HomeDisney NewsStar Wars Special Editions 25 Years Later. Are They Really That Bad?

Star Wars Special Editions 25 Years Later. Are They Really That Bad?

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This year marks a very important anniversary, 45 years since the premier of arguably one of the greatest films ever made, the original Star Wars. In 1977 George Lucas gifted the world with one of the greatest franchises in cinema. But this year also marks another anniversary, the 25th anniversary of George Lucas’ controversial revisions to the Original Trilogy.

For those who don’t know, when the 20th anniversary for the original trilogy was just around the corner George Lucas decided to re-release the original films back into theaters for a new generation of children. Not only to celebrate the anniversary, but to hype up the then upcoming Prequel Trilogy. But this wasn’t any normal re-release. George went back in, restored the original negatives and decided to update much of the original special effects from the first three films to “enhance” them with modern technology.

Examples include adding back deleted scenes such as the pre-battle conversation with Biggs Darklighter in A New Hope and more shots with the Wampa in Empire Strikes Back. A number of visual enhancements such as the spaceship fights in A New Hope, increasing the scale of Cloud City in Empire Strikes Back and some creature effects in Return of the Jedi were also added.

The special editions cast about $10 Million to produce and the theatrical re-release of all three films in 1997 brought in about $500 Million, quite the return. But after this point George Lucas made a decision, one that still bothers people to this day. The decision that these would be the default versions going forward.

The concept isn’t a bad idea. It’s like an antics coming back and redrawing an old piece they did years ago to see how their style has either improved or changed. But not allowing people to view the original theatrical versions that started the whole franchise was the straw that broke the camel’s back for some.

The last time the original unedited versions were released were in 2006 with a limited edition DVD release that included the original theatrical cuts on a bonus disc.

Since then George had kept making revisions and additions to the films. Like updating the visuals on the 3D Jabba model in A New Hope, adding in Ian McDiarmid’s version of Darth Sidious in Empire Strikes Back and even adding Hayden Christiansen as a force ghost in Return of the Jedi. He was still adding changes up until Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012 with the now infamous “Mclunkey” line from Greedo.

Though not confirmed it is rumored that George even included in his contract that Disney is not to release the original theatrical versions of Star Wars until a certain date has passed.

In hindsight the Special Editions weren’t entirely a bad idea. The concept of revising an older film and making changes or updates to try and deliver an alternate take is a novel concept. Its surprising more people haven’t given it a try.

But what does rub people the wrong way is not allowing people to view the original versions. If George hadn’t been so reluctant of that front perhaps these versions wouldn’t be as heavily despised as they currently are.


Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.



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