Star Wars - Episode IV: 2004 Special Edition Revisited

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(Updated: August 21, 2012)
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I usually don't read about the specific changes to an edit before I start watching (other than just the basic overview), preferring to be surprised. But, while watching Adywan's edit, I couldn't see any differences. After 20 minutes, I finally had to check to see what was changed!

Don't misunderstand me. This is the *highest compliment* I can pay to any fan editor. Every editor wants his work to be so seamless that people can't tell what's changed and what hasn't. Adywan's changes were so subtle, that even for someone like me, who's seen the original movie hundreds of times, I was hard pressed to figure them out. Imagine my surprise when I went to check the list of changes and discovered that there were hundreds that I had already missed by this point!

Adywan's goal is to do what George Lucas claimed that he intended to do with his Special Editions - update the technology slightly. But while Lucas failed miserably, altering characters' behaviors, adding obnoxious and gratuitous CGI, while leaving huge technical errors completely unchanged, Adywan actually makes such a smooth transition between versions that you'll think you're just watching the 1977 version of the film, and not realizing how much better it is.

To wit: 1) Ever since "Episode IV" was added to the opening scroll, the timing of the scroll has been slightly out of sync with the music. I never noticed this. But Adywan has fixed the timing so that it's the same as all the other films now! 2) Even on the Blu-ray version of this film, the "laser blasts" look cheaply painted onto the screen. Adywan has replaced the original effects with new effects that match the look of the laser blasts in the other five movies. 3) When the Tantive IV ship is being fired on by the Imperial Destroyer at the beginning, a part of the ship blows up that wasn't even being fired upon! Adywan has made the firing blast match up with the explosion.

These are just a few of the thousands of changes that Adywan has made. Meanwhile, he's removed all of Lucas's egregious changes from the 1997 and 2004 Special Editions. (The 2011 Blu-rays were not out when he released this edit in '08, but his versions are actually superior even to those.)

Intriguingly, Adywan has made some other slight revisions that have generated some heated controversy, but all of those changes were intended to properly make the film a consistent part of a six-film cycle. For instance, the duel between Darth Vader and Ben in this film (previously without music) has now had the score from their *previous* encounter in "Revenge of the Sith" added. When R2 and 3P0 are in the Jawas' sand crawler, a non-functioning battle droid has been added in the background. And the number of moons on Tattooine has been made consistent with the prequels.

I for one fully support these changes. Firstly, again, unless you know the movie really well, you're not even going to notice these subtle alterations. Second, don't we *want* a fully fleshed out, satisfying six-film series (which Adywan intends to do)? I like the little connections. And they're considerably less appalling than George Lucas adding a demented "NOOOOOO!" to Darth Vader at the end of "Return of the Jedi."

Also controversial is Adywan's heavy reworking of the pacing and the action in the Death Star sequence. Having seen a side-by-side comparison, I will go on record as saying Adywan's version exceeds the original.

Much anger and frothing has come from the Star Wars fan community from this edit. I have three things to say to naysayers: 1) Unlike George Lucas, Adywan isn't forcing you to take his version. You can feel free to ignore it all you want. 2) Also unlike Lucas, Adywan isn't charging you for his altered product. 3) Many of the most vehement opponents of this edit have *never even seen it.* Their complaints come from looking at the cut list. Watch it and judge for yourself.

Adywan spent four years assembling this edit; he's working on "Empire" now, and the images released so far blow away anything on the Blu-ray. Clearly, Adywan is the J.R.R. Tolkien of fan edits; i.e., he may only ever be known for one long project, but *man,* what a project! This is his (unpaid) life's work, and I anxiously await the next installment. This is the most popular and acclaimed fan edit of all time for a reason.

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Tonight I had some of my friends over to watch the Adywan edit. A few of them have been paying attention to the previously released footage and were greatly looking forward to it. Here was the guest list:

- 2 Emmy winning visual effects supervisors
- 1 Production designer
- 1 Color timer
- 1 primetime TV writer
- 2 Star Wars writers (I cannot disclose what project they have worked on)

I took notes during the screening so I could report back everyone’s opinons. Here are what people thought, going from bad to mixed to good:


- Added screams of Rebel soliders getting shot in opening.
- The re-edited scene in Ben’s house. They recognized that it was reworked to the original script, but felt the changes made to the original were done for good reason.
- The first establishing shot the the Death Star. Too busy, the elements don’t match and the Star Destroyer is sliding across the screen.
- ALL music that has been added. Especially to the Lightsaber fight.
- The added effects to the torture probe needle. Just wasn’t neccessary.
- New lightsabers are too fat.
- The Falcon exiting hyperspace near Yavin.
- The big TIE fighter reveal

The items that got the most heated reactions were the Death Star establishing shot, the TIE shot and the added BG music.


