Hey everyone, Jack Drees here! In 1977, George Lucas released “Star Wars.” It became an instant hit with critics, audiences, and has spawned a fandom that has lasted for decades. Years ahead, two sequels which have also been met with positive reception have been released. I have just watched Harmy’s Despecialized Edition of the original “Star Wars” trilogy, and going through all three movies in HD quality was an utter blast. These editions eliminate the changes provided over the years to the original trilogy by George Lucas since 1997 which have been bashed by fans over the years, and I wholeheartedly approve of these editions. As much as I appreciate George Lucas for starting the “Star Wars” craze, he has also brought tons of chaos tons of chaos to the franchise from making notable changes to it in the series’s so-called “Special Editions” in 1997, again in 2004, and once more in 2011. Today, we’re going to look at the worst of these changes, specifically the top 10 WORST of these changes. If you like these changes, that’s your opinion, not mine. You’re allowed to have that thought, even though we are on opposite sides of the spectrum. Just because I have a certain change listed here that you like, it doesn’t make your opinion invalid. If you like these changes, rock on. Also, just in case you didn’t look hard enough, these changes pertain towards the original trilogy only. There have been changes made overtime in the prequel trilogy as well, but that’s not what this list is about. So let’s dive into it, these are the top 10 WORST “Star Wars” original trilogy “Special Edition” changes.
#10: Echo Change (Episode IV: A New Hope)
This change here is one that I’m surprised I don’t hear more people don’t talk about. Maybe it doesn’t bother other people all that much, but in reality, it kind of irks me. As our heroes are escaping from the Death Star, we see them running around in various directions. We also see Luke and Leia together, they pass through a door, and they almost fall into an abyss. It’s at this point that Luke says “I think we took a wrong turn!” A few lines of dialogue are spoken by Luke and Leia as they try to find their way through to the opposite side, because after all, you can’t get there by foot. In the original version, as this dialogue is uttered, we hear echos. Although in 2004, this has been redone. According to Wookiepedia, AKA Wikipedia for “Star Wars,” this has been “redone more realistically.” Regardless of realism, the original echo had an effect that felt rather chilling. There was something about that echo when I watched the movie that just felt like it was irreplaceable. This echo, doesn’t even feel like it’s there. When I watched the movie and I heard what I heard, I just wondered, where’s the echo? I don’t even hear an echo. This is an early spot on the list as I’m able to tolerate this and it doesn’t really have much an effect on what I’m watching. Speaking of this spot, I almost put the “Jedi Rocks” song on here, but it barely lost because there was some music playing before it that wasn’t in the original cut of the film that sounded fine. These two could change, but you never know.
#9: “It’s all right, I can see a lot better!” (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)
It was established in “The Empire Strikes Back” that Han Solo has a relationship with Lando Calrissian. Unfortunately, in “Return of the Jedi,” the relationship was nearing an end. During the battle that takes place on Tatooine during the movie, the Sarlacc which has been introduced during around said time frame, snatches Lando. He’s about to be consumed, but luckily, Han Solo’s here to save the day! In the original movie, the way it goes down is pretty much how I explained it, Han is aiming at the creature with his body upside down. At one point, Lando shouts “No, wait! I thought you were blind!” Han replies saying “It’s all right, trust me!” Han soon pulls the trigger of his blaster thus saving Lando. The 1997 Special Edition didn’t exactly play out the same way. Instead of Han saying “It’s all right, trust me” he said “It’s all right, I can see a lot better!” For those of you who forgot or haven’t seen the movie, the beginning of “Return of the Jedi” is when Han Solo was released from the carbonite which kept him frozen. He couldn’t see a thing, but according to Leia, who at that point was dressed as a bounty hunter, his eyesight would return in time. This is one of those moments on this list, where a line happened to be changed when it didn’t need to be because it was already good enough. I’m not entirely against line changing as long as it’s effective, but in my view, the first line was good, but this wasn’t. Speaking of Han Solo…
#8: Greedo Shoots First (Episode IV: A New Hope)
This is a change that pretty much every single “Star Wars” fan has known about if they’ve paid close enough attention. I have three words for you: HAN SHOT FIRST! Although according to the first Special Edition, he didn’t. Instead, the bounty hunter referred to as Greedo pulls his trigger first. For those of you who don’t know, the first “Star Wars” film had a scene where we get information that Han Solo was being searched by bounty hunters all over. This is because he hasn’t yet paid Jabba the Hutt. So in the scene where we find this out, one bounty hunter by the name of Greedo stops him and Han Solo tells him that he doesn’t have money at the moment to pay Jabba. Their conversation goes down until a point where Greedo is shot by Han. Greedo getting shot doesn’t change, but the execution of the scene has gone through multiple changes. Let’s go through them one by one.
