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1977 & 2004 Versions, 2-Disc Widescreen Edition


Scream 6

Thelma & Louise

The Truman Show

The People Under the Stairs


Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope


  • Theatrical Version
  • Special Edition
Release: Jan 25, 2011 - Author: VideoRaider - Translator: Tony Montana - external link: IMDB

I. Introduction
II. Original version
II. a) The Star Wars
II. b) Adventures of the Starkiller - Episode I: The Star Wars
II. c) The Star Wars - From the Adventures of the Starkiller
II. d) The Adventures of Luke Starkiller as taken from the Journal of the Whills
II. e) Short analysis
II. f) Concept drawings
III. Versions
III. a) Jympson Cut (1976)
III. b) Theatrical Version (1977)
III. c) Super 8 (1980)
III. d) VHS (1981 - 1997)
III. e) Special Edition (1997)
III. f) DVD (2004)
III. g) Future releases (State: December 2009)
IV. Deleted Scenes
IV. a) Spangled sky
IV. b) Anchorhead
IV. c) Two parts for the republic
IV. d) The search for R2
IV. e) Grand Moff Tarkins ambitions
IV. f) Jabba The Hutt
IV. g) Further scenes and alternate footage
V. Comparison
V. a) Comparison of the images
V. b) Cuts
V. c) Modifications
V. d) Audio differences

On 25 May 1977, a wild Sci-Fi movie with the gonzo title "Star Wars" started in not more than 32 American movie theaters. Mockingly considered a naive fairy tale for children by the critics, the movie became a world sensation. It made 798 million USD at the box office - that would be 2.7 billions USD inflation-adjusted in 2009. By way of comparison: "Titanic" made 1.8 billions (2.2 billions inflation-adjusted). That makes "Star Wars" one of the most successful movie in history, only "Gone With The Wind" was even more successful (47 billions inflation-adjusted). But the difference is: "Star Wars" is still up to date and still casts a spell over millions of fans. 5 sequels followed which made 4.4 billions USD at the box office, not to mention the innumerable releases for home entertainment and TV. Furthermore several TV series followed, and so did many many novels, comics, toys - it's a neverending story.

In movie history, "Star Wars" was a significant turning point. The special effects evolved and even the Academy of Motion Pictures and Science honored that development by nominating "Star Wars" for 12 categories at the Oscars. "Star Wars" won the Oscar in six different categories plus an additional Oscar, the so-called Special Achievement Award, for the godfather of SFX Ben Burtt (Explaination: "For sound effects - the creation of the alien, creature and robot voices").

But the saga changed over the years. Well, technically over the centuries. Lucas himself added new scenes, modified dialogs, reshot some scenes and corrected the colors. The following comparison is supposed to survey about the development of the first "Star Wars" movie - from the original idea about the Theatrical Version in 1977 to the first massive modification: the Special Edition from 1997...

"Every journey has a first step" - at least that's what the teaser poster to "Episode I" said in 1997. But we know as "Star Wars" wasn't meant to be at first. Years went by until Lucas had the oppurtunity to realize his saga, centuries until he could realize it the way he always had it in mind. Several ideas and concepts existed during that long period. The very first screenplay and the actual movies have nothing but the main concept in common.

First draft, 1972: "The story of Mace Windy, a revered Jedi-bendu of Ophuchi who was related to Usby C.J. Thape, a padawaan leader to the famed Jedi."

In the following, I'd like to come up with details about the different versions of "Star Wars" and how the saga has changed as time went by. The corresponding screens and storyboards by Ralph McQuarrie from the pre-production do not relate to Lucas' old sketches.

II. a) The Star Wars
On the forth moon of Utapau, the cyborg Kane Starkiller lives together with his sons Deak and Annikin. He hides from the Sith order, who chases him for years. A warrior of the Sith can spot him and kills his son Deak. Kane decides to flee to the Aquilae System with his son Annikin. Having arrived, Kane meets his old friend and Jedi Master Luke Skywalker. They ask for help and Skywalker offers to form his son into a Jedi and give him in the King of Aquilae's custody. Kane agrees without knowing that a war of Aquilae is coming up. The Galactic Empire wants to incorporate Aquilae which could defend itself pretty well so far. To reach that goal, the Empire has developed a new weapon, the so-called Death Star. During the desperate attempt to defend the system from that new monster, the King of Aquilae gets killed. His daughter, Princess Leia, actual heir to the throne, gets deprived of her power by a by sneaky politican, who hands Aquilae over to the Empire.

Kane, Annikin, Leia, Clieg Whitsun, a rebel spy and the two robots C3PO and R2D2 escape to a solitary space station where Kane organized a space ship from his old buddy Han Solo to escape from the planet. To run the emperial blockade, the entire group needs to put in a coma. To find the energy for that, Kane offers up his life battery, which means he is going to die. First, the selfless death doesn't help at all because Darth Vader's and the Dark Knight's emperial fleet keeps on tracking them to the jungle planet Yavin, inhabited by the grey-haired Wokees. On Yavin, Leia gets taken captive by the Empire. Clieg Whitsun died in a space fight in the meantime. Annikin, General Skywalker and Han Solo decide to get Leia out of General Vader's captivity - they get help from Count Chewbacca, leader of the Wokees....

II. b) Adventures of the Starkiller - Episode I: The Star Wars
The dark lord of the Sith, Darth Vader, only has one goal: to take over the universe. After he killed Clieg, who was supposed to get the Kiber crystal from Utapau with his brother Deak, he's assured of his triumph because he caught Deak and believes his father was dead. Deak is the son of the suns - according to and old prophecy, he's the only one who could stop him. But Starkiller had a third son, his name: Luke. Luke lives with his uncle Lars, who taught him how to handle a lightsaber, and his cousin Leia on a stingy, desert-like planet. Luke becomes aware of his father's death, but he helps his unknown brother hesitantly. At an abandoned space station, he atempts to find a pilot who can bring him to Ogana Major, his father's residence. By meeting Han Solo, he found his pilot. His grumpy navigator Chewbacca is also on board.

