Join Date: Nov 1997
Location: The Dawn of Time
Updated List of Star Wars DVD Changes (2004/2005 Editions)
[Note: this article discusses the 2004 four disc boxed set, however it should be noted that the 2005 set was simply a re-release of the previous set with different packaging, and missing the fourth "bonus materials disc" of extras. A three new sets being sold from Sept. 12-Dec. 31, 2006, also billed as "Limited Edition" will be each two discs: disc 1 will be the 2004 cut of the movie and disc 2 will be a "bonus disc" with the theatrical version of that movie as it existed in 1993, plus some LEGO Star Wars II xbox promotions).
. The info here on the 2004 Editions covers the changes from the 1997 Special Editions that most are already familiar with.]
[Further Note: As of Q1 2009, the "Limited Editions" are still available in stores, bargain bins, and online for cheap. So much for that marketing gimmick! Plus there's the 2008 "Star Wars Trilogy" box set, which is just the three 2006 sets in one cardboard sleeve, with nothing new added, and you save a few bucks.]
I figured I'd repost that list I began for the sake of information for those considering purchasing the DVD's or curious about the changes.
If anyone finds anything else confirmed (or a correction), feel free to post it. Let's not clutter up the thread with complaints about the trilogy or arguments about what should have been made or questions about what is or is not different (such posts will be deleted). But just post confirmed changes please!
Essentially the 2004 Star Wars Trilogy DVD Box Set
is the 1997 Special Editions
it even says so in the ending credits for each film, see below...
...with the following changes....
[Added 11-29-2005, the only real changes posted in about a year!]
The opening text that reads "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away..." has been changed in all three movies to match that of The Phantom Menace
and Attack of the Clones
. The original text was in a slightly different font style and was blue, rather than teal.
As a side note: The opening crawl for A New Hope has actually changed many times over the years (adding "Episode IV: A New Hope," brightening it up and making it yellow more like Empire Strikes Back
Cleaned up film.
Basically the film quality is very sharp and nice looking in all three films, albeit somewhat dark in places (noticeable in ANH especially).
Touched Up Colors
: In places it appears that colors have been touched up or retimed. Blues and greens are much brighter than before. Examples are R2D2 who appears very bright blue (perhaps to match scenes where he was recolored from black for blue screen shots such as those in space. Yoda's skin is noticeably more green. The second "sun" in the Tatooine sunset shot of ANH is also a bright reddish hue. Additionally a lot of the old film grain has been removed (for better or for worse) to give it a more "digital video" look, like Attack of the Clones
and Revenge of the Sith
. Some of the restoration process has goofed up lightsabers colors and made Carrie Fisher's makeup look "caked on" as others have pointed out.
The gray colored shirts of the Rebel soldiers in ANH now appear more blue in certain shots, and even Stormtrooper armor appears to have a slight tint, depending on the shot. Flesh tones, especially on Tatooine appear more orange, and more "flushed" (pink) on Hoth in ESB.
Update: A few shots of R2D2 have definately been "enhanced" (thanks to DVDAnswers.com
for the tip. The "blue" parts of R2's head have been modified to try to make up for the "black look" that occurred when doing the shots of him out in space on top of a ship. Since R2's head has blue elements, with a blue screen effect these elements would appear black. Despite the fixes, there are a couple of shots where R2 still has black panels. Just watch the various sequences with him in space in the films and you'll see.
A New Hope
- Lightsabers have been modified here and there, though not always consistently. One of the major things of note is that Obi-Wan's ANH saber and Luke's ROTJ saber were bigger before (fatter in the center and tapering off at the end)... but now have been made thinner and straighter. For some reason Luke's saber in ANH is green in every single shot, except for the shot where he is taking practice swings in Ben's house, and in the scene where he blocks shots from the remote (on the falcon) with the helmet over his face. In those two scenes its blue/white again. But in the rest it's clearly green. Here's some examples:
Actually in the shots with the helmet his saber is both green AND blue. The color changes as it overlaps his body vs. the background in many frames.
