Official List of Special Edition Changes from 1997

A New Hope:

Opening Sequence:
The original elements were recomposited to reduce optical dirt and grain buildup.

Color Reversal Internegative:
Opticals created on CRI stock, which had deteriorated, were recomposited in various shots including the Star Destroyer capturing Leia’s ship and X-wings flying through the Death Star trench.

Canyon Sequence:
A new digital matte painting has been added to the scene in which R2-D2 is in the canyon on Tatooine.

A new enhanced scene shows a sandcrawler slowly moving over rocky terrain from a lower, more dramatic angle.

Tatooine Dunes:
New live action footage of stormtroopers has been added to the scene in which the Imperials search the droids’ escape pod in the Tatooine Dunes. CG Dewbacks, ridden by stormtroopers, were also composited into the scene.

Obi-Wan’s House:
A new shot of Obi-Wan’s house, now located high on a hill, was added to the Special Edition, using a digital matte painting.

Luke’s Farm:
A wider view of Luke’s Farm was created using the original sandcrawler model.

Death Star Approach:
Original elements were recomposited to reduce optical dirt and grain buildup.

Alderaan Explosion:
A new element — a shock wave — has been added to the scene in which the Death Star destroys the planet Alderaan.

Tatooine Suns:
Static grain was removed from the two suns shot; the recomposite reduced optical dirt as well.

Red Sky:
The color of the sky was matched to surrounding shots in the scene at Luke’s farm in which Luke and C-3PO talk.

The landspeeder’s mirror was removed and a clean plate was created in each shot so that the hovering effect was more believable.

Landspeeder Lot:
The hanging backing sky color was replaced to better match surrounding footage.

Mos Eisley:
A new shot of the Millennium Falcon flying out of the Mos Eisley hangar bay.

Mos Eisley Arrival:
New creatures have been added to the scene in which Luke’s landspeeder zooms into the Mos Eisley spaceport, which has been enlarged with new CG buildings. On entering, small rodents known as scurriers jump out of his way, new robots and landspeeders make an appearance, and a huge dinosaur-like ronto rears back and throws his Jawa riders when a swoop bike flies too close.

Storm Troopers:
New CG shots of a ronto and new a flying droid have been added to the scene in which stormtroopers question Luke and Obi-Wan in Luke’s landspeeder.

Exterior shots of the Cantina incorporate new model and digital matte buildings and CG creatures, including dewbacks and stormtroopers. The shot in which R2-D2 and C-3PO hide from stormtroopers while waiting for Luke and Obi-Wan outside the Cantina has been enhanced by the addition of a ronto and new droids.

Jabba & Han:
Artists at ILM created a CG model of Jabba to seamlessly insert into 20-year old footage shot of Harrison Ford, a shot that George Lucas was not able to use at the time.

Hangar Bay:
A new CG matte painting has been added to the original plate of the Millennium Falcon in the Death Star hangar bay.

Original elements were recomposited to remove matte lines and correct color mismatches.

Payback in Cantina:
Laser fire was added to Han and Greedo’s blasters.

Death Star:
A new CG shock wave element has been added to the scene in which the Death Star explodes.

The composites were recreated to reduce the mismatch in sharpness.

Bridge Chasm:
The original matte painting was recomposited in the scene in which Luke and Leia are trapped at the Death Star bridge chasm by stormtroopers.

Han Solo (Hallway Shot):
In the original edition, Han Solo chases a group of stormtroopers down a Death Star hallway where they meet more stormtroopers and turn and chase him. In the Special Edition, the new stormtroopers have been digitally transformed into a platoon.

Rebel Base:
A new digital matte painting, CG ship models, and a CG Falcon model have been added to the original shots at the Rebel Base at Yavin.

Flight Deck:
ILM’s digital editing skills allowed a scene to be added back in, in which Biggs and Luke meet and talk on the Flight Deck before the Battle of Yavin.

Explosion Fixes:
Digital recomposites were used to reduce matte lines and restore color.

Space Battle:
The scene in which the Rebel ships attack the Death Star has been digitally enhanced in many ways. A new CG shot in which X-wings gather in formation before attacking was added, replacing a scene that formerly had to be done in two shots. Many other battle shots were cleaned up with new CG additions.

Darth’s Trio:
Digital recomposites allowed tighter framing of the ships.

Luke’s Hand:
Two recomposites were done to correct matte edges and retain motion blur.

Yavin Approach:
A new CG Falcon model was added to the original scene in which the Falcon approaches Yavin.