Having arrived at Ogana Major, they have to face the fact that the plabet has been destroyed. Luke decides to free his brother Deak from the Empire on short notice. Deak was put in a cell on Alderaan and got tortured, Thanks to the Kiber crystal, he can be healed. After almost getting squashed in a garbage compactor and almost getting killed by Sith warriors, Luke receives a telepathic message from his father: he should join the rebels on the forth moon of Yavin. After the arrival, Luke meets his father for the first time - but they are in danger again. The Death Star, which has also destroyed Ogana Mojor, is already on its way...

II. c) The Star Wars - From the Adventures of the Starkiller
Close to Utapau, the space shuttle from Princess Leia gets attacked by emperial forces. Leia is in possession of secret plans of the Death Star, a new horrible weapon from the Empire. To achieve the goal, the rebellion, she gives the plans to R2D2, a tiny robot which crashed with the druid C3PO on Utapau in a rescue capsule. There farmer Lars finds them and tells him newphew to take of the druids. While cleaning them, he finds a message from Princess Leia for General Ben Kenobi, who lives on Utapau. Luke refuses at first, but R2D2 just acts and leaves secretly. On the quest for R2, they meet Ben Kenobi who takes the message reluctantly. The force in him wasn't very strong any more, he needed someone new who could be inducted in the force.

Luke agrees. All together, the group sets off to the space station Mos Eisley. There they hire the pilot Han Solo and his navigator Chewbacca to take them to Alderaan. Where Alderaan has been once, an asteroid field is located now - and a space staion, the Death Star, which keeps them captive in its tractor beam. Hidden in secret cargo compartments, they can avoid the attack forces. They can coincidentally find out that Princess Leia is there as well. They make up their minds to free her - after some dangerous escapades with a Dia Nogu Monster and a garbage compactor, they can finally escape from the Death Star, thanks to Ben Kenobi's help. Ben sacrified by stopping Darth Vader, the dark lord of the Sith, with a mysterious Kiber crystal. On the ship, Leia decides to go to the forth moon of Yavin, where a secret station of the rebels is being located. But the empire has already tracked them and the Death is already on its way to Yavin...

II. d) The Adventures of Luke Starkiller as taken from the Journal of the Whills
The last alternative script only differs minimally from the actual theatrical version. As in the previous script, the structure of the future movie is already well-marked.

However, there are still minor differences; mostly concerning dialogues and names of places and characters. Utapau, the desert planet from the previous script has now become Tatooine. But Luke Skywalker is still called Starkiller and the famous introductory text "A long time ago..." was still a little more elaborate: "A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away an incredible adventure took place..."

II. e) Short synopsis
The first script drafts and the actual movie only had a rough frame story in common. This frame story changed dramatically in the course of the years (the first script dates back to 1974). It is worth mentioning, however, some particular points had been there from the start. One always came across Han Solo in a remote spaceport – whether it was Tatooine or Utapau. And also the mysterious weapon of the Empire, the Death Star, had always been there; initially as a simple space station and only later as the actual deathly weapon. But only in the last two versions of the script, one entered the Death Star. Lucas probably acknowledged the complexity of his story and realized that it would be unneccessary to have the characters dashing through the universe if he could simply make the Death Star a setting as well, which would enable him to establish it easier.

Apart from countless more or less important plot elements, which had always been existing in one form or the other, it is interesting to see that many names which did not make it into the original trilogy were recycled in the prequels. Be it Senator Valorum of Aquilae who betrayed the king to the enemy and is replaced as Chancellor by Palpatine in Episode I, or Utapau which is one of many war theaters in Episode III. In his first story draft, Lucas' main protagonist was called Mace Windy, a so-called Jedi-Bendu Master. Samuel Jackson's character in the prequels bore the name Jedi Master Mace Windu.

Also characters like C-3PO and R2-D2 had always been part of the saga – even though they were represented in a whole different way. In the first drafts and treatments, they were imperial bureaucrats who were constantly in strife with each other and always represented the comic element of the movie.

Darth Vader, however, was initially only a general, before he morphed into the dark Lord of the Sith. He constantly moved up the ladder until he was not only the Emperor's right hand but also (especially in the prequels) THE central character of the trilogy, as Lucas does not cease to point out. However, most Star Wars fans probably know that Vader was not even meant to be Luke's father in the actual movie. The connection of Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader was only made after an idea of Lawrence Kasdan, who worked on the script of "The Empire Strikes Back". The development of Darth Vader from the evil henchman (First Draft, 1974) to an evil secondary antagonist ("Star Wars", 1977), right hand of the Emperor ("The Empire Strikes Back", 1980) and finally central character of the saga (prequels, 1999-2005) is unique in the whole evolution of the movies.

Furthermore, it is striking that Lucas had clear ideas of the individual planets very early; however, he could not always actualize them immediately. The description of the individual planets may be superficial, but detailed enough to recognize them. For instance, Alderaan in the second script much resembled Bespin, Lando Calrissians free city from "The Empire Strikes Back". Early concept drafts of Ralph McQuarrie suggest this, too, since it was planned to show Alderaan in the movie. Due to the austerity budget, however, this idea was scrapped and the original conception of Alderaan was used for Bespin.

This leads us to the last point of the original visual conception of "Star Wars".

II. f) Concept drawings

As you have probably noticed, I have added countless concept drawings of Ralph McQuarrie to the old script drafts. These pictures are not directly connected to the old drafts, but they give us insight into the original visual conception of "Star Wars". This is because all these concept drawings are based upon Lucas' fourth script, which, as mentioned before, almost completely conforms with the theatrical version, except for some minor changes. Have a little overview of the most interesting concept drawings:

Opening crawl: The idea of having an opening crawl has always been a part of the saga – its actual origin is said to be based on the original opening of the 1950s serial "Flash Gordon". On the left side you see a first concept drawing, while the image on the right shows a first version created for the first raw version. Both versions still miss the prominent appearance of the movie title.

