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Star Wars Visual Comparisons

Welcome to the new site for Star Wars Visual Comparisons. Here you are going to find overviews of all of the major releases of the Star Wars Special Edition and links to the exhaustive photo albums cataloging all of the changes.

Interviewed in WIRED!

The changes to the Star Wars Trilogy create a “Saga Edition” that requires all of the other pieces. But the original edits can & should stand alone. Here is my article on why they should #ReleaseTheOriginalTrilogy.

List of Academy Awards for The Original Trilogy

Star Wars

  • Won Academy Award for Best Art Direction
  • Won Academy Award for Best Costume Design
  • Won Academy Award for Best Film Editing*
  • Won Academy Award for Best Visual Effects*
  • Won Academy Award for Best Original Score
  • Won Academy Award for Best Sound*
  • Won Special Achievement Award for Sound Effects Editing*
  • Nominated for Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Alec Guinness)
  • Nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay (George Lucas)*
  • Nominated for Academy Award for Best Director (George Lucas)*
  • Nominated for Academy Award for Best Picture*

The Empire Strikes Back

  • Won Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects*
  • Nominated for Academy Award for Best Music, Original Score
  • Nominated for Academy Award for Best Art Direction – Set Decoration

Return of the Jedi

  • Won Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects*
  • Nominated for Academy Award for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration
  • Nominated for Academy Award for Best Sound Effects Editing*
  • Nominated for Academy Award for Best Music, Original Score
  • Nominated for Academy Award for Best Sound*

*Not available in edits available for purchase

Greedo Shoots First, Take 4: Maclunkey

The most obvious changes to the 4K Master is the Greedo scene, per usual. In the previous study, we only compared the actual Special Edition-created two-shot. The 4K version has modified the previous and the following shot, which we’ll get into.

So now, immediately after Han’s “Yes, I bet you have” threat, we have a new shot of Greedo shouting an unsubtitled threat of what is now known as “maclunkey”, which may or may not mean “This will be the end of you” based on dialog Sebulba threatens Anakin with in The Phantom Menace. Since that is a long phrase for a shot lasting only 17 frames, there is no translation given. This new shot features a crop of Greedo from the previous shot of him threatening Han, with a replacement background behind him so that the same patron doesn’t cross twice in a row.

The two-shot starts at the same frame as it did in 97SE and 04SE. However, instead of Han firing two frames after Greedo (HD Branch, down from 8 in 97SE), he now fires at the same frame. Han’s firing animation is the same as before, Greedo’s is the same as the HD Branch but with recomposited smoke and new effects as the blast hits the wall.

Greedo is hit and explodes without having an insert frame of the dummy, confusing the issue of where the explosion is coming from, especially since the dummy explosion now lasts only 12 frames instead of 29, now just half a second.

As you can see previously, no matter who shot when or how long the two-shot lasted, we had a over a second of Greedo exploding and the smoke wiping across the screen. A breath before the body falls onto the table in the following shot.

Looking at the stack, you might think to yourself that this is great, the scene doesn’t focus on the dummy explosion anymore. The issue lies in the fact that the dummy explosion now only lasts half a second, which barely separates these two shots:

The quick cut to the explosion make it look like it’s functioning as a transition between these shots, which subconsciously breaks the 30-degree rule, where the shot has changed but not enough that it doesn’t look jarring.

Random Trivia:

  • Even with the addition of “maclunkey” the sequence lasts 5 fewer frames than 97SE/04SE.
  • The Disney+ version of A New Hope is 0.25 seconds longer than the Blu-ray, but 0.21 seconds shorter than the DVD.
  • Han now waits 27 frames before firing after saying “Yes, I bet you have”. This is up from 12 in 97SE/04SE, 4 in 04SE, and 1 in the original shot (which is the entirety of the original shot).

Thanks to Tristan Riddell for helping me identify the 30-degree rule.

“A Long Time Ago” Preface Changes

This is a preservation of the Twitter thread. The 2019 4K Version reverts the preface cards to their 1997 state.

I started really looking at the preface cards & wanted to make some observations that don’t really fit in with the daily use of this account. Here are all of the currently released Episode prefaces:

Continue reading ““A Long Time Ago” Preface Changes”
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