The original trilogy of Star Wars films may be the most edited movies of all time. Despite the films being universally beloved and successful from the moment they were released in theaters over 30 years ago, George Lucas has never stopped fiddling with his babies and finding new ways to squeeze money out of them. And although fans of a certain generation have always been aware that the films we grew up on were slightly different from the originals, we never really grasped the full extent of those changes.
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But that’s now been rectified with an eye-opening series of videos produced by YouTube user Marcelo Zuniga. Zuniga has put together four videos that compile and compare all of the changes, deletions and additions to the original versions of Episode IV, V and VI, and the results are astounding.
I’ve never watched the original versions of the movies, and while I was aware of some of the serious alterations that Lucas made in terms of effects and dialogue, I never really comprehended just how much the films were tweaked and edited when you take in all of the minor changes. They’re not quite different movies, per se. But it’s almost like running into an old friend who you haven’t seen in 30 years and marveling at the way he or she has changed or stayed the same over the past decades.
For example, everyone knows in A New Hope about the added Jabba the Hutt scene with Han Solo in Mos Eisley. But do you know what Ben Kenobi’s screech to scare away the Tusken Raiders originally sounded like? Do you know what it sounds like now in the 2011 Blu-Ray?
And of course you’re aware of the addition of a CGI Ian McDiarmid in The Empire Strikes Back to replace the original actor. But did you know that in the original version, we never see the Wampa that Luke wounds on Hoth without its missing arm?
And in Return of the Jedi, did you ever spot the CGI Dug they added to Jabba’s Palace? Or did you realize that the shots of Boba Fett hanging out with the women were added to the new versions and weren’t in the original cut?
You can watch the second part of the video on A New Hope below, along with the videos on Empire and Jedi. These videos are more about the minor changes than the big ones, but that makes them no less mindblowing. They’re tremendously well-edited and well-organized by Zuniga, who’s also included some helpful notes about the history of each movie’s changes at the beginning of the video. According to him, A New Hope had the most changes by far, while Jedi was given the most controversial makeover.
But Empire had the fewest tweaks out of all the films. I guess even Lucas realized what a masterpiece it was.