For comparison's sake, Luke's saber in those shots in the original version was white with a very faint hint of blue. Over the years the tint faded away to nothing or took on a greenish tint. Their restoration process did the rest!
- In Vader/Obi-Wan duel the sabers look nice and bright (more like prequel sabers, which of course were based on the ROTJ saber blade design). Keep in mind in the original saber fight, Vader's blade looked more like a red-orange neon rod (with no outer glow), and Ben's looked like a fluffy blue painted blade (like the one Luke takes practice swings with earlier). In ANH in general the blades cast white light onto the faces of the actors because of the effects technique used (discarded in later films). You can still see evidence of the effect here.
In the scene where Obi-Wan's saber "Fizzles out" where we could see the metal rod prop underneath, well, you can still see it, but now there's a little 'photoshop' looking white halo around it, so it's somewhat less noticable. But for a few frames it's definately visible as a prop, rather than the familiar glowy saber. In a later shot, we can see that Vader's saber is also a prop rod that they forgot to color in, even in this edition.
Also during the duel there are odd yellow/green "blobs" (flashes) when their sabers collide. These are actually present in the original film, but made much more obvious due to the restoration process.
Finally, some have claimed that the "framerate" of the duel has been sped up slightly, to make for a faster fight. I can't tell any difference, honestly.
- When Vader is looking over the empty robes of Obi-Wan and the door is closing in front of him (as Luke and the others escape) his saber is glowing red (rather than being white like it was in the SE and original).
- Modified Death Star hangar.See the below shots. The Death Star's hangar has been modified slightly, with details to give it a closer appearance to that of the second Death Star in ROTJ (not exactly, but closer).
- Dianoga in the garbage masher scene. The eyeball stalk has been modified to look more reptilian (green eye with vertical pupil) and it now blinks to make it have a bit more life.
- "Aurabesh" style text for the Tractor beam that Obi-Wan deactivates.
- When Alderaan blows up you can see a bit more detail (due to the restoration), so it looks like the Death Star beam is a trail of pulses (not just a thick green beam) and the planet has a slight "glow" around the lower edge right before it blows up, like a soap bubble (many people have seen this as visual evidence of Alderaan's planetary shield reacting to the shot). There also appears to be a strange blue "aura" around the debris that wasn't apparent before. Additionally the explosion itself (with the "shock wave" ring) are white in color (compare to the Death Star explosion which is more orange/red by comparison).
- Death Star explosion color has changed. Or rather, been removed. The explosion itself is dulled in color and the "shock wave" is actually white. There is also a noticeable blue "fog" around the outer edge of the debris. I'm inclined to chalk this up as a gaffe (the white color) because the ROTJ Death Star explosion is more red/orange (like the Alderaan blast). The blue haze looks like a blue-screen artifact that was accidentally restored, when it shouldn't have been.
- When Luke is watching the setting of Tatooine's twin suns there are some clouds to match the pov shot (as reported on another site). I'm not too sure about this scene, as many sites claim the clouds have been modified, but I can't really tell. The lower sun is much brighter orange than before, but this could just be due to the restoration/color matching process.
Update: Looking at the shots again it appears that a bit of "cloud" in the lower right corner has been digitally removed, so that the entire circle of the lower sun can be seen more clearly, in addition to it being brighter orange/red.
- Greedo and Han Solo shoot at the same time.
It looks a little odd, but somewhat better than the SE. Greedo's shot misses Han's face by inches, Han flinches and ducks his head a little bit more realistically. Greedo's shot bounces off the wall and goes wild this time, while Han pumps TWO shots into Greedo in rapid succession.
Update: I'm told that Han shoots Greedo twice in the SE as well, but the rest of the stuff is different. Ie: Greedo's shot hits the wall and doesn't leave a mark instead of bouncing off, etc.