In 1997, when the first Special Editions released, most of the dialogue in the scene is the same as the original, but there’s one piece that’s missing. The line last line given by Greedo here is this: “That’s the idea… I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time.” That line wasn’t changed, however the following line given by Han Solo, which was originally “Yeah, I’ll bet you have,” changed in the first Special Edition to “I’ll bet you have.” Here we see a shot fired not only by Han, but also by Greedo. Also, if you observe closely in the shot, you can see Greedo’s shot coming out of his blaster before Han’s! This is a change which from a general perspective, has probably outraged more fans than any other when it comes to the “Star Wars” saga. In fact, it doesn’t end there!
In 2004, when the original trilogy released on DVD, George Lucas decided to change it again! He took the 1997 “I’ll bet you have” and altered it back to the way it was in 1977 which was “Yeah, I’ll bet you have.” After that, Greedo still shoots first, but Han pulls his trigger faster than he did in the 1997 version, not to mention he dodges Greedo’s shot. Guess what? THIS TRAIN KEEPS ON ROLLING!
We then get to 2011, which is the year the entire saga came out on Blu-Ray. The change here is minor, no lines have been altered this time around, but the scene is shorter.
What’s so striking to me about these changes is that George can’t even make up his mind. The scene has been changed not once, not twice, but thrice! The change in general also makes Han Solo look like less of a badass. In the original cut, you see him talking and you get this sense that he’s just capable of handling himself in battle or in near death experiences. And while he was still able to handle himself, this almost feels like a lighter version of the scene we’ve gotten before, the other one just had a feel that made Han Solo Han Solo. He took no nonsense and you don’t want to mess around with him. Let me just say, if someone asks me, “Who shot first?” I’d always respond with, “Han Solo.”
#7: “You were lucky to get out of there.” (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
When it comes to “The Empire Strikes Back,” I own both the 2004 and original edition, but I watched the 2004 version many more times, so this was one of those changes I either didn’t notice or didn’t care about for awhile. So, Luke is in his X-Wing, he’s entering the Dagobah system, which he assures to the droid alongside him, R2-D2, is “perfectly safe for droids.” Yeeeeah. Totally safe. It’s so safe that R2-D2 drowns in water moments upon entering the planet! To be accurate, he didn’t drown due to not being suited to being in water, he was still able to to move just fine. Although his disappearance was due to a dragonsnake swallowing him. Apparently R2 wasn’t down for that long because he’s spat out and goes flying. Luke moves over to R2 as he lands on the ground. At one point he helps get R2 back on his “feet.” It’s here when Luke says “You’re lucky you don’t taste very good.” That was what many audiences may have heard for the first time until 1997. When 1997’s Special Editions came out, the line was changed to “You were lucky to get out of there.” It’s a change that dwindles a chuckle from viewers and ultimately makes the moment feel a little more cliche. Let me ask you something. You are in the ocean, and a great white shark is approaching, you are the one that’s almost about to get eaten as everyone is escaping. Somehow you make it out, but you wasted a lot more time getting out. Would you feel more satisfaction hearing “You’re lucky you don’t taste very good” or “You were lucky to get out of there?” Not to mention, the way these two phrases are uttered kind of make a difference. Luke almost sounds more depressed when he says the “Special Edition” quote. Luke seems a little more optimistic when he says the original quote. Sure, he is in a strange situation, but you can still be in a strange situation and provide at least a glass half full tone.