Darth Vader: The figure of Vader was always supposed to be cryptic, and that being the case, it is not surprising that he wore a mask from the start – it did not serve as a respitory mask, however. The famous gasping was only added in post production and developed in passing. Its design was meant to resemble ancient samurai war masks. For some time, he also carried a laser pistol with him.

Other characters: One the left side, there is an early concept of Han Solo and Chewbacca. The Wookies' design went through many stages. Initially they were described as big grey-haired monsters. By the way, the person on the right is Luke Skywalker – he, too, was supposed to appear much more rakish. But in the end, of course, this did not make much sense in the case of a farmer boy from the desert planet Tatooine.

Spaceships: The design of the Tie-Fighters in its basic form was developed quite early. Han Solo's Millenium Falcon on the other hand looked completely different initially. It is interesting that the design of the original version much resembled the Tantive IV at some point. Some people believe that today's Tantive IV is actually a Millenium Falcon.

Sovereignty: Even Darth Vader used to be more cruel. One storyboard saw Vader not only breaking the neck of the rebel aboard the Tantive IV – which would be ferocious enough – but also tearing his arm off. The storm troopers, however, imposed law and order armed with a lightsaber and a shield.

Today there are various official cuts of "Star Wars", the majority of which only exhibit minor changes. The most important cuts are the original theatrical version, the Special Edition and the DVD release of 2004. By the way, the DVD release of the original trilogy of 2006 is based on the THX edition of 1995 and will not be listed here.

III. a) Jympson-Cut (1976)
Runtime: ? minutes
Rating: -

This (unpresented) cut was the first rough version of "Star Wars". Not all the special effect shots and the film score had been added yet. Still, this cut is extremely interesting, since it is not by George Lucas but by cutter John Jympson. Thus, it contains 30 to 40 percent alternative footage. Lucas had not been content with the cut and re-cut the whole movie.

As mentioned before, this cut contains countless alternative shots, but also many of the later deleted scenes. Parts of the Lost Cut were published on the "Behind the Magic" CD-ROM in 1998 or had already been used in 1979 for the infamous "Star Wars Holiday Special".

III. b) Theatrical Version (1977)
Runtime: 116 minutes
Rating: PG

The official theatrical version was released in the United States on May 25th, 1977. Nowadays it is seen by the fans as the original cut of the film. Every single cut that followed this version was therefore just an update. The theatrical version differs only slighty from all the upcomings releases on different media. In the US-american videorelease the subtitle "Episode IV: A new hope" was added. Some minor audio changes were done too.

III. c) Super 8 (1980)
Runtime: ? minutes
Rating: not rated

In 1980, before the breakthrough of the video recorder, home theater in the Super-8-format represented the only possibility to watch classic movies (except for the rare re-runs in cinemas). Thus, several Hollywood movies were released on Super 8. The fly in the ointment: a Super 8 film spool only contained about 110 to 120 meters of footage, which adds up to a runtime of 15 minutes. This made it necessary for many movies to be re-cut. These cuts are interesting rarities, since – although quite unkown – they are official versions of the movies, even if "Star Wars" was only a few minutes long then. Complete plot lines were deleted. In the first release by Marketing-Film (1980) even the battle of the Death Star was cut out; the movie had its happy ending with the rescue of Princess Leia.

III. d) VHS (1981 - 1997)
Runtime: 116 minutes
Rating: PG

Between 1981 and 1997, different editions of "Star Wars" were released on the German home theater market. All these versions are nearly identical and only differ slightly from each other. They are all based on the theatrical version and had only been changed in the course of the expansion of the saga. For instance, in 1995, the titles "Episode IV – Eine neue Hoffnung" ("Episode IV – A New Hope") was added to the opening crawl, which had already been seen like this in all US video releases since 1981.

The THX edition – the last release of the theatrical version – represents the greatest change. Here the original footage was completely revised and cleaned. By the standards of the time, the movies shone in new splendor.

The DVD version of 2006, which was widely promoted as the original theatrical version, is based on the THX editions of 1995, which actually contained minor changes. However, these are – except for the German opening crawl and subtitles – limited to the soundtrack of the English language version.

Over the years, it was mainly worked on the audio of the different video releases. In the case of Germany, this only means that later releases contained Dolby stereo sound instead of mono. For English releases, those differences were a little more significant. Three minor examples:

• in the mono versions, one can hear alternative records of C-3PO's dialogues.
• the role of Beru Lars was spoken by another acress in the mono version.
• the sentence "Blast it, Biggs, where are you?" was changed to "Blast it, Wedge, where are you?"

III.e) Special Edition (1997)
Runtime: 119 minutes
Rating: PG

In 1997, George Lucas re-released the (then) complete "Star Wars" saga. All three movies of the original trilogy were not only reissued on video, but were also released in theaters worldwide, due to the 20th anniversary of the first movie. These versions contain the most drastic changes the saga has seen yet. Particularly in the case of the first movie, complete scenes received new animations, new scenes were added or were enhanced by numerous new characters. It was shown in cinemas, released on video twice and broadcast on TV countless times.

Even though this version was supposed to bridge the gap between the old and the new trilogy by updating many special effects, it was generally poorly received by older fans who had seen the original trilogy in movie theaters. Particulary the scene in which Han Solo shoots Greedo was revised by Lucas. Now Greedo shoots first, thus making Han act in self-defense. After much protest by fans, this scene was changed again for the DVD release in 2004. Now they both shoot (nearly!) simultaneously.

The following censorship report deals with this version.