- Redone yellow/red blaster fire. Some liked it, some felt it was too busy.
- Suns added to escape pod shot
- Second Death Star establisher. Much better than first one, but planet didn’t look quite right.
- New Death Star wireframes. It was executed well and does match the other films, but some felt it doesn’t match the look of A New Hope itself. Everyone liked the transition from the new wireframe to the original trench graphics.


- Muzzle flashes on guns
- Camera shake added when Blockade Runner is hit (and extra shake added to Falcon cockpit shots)
- Rotation outside window of escape pod
- Escape pod re-entry
- Changes made to opening of Mos Eisley (thank god the dumb humor is gone)
- The floating droids are gone
- Cantina sequence
- Greedo scene
- Escape from Mos Eisley
- Alderan moving into place through Death Star viewscreen
- All shots of moving stars through Falcon cockpit
- Seeing more asteroid remains of Alderan (although some questioned whether a belt could have formed already)
- Vader’s hand no longer moves, pointing at Tarkin
- TIE attack on Falcon escaping Death Star
- Falcon now flying in Hyperspace during Han/Leia Han/Luke conversations (this was very clever, they also noticed and liked the blue tint)
- Color corrected helmets
- The X-wing gear-up and move towards us
- Background ships added to battle
- Having Yavin in the background of battle
- The beam firing as the Death Star Explodes
- No more shockwave!
- Fixed the shadow on Vader’s TIE as it spins away

MOST favorite moments: Cantina & Death Star Escape

No one commented on the desaturation of the Death Star corridors, but people felt a food court and mall stores should be added in the distance during the “waiting for the elevator” shot
2 reviews
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(Updated: May 26, 2008)
WOWWWW!!!!! The single most best edition of this film EVER! Most impressive.

I sure hope Lucas gets to see and appreciate this edit, and release it inplace of any further editions. This is perfect, and is what i had in mind personally that i wanted to see a fan edit to be. 11/10

Favorite parts…

Tie-Fighter attack at the end,
WOW! that gave me shivers seeing all those extra fighters turn up.

Obi-Wan versus Vader,
At last, the lightsabers do the scene justice and the new ROTS music is perfectly placed for that scene. (again, another shivers down the spine moment.

Added planet in background of death star, brilliant. Makes it fit nicely with the prequels, and looked refreshing. The death star on its own originally, kinda looked stale and low budget. New effects work you did, switched off any snooze factor.

Greedo blinks,
Fantastic! perfectly done, and it adds more realism to the rubber headed characters in the bar making them seem less like masks. Genius!

Alderaan, BANG!!!! at last!

Luke lightsaber training, Finally, the blade is blue, not dark green.

This is what the dvd release SHOULD have been. And i urge every star wars fan to get hold of it. Also, great work for ironing out ALL the kinks.

My 3 only gripes (minimal),

I actually quite liked the Dvd version, added scene with Han n Jabba at mos eisly, shame its missing.+ the Falcon letting rip on the troopers before it takes off.

Death star exploding, Better than usual, but still dont seem big enough, maybe a few more added fx and sounds? loved the lasers starting up though.

Lasers were excellent, mostly, but maybe a few variety of shots needed? some wider? some more glow? just to break it up a bit, and flashes on gun turrets at the end were great, but a few times they were a bit overpoweringly green. Loved the gun room green glows though.

Finally, a few creative suggestions to ponder???

Have you ever thought of adding a completely new scene, of the torpedoes going down the shaft into the deathstar? Maybe it hitting the reactor and a seizmic charge like explosion, which would of followed through the destruction of the deathstar with the blue shockwave that you have now removed. Thats something i wanted to attempt myself, but havnt tryed fanediting yet. Just an idea.

Also, i thought of adding some subtle black veins appear in the neck of the guy vader force-chockes, or a few dimples.

My main suggestion though, is PLEASE do your thing with Empire strikes back! Id love to see added at-at footage etc, maybe change a few lasers on hoth. I few explosions, maybe even the odd gunship cameo to the battle. ?

Empire is a perfect film, but i could still see more fun to be had.

All in all though WELL DONE and thanks for sharing this experience! Genius!

Oh, and have you thought of releasing it as a DVD, as opposed to xvid? i had a few probs converting it to dvd.

Added May 27, 2008:
ADYWAN, Awsome definitive edition of Star Wars, as i mentioned above.

But I’ve been away from the site for a while and I just spotted the Empire strikes back trailer. OH DEAR!!!!! Seeing an army of AT-Ats come over that horizon made the hairs on my neck stand on end. CAN NOT WAIT to see that battle!!!!!!! Hope lots of new effects are added there, maybe a few gunships could join the battle and get blown away? and tie fighters? Also, the lasers from the satelite dish shaped lasers, i thought would be good if you went over them with maybe blue beam lasers like in attack of the clones battle? bit of lightning maybe? In the original, all the lasers look the same, even the big ones.

