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What HASN'T been changed on Blu-ray-- the uncorrected mistakes of Star Wars

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Hi,

I wanted to put aside my annoyance at what George has changed - and spoiled - since 1997, and instead think about what he HASN'T bothered to change. I could almost cope with the vandalism if it also came with the benefit of genuine complete bugfixes. I could almost admire Lucasfilm if only I could BELIEVE them when they say they are "improving" the films.

Now the 2011 Blu-rays bring more "artistic" changes, but I still noticed many gaffes and mistakes that George hasn't bothered to touch, some all the way from 1977. I have to wonder why George cares about fixing some things but not others? Why is it essential that Artoo is better hidden from the sandpeople, but NOT essential that the Death Star plans are correct?

This article presents some of the most obvious errors that would be fixed in a "perfect" version of Star Wars, but have inexplicably been ignored in the Blu-ray. People who have seen ANH a hundred times might get a chuckle out of some things that they've always noticed! I'm only dealing with the first film here. My reference is the 720p MKV Blu-ray rip.

It should be said that Adywan has performed nearly all these fixes in his "Revisited" project. The best thing about Adywan's project is that it proves Lucasfilm have no excuse to ignore these things. If he can do it at home with consumer equipment, what's Lucasfilm's excuse?

You'll notice each of these entries has an "Ignored chances to fix" number. Although almost every home video version of Star Wars has included some subtle changes, I'm counting 1997, 2004 and 2011 as the three significant times Lucasfilm have taken the opportunity to make technical changes to the film.

Here we go.


DARK LASERS
http://img714.imageshack.us/img714/2290/starwarsep4unfixed00glo.jpg
The digital colour timing in 2004 created lots of problems, including the darkening of some lightsabers and laser fire. Lucasfilm selectively fixed a few of the most complained-about shots in 2011 -- proof that they accept some errors were made. But they didn't fix the iconic opening shot of the Tantive IV exchanging fire with the Star Destroyer.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 2004
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 1


LOBSTER MEN
http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/1885/starwarsep4unfixed01lob.jpg
Another example of the errors caused by boosting saturation so much in 2004. It's a tiny fast background example, but representative of Lucasfilm's failure to fix the oddities of the 2004 colour timing.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 2004
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 1


MISSING MOISTURE VAPORATORS
http://img26.imageshack.us/img26/8153/starwarsep4unfixed02mis.jpg
The 1997 Special Edition expanded the shot of the sandcrawler at the Lars homestead and added more moisture vaporators in the background. But when Luke walks to the sandcrawler it's a pre-1997 shot without the added vaporators.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1997
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 2


BAD MOTIVATOR
http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/4550/starwarsep4unfixed03red.jpg
The red R2 unit blows its motivator and Threepio suggests Artoo as a replacement. But the shot of Artoo is taken from earlier when the red R2 unit was still next to him.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 3


LUKE'S GHOST
http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/5647/starwarsep4unfixed04luk.jpg
This is an odd little thing that you might never have noticed. In the establishing shot of the Lars homestead courtyard on the morning that Luke has gone to chase after Artoo, you can see a semi-transparent still image of Luke in one of the doorways. Also, the Treadwelll droid jumps to the other side of the courtyard in the next shot when Uncle Owen enters.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: ?
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: at least 2


ANNOYING JUMP
http://img98.imageshack.us/img98/696/starwarsep4unfixed05ree.jpg
This has always annoyed me. Was it a reel change? The music jumps a little between these two shots. It could be easily smoothed over, but Lucasfilm always leaves it alone.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 3


CLOAK
http://img684.imageshack.us/img684/1131/starwarsep4unfixed06ben.jpg
One of the most well-known errors. The cloak hanging on the wall disappears for the shots of Luke handling the lightsaber. Adywan fixed this quite successfully, so why can't Lucasfilm?
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 3


BLOODY HELL
http://img231.imageshack.us/img231/2708/starwarsep4unfixed07pon.jpg
Let's skip the debate of whether it's supposed to be Ponda Baba's arm (hairy) or Dr. Evazan's (human) -- Dr. Evazan screams in pain, but it's Ponda's arm. Anyway, let's just concentrate on why it's not cauterized and there's blood everywhere.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 3


BAT BOY CAN'T HANDLE HIS BOOZE
http://img828.imageshack.us/img828/7736/starwarsep4unfixed08lit.jpg
This is very nitpicky, but once you notice it you'll *always* notice it. The little bat alien (named Kabe apparently) can't bring his drink up to his mouth and seems to drink with his chin. Adywan fixed this.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 3


OF ALL THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS SCENE
http://img820.imageshack.us/img820/2128/starwarsep4unfixed09gre.jpg
It's nitpicky to even mention this, but there's still a frame of a bad Greedo model before he gets shot. To be an absolute perfectionist, you'd want to replace this frame with an earlier shot of Greedo, like Adywan did.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 3