III. f) DVD (2004)
Runtime: 119 minutes
Rating: PG

In 2004, the "Star Wars" trilogy was finally released on DVD. Again changes were made, which, contrary to the Special Edition, keep within limits. The greatest difference is the image which had been digitally remastered and modified in terms of color. Apart from that, the viewer can marvel at a new CGI Jabba.

III.g) future releases (as of December 2009)
Runtime: - minutes
Rating: -

Additional releases of the "Star Wars" saga have already been announced. A Blu-ray release will happen after the format has established itself on the market (similar to the policy of the DVD release) and in 2006, a 3D release of the movie was announced. Even though it was actually planned for the 30th anniversary, this new version will be released in theaters worldwide. Whether the movies are going to be changed again is still written in the stars.

Of course, "Star Wars" also has (in)famous deleted scenes, which keep themselves within reasonable limits, though. The final shooting-script is almost identical to the finished movie. After several years of work, Lucas had a pretty exact imagination of his film, most slashes he had to make in the lush scenery and the length resp. quality of the action-packed effect-shots (e.g. during the fight for Yavin). Content-wise, Lucas was able to translate his vision, so that the number of the deleted scenes is rather clear.

IV. a) Starry sky
This scene was originally intercut between the opening of the consular ship Tantive IV and Darth Vader's arrival on that. So it also serves as introduction of the character of Luke Skywalker. You see him talking to a working droid and notice some laser beams at the starry sky. He looks through his binoculars and discovers it must be a space battle. He then excitedly leaves the scenery to report this to his friends in Anchorhead.

The reason for cutting this scene out should be clear. The scene seems rather annoying and slows the film down and destroys the build-up – neccessary for Darth Vader's first appearance. Furthermore, the audience knows nothing about Tatooine and who this young man is supposed to be. The introduction of Luke's character would have failed like this. Only when the droids escape to Tatooine by escape capsule, the planet and its surroundings are nicely introduced to the story.

IV. b) Anchorhead
This, of course, means, that all the following scenes also had to be cut, because they built up on Luke's observation. After having watched the fight at the heavens, he drives to the meeting point of his friends, known as Anchorhead. There, he excitedly tells his buddy Biggs Darklighter of the event and hands him his binoculars, so he could watch the fight himself.

[Luke stops before Anchorhead, where his friends hang out, with his landspeeder.]
Fixer: "Did I hear a young noise blast through here?"
Camie: "It was just Wormie on another rampage."
[Luke enters Anchorhead.]
Luke: "Shape it up you guys!... Biggs? I didn’t know you were back! When did you get in?"
Biggs: "Just now. I wanted to surprise you, hot shot. I thought you’d be here... certainly didn’t expect you to be out working."
Luke: "The Academy didn’t change you much! But you’re back so soon? Hey, what happened, didn’t you get your commission?"
Biggs: "Of course I got it. Signed aboard the Rand Ecliptic last week. First mate Biggs Darklighter at your service! I just came back to say goodbye to all you unfortunate landlocked simpletons."
Luke: "I almost forgot. There’s a battle going on! Right here in our system. Come and look!"
Deak: "Not again! Forget it."
[Camie, Biggs, Fixer and Luke step outside. Luke points at the sky and looks through his binoculars.]
Luke: "There they are!"
Biggs: "That's no battle, hot shot... they're just sitting there! Probably a freighter-tanker refueling."
Luke: "But there was a lot of firing earlier!"
[Camie grabs Luke's binoculars and looks through them.]
Luke: "Hey, easy with those..."
Camie: "Don’t worry about it, Wormie."
Fixer: "I keep telling you, the Rebellion is a long way from here. I doubt if the Empire would even fight to keep this system. Believe me Luke, this planet is a big hunk of nothing..."

This scene missing is a shame, because it introduces the character of Biggs Darklighter, who would also later fly along in the battle for the death star and there even sacrifices himself for Luke!
Now, his character is a fix part of the SW-universe and also is the main act in several comics and novels.

IV. c)Two partings for the republic
After Biggs has taken a look on the events, he talks to look and convinces him not to waste his life on Tatooine, but to join the rebellion.

Luke: " I cut off my power, shut down the afterburners and came in low on Deak’s trail. I was so close I thought I was going to fry my instruments. As it was I busted up the skyhopper pretty bad. Uncle Owen was pretty upset. He grounded me for the rest of the season. You should have been there! It was fantastic."
Biggs: "You ought to take it a little easy Luke. You may be the hottest bushpilot this side of Mos Eisley, but those little Skyhoppers are dangerous. Keep it up, and one day, whammo, you’re going to be nothing more than a dark spot on the down side of a canyon wall."
Luke: "Look who’s talking. Now that you’ve been around those giant starships you’re beginning to sound like my uncle. You’ve gotten soft in the city..."
Biggs: "I’ve missed you kid."
Luke: "Well, things haven’t been the same since you left, Biggs. It’s been so...quiet."
Biggs: "Luke, I didn’t come back just to say goodbye. I shouldn’t tell you this, but you’re the only one I can trust... and if I don’t come back, I want somebody to know."
Luke: "What are you talking about?"
Biggs: "I made some friends at the Academy. When our frigate goes to one of the central systems, we're going to jump ship and join the Alliance..."
Luke: "Join the Rebellion?! Are you kidding! How?"
Biggs: "Quiet down will ya! You got a mouth bigger than a meteor crater!"
Luke: "I’m sorry. I’m quiet. Listen how quiet I am. You can barely hear me..."
Biggs: "My friend has a friend on Bestine who might help us make contact."
Luke: "You’re crazy! You could wander around forever trying to find them."
Biggs: "I know it’s a long shot, but if I don't find them I’ll do what I can on my own... It’s what we always talked about. Luke, I’m not going to wait for the Empire to draft me into service. The Rebellion is spreading and I want to be on the right side - the side I believe in."
Luke: "And I’m stuck here..."
Biggs: "I thought you were going to the Academy next term. You’ll get your chance to get off this rock."
Luke: "Not likely! I had to cancel my application. There has been a lot of unrest among the Sand People since you left... they’ve even raided the outskirts of Anchorhead."
Biggs: "Your uncle could hold off a whole colony of Sand People with one blaster."
Luke: "I know, but he's got enough vaporators going to make the place pay off. He needs me for just one more season. I can’t leave him now."
Biggs: "I feel for you, Luke, you’re going to have to learn what seems to be important or what really is important. What good is all your uncle’s work if it’s taken over by the Empire?... You know they’re starting to nationalize commerce in the central systems... it won’t be long before your uncle is merely a tenant, slaving for the greater glory of the Empire."
Luke: "It couldn’t happen here. You said it yourself. The Empire won’t bother with this rock."
Biggs: "Things always change."
Luke: "I wish I was going... Are you going to be around long?"
Biggs: "No, I’m leaving in the morning..."
Luke: "Then I guess I won’t see you."
Biggs: "Maybe someday... I’ll keep a lookout."
Luke: "Well, I’ll be at the Academy next season... after that who knows. I won’t be drafted into the Imperial Starfleet that’s for sure... Take care of yourself, you’ll always be the best friend I've got."
Biggs: "So long, Luke."