#6: Boba Fett Voice Change (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
Many people who watched “The Empire Strikes Back” were introduced to the character of Boba Fett, a bounty hunter who is contacted by Darth Vader in order to help in the pursuit for Han Solo. Believe it or not, this wasn’t the fellow’s first appearance. Those who were unfortunate enough to watch “Star Wars: The Holiday Special” on TV back in 1978 got a glimpse of Boba Fett before he appeared in “Empire.” Also, if you watch the newer editions of “A New Hope,” he appears in that too after being digitally remastered. In 1980, people may not have been curious to know who did the voice for Boba Fett. By the way, that person is Jason Wingreen. Although in George Lucas’s universe, that’s false. In 2004, he changed the voice in order to match with how Boba Fett was portrayed in “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.” This didn’t just apply to Boba Fett in that movie, but also his father, Jango Fett. In “Attack of the Clones,” it is established that Boba Fett is an unaltered clone raised by Jango. This lead to a change that involved replacing the execution of four lines given by Boba considering those four lines happen to be all the dialogue he said. Who did the talking for this? Temuera Morrison, AKA the guy who played Jango Fett in “Attack of the Clones.” I wouldn’t mind this if it were done with a sense of enthusiasm or a lack of robotic talking. The original voiceover artist for Boba Fett seemed to display more emotion in terms of their delivery. These newer voiceovers done by Morrison, just feel like the actor went into a booth, didn’t care about what they were doing, maybe they either never saw “Empire” or its been awhile since they’ve seen it to understand the character of Boba Fett, and it just turned a great voiceover to a crappy voiceover. The original voice sounded like Boba Fett was constantly on the hunt, always on the move. This new voice just sounded like a guy who just served people of higher power. I will say, if George Lucas actually got Gilbert Gottfried to do the voice of Boba Fett as a Special Edition change, I’d actually watch that non-stop, because Gilbert Gottfried’s f*cking awesome! Gilbert Gottfried can appear in “Super Mario Bros.: The Movie” and I’d probably watch it just for him. Maybe not the whole movie, but the scenes featuring Gilbert Gottfried as long as he’s not in the whole picture.
#5: Jabba the Hutt (Episode IV: A New Hope)
In 1983, audiences everywhere were introduced to the chubby slug known as Jabba the Hutt. These viewers may have heard Jabba’s name before, specifically in 1977 during the Han and Greedo conversation, but they never saw Jabba on screen in that film, nor did they see him in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Well, that all changed in 1997. Turns out prior to our heroes escaping Mos Eisley in the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo has a conversation with Jabba. Harrison Ford didn’t come back to shoot this, the scene was actually done while the film was originally in production, and Jabba wasn’t even a slug. He was actually human. Although when the 1997 release came out, the Jabba and Solo conversation was added on and Jabba received CGI achievement. For those of you who don’t know, CGI is short for computer-generated imagery. In this circumstance, I think CGI actually stands for completely gruesome insanity! LOOK AT THIS CRAP (top image)! To be fair, it was 1997, but it’s still revolting! So the two have a conversation that has similar dialogue given in the Han and Greedo scene, which just contributes to redundancy. At one point, Han steps on Jabba’s tail, making him utter a sound the world would have never heard had he been a human. Han says he’ll pay Jabba back with extra, to which Jabba is happy to hear, but if Han fails, he would be searched for and the price on his head would be significantly enormous. The thing that really makes this scene fail is Han’s final line. “Jabba, you’re a wonderful human being.” If this were the original movie in 1977 and they kept this scene in, it would have worked better. Not completely, but it would work. George Lucas would have kept human Jabba, that way we don’t have to see terrible CGI and Han stepping on a tail. This would have still failed as a scene due to what’s written in the script, but it still would have been better. The final line given by Han Solo would have worked better too. After all, why would A SLUG be called A HUMAN BEING?! Not to mention, a WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING?! So basically, Jabba says that he’d put a price on Han’s head, and the conversation ends by saying “You’re a wonderful human being?!” Oy vey! Not to mention, this change takes away some of the suspense people originally had about Jabba the Hutt. Imagine if someone who watched this movie a lot prior to the Special Editions showed these flicks to their kids, and that person ends up showing an unoriginal version. The kid would know what Jabba looks like before progressing into “Return of the Jedi!” It just takes away some of the mystery of Jabba as a character and now he’s just shoved in your face. You know, like pie. Unfortunately, this change has not been erased in any of the newer versions, although in 2004, the CGI for Jabba was redone (bottom image) and it looks a lot better.
#4: R2-D2 Behind Rocks (Episode IV: A New Hope)
One thing that has been changed more than once throughout the original “Star Wars” film is the scream given when Obi-Wan appears to scare off the Tusken Raiders. For the record, neither of those on the list. A change that IS however on this list takes place around the same time. In the 2011 Blu-Ray release, you might notice R2 before and after the scream occurs. Although guess what? He’s covered behind lots of rocks! I hate this change because it basically insults your intelligence! Sure, Han not shooting first is irritating to see because of how it diminishes the character in terms of how badass he is, but in reality, you can show Han shooting first to someone that’s observant enough and they won’t question the realism or accuracy of what’s happening on screen. Here with this, you just question humanity itself! How does R2, a droid the size he is with the capabilities he’s got, get in that hiding spot? There was no establishment behind how he got there! If you look at the hole, it’s smaller than R2 itself! In the original scene, you can see R2 near some rocks, but it’s not enough to create a shadow upon him! I have one thing to say about this scene, it doesn’t ROCK!