HALF A PIECE OF JUNK
http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/539/starwarsep4unfixed11fal.jpg
Only half of the full-size Falcon was built into the hangar bay set, and unfortunately it fails to convince you that the other half exists. It looks like half a ship against a wall. The dish is the most notable thing missing. Adywan shows how easy it would be to digitally extend this shot.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 3


WINDOW STRUT
http://img838.imageshack.us/img838/1710/starwarsep4unfixed12win.jpg
The Millennium Falcon model has a strut in the center of the cockpit window that wasn't matched on the cockpit set. This was fixed for Empire and Jedi. I'm in two minds about seeing this fixed... it would somewhat spoil the streaking starfield effect, and let's face it, who cares about such a petty thing?
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 3


OH, IT'S *THIS* SABER AGAIN
http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/2206/starwarsep4unfixed13sab.jpg
Turned green in 2004. Corrected in 2011, that's good. But this is a lightsaber shot that needs completely remaking anyway due to the way it wobbles. There was no pole in the hilt for this shot -- because Luke switches it off without a jump cut -- so it was hand-drawn without a reference. The beam is also too thin comared to other shots in the scene.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977?
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: Oh boy


REMOTE LASER
http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/9013/starwarsep4unfixed14rem.jpg
Just a small thing that the 2004 version broke and they didn't correct for Blu-ray. The laser is supposed to be yellow.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 2004
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 1


HAND GESTURES
http://img64.imageshack.us/img64/2682/starwarsep4unfixed15vad.jpg
Vader stops talking but continues to gesticulate.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 3


CONTINUITY
http://img202.imageshack.us/img202/333/starwarsep4unfixed16con.jpg
An Imperial officer in a light-toned tunic walks past the black droid. An officer in a dark tunic is walking past in the following shot. Editing makes it clear they are supposed to be the same. It's very petty to notice, but it's one of those things.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 3


OH, IT'S *THIS* SABER AGAIN episode II
http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/606/starwarsep4unfixed17ben.jpg
Ben's lightsaber failed to be coloured when the prop failed to hit the light at certain moments in this shot. In 2004 they farmed out some lightsaber touchup shots to VFX companies, and some talentless work-experience lad did this (this is what I must presume).
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: even a "chance" to fix is not always successful in George's company.


IT'S THE GIRTH THAT COUNTS
http://img696.imageshack.us/img696/8524/starwarsep4unfixed18thi.jpg
This entire film is plagued by lightsabers that have no consistency with the rest of the saga (or even within this single episode), and this shot is just one example. The blades are way too thin, aren't they? I think these sabers were redrawn in 2004, probably by an outside VFX company. This is my general plea for George to start from scratch and make EVERY lightsaber shot in ANH match the rest of the saga.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: I don't know what to put in this category any more.


NO HYPERSPACE
http://img41.imageshack.us/img41/5356/starwarsep4unfixed19noh.jpg
It has been established that hyperspace is a blue energy tunnel. You even see the effect in-cockpit for a moment in ROTJ, proving that this is what you are supposed to see through the windows. But here, there's a whole scene while they travel in hyperspace and you see regular black space. I can understand why it would affect the scene too drastically to add blue hyperspace... in fact I wouldn't like to see the change. But it's an inconsistency.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 3


WRONG DEATH STAR PLANS
http://img268.imageshack.us/img268/5219/starwarsep4unfixed20dea.jpg
Okay, this is my biggest complaint. Please permit me some nerd rage now. I went to the cinema in 1997 fully expecting them to fix this mistake and I was disappointed; I bought the DVDs in 2004 fully expecting a change and I was disappointed; now I see the Blu-ray I wonder what on earth Lucasfilm are playing at.

I think this is the single biggest error in the film. The Death Star plans are WRONG! The plans show the firing plate in the equator. This is an immediate visual problem because it cuts straight to a shot of the real Death Star. It's also a continuity problem with the rest of the saga because we saw the Geonosian Death Star plans in AOTC (around 20 years earlier in the story) and the firing plate was in the top hemisphere.

But the biggest impact is on the story: the Rebels have gambled their fate on finding an incredibly specific vulnerability in the Death Star plans, yet the plans are wildly inaccurate. How can you trust that torpedoes down the exhaust port will accomplish anything, if the internal structure of the Death Star may be comptely different? Wedge shouldn't have said, "Look at the size of that thing!" He should have said, "Let's abort, our plans were totally wrong!" And what does it say about the Empire? They must have leaked incorrect plans to the Rebels. Not just *old* plans -- because the equator-firing-plate was *never* in the plans -- but deliberately incorrect plans to wrongfoot the Rebels. In which case, why was Vader so vehemently trying to get the plans back?