The scene deepens the friendship and the mutual trust between Luke and Biggs and reinforces Luke's later wish to join the fleet academy. Of course, this scene had to be cut due to the previous reasons, too. Looking at Biggs' sacrifice for Luke during the fight for the death star, also a real shame.

IV. d) Looking for R2
In another short scene, we see C-3PO's and Luke's search for R2-D2. Parts of this scene were also used for a montage in the theatrical version.

[Während C-3PO lenkt, stellt Luke den Motor ein.]
Luke: "How’s that?"
[C-3PO signalises everything is okay.]
Luke: "Old Ben Kenobi lives out in this direction somewhere, but I don’t see how that R-2 unit could have come this far. We must have missed him. Uncle Owen isn’t going to take this very well."
C-3PO: "Sir, would it help if you told him it was my fault?"
Luke: "Sure. He needs you. He’d probably only deactivate you for a day or so..."
C-3PO: "Deactivate! Well on the other hand if you hadn’t removed his restraining bolt..."
[Luke discovers something on his scanner.]
Luke: "Wait, there’s something dead on the scanner. It looks like our droid... hit the accelerator."

Also cut for pacing reasons, because the scene does not offer any new information.

IV. e) Grand Moff Tarkin's plan
In a rather unknown scene, Darth Vader talks to Commander Bast about Grand Moff Tarkin's plan to keep the princess and, if neccessary, squeeze out the plans from her.

Commander Bast: "We’ve started to search the spaceport at Mos Eisley. It’s just a matter of time before we've found the droids."
Darth Vader: "Send in more men if you have to. It’s her hope of that data being used against us that is the pillar of her resistance to the mind probe."
Commander Bast: "Until then we must waste our time with Governor Tarkin’s foolish plan to breakher."

A scene, which was also cut to improve pacing. It does not contribute anything content-wise and would have only raised questions about Vader's position of powerm who here – at least in the internal structure of the empire – stands below Grand Moff Tarkin, even though he would be de facto the second man in the state, being Emperor Palpatine's Sith-pupil.

IV. f) Jabba, the Hut
Originally, Han Solo met Jabba, the Hut, already in "Star Wars". He is being chased by him, because Han had to abandon Jabba's cargo during an earlier operation – but gives him one last chance to clear is debts. This scene was reimplemented for the Special Edition. The following report will deal with this. Jabba was originally played by a human, though, by Irish actor Declan Mulholland. This was not near Lucas' original wish (by his own admission, he thought of a fat, slimy worm with eyes on its antennas), but the budget wasn't enough for anything else, so Mulholland was used.

For the special edition, the design of "Return of the Jedi" was used and Jabba was implemented digitally into the footage.

"The original idea was that he’d be a monster. But then we couldn’t make him a monster, so we cast him as a human. I was going to superimpose or matte in a monster over the actor. I asked Fox for extra money for more creatures in the Cantina, to shoot some more stuff in the desert, and also to do this bluescreen Jabba to fit into that scene. I needed about $80,000 to do it all, and Fox said: ’We’ll give you 40.’ So we actually cut the scene out before we got to the point of shooting the monster part. If I had the money, I might have shot it anyway. If it still didn’t work, I’d probably have cut it out."
- George Lucas, "Making of Return of the Jedi"

This scene was also produced for the offical movie-comic book by Marvel – but there was a completely different imagination of Jabba here...

IV. g) More scenes and alternative shots.
Of course, there are also several short shots, scenes and dialogues which had to be cut in "Star Wars". Han Solo was originally allowed to hit on a neat lady in Mos Eisley as audacious spacehero and womanizer, while a small version of Flash Gordon would start a fight with a huge alien ( thelatter scene was thought of as a comedic hommage to the 50s serial "Flash Gordon").

In one scene on the Death Star, Han, Luke, Chewi and Leia try to act normally to not be noticed by the personell. It seems to work...

The most interesting alternative shots originate usually from the first internal cut, the so-called Jympson-cut, which consited of almost 40% alternate footage and is unreleased to this day. Even from a film-historic point of view, it would be truly interesting to see this version once, because it doesn't originate from Lucas himself, but from mentioned cutter John Jympson. Some of the scene shine in a completely different light, because many of the shots you know from childhood and the staging, that has burned into our minds, now seem completely different...

Some of these scenes and shots were released on the 1998 CD-ROM "Behind the Magic".

V. a) Comparison of the images
The image has been completely modified for the Special Edition. Contrast and colors are adjusted and different. Furthermore the original copies have been scanned for the modification. That means the old SFX look different now so that the CG shots are considered new or renewed.

Note: The Special Edition was only available on VHS (besides a limited Laser Disc release) while the footage orignates from the Theatrical Version on DVD.