Exhaust Port:
The torpedo animation was improved.

Millennium Falcon:
CG ships travel in new flight paths.

Great Hall:
In the brighter color timing, painted troops became obvious. Photographs were substituted in a digital matte recomposite.

The Empire Strikes Back:

Wampa (Wampa’s Cave):
New live action has been added to the scene inside the lair of the Wampa, the abominable creature that attacks Luke while he’s on patrol aboard a tauntaun. The Wampa is now seen eating carrion when Luke, hanging feet-first from the cave ceiling, awakens. New action shows the Wampa approaching Luke as he retrieves his lightsaber and attempts to free himself.

Opening Sequence:
Original elements.

Snow Rescue:
Matte lines were removed in new composites.

Vader to Hoth:
Original elements are combined with CG X-wing models in this scene where the Rebel fleet evacuates Echo Base on Hoth.

Snow Battle:
Digital technology was used to clean up telltale matte lines around optically composited elements–where flying Rebel snowspeeders stand out against the icy planet’s white snowfields. CG smoke elements were also added.

Retreat from Hoth:
Matte lines were eliminated in new composites.

Hoth Exit:
Original elements. Matte lines were erased and color was improved in this scene in which R2-D2 rides in Luke’s X-wing just after the evacuation of Hoth.

Landing at Dagobah:
Original elements. New CG composites and color fixes were done for the scene in which Luke’s X-wing heads through space toward Dagobah.

Recomposites reduced matte lines.

Star Destroyer Piggyback:
Original elements.

Cloud City:
Many new additions have been made to scenes in Cloud City. Vistas of Cloud City, the floating metropolis high above the planet Bespin, have been digitally renewed. Moviegoers will now see Han’s ship, the Millennium Falcon, zoom in from space and fly past Cloud City skyscrapers. Added to the scene are shots of the Falcon and intercepting cloud cars banking around a large structure and flying toward a landing platform.

Lando at the Hatch:
Originally filmed footage of scene in which Lando ascends through the top hatch of the Millennium Falcon to rescue Luke combined with a new CG hatch model.

Cloud City Exit:
Recomposite to reduce matte lines.

Darth Vader Exit:
Following Vader’s appearance and confrontation with the Rebels, there’s a new live action scene of the Dark Lord walking to his shuttle. A later CG enhancement shows Vader’s shuttle as it approaches his Star Destroyer. Finally, as the Falcon escapes from Bespin, a new shot of Vader’s shuttle landing in his Star Destroyer’s hangar bay has been inserted, with Vader exiting and walking toward stormtroopers.

Ending Sequence:
Recomposite to improve color and perspective match.

Boba Fett’s Ship:
New computer graphic effects are used to create Boba Fett’s ship Slave I, the Millenium Falcon, stars, and other space background elements in this scene where the Falcon escapes from a Star Destroyer disguised as “space junk” and is followed by Boba Fett.

Return of the Jedi:

Jabba’s Palace:
New live-action shots have repopulated Jabba’s sanctum with a number of new aliens partaking in the raucous party, culminating in the feeding of the dancer Oola to the rancor.

Opening Sequence:
A Sabre recomposite.

Hero’s Space:
A recomposite was created to improve the B-side of the wipe from the Dune Sea.

Original elements, mattes fixed, color adjusted in this shot of R2-D2 in an X-wing in space.

Jabba’s Barge:
A CG beak and CG tentacles have been added to the Sarlacc in the pit of Carkoon. Color improvements and matte fixes were made to the barge itself.

Death Star:
Shock wave added in a recomposite.

Throne Room:
Matte changes in scene with Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine in the Emperor’s throne room.

Sy Snootles:
The Sy Snootles puppet was replaced with a CG figure and a CG Joh Yowza was added.

Space Battle:
Color and matte changes made to original elements of space battle scene over Endor.

Rebel Assault:
Original elements and CG shock wave element.

Ending Sequence:
Original elements. A night sky with fireworks above an Endor valley, live action Ewoks added to painting.

Ending Celebration:
The film’s original final scene, in which the Rebels celebrate their defeat of the Emperor and his evil Empire on Endor has been digitally expanded to include galas at three new locations. The new scenes show celebrations on Cloud City, with fireworks as a cloud car zooms by; on Mos Eisley a skyhopper weaves around buildings; and on the Imperial capital, Coruscant, citizens revel under full moons as confetti falls.

Ewok Celebration:
A new digital matte painting of the Ewok ending celebration is combined with new Ewok elements.

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