Okay, last paragraph of nerd rage. What really kills me is how easy and cheap it would be to fix this error. Any 12-year-old could do it with off-the-shelf software. How can George approve so many changes time after time, and never think the Death Star plans are wrong?
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 3


IT'S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN
http://img846.imageshack.us/img846/8373/starwarsep4unfixed21cou.jpg
Let's have a simple one. This graphic has always annoyed me because the countdown is counting in seconds, whereas the story and dialogue cues are counting in minutes. It's also a pretty ugly old graphic anyway.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 3


X-WING MOTION
http://img11.imageshack.us/img11/2743/starwarsep4unfixed22xwi.jpg
The picture doesn't explain, and you might not agree with me anyway. I've never liked this shot of Luke's (or is it Biggs'?) X-wing in motion because it appears to be moving so fast to the right that it should crash into the trench wall. Hopefully you know the moment I'm talking about.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 3


ARTOO STILL BLACK?
http://img683.imageshack.us/img683/4518/starwarsep4unfixed23bla.jpg
As I was taking these shots I realised Artoo's blue panels are still black in a few shots. Come on, STILL? I think most of the fixing was done in 1997, but there's always a few shots they missed.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 3


COME ON GEORGE, GIVE HIM A MEDAL
http://img856.imageshack.us/img856/1789/starwarsep4unfixed24che.jpg
:)


There are more, of course. It depends on how many hundred times you saw the film in your youth and how many little bits you personally always notice. If you can think of more, please share them.

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Gavin- said:

WINDOW STRUT
http://img838.imageshack.us/img838/1710/starwarsep4unfixed12win.jpg
The Millennium Falcon model has a strut in the center of the cockpit window that wasn't matched on the cockpit set. This was fixed for Empire and Jedi. I'm in two minds about seeing this fixed... it would somewhat spoil the streaking starfield effect, and let's face it, who cares about such a petty thing?
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: 3

Well, I don't know if I'm the only one who noticed, but that happens with the TIE fighters too. The cockpit set doesn't match the cockpit window.

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Wow! I never saw the ghost before! With what Empire of Dreams revealed about the editing process, it's possible that was the only shot of the homestead at that angle they could use.

Chewie did finally get his medal from Carrie at the MTV movie awards in the 90's. :)

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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I believe the reason why Lucas won't change the graphics for the Death Star Plans, along with the Falcon's display during the Tie Fighter scene is because they were among the first examples of computer graphics being used in a film.

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 (Edited)

When you say Star Wars does that include ROTJ?.....& it's not really a mistake

I can't believe that with all the unnecessary changes they made for the BD's they couldn't have removed this lovely wall mural

J

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 (Edited)

Hey about that background in RotJ, in the 97 SE and on, Lando becomes a total silhouette when he turns and walks toward the Falcon. I may be mistaken, but I don't think that error is in the original film. I only noticed it when i got the SE on VHS and I believe I compared it with my OT boxset. Can anyone confirm or deny?

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

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Yep its there on the BD

....and on the GOUT

J

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SilverWook said:

Wow! I never saw the ghost before! With what Empire of Dreams revealed about the editing process, it's possible that was the only shot of the homestead at that angle they could use.

I too never noticed that before. What would make Luke appear ghost-like? Judging by Luke's position that was probably taken right after he viewed the sunset.

As for why nothing has been changed for the Blu-Rays, it's probably just general Lucas laziness, thinking the product will sell in any form.

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Jaitea said:

Yep its there on the BD

....and on the GOUT

J

It's always been there AFAIK. It wasn't a good shot to begin with and that's why they hid it with a cut as soon as those pilots get to the other side of the frame.

VADER!? WHERE THE HELL IS MY MOCHA LATTE? -Palpy on a very bad day.

“George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys.”-Harrison Ford

My review blog: thehificelluloidmonster.wordpress.com

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It's a blue screen shot, not a "mural" or painted back-drop... the blue screen was further back and lit up as it had to be, and the actors were lit separately. Williams was just leaving the lit area.

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It's a really beautiful matte... but unfortunately it just doesn't stand up to modern eyes. A new digital matte of that hangar bay should have been a priority for ROTJ.

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 (Edited)

Gavin- said:

It's a really beautiful matte... but unfortunately it just doesn't stand up to modern eyes. A new digital matte of that hangar bay should have been a priority for ROTJ.

That shot stands out more than anything else in the OT, as far as I'm concerned, especially when viewing it in HD.  It really is painfully obvious that it's a matte/blue screen shot.

By the way, the entry about bat boy is hilarious.  I'd never noticed it, the name really made me laugh, and even the picture is very funny.

Good thread! :)

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Laserschwert said:

It's a blue screen shot, not a "mural" or painted back-drop... the blue screen was further back and lit up as it had to be, and the actors were lit separately. Williams was just leaving the lit area.