#3: Luke Screams Down the Pit (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
A lot of people consider “The Empire Strikes Back” the best “Star Wars” film and one of the best sequels of all time. Part of this is due to its iconic scenes, how its characters develop. it’s emotional score, and how it brought a twist that not many people saw coming, the fact that Darth Vader is Luke’s father. Interesting fact by the way, the Dutch word for father is vader (fah-der), and the German word is vater (pronounced similarly to Dutch word), so as much as audiences may have been shocked by this reveal, this does leave me to wonder, how shocked were the Dutch and Germans? Anyway, if you’ve seen the movie, chances are you’d be familiar with this reveal. Luke and Vader are in a duel, Luke’s hand gets sliced off by Vader’s lightsaber, Vader is trying to convince Luke to join the Dark Side, and he also tells Luke the truth about his father, the fact that Vader himself, is Luke’s father. Moments later, Luke falls down a pit. In the original version, Luke is just falling, he isn’t really making any random noises. However in the 1997 version, he is. After Darth Vader says “Come with me, it is the only way,” Luke makes his dissent down the pit, and at one point, comes out this strange, peculiar, ridiculous noise. If you want to be more simplistic, that noise was a scream. That scream by the way, wasn’t even Mark Hamill’s voice. That voice, was Ian McDiarmid’s. If you don’t know who Ian McDiarmid is, he plays the Emperor and Palpatine in the saga. For the record, McDiarmid didn’t come in to let out a scream, they actually took the scream from when he died in “Return of the Jedi.” This moment might as well be called “Return of the Scream.” I for one, admittedly, haven’t watched the 1997 Special Edition all the way through, but I’ve seen a clip on YouTube where this all goes down. Luckily, when George Lucas was making more changes to the trilogy in 2004, this scream of insanity has been removed. And no, it has not been brought back when the Blu-Ray release came out in 2011.
#2: Get Out of the Way, Dinosaur! (Episode IV: A New Hope)
This is a change that starts out as somewhat tolerable. Just a little extra bits to introduce Mos Eisley. Granted it’s unnecessary, but it’s not like we’re watching a couple of Stormtroopers engage in intercourse or something. Then we get to footage audiences have seen prior to the Special Editions’ arrival. As the four Stormtroopers from the mind-trick scene gather around Luke’s speeder, we get one of the worst uses of CGI of all time! While these four troops are moving, a giant dinosaur is literally blocking EVERYTHING on the screen! What’s going on?! Let us see the damn movie! We don’t want to see some random green piece of s*it covering the frame! It’s abominable! If I wanted to see a movie where there was CGI covering the frame, I’d go watch “Guardians of the Galaxy!” The whole dinosaur placement just doesn’t make sense in general because it doesn’t let you observe the landscape of Mos Eisley unlike the original scene. There’s not really much to say about this except that it just makes you want more than one galaxy to have its dinosaurs extinct.
#1: Darth Vader Yells “No!” (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)
Before we get into my #1 pick, let me just have you know that I don’t own the 2011 Blu-Ray for “Return of the Jedi,” however I have seen this online and when it played on TV once on Halloween in the year of 2016 on TBS. If I owned the Blu-Ray, I’d feel like a completionist, although at the same time, I’d be ashamed because that means I own the version where Darth Vader screams “no” at the end of the movie! I’ve watched “Return of the Jedi” countless times as a kid. Both the original and 2004 edition since I possessed the 2006 limited release. I’ve never had to deal with this crap then. It wasn’t awhile til I found out this change existed and it literally just changed everything. I could tolerate minor dialogue changes! I could tolerate random CGI moments! I could tolerate Han shooting second! But this! THIS! I’ll be back, I just gotta go jump out a window!