Here a tiny comparison between the old Theatrical Version (on the left) and the Special Edition (on the right).

The modified images aren't going to be mentioned any more.

V. b) Cuts
The actual comparison. Here all new, modified or extended scenes are being listed.

V. c) Modifications
Old SFX have been modified for the Special Edition, but replaced by CG shots. That goes escpecially for the rims of the space ships and the old Bluescreen footage.

Those differences don't find further consideration in the comparison.

For the Special Edition, the footage itself got new CG backgrounds and characters, some scenes are even entirely new. Those differences are massive, but the content of the scenes often remains unchanged. That's why the running time is equal, too.

Find three examples for a better understanding:

New characters: At the arrival in Mos Eisley, alien creatures, space ships and people have been added to make the place more look like an intergalactic harbor as described by Obi Wan. Moreover the old retouch effect, to make the Speeder look like it's hovering, has been entirely renewed.

Extended scenes: R2-D2's solitary trip across the canyon has been completely modified, only one single shot of the old footage has been mixed with a new CG shot.

New backgrounds: When Han Solo, the reckless hero, follows a storm trooper in the Death Star, he suddenly encounters a complete platoon. To emphasize the comedy part, many many storm troopers plus a Tie-Fighter have been added.

V. d) Audio difference
Here and there some new dialogs have been insert for the Special Edition from 1997, other dialogs are slightly different. The running time of these scenes remains unchanged.
Note: Scenes from the Theatrical Version are always on the left, Scenes from the Special Edition logically on the right. Exceptions are entirely new scenes in the Special Edition. For a better overview, any modifications are chronolically listed and marked:

Modified image (equal content) = New characters, SFX or backgrounds have been added for instance.
New scene (equal content) = An old scene has been replaced by an entirely new animation.
Additional scene = New scenes which aren't in the Theatrical Version.
Sound modification = New dialogs, sound modifications.

0:00:00 | New scene (equal content)
The FOX logo has been restored.

3 sec

0:00:06 | New scene (equal content)
So has the LucasFilm logo.

8 sec

0:00:06 | New scene (equal content)
The Intro text has been modified.

8 sec

0:00:22 | Modified image
The new title "Episode IV: A New Hope" has been added to the scolling text. Furthermore the text in general is different.

The scrolling text has been modified three times - that means that actually four different versions exist: the scrolling text from the Theatrical Version (equal to the CBS/FOX VHS release), the THX Edition from 1995, the Special Edition from 1997 and the DVD Edition from 2004. In the course of years, the scrolling text has been modified and the title information "Episode IV: A New Hope" has been added.

Widescreen CollectionTHX Edition

Special EditionDVD Edition

no difference

0:12:03 | Modified image (equal content)
R2-D2's solitary trip across the canyon has been modified. The old footage is embedded at the at the bottom of the screen plus a new tracking shot is in there.

no difference

0:14:10 | Modified image (equal content)
The Jawas drag R2-D2 to the sandcrawler at dusk.

no difference

0:16:18 | Additional scene
New scenes of the sandtroopers searching the druids.

18 sec

0:16:18 | Modified image (equal content)
Two new Dewbacks have been insert here (the old stiff one one has been replaced by a CG model).

no difference

0:16:35 | New scene (equal content)
The entire scene with the driving Sandcrawler has been entirely new animated plus it's slightly longer.

2 sec

0:26:56 | Bildänderung (inhaltsgleich)
The effect, which makes the Sandspeeder hover, and its shadow have been modified.

no difference

0:17:41 | Modified image (equal content)
Some Vaporators have been added in the background. Furthermore the image section is more generous so that it can be smoothly zoomed in the scenary.

no difference

0:35:20 | New scene (equal content)
Complete new location shot of Obi Wan Kenobi's shack.

no difference

0:36:49 | New scene (equal content)
Due to a mistake in color correction, Anakin's lightsaber is sligthly turquoise instead of blue now.

no difference

0:43:30 | Modified image (equal content)
The effect, which makes the Sandspeeder hover, and its shadow have been modified.

no difference

0:46:06 | Modified image (equal content)
Another modification of the flying Sandspeeder. Now it really does fly and doesn't have to hide behind a pile of stones to roll on wheels.

no difference

0:46:13 | Modified image (equal content)
The distance shot of Mos Eisley has been renewed.

no difference

0:46:28 | New scene (equal content)
The sand of the Sandspeeder to Mos Eisley has been digitally modified. Not only the Sandspeeder, C-3PO and R2-D2 have been replaced but also a some buildings plus a bunch of womp rats have been added.

no difference

0:46:31 | Additional scene
New exterior shots of Mos Eisley have been added. The city seems to be much busier and is similar to the space station in "Episode I". Besides new creatures and buildings, Dash Rendar's outrider from the spin off "Shadows of the Empire" as an insider gag in there now.

The last new shot and the old opening of the city Mos Eisley is a fluent passage.

19 sec

0:46:41 | Modified image (equal content)
A Ronto casually stroll across the stage.
Ein Ronto marschiert nun gemütlich durch das Bild.

no difference

0:46:57 | Modified image (equal content)
A probe in the background.

no difference

0:47:15 | Modified image (equal content)
A Ronto in the background.

no difference

0:47:18 | Additional scene
A new distance shot of Mos Eisley.

