Years before fans said George Lucas ruined Star Wars with The Phantom Menace, they were berating him for ruining Star Wars in a whole different way — with Special Editions of Episodes IV, V, and VI that infamously added unnecessary CGI, changed dialogue, and reworked entire scenes. Star Wars fans clamored for years to get official re-releases of the original cuts of the movie, but when they finally saw the light of day as DVD features in 2006 they looked shoddy against the Special Editions, having been sourced from non-anamorphic video captured from LaserDiscs released in the early 1990s.
Hayden Christensen is removed as Darth Vader's ghost
But now fans' prayers have been answered, with the release of a fan-edited version of Return of the Jedi that keeps the same content as the movie that hit screens in 1983, but upgrades it to near-Blu-Ray quality.
The Star Wars Trilogy Despecialized Editions are fan-edited versions of the original three movies, put together from a number of sources — including original theatrical prints — by the mysterious "Harmy." Yesterday marked the latest release in the project, a "Despecialized" version 2.5 of Return of the Jedi that winds back the various changes made to Episode VI by Lucasfilm over the past 33 years. "For all intents and purposes this is the original version" of the movie, a Facebook announcement post said of the retouched Return of the Jedi edit, "apart from a couple of wipes."
"For all intents and purposes this is the original version."
While fans argue A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back were hit pretty badly by the additions of the Special Editions, it was perhaps Return of the Jedi had it worst, earning a new and extra awkward musical number sung by a computer-generated gyrating alien with Mick Jagger lips. Version 2.5 of the Despecialized Edition dials those changes back, and even removes the most contentious change of the entire trilogy — the addition of Hayden Christensen's version of Anakin Skywalker as the ghost at the Ewok feast.
The fan edits are good ways to see Star Wars as it was originally seen, and Despecialized Editions of all three original films are available for download now, but their creator stresses that they're designed for people who own legal copies of the movies themselves and should never be bought or sold.
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