*FALLS FLAT ON THE GROUND WITH BLOOD EVERYWHERE, SCREAMS IN PAIN, SWEARING, TAKING THE LORD’S NAME IN VAIN, GETS WEAKER BY THE SECOND. SOMEONE SEES ME, THE NARRATOR, TRUST ME, THE NARRATOR, ON THIS STATEMENT, AND USES MAGICAL POWERS TO REHABILITATE ME, THE NARRATOR, BACK TO NORMAL*
(CATCHES BREATH) OK, I’m back! Just so you know, one of my favorite scenes in the original trilogy is in “Return of the Jedi” where Luke is being electrocuted by The Emperor. Before that, Darth Vader’s hand is cut off by Luke, almost as if it were revenge from when Vader cut Luke’s off in “Empire.” We see through symbolism that Luke has a line between the light and dark sides. We see one hand that’s without a glove and one that’s with a black glove. The Emperor is telling Luke to fulfill his destiny and join the Dark Side. Luke then decides that he won’t turn. This leaves the Emperor to start killing him with his bare hands (and the lightning coming out of them). Darth Vader is standing up, watching all of this go down. The Emperor is just brutally striking him down (literally) and Luke is begging to Darth Vader for help. There’s a brief pause, we see The Emperor’s face and he says, “Now young Skywalker, you will die.” Seconds later, The Emperor’s hands are releasing lightning again and Luke is screaming like crazy. We see Darth Vader moving his helmet back and forth toward Skywalker and the Emperor, the music achieves cinematic bliss levels as if it weren’t at those levels to begin with, and Darth Vader uses the strength he has left to lift up the Emperor and throw him down a pit where he screams like a wimp. We then see tons of smoke signifying he died from an explosion after hitting a core and it’s just a small portion of what I consider to be one of the most powerful scenes in the “Star Wars” saga, and possibly cinematic history. It’s a scene that I feel covers conflict, not to mention resolving it and choosing to do good. The music is one of the greatest musical achievements (as far as my opinion is concerned, in all of cinema). The explosion sends chills down my spine whenever I see it. Unfortunately, Lucas had to ruin a defining scene in the saga. Just. F*ck. My. Life.
Leading up to the electrocution, the scene is similar to how it was in previous versions, but as soon as we get to the part after the brief pause, we see Darth Vader once again, glancing in one direction and switching to the other, then we hear this:
DARTH VADER: No. (Turns to The Emperor) NOOOOOOOOOO!
As the second, everlasting “no” is uttered by Vader, he lifts up the Emperor, and like in the original scene, throws him down the pit.
As if changing the movies in 1997 and 2004 weren’t crazy enough, Lucas had this “brilliant” idea to screw it up just a tad more. Here’s the thing about that scene, not only is it, like these movies, somewhat nostalgic, but also powerful. That power is lost because Vader spoke, ruining the scene’s dramatic and chilling effect. You hear that music swell up from one level to another, you realize, this is the moment Darth Vader changed his ways, he’s now a good soul. Now, the movie shoves it in your face. During this scene, we KNOW Darth Vader isn’t happy about this situation, we KNOW how he feels! This whole change, I imagine, not only erases history, but it also just vandalizes a moment where we can all see what’s going down, and get the point. Here on the Blu-Ray, it feels like we are viewed as unintelligent and need something as simple as pressing a button explained to us. Not to mention, it reminds a lot of fans the time Darth Vader yelled “no” at the end of “Revenge of the Sith,” which a lot of those folks didn’t like. There have been multiple scenes that have been altered in any way, shape, or form, and when that has been done in 1997 and 2004, I imagine some people thought “Hey, at least the last moments before The Emperor dies is fine!” Well according to George Lucas, it wasn’t. He’s an interesting man. He spent the seventies establishing childhoods, and went on later in life to ruin them.
That’s all for this post. Thanks for reading this countdown! Please stay tuned for more content as I will have you know if you didn’t already that I’m going to see “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi” on December 14th, which is the night it opens. While I am admittedly, worried for how this film will turn out, I am also stoked because this is the first main film in the “Star Wars” universe that I’m seeing it the night it comes out. Also, for those of you who are planning to go see the new “Star Wars” movie in theaters, I’ll remind you that yes, it’s playing just about anywhere, but there are ELEVEN special theaters, which is technically TEN in the United States and ONE in the United Kingdom, that will be playing “Star Wars Episode VIII” in IMAX 70mm. You don’t want to miss out on this one of a kind experience, so if you want more information on that plus a history of “Star Wars” in IMAX, click the link below and that’ll take you right where you need to go. Stay tuned for more reviews and posts! Also, what do you think is the worst change in the original “Star Wars” trilogy? Why do you despise it? Do you like any of the changes? If so, tell me why you do. Leave your thoughts in the comments below and let’s see if we can agree with each other! Scene Before is your click to the flicks, and to conclude this post, here’s a line from “Blade Runner” that describes how I feel about these Special Edition changes.
I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-Beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain… Time to die. –Batty
“STAR WARS EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI IS GETTING THE IMAX 70MM TREATMENT AND A HISTORY OF STAR WARS IN IMAX https://scenebefore.wordpress.com/2017/10/17/star-wars-episode-viii-the-last-jedi-is-getting-the-imax-70mm-treatment-and-a-history-of-star-wars-in-imax/