5 se

0:47:19 | Modified image (equal content)
Shot of the Ronto, a ship starts in the background. The old effect of the Sandspeeder has been completely renewed.

no difference

0:47:23 | Modified image (equal content)
Speaking of Ronto...

no difference

0:47:46 | Modified image (equal content)
The Dewback in front of Chalmun's Cantina is CG animated now. A space ship in the sky plus two staggering human guests in the bar.

no difference

0:48:01 | Modified image (equal content)
Again the new animated Dewback in fron of the bar.

no difference

0:48:20 | New scene (equal content)
Outrage Nr. 1: The good old Defalian Arleil Schous has been replaced by a pipe-smoking Sarkaner Melas in Chalmun's Cantina. Now CG shot btw.

no difference

0:49:44 | Modified image (equal content)
Outrage Nr.2: The Shistavan Lak Sivrak has been replaced by Pacithhip Ketwol. No CG shot as well because Ketwol's back of the head has been used for Melas' face.

no difference

0:51:18 | Modified image (equal content)
A Storm Trooper sitting on a Dewback has been added. The former stiff Dewback in front of the Cantina is new animated as well.

no difference

0:54:30 | Sound modification
Han Solo says sth. just before he shoots Greedo. That has been shortened for the Special Edition.

Theatrical Version:
Han Solo: "Yes, I'll bet you have."

Special Edition:
Han Solo: "I'll bet you have."

no difference

0:51:18 | Additional scene
Outrage Nr.3: Han Solo doesn't fire first anymore, instead Greedo starts the shootout. As a result of that, Han Solo kills in self-defense now. The Special Edition contains alternate footage.

1 sec

0:55:18 | Modified image (equal content)
A fyling probe has been added.

no difference

0:55:44 | Modified image (equal content)
A small flying space ship in the background.

no difference

0:56:08 | Additional scene
Originally, Han Solo mets Jabba The Hut in "Star Wars". Due to the fact that Han had to give up Jabba's cargo, Han is being chased by him now - but he gets one last chance to clear his debts. This scene has been reinsert in the Special Edition. The human actor has been replaced by a CG model of Jabba plus Bobba Fett has been added to that image.

Jabba: "Solo! Come out of there, Solo!"
Han Solo: "Right here, Jabba. I've been waitin' for you."
Jabba: "Have you now."
Han Solo: "You didn't think I was gonna run, did you?"
Jabba: "Han, my boy, you disappoint me. Why haven't you paid me and why did you fry poor Greedo?"

Han Solo: "Look Jabba, next time you wanna talk to me, come see me yourself. Don't send one of these twerps."
Jabba: "Han, I can't make exceptions. What if everyone who smuggled for me dropped their cargo at the first sign of an imperial starship? It's not good business."
Han Solo: "Look Jabba, even I get boarded sometimes. You think I had a choice? But I got a nice easy charter now. I'll pay you back plus a little extra. just need a little more time."
Jabba: "Han, my boy. You're the best. So, for an extra 20%..."
Han Solo: "Fifteen, Jabba. Don't push it."
Jabba: "Okay, 15%. But if you fail me again I'll put a price on your head so big you won't be able to go near a civilized system."

Han Solo: "Jabba, you're a wonderful human being."
Jabba: "Come on!"

88 sec

0:57:13 | New scene
New scene of the Millenium Falcon starting.

3 sec.

0:57:13 | Alteration of the image (identical in content)
The sequence of the Millenium Falcon starting was revised. Not only did they animate the spaceshuttle differently, its flight path and the camera panning were added/altered as well.

No difference in time.

1:00:20 | Alteration of the image (identical in content)
The destrucion of Alteraan was revised. They included shockwaves to the explosion.

No difference in time.

1:01:41 | Alteration of the image (identical in content)
Again a mistake during the color correction. The lightsaber that should be blue shimmers white. This was not corrected for any of the later releases but rather exacerbated - in these versions the lightsaber is green. From now on, this mistake won't be mentioned again.

No difference in time.

1:06:06 | Alteration of the image (identical in content)
The Death Star's boarding bridge was digitally altered - it now looks more like the one from "Return of the Jedi".

No difference in time.

1:08:28 | Censorship
Scandal number 4: Censorship in the Special Editon. The following scene was not included in the reissue from 1997 as well as the DVD-release from 2004.

No difference in time.

1:13:21 | Censorship
Scandal number 5: again, there's a case of censorship in the Special Editon. The following scene was not included in the reissue from 1997 as well as the DVD-release from 2004.

No difference in time.

1:27:08 | Alteration of the sound
A sentence of a stormtrooper was re-inserted in the english soundtrack.

Stormtrooper: „Close the blast doors!.“

No difference in time.

1:25:07 | Alteration of the image (identical in content)
When Han Solo (playing the part of the audacious hero) screamingly chases a stormtrooper through the Death Star and then all of a sudden runs into a whole platoon of stormtroopers. To enhance the comedic effect, they changed the background (now you can see a hangar) and added several new stormtroopers as well as a Tie-Fighter (!) to the image. Therefore, he would then be at the Death Star's outside margin - not too appropriate to his actual position (unless he's a buff marathoner...).

No difference in time.

1:34:01 | New scene (identical in content)
When they arrive Yavin 4, there are some digital enhancements.

No difference in time.

1:34:06 | New scene (identical in content)
Yavin 4 now can be seen on the left edge of the screen and the moon slowly appears.

No difference in time.

1:34:19 | Alteration of the image (identical in content)
Now, the Millenium Falcon also lands on the moon.

No difference in time.

1:34:19 | Alteration of the image (identical in content)
The rebels' base's dull painting was replaced by a new one.

No difference in time.

1:38:16 | New scene
Shortly before the combat mission Luke meets his old friend Biggs.

Biggs: „Hey, Luke!“
Luke: „Biggs! Hey!“
Biggs: „I don't believe it. How are ya?“
Luke: „Great.“
Biggs: „Coming up?“
Luke: „I'll be right up there with you. Have I got stories to tell you.“
[The Squadron Leader joins them.]
Squadron-Leader: „Skywalker! Are you sure you can handle this ship?“
Biggs: „Sir, Luke is the best bush pilot in the outer-tim territories.“
Squadron Leader: „You'll do all right.“
Luke: „Thank you, Sir. I'll try.“
[The Squadron Leader leaves.]

Biggs: „Gotta get aboard. We'll hear all your stories when we get back, all right?“
Luke: „All right. Hey, Biggs. I told you I'd make it someday.“
Biggs: „It'll be like old times, Luke. They'll never stop us.“

29 sec.