The big charged laser from the AtAt that blows up the rebel base even looked like a regular laser bolt. Would love to see a big battle makeover.

Also off topic, if you do a return of the Jedi, when vader throws his saber at luke near the end, how about have it spinning and return to vaders hand rather than him go pick it up. Not very jedi like.
I thought it would also be cool, if when luke throws the rock at the button on the wall, that kills the rancor, if he used the force to throw the rock rather than pick it up and aim manually. I have thought about this for a while and reckon its possible.

I wonder what it would be like if Luke lights vaders funeral pire with his green lightsaber instead of a burning torch? hmm. food for thought.

As for ANH, THANKS!!!!!!!!!! And you should post it up on mininova or demonoid to get more people seeing it. is also brilliant.
1 reviews
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Well, I finally finished downloading this movie (a free account on Rapidshare and an ISP download cap is a really cruddy things lol)…

My God, have you done an incredibly admirable job on this movie, Adywan!!!! You should be standing up there in the movie with Luke and the rest getting a medal LOL.

This is my first experience with a fanedit and I am not disappointed. You have given back to the fans what Lucas had taken away with his Special Editions. Granted, a lot in the special editions was phenomenal, but the bit with Jabba never worked for me in the first place (and inserting the cheezy Boba Fett cameo was retarded) and I, for one, am glad you took it out. The Alderran explosion was amazing, and I almost freaked out at your ENTIRELY new Death Star intro…I loved hearing the Imperial March in this movie.

The final dogfight was, in my opinion, what Lucas had intended in the first place…it was much more busy, much more hectic, and pulled me into it much more successfully than the original ever could. Every time you saw a character in their cockpit, you saw how much of a battle was really going on; the little audio fixes were great (“Blast it, WEDGE, where are you?” “Biggs! BIGGS!!!”; the TIE Fighter Intro to the battle was great, because is really gave the Rebels something to sh*t themselves over; the Death Star explosion was perfect (and it was a perfect “just in the nick of time” destruction).

The thing I loved most about the Death Star battle sequences was how the Rebel ships weren’t alone in the trenches…finally we got to see the TIES following them. This was a major point of contention for me and it never got fixed in the Special Editions, which was incredibly disappointing. All-in-all, I have watched just the Death Star battle scene about 5 times and I can’t seem to get tired of it…there’s always something there that I hadn’t seen the time before lol (my fave was the TIE spinning into the Death Star WAAAAAAAAAYYYYY in the background, there…brilliant touch…explosions and ships being destroyed everywhere…just freaking brilliant).

I really and honestly had my doubts as to what the quality would be, as Adywan is not a “professional,” and doesn’t have the big budget to blow on this, but all my doubts were washed away.

Granted, I have my minor gripes, but there were some serious gripes with the Official releases, so my minor gripes are of little consequences…I mean, c’mon man…HAN SHOOTS FIRST!!! What more can a Star Wars fan ask for?!!

You have given me what Star Wars should have been 10 years ago, and you should be commended. Thank you very much for replacing every other Star Wars edition I own (except for my ORIGINAL version on VHS lol).

Phenomenal…just freaking phenomenal. 500,000 stars out of 5
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I just had the pleasure of watching this.

Incredible. Absolutely incredible.

Technical stuff:

Top notch menus and DVD design.
Superb picture throughout.
Flawless video editing.
Only MINOR sound quibbles- the (added?) music seemed a bit loud compared with the dialogue in the scene where Luke first discovers Leia’s message. And one of Chewie’s growls seemed to come way out of sync.

Other than that, I agree that the electrified needle was unnecessary. And there’s the scene where Luke and C3PO are in the Landspeeder looking for R2: C3PO is continually gesturing but there is no dialogue (I was hoping for a fix there).

I feel like an asshole even mentioning these things, considering that Adywan has far and away eclipsed any officially released version of this film. Even if he had digitally shaved Chewbacca and turned the Death Star into a giant watermelon, I would still prefer this version. Well, maybe that’s stretching, but one thing is clear: Adywan has put more care and thought into this than Lucas has in any of his restored versions.

This is truly disturbing.

How is it that one solitary fan put together a better version of Star Wars than its progenitor, a man with boundless cash and technical resources?

Again, I’ll have to say the difference here is care and thought.

Adywan’s numerous (and ingenious) editorial and special effects changes have been well documented so I won’t rehash all of them, but my favorite has to be the subtle change at the end- He makes it appear as if Leia has presented Chewie with a medal as well. Brilliant.

I give a 5 of 5 and a slow, long bow of respect to Adywan. The Force is strong with this one.

Download it right now.
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