- Jabba looks better than in the pictures!:
The pictures of Jabba in his scene don't do him justice. You can see the wetness on his eyeballs and in his nostrils. He looks almost like a rubber puppet, although his mouth is more expressive than the ROTJ puppet ever was and while he doesn't quite look 'himself', he's much better overall than in the SE (which was less animated and looked like it was made of clay, with sad, glassy looking eyes).
- Entry into Mos Eisely:
With the new detail, the "Rontos" (dinosaurs) look rather fake, as they all have these big blurs on them. I don't know if this was done intentionally but it kind of stands out. The first shots of the Landspeeder zooming over the sand and heading into the city looks a little better (new, more detailed models are used) and less like a cgi "toy."
I can't tell if the Ronto passing by (as Luke and Obi-Wan encounter the mind-tricked Stormtroopers asking about the Droids) moves by quicker this time or not, but we get a long shot of that brightly colored astromech droid passing, it's really distracting. In the SE I remember thinking the passing Ronto was more distracting...
Update: Now that I look at it again I think the scene is really the same as the SE. It's just different to me because of the higher level of detail/color.
- Cellblock AA-22 on the Death Star has been extended. By this I mean that the hallway with the "light at the end of the tunnel" seen when an Imperial Officer is shot when Han, Luke & Chewie break in after the "prisoner transfer" ruse. It is seen in several more shots later when Princess Leia is with them and they are fighting off Stormtroopers. Basically the matte painting was replaced digitally with one that looks more realistic and makes the cell block appear to be much larger, with the "light" seeming much farther away.
- Watch the scene right before Alderaan is blown up when Tarkin is talking to Princess Leia on the Death Star. Leia's lines sound like they have the treble boosted, almost like they are being played off a tape recorder. Tarkin's line "a military target? then name the system!" sounds a bit weird, like it was spliced together from two recordings at different levels.
- As digitalbits.com pointed out during the attack on the Death Star the X-Wing engines are really loud and tend to drown out the music in the background. I don't have the original handy for comparison though, but supposedly before you could hear the music louder.
I tried both 5.1 and 2.0 soundtracks and the "change" still exists both places. Note: I am listening to the movie either over a pair of cheap headphones or on a two speaker+woofer setup (Cambridge Soundworks, on a Soundblaster Live! card) on my pc. If you have a better stereo system I would think the audio problems would be even more noticeable...
According to DVDAnswers.com, the French language track preserves the original "Force Theme" that was present in previous versions. I've verified this myself. The English (2.0 and 5.1) and Spanish tracks lack this fanfare, but the French version has it. Looks like a gaffe that LucasFilm is blowing smoke about, claiming it was a "creative decision!"
- Overall, while the sound has been "cleaned up" in places the treble used for dialouge seems too high on certain voices (leaving an audible "hiss" while they speak).
- When the Stormtrooper bangs his head on the blast door in the scene where Threepio and R2D2 are "discovered" by the Imperials (while Luke & Co. are in the garbage masher), there is a "bonk" sound with the impact. ;)
- When Luke (in stormtrooper armor) responds to "bad transmitter" from the Imperial officer, a tapping sound effect has been added.
- C3PO says "We've stopped!" right before his usual "Wake up... wake up!" line to R2D2 while they are both being transported on the Jawa Sandcrawler.
- While the Stormtroopers are walking around inside the Falcon, in the Death Star hangar, you can now hear one of them say "There's noone here."
- According to DVDAnswers.com in the seen where the Imperial Officer is asking why "TK-421" isn't at his post (right before the "bad transmitter" line) there is some barely audible static, to indicate the damaged helmet (likely from when the officer inside was killed by Han Solo to get his uniform).
- The echo effects attached to the dialouge (and probably other sound effects as well) in the scene where Luke & Leia are trapped behind the door overlooking the "gulf" (that they have to swing across) have been improved to sound more realistic.
- In the scene right after Red Leader fires his unsuccessful shot ("impacted on the surface") on the Death Star exhaust port, and he's being chased by Vader's ship, a line of dialogue was inserted in the SE: "He's on your tail!" The line is now removed.
