Star Wars – Are the Special Editions bad?

Mike Matei / December 8th, 2016

The Star Wars alterations for the 1997 special editions have gotten lots of criticism over the years. How much do you agree with?


  • Allen Lucas

    December 8, 2016 at 11:24 am

    I never minded the special editions because I still look at this trilogy as classics no matter how much has annoyingly changed. I will say that the final Death Star battle in A New Hope looked a lot better now with added effects than the original!

  • geddon

    December 8, 2016 at 11:33 am

    I’d rather have monster madness.

  • December 8, 2016 at 11:34 am


  • December 8, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    James, I completely agree with having a customizable Star Wars, that would be a great time! Indeed Jedi suffered the most with the extra footage. No yub nub? come on! And young Anakin at the end made me grumpy. Also re dubbing Boba Fett’s voice, even though I know he is a clone of Jango, it just sounded very robotic. The one that will make me not buy Jedi on Blu Ray is Darth Vader’s “NOOO!” at the end. Empire came out the best as far as special editions go in my opinion.

  • NashKnight

    December 8, 2016 at 1:09 pm

    My biggest problem with the special editions is that the original practical effects, that were timeless and classic in their own special way, were replaced with CGI that aged very badly and very fast. The look crappy even now, and they stand out a lot from the rest of the movie.

  • BADam

    December 8, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    I think the aversion to the Greedo scene was that it was it was NOT done well in the 1997 version (due to technology, not blasé). In the later releases it was a lot smoother but the fandom was locked and Jay n Silent Bob Strike Back cemented it in a “pre-everyone-has-internet-era”

  • fanboyfilms

    December 8, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    It’s not even that Han shot before Greedo got a chance to. It’s that Greedo wouldn’t shoot because “he’s no good to me dead” as Fett says. Greedo was bluffing and Han called it.

  • Belligeron

    December 8, 2016 at 4:30 pm

    I have to disagree with the Jaba scene. Sure, it looks great for what they had to work with…but it still feels out of place, and when he steps on his tail, it looks retarded and fake as hell…They shouldn’t have even bothered. I think it builds up suspense better the way we originally didn’t see him until ROTJ. And yeah…Why would anyone think Han is a cold-blooded killer when Greedo was obviously about to shoot him? I do like a lot of the added visuals and effects, so if I could just keep those and ditch all the crazy changes that would be great.

  • S3ntinel2001

    December 8, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    We can only hope they release them in the original form some day in blu ray… but no that would makes too much sense…. right?>

  • D-Man

    December 8, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    A fair and reasonable assessment of the Special Editions? Unthinkable.
    I come out around the same point. With A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, if you give them each one mulligan, you’ll actually find the special editions are on par, arguably with modest improvements. Except for ROTJ. The songs, the Sarlac pit, the ghostly Vader, most of the changes felt problematic.

  • charles klempay

    December 8, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Not sure if this has been mentioned but the Harmony’s despecialized editions of the films are REALLY good, too much to explain it here but just google it and see what the differences are.

    That is the only way my kids have seen them.

  • greedo

    December 8, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    Lots to unpack here. Dunno if I can fit it all into one comment! (Wish u guys allowed longer comments, seriously)! As to why they don’t have the original version alongside the new ones, problem is that the original master is decayed. The film that they filmed SW on was not of the best quality for preserving film. If they wanted a remastered digital version of the original they’d have to: a) create a new master from the original, then b) tranlate into an HD version. This won’t happen because the entire process is far too costly.

    • bud

      December 9, 2016 at 10:43 am

      Too costly? They would make all that back and more. Plus it’s preserving film. I’m sure there are lots of people who would undertake that task for Star Wars. I’m sure when the rights to the originals revert to Disney, they will milk it for all it’s worth.

  • greedo

    December 8, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    While the franchise is now owned by Disney, it’s highly unlikely that they would shell out the massive bucks to complete such an undertaking. As for the Special Editions themselves, have no problems with them, because most of the changes are pretty good. But I do take issue with the change of Yub Nub. That is one change that ticks me right off. It was fine as it was. Leave it alone!