1:39:24 | Alteration of the image (identical in content)
When the rebels' combat aircrafts take off, this was re-animated. The moon is covered with clouds, Yavin 4 was placed further to the right of the screen and the jungle got a makeover as well.

No difference in time.

1:39:40 | New scene (identical in content)
When they approach the Death Star and pass Yavin 4, this scene was re-animated as well and now does no longer include any cuts.

2 sec.

1:40:01 | Alteration of the image (identical in content)
A mistake was fixed: The X-Wing's engines now glow violet instead of orange (just like the Y-Wing's engine).

No difference in time.

1:40:01 | New scene (identical in content)
The X-Wings square off in a new animation. Instead of flying in line, they now scatter.

No difference in time.

1:40:32 | New scene (identical in content)
The old power dive into the Death Star was replaced by a new animation.

No difference in time.

1:40:39 | Alteration of the image (identical in content)
When they pass the turrets for the first time, the scene was slightly changed. The X-Wing's speed and position were slightly altered.

No difference in time.

1:40:42 | New scene (identical in content)
The flight of one of the X-Wings is staged differently.

No difference in time.

1:41:02 | Alteration of the image (identical in content)
In the Theatrical Version, Luke's X-Wing shortly flies through an electric field, resulting in an explosion. This was re-arranged via a combination of an older (already altered) scene and a new CGI-animation.

No difference in time.

1:42:17 | New scene (identical in content)
A duel was re-animated.

No difference in time.

1:42:28 | New scene (identical in content)
The pursuit of an X-Wing was animated differently.

No difference in time.

1:42:31 | New scene (identical in content)

No difference in time.

1:42:31 | New scene (identical in content)

No difference in time.

1:42:40 | New scene (identical in content)
Luke's pursuit of a Tie-Fighter was re-animated.

No difference in time.

1:43:12 | New scene (identical in content)
Now, Luke is followed by a Tie-Fighter. This was staged a little more spectacularly.

No difference in time.

1:43:19 | New scene (identical in content)
Wedge Antilles goes to the rescue of Luke - with a new (CGI) livery.

No difference in time.

1:43:23 | New scene (equal content)

Luke's X-Wing in the Tie-Fighter's aiming visor was reanimated.

no time difference

1:43:27 | New scene (equal content)

Wedge Antilles' approach to the Tie-Fighter that hangs onto Luke was restaged.

no time difference

1:43:28 | New scene (equal content)

Wedge's frontal attack is now staged much more spectacularly and almost seems like a kamikaze-attack, because Wedge now flies through the Tie-Fighter's explosion.

no time difference

1:45:40 | New scene (equal content)

The second approach to the Death Star's ventilation shaft, to drop the ion-torpedo was redesigned. In the old version, the approach of the three X-Wings was parted into two cuts. In the special edition, they now fly as a trio without any cuts.

no time difference

0:54:30 | Soundtrack change

A radio transmission was added.

Theatrical version:

Pilot: „He’s on your tail!“

no time difference

1:50:34 | New scene (equal content)

After Han shot down Luke's pursuer, the about-face of the dashing falcon from the Death Star is now restaged.

no time difference

1:50:34 | Modified image (equal content)

The MG7-A proton-torpedos were slightly reworked.

no time difference

1:50:51 | New scene (equal content)

The escape from the Death Star is staged more spectacularly.

no time difference

1:51:07 | Modified image (equal content)

The Death Star’s explosion was reworked and extended with the so-called Praxis-effect.

no time difference

1:52:22 | Modified image (equal content)

The cardboard-cutouts of the guards officers at the frontal left and right edge of the screen were replaced with digital characters.

no time difference

1:53:59 | Modified image (equal content)

James Earl Jones is now listed in the ending credits as Darth Vader’s voice.

no time difference

1:55:40 | Modified image (equal content)

The reference to the copy-manufacturers as well as the soundsystem is shown before the cast in the theatrical version.

no time difference

1:55:47 | Modified image (equal content)

James Earl Jones listed again.

no time difference

1:55:55 | Modified image (equal content)

The special edition-credits were implemented. Also, „Luke’s Theme“ was repeated as musical accompaniment.

51 sec.

1:56:06 | Modified image (equal content)

The copyright was adjusted to the special edition.

no time difference

Official Poster (USA):

International poster:

Official Poster artworks (USA):

German Super-8-Film:

German VHS-releases:

German DVD-releases:

• VHS: „Krieg der Sterne“ CBS/Fox, Frankfurt 1984.
• VHS: „Die Story vom Krieg der Sterne (Making Of)“ CBS/Fox, Frankfurt 1985.
• VHS: „Krieg der Sterne - Special Edition“ Fox Home Entertainment, Frankfurt 1997.
• DVD: „Star Wars - Episode IV: Eine neue Hoffnung“ Fox Home Video, Frankfurt 2006.
• CD-ROM: „Star Wars: Behind the Magic“ LucasArts, Brunnfeld 1998.
• Deborah Fine: „Star Wars Chroniken“ Egmont Vgs, Köln 1997.
• Laurent Bouzereau: „Star Wars: The Annotated Screenplays“, New York 1997.
• Ralph McQuarrie: „The Art of Ralph McQuarrie“ Dreams and Visions Press, Campbell 2007.
Websites (abgerufen am 02.12.2009)
• George Lucas: „The Star Wars - Rough Draft (5/74)“
• George Lucas: „The Star Wars - First Draft (July 1974)“
• George Lucas: „Adventures of the Starkiller - Episode I: The Star Wars - Second Draft (January 28, 1975)“
• George Lucas: „The Star Wars - From the Adventures of the Starkiller - Third Draft (August 1, 1975)“
• George Lucas: „The Adventures of Luke Starkiller as taken from the Journal of the Whills - Fourth Draft (March 15, 1976)“