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When the original theatrical version was first released, it was simply titled Star Wars.The opening crawl was changed to "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope" during the 1981 re-release. According to Sterling Hedgpeth, Lucasfilm film archivist: "I found a box with all the positive elements for the 'revised' opening crawl, and the assorted trim boxes are dated from October through December 1980. This, then, is consistent with the view that Episode IV: A New Hope was added for the first time to the opening crawl for the April 10, 1981 re-release."
There are at least two different prints of the original Star Wars in circulation. One definite difference between them is that the brief scene in the Death Star corridor where Chewbacca roars and "frightens" a little messenger droid is missing. This scene was NOT in the "opening day" version.
The original version reportedly includes another difference besides the corridor scene. The actress who played Aunt Beru, Shelagh Fraser, does not have her voice in all prints of the Star Wars movies - except in the original print. Lucas dubbed it over in all subsequent prints.
A Special Edition has been released in 1997 on January, 31st (USA).
The overall quality of the film, i.e. resolution, etc., has been cleaned up, and colors are more vibrant. The sound has been digitally remastered (THX). In addition, the film now features new special effects shots and scenes including:- the Jabba the Hut scene;- Boba Fett;- new explosions for the Death Star and Alderaan;- a bigger and busier Mos Eisley with several computer generated droids and animals running around;- Obi-wan's house on a mountain;- a newly-refurbished Sandcrawler;- lightsabers looking more like swords;- two new aliens in the cantina;- in the cantina scene Greedo now fires on Han Solo before being shot;- new sounds added to ships and blasts;- a bird's eye view of the Millennium Falcon's departure of Mos Eisley;- when Han chases the stormtroopers around the corner, instead of a small group there is a whole platoon;- a lot of new shots and dogfighting scenes for the Death Star battle;- a touched up shot of the Rebel fighters approaching the Death Star from Yavin. More fighters were digitally added so that there are more than two times the amount originaly seen. In addition the pilots can be seen moving about within the cockpit. The pilots' heads in the Special Edition X-Wings belong to special effects supervisor John Knoll. Knoll says, on the Star Wars Special Editon: Making the Magic CDROM, that he used a scan of his head from a few years before the movie, so that "I am every pilot at Yavin." Incidentally, Knoll actually does have a (non-digital) cameo in the Phantom Menace as an N1 Fighter Pilot who gets shot down in outer space.- the opening sequence with the Rebel Blockade Runner (corvette) and Star Destroyer was recomposited to eliminate dirt and wear;- more involved search for the droids;- a scene with Luke and Biggs, a friend from his home planet just before the Battle of Yavin.- James Earl Jones now gets credited as the Voice of Darth Vader.- In the scene where the Millenium Falcon arrives at the Rebel base, it is now visible flying over the jungle as the sentries keep wat
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