- The "Kraytr Dragon Call" that Obi-Wan makes to scare off the Tuskens who are attacking Luke sounds different. Now it's more of a whooping sound in addition to the first part being the same (hard to explain). It doesn't sound like a beast roar anymore, rather like some alien bird. The "old roar" was actually a slightly modified version of the Dewback roar, incidentally (which could have been rationalized in-universe, but nevermind).
- In the SE, the Stormtrooper rifles had a "shotgun" sound effect to them. Now it's just the simple "squeaky laser" effect we're used to (don't know how else to explain it). Note: I'm not expert on firearm sounds, but some people claim that the SE guns sounded like .44 Magnums (check the scene where Leia is firing at the trooper across the gulf).
Empire Strikes Back:
- Vader's saber looks a bit pink in several scenes. Like the scene where he has Luke on the ground and is pointing his saber blade at him (forcing him to crawl towards the carbonite pit). The core is pink and there's a bit of a pink glow around the saber. It's odd because in ANH his saber is basically red. In a couple of scenes Vader's saber appears orange (notably when he "jumps" at Luke during their lightsaber battle and for a moment when he locks sabers with Luke during the "cave vision" on Dagobah.
Some saber trivia: I've noticed that in publicity stills from the movies (especially ROTJ) they use painted sabers. I figure this is natural because they would be painting a still rather than the frames in the film using a screencap. So the sabers look more "artsy" in the stills than in regular screencaps (where the sabers actually tend to look crummy). The new colors used for Vader (and later Luke's in ROTJ) match up with these "painted still" colors. Vader's is pink with a red outer glow, and Luke's is yellow/green with a green outer glow. This is in contrast to the original films where each of them had white cores with red and green glows respectively (Vader's saber always had less of a glow than the others). In ANH Vaders saber is basically like a red neon rod in appearance, and Obi-Wan's has a "fluffy" blue/white appearance. In the prequels we have developed a standardized form that is a takeoff on the ROTJ idea of the white core and color "bleeding off" of it in a halo effect.
The effects in the DVD's are inconsistent. Sometimes we get the "prequel style" saber, other times we get the "publicity still painted" style saber.
- Ian McDiarmid's scene:
He replaces the hologram of the Woman with the superimposed monkey (or lemur, I forget which) eyes. The hologram looks pretty freaky, like a zombie or washed up goth rocker, and Palpatine looks like he took his meds this time. The only thing is his eyes are pretty yellow, while the rest of him is blue (like the hologram color). The dialogue is altered, with the following lines (new parts in bold):
Palpy: We have a new enemy, the young rebel who destroyed the Death Star. [Deleted: Vader saying "Yes my Master."] I have no doubt this boy is the offspring of Anakin Skywalker.
Vader: How is that possible?
Palpy: Search your feelings Lord Vader, you will know it to be true.
The old line of Palpy's was "We have a new enemy, Luke Skywalker." and the rest of those lines weren't there.
Vader's line "Yes, my Master" is removed from Palpatine's set of lines at the top. Additionally, Palpatine says "Yes" only once, before "He could be a great asset." whereas the previous actor said it twice.
The rest of the dialouge in this version is the same as before.
- A subtle change, but in a scene where Vader is on the right side of the screen with his back to us, and two Imperial officers are talking on his right/our left (one of them a very young one) the rank insignias are correct. In earlier versions they were flipped (on the wrong sides of their uniforms). It looks like at least two shots like this were fixed, but there could be more of them...
- Han Solo's "Jacket" removed: In a couple of closeup frames when Han is being readied for the carbonite treatment he appears to be wearing his trademark black vest (instead of just the off-white shirt). From behind-the-scenes footage, it's clear that the "jacket" was just a trick of shadows playing off his otherwise white shirt in the scene. In any case, in the 2004 Edition these areas have been color matched to the rest of his shirt so there's no trace of a "jacket."
