Star Wars Befores and Afters!
For my birthday we watched the original Star Wars Trilogy. We have a special edition set that comes with two disks for each movie – on one disk is the most recently ‘restored and improved’ version, and on the other disk was the 1970s theatrical versions, supposedly unedited in anyway.
For A New Hope, we watched the newer version, and my father (the other Star Wars geek in the family) and I spent most of the movie picking out all the new improvements and all the new CGI (which frankly I don’t like, I wish they could have just, I don’t know, put in new puppets or something, I think the CGI characters they keep adding look out of place). For The Empire Strikes Back, I unknowingly put in the original theatrical version, leading to me remarking during the movie that while Lucas had certainly stuffed A New Hope with ‘improvements’, at least he didn’t do much to The Empire Strikes Back. Of course, then I took it out of the player and realized my fail, lol.
We did choose to watch the original version of The Return of the Jedi though. What can I say? I like it old school.
Curious though, I did some googling and found this super cool series of articles that compare all the changes made to the movies over time! It’s really neat to see it all side by side, and I HIGHLY recommend you check it out.
For example, here’s a scene from the 1977 first version of Star Wars: A New Hope:
And here’s the same scene from the 2004 blue-ray release: