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Star Wars prequels on VHS: Original theatrical versions

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I recently encountered an old VHS tape of Star Wars: Episode 1 on a yard sale. The tape is in great condition, and it has to be the original theatrical version because there is no “air taxi” sequence, as well as large parts of the second lap from the pod-racing sequence have been cut out.

Maybe the VHS versions of Episodes II and III are also the original theatrical versions instead of the DVD cuts. Can anyone confirm this? I would love to start a “spot the differences” game and find some alterations Lucas made to the prequels that people didn’t notice before.

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AOTC and ROTS only came out on VHS in Europe concurrent with the DVD’s, so they would likely be the same as the DVD versions released there.
http://www.swonvideo.com/ has photos of all the known VHS prequel releases, but I have no idea if they’ve ever played them.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Yeah, I remember being mad, because I had TPM and AOTC on VHS and ROTS never came out on VHS.

"The other versions will disappear. Even the 35 million tapes of Star Wars out there won’t last more than 30 or 40 years. A hundred years from now, the only version of the movie that anyone will remember will be the DVD version [of the Special Edition], and you’ll be able to project it on a 20’ by 40’ screen with perfect quality. I think it’s the director’s prerogative, not the studio’s to go back and reinvent a movie." - George Lucas

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screams in the void said:

I recently bought a vhs copy of episode 2 at a goodwill here in the U.S. , it came out at the same time as the dvd and had this as a bonus feature that was exclusive to the vhs in order to entice fans to double dip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrPh8Tlbybc

Can you take a photo of it? Looks like you have something that even http://www.swonvideo.com/ doesn’t have a copy of!

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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My friend growing up had AOTC on VHS in the US as well. Even Nathan Butler of “From the Star Wars Homevideo Library” can attest to its existence

Green is not a creative color

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SilverWook said:

screams in the void said:

I recently bought a vhs copy of episode 2 at a goodwill here in the U.S. , it came out at the same time as the dvd and had this as a bonus feature that was exclusive to the vhs in order to entice fans to double dip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrPh8Tlbybc

Can you take a photo of it? Looks like you have something that even http://www.swonvideo.com/ doesn’t have a copy of!

this is the one I have , my old phone takes crappy pics so I found this link that shows it…https://www.depop.com/products/jennisettles-sealed-star-wars-episode/ and mine has a Walmart sticker rather than Toys R Us . It retailed for $15.24 at Walmart in the U.S. , I got mine for two dollars .

https://screamsinthevoid.deviantart.com/

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Anyone remember a rerelease of TPM (VHS) before AOTC came out that had a featurette about the upcoming movie? I remember a small snipet of the guy who plays Owen Lars talking about him and Anthony Daniels recreating their characters dialogue from ANH just for fun. I went looking for this VHS a while back but with no luck. Can’t seem to find this featurette anywhere.

The distinct deference between this release and the original VHS, was instead of the background color being black, the VHS was mostly covered in white. I think this was released after the DVD…or maybe along with it?

Just found a pic of it:
https://images.app.goo.gl/haEG4iGXsLck7gZ39

Edit again: this appears to be a DVD…but the VHS had the same cover…i don’t recall the backside.

MyYouTubeChannel

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Thanks for digging it up. Weird that I have no memory of ever seeing it for sale. A full screen DVD of AOTC has been languishing at a local drug store for quite some time. I presume it was a warehouse find by a liquidator.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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^ Be funny if someone with a modern lcd tv bought that today , not knowing the difference between what widescreen and “full screen " meant back then and got it cued up only to go " What the hell are those black bars on the sides!? , I thought it said FULL screen !” 😃

https://screamsinthevoid.deviantart.com/

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Plus the disclaimer about being formatted to fit this screen. 😛

I have the prequels in full screen and they did a decent pan and scan job, at least on AOTC and ROTS. Perhaps their digital nature makes it less obvious? And before anyone asks, no opened up mattes I’m aware of.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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SomethingStarWarsRelated said:

screams in the void said:

and this is that featurette…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQzltwQwJxg

Yes! OMG! I haven’t seen this in forever! So it’s basically an unreleased web doc. Kind of surprising they didn’t throw this on the bonus feature blu ray.