- Luke no longer screams when he jumps off the balcony away from Vader. He's just silent (though you can see his mouth open as if he were yelling) and the music plays. This removes the scream that was added in the SE (the Original version has no scream), which was just the Emperor's scream from ROTJ.
- Boba Fett's few lines (all four of them) are re-dubbed with the actor who played Jango Fett in AOTC.
- In scenes showing Boba Fett's ship, Slave-1, the engine sound effects have been altered to sound like the those of Jango's ship from AOTC (apparently the same ship, some 26 years ago). (Special thanks to DVDAnswers for this one!).
Return of the Jedi:
More will be added if/when they are discovered...
- The Rancor looks MUCH better. Not only are the bad matte lines cleaned up from the SE but the rancor model is color corrected so it actually looks like it fits with the rest of the scene. No more blue tint to Luke as he runs in front of the beast either.
- Saber visual changes. Luke's saber looks less bright and Vader's is more pink. Basically Luke's saber has a pale yellow/green core and Vader's has a pink core. The scene where their two sabers clash in front of the Emperor looks REALLY crappy now (the way the sabers interlock looks like a pre-visual animatic). Most of the time it can be ignored but that scene really looks worse than it ever did and is quite distracting.
For info on a possible fix for the odd looking saber lock, check out this poste:
- Naughty bits: This will sound like a perverted fanboy thing, but many people know about this, so here goes. Remember the scene where Oola (the Twi'Lek dancer that Jabba feeds to the Rancor?) is getting pulled towards Jabba by her "chain" and her left breast pops out of her outfit? Well in the SE her nipple was supposedly digitally removed. In this version you can see it again (don't expect anything pornographic, since the scene is so blurry anyway you don't get much of a view). Additionally with the extra detail you can see her nipples through her outfit after she falls into the rancor pit (before she screams and it cuts away). George! ;P
- As reported we see Naboo in the ending celebration, after Tatooine. We see cgi gungans standing on rooftops and one of them yells something that sounds like "wesa free!!" (or "mesa free!") Sounds like Jar Jar but it could be any Gungan.
- When Vader's mask comes off, Shaw's black bushy eyebrows are gone. Supposedly his eyes have been recolored to match Hayden's, but I can't tell without the SE in front of me to compare.
- Hayden Christiansen appears as a Jedi ghost instead of Sebastian Shaw. So we get a 21 year old Anakin instead of one in his 70's. He looks at the camera (similar glance to that creepy look he gives Padme when she says "don't look at me like that" in AOTC) at the end and it looks kinda weird. It looks like they pasted his just his head on the body over Shaw's.
- Jedi Temple and Senate Building added to the ending celebration on Coruscant scene, replacing some generic buildings in the background.
Galactic Senate Building: the small rounded building on the right in the distance.
Jedi Temple Building: the set of small "towers" around a central tower on the left side, as the camera pans to the left, in the part where the statue of the Emperor is toppling over.
Special thanks to Sam Davatchi's site, Digitalbits, JediNet, DVDAnswers, DaMovieMan's site, and members of this forum for a great many of these!
The below section might be expanded into another list in the future if I have the time/desire:
Older versions of the changed scenes still viewable on the DVD's (on the "Bonus Materials" 4th disc):
There may be more, but these can be found either in the "Empire of Dreams" documentary or the shorter programs.
- Boba Fett's old voice for 2/3rds of his lines ("What if he doesn't survive" "Put Captain Solo in the Cargo Hold")
- Sebastian Shaw as Anakin's ghost
- The older (Special Edition) "saber lock" in front of Palpatine (with the white saber cores)
- Death Star/Alderaan explosions without the 'rings'
So if anybody out there wants to cut together a "people's edition" (like the fan-cut 'Phantom Edit' of TPM) for their own private personal use, this helps a bit. ; )
Edit: Corrected a few things.
Last edited by Kurgan; 09-21-2011 at 12:39 PM.