  • greedo

    December 8, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Lapti Nek, I can do without. That song was very disco, and very dated. My understanding though, is that they kept the old animatronic characters, and added the CG ones. I think some of the changes that they made in the final years of George Lucas’ reign at Lucasfilm were just too much. Did they really need to add a CGI door in front of Jabba’s palace?

  • Jarnor23

    December 9, 2016 at 1:22 am

    The part I liked most in the special editions was actually in “A New Hope” – the scene with Biggs. It fleshed out the characters more and actually gave a reason to give a crap when he dies.

  • The Wicker Man

    December 9, 2016 at 5:12 am

    Pretty much exactly my thoughts on the matter. My favourite editions of Episodes 1-3 are the fan made “anti-cheese” edits which removes a lot of bullshit like Midichlorians, the majority of Jar Jar, cringe inducing scenes with Padme and Anakin etc. They even went to the effort of re-dubbing lines for the Gungans (including Jar Jar) and the Trade Federation people, adding subtitles for their alien language instead.
    All three were available in full on YouTube but the Sith (Disney’s lawyers) have had them removed. If you can find them you should definitely check them out.

  • December 9, 2016 at 6:36 am

    Yeah well… at least we’ve got the despecialized edition

    It’s not official but I seem to recall that some time ago George Lucas himself said it was quite accurate 🙂

  • skwij

    December 9, 2016 at 6:42 am

    I really like your idea for an interactive DVD…

  • bud

    December 9, 2016 at 10:36 am

    Most of the changes to the original trilogy are just very jarring in comparison to most of the 70s/80s look they have. All the CGI added sticks out like a sore thumb.
    Lucas should have kept it at the 1997 changes. Most of those I could live with and they still had a retro feel. It’s with the post-prequel trilogy changes that cause the most dissension, especially in Return of the Jedi.
    Harmy’s (unofficial) Despecialized editions are pretty good, though. They used the best quality sources and it’s constantly being improved on. It’s the best thing you’ll get to the originals.

  • Iron-Ic

    December 9, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    When I saw the these SE:s in a theatre as a kid it was great fun ’cause I never saw the originals in theatre. But as years passed, the addittions feel embarrising. Like the New Hope scene where Han meets with Jabba. “Jabba, you are a wonderful human being.” Comeon, is Jabba human?

  • klaus84

    December 9, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    couldnt agree more james, well said. i also grew up as a kid in the 90s and 1997 was a great year because of this! haha. gotta say though, aniken from the prequels being substituted in for old ben was the worst for me. wtf! the band song in jabbas palace was ok when in 97′ and a major fucking blemish in 2016. fuck that shit.

  • Captn Gore

    December 9, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    I don’t like them. Some new footage is interesting, but I just don’t like when people feel the need the remaster and pimp already perfect movies or albums. The original is always the best, cause you grew with it.

    The worst part is the ending of Return of The Jedi. The new Ewok song and the insertion of the new Anakin made me rage and cry at the same time xD

  • MrB

    December 11, 2016 at 8:35 am

    Yes thats the thing, if only the “original” versions very as available as the new edits people would have no problem with them. Personally I only have a problem with Return of the Jedi sinbce I feel it ruined alot of the original points (like the songs, Vaders “No” and yound anakin) but the others I only have minor nitpicks about.

  • Corey Citrin

    December 12, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    The worst change is Hayden Christensen’s head replacing Sebastian Shaw’s.

  • December 18, 2016 at 4:25 am

    im glad they’re finally making more starwars films; yahoo. but what about space balls? the actors are about to kick the bucket and… it also deserves a sequel.

  • heyitsadam

    February 6, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    If you are interested in seeing the unaltered, unedited trilogy, you can find it on Torrent sites. There is a fairly large seeding population that keeps digital versions of the untouched SWT available for download. Just search “The Original Unaltered Trilogy.”

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