Thanks for the link!

^ you’re welcome , always cool to find something you have not seen in ages .

https://screamsinthevoid.deviantart.com/

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Is your VHS missing Jango Fett’s headbutts in the fight with Obi-Wan? I seem to remember buying the Australian DVD rather than the UK DVD in circa 2003 for that very reason.

Out of interest, is the UK Blu-Ray of AOTC cut, too? I have never watched the prequels on Blu-Ray.

Bluto

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There is at least one key instance to see if the AOTC VHS is the theatrical cut.
After Padmé fell out of a plane, a clone trooper found her and asks “are you alright, miss?”

In the theatrical cut, she answers “Yes” with a tone that adds a “duh”.

In the DVD version, she gives a more realistic moaning “Uh-huh”.

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Bluto said:

Is your VHS missing Jango Fett’s headbutts in the fight with Obi-Wan? I seem to remember buying the Australian DVD rather than the UK DVD in circa 2003 for that very reason.

Out of interest, is the UK Blu-Ray of AOTC cut, too? I have never watched the prequels on Blu-Ray.

Bluto

Yes the VHS release is censored for that scene, as with the UK DVD and the UK theatrical release. I ended up finding the German R2, for the same reason as yourself. The cut was waived for the UK Blu-ray release:

https://www.melonfarmers.co.uk/hitss_st.htm#star_wars_episode_2_attack_of_the_clones

Strangely though, ITV airs the censored version of AOTC from what appears to be a post-2012 Disney master.

“Logic is the battlefield of adulthood.”

  • Howard Berk
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Bluto said:

Is your VHS missing Jango Fett’s headbutts in the fight with Obi-Wan? I seem to remember buying the Australian DVD rather than the UK DVD in circa 2003 for that very reason.

Out of interest, is the UK Blu-Ray of AOTC cut, too? I have never watched the prequels on Blu-Ray.

Bluto

Nope.

JEDIT: Replied a bit late 😛

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The AOTC VHS is not theatrical. No official theatrical version of that film exists on home video, only in the form of CAM bootlegs.

As for that TPM VHS mentioned, that also isn’t the theatrical version. It’s close but it has a few minor alterations to it.

All of this has been extensively documented on these forums before though.

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Ryan-SWI said:

As for that TPM VHS mentioned, that also isn’t the theatrical version. It’s close but it has a few minor alterations to it.

AFAIK, TPM VHS, VCD and Laserdisc contain the theatrical version, as well as early TV broadcasts (Scandinavian C+, Austrian ORF1…). What “few minor alterations” are you referring to?

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ZigZig said:

Ryan-SWI said:

As for that TPM VHS mentioned, that also isn’t the theatrical version. It’s close but it has a few minor alterations to it.

AFAIK, TPM VHS, VCD and Laserdisc contain the theatrical version, as well as early TV broadcasts (Scandinavian C+, Austrian ORF1…). What “few minor alterations” are you referring to?

By memory there’s a very slighty different shot of Darth Maul during the final duel on the pan and scan version, and on both p&s and ws there’s a few different audio cues and the subtitles don’t quite match. I’m on mobile so I can’t go digging around on OT to find the forum posts, but they’re on here.

Like I said, minor altercations, but altercations all the same. I’ve got several CAM VCD bootlegs of TPM and AOTC because they’re the only surviving true theatricals of the films. The Z edition of TPM’s CAM bootleg is still used as a reference point for this very reason.

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Thank you for your answer.

Actually, the English subtitles were burned only on English theatrical versions. On international theatrical versions, there was no English subtitle. So the lack of burned subtitles on VHS/LD is not an alteration IMHO, it is conform to the international theatrical version.

The P&S version is obvisouly inaccurate, I won’t discuss about it. But I’m not aware of different audio cues on WS. AFAIK, both VCD and VHS present the theatrical stereo track (and, for LD, the original 6.1 track is also there).
Could you tell me more about those different audio cues?

Anyway, I’m not sure that the Z bootleg was ever used as an audio reference…