Get back to work on those Lucasarts posters!

Only kidding. Nice to see you (or read you) over here as well.

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You left out that you can see straight through Kabe's eyes, I'd say that's more significant than how he drinks from a cup. =P

Help back OMNO!

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The very first picture shows another problem, the moon isn't "circular"

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I always wondered if doing that part as a bluescreen shot was a last minute reshoot.

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The Aluminum Falcon said:

SilverWook said:

Wow! I never saw the ghost before! With what Empire of Dreams revealed about the editing process, it's possible that was the only shot of the homestead at that angle they could use.

I too never noticed that before. What would make Luke appear ghost-like? Judging by Luke's position that was probably taken right after he viewed the sunset.

As for why nothing has been changed for the Blu-Rays, it's probably just general Lucas laziness, thinking the product will sell in any form.

It could be a double exposure from when the camera started/stopped rolling. In EOD the editors explained they were literally using footage right up to end of a roll at times.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Whoa! I've never seen that photo before, Baronlando. Maybe it was a last minute reshoot and Marquand, with less experience with FX, thought it was convincing enough. An alternative is that Lucas may have wanted to show the Falcon to make more clear that they were talking about Lando taking it. In any case, I always did think it was somewhat of a cheap shot considering the high standard that SW and ESB set.

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captainsolo said:

Jaitea said:

Yep its there on the BD

....and on the GOUT

J

It's always been there AFAIK. It wasn't a good shot to begin with and that's why they hid it with a cut as soon as those pilots get to the other side of the frame.

I actually thought the B Wing pilot was an SE addition for a moment there!

It's curious they didn't just put a blue screen behind the full size Falcon and use it having gone to the trouble of putting it back together for the sandstorm scene. (Not to mention the X and Y Wings.) Even a miniature hangar bay set would have had more depth than this particular painting.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Never noticed Luke's ghost. Thanks for pointing it out. The SE's are lazy as sin. They even use the same texture for EVERY X-wing in Yavin. I hear you on the plans; it was my favorite fix of Darth Editous' cut.

A few that have always bothered me: the band on Luke's X-wing. The set piece has a solid red stripe, while the model of Luke's Red Five has a broken stripe. Yet I seem to be the only one to notice this.

Also, anyone else wonder where Vader's shot went. "I have you now!", he fires locked on, the TIE next to him explodes, and apparently he missed, despite being locked on. Not really an error I suppose, but since we're nitpicking.

I can't believe they still won't fix the windows in Cloud City after added them. The SE is just so half-assed.


Made for IE Forum's Episode III theme month - May 2005.

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Klingon_Jedi said:

The SE is just so half-assed.

You pretty much hit it on the head with this comment Klingon_Jedi. The problem with the SE is often the changes are not thought completely through or done thoroughly enough to eliminate continuity errors. This is why fan edits, like Revisited, are so much better... It would be nice if in the actual Special Editions: changes were completely carried out (i.e. new rock does not appear then disappear).

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Gavin- said:

LUKE'S GHOST
http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/5647/starwarsep4unfixed04luk.jpg
This is an odd little thing that you might never have noticed. In the establishing shot of the Lars homestead courtyard on the morning that Luke has gone to chase after Artoo, you can see a semi-transparent still image of Luke in one of the doorways. Also, the Treadwelll droid jumps to the other side of the courtyard in the next shot when Uncle Owen enters.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: ?
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: at least 2

Very interesting. One of the reasons many of you haven't noticed this before is that this error was introduced in '97, "Luke's ghost" never appeared in the original film. Maybe they got rid of it in post for the original film, and when going back to the negative for the '97SE this error got introduced? the "ghost" remain throughout the sequence, so the shot is clearly made up of one static frame. Hard to tell if this shot in the original film was made of a series of the same single frame though.

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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Gavin- said:

OH, IT'S *THIS* SABER AGAIN
http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/2206/starwarsep4unfixed13sab.jpg
Turned green in 2004. Corrected in 2011, that's good. But this is a lightsaber shot that needs completely remaking anyway due to the way it wobbles. There was no pole in the hilt for this shot -- because Luke switches it off without a jump cut -- so it was hand-drawn without a reference. The beam is also too thin comared to other shots in the scene.
IN NEED OF FIXING SINCE: 1977?
IGNORED CHANCES TO FIX: Oh boy

How ugly this shot may look to some, I just want to point it out that it was remade for the 1997 SE. The saber along with the remote and chess elements was digitally re-composited. The saber itself look quite different than the original, the blade was extended for example.

The original effect was quite impressive back in the day due to using so many elements in the same shot.

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 never really thought about that, msycamore. You've got the blade, the remote and all the little chess men. That's a lot!