOING]

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Star Wars: Episode IV - Attack of the Mooninites
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I've just added another item to the list: I forgot about the early press screening version of The Phantom Menace where Darth Maul falls down the shaft but stays in one piece. As with the IMAX cut, there is no known copy in the public's hands.

I was reminded of this while reading Rikter's edits listing here. The listing mentions a supposed early cut where Darth Maul falls apart much later down the shaft than in the version we're used to, but this is too rumoristic for me to include. There is pictorial evidence of the unsplit Maul/splitting Maul (no pun intended) versions. I have never seen any for this other rumored cut.

--SKot

Projects:
Return Of The Ewok and Other Short Films (with OCPmovie) [COMPLETED]
Preserving the…cringe…Star Wars Holiday Special [COMPLETED]
The Star Wars TV Commercials Project [DORMANT]
Felix the Cat 1919-1930 early film shorts preservation [ONGOING]
Lights Out! (lost TV anthology shows) [ONGOING]

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http://img96.imageshack.us/img96/7271/alternatemauldeathmp8.jpg

Heck, someone just ought to animate it themselves.
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Zion - I wanted your version of ROTS so bad. I searched everywhere for it before the Official DVD, and even tried my hand at newsgroups but could never nail it down.

So, for what it's worth, I'm probably one of many who were impressed by the screenies and wanted it, but could never get it.

Now, I guess it's the closest thing at the best possible quality of the theatrical version, what with the original scene transition etc...