Forget the official Lucasfilm Special Edition and post-Special Edition edits of the original Star Wars trilogy; the “Revisited” edits by a fan going by the handle “Adywan” are the best “special editions” of these movies and deserve to be watched!
Let’s look at a few examples of what changes were made which I think worked out fine:
In A New Hope: Revisited (2008) (ANH: R) there are restorations to picture and sound, but the more noticeable changes include: Han shoots first, corrections are made so Rebel troops aren’t seen dying more than once when the Stormtroopers breach the Tantive IV, aliens in the cantina now have more life-like facial features as they blink, lightsaber activations are smoother, a completely new intro to the Death Star showing the magnitude of this Empire base, whole new holographic schematics appear on the tactical table in the center of the Rebel Base command center, and more.
In The Empire Strikes Back: Revisited (2017) (TESB: R), more fixes to sound and picture of course; the transparency of snowspeeders is corrected, Artoo’s blue panels no longer appear black while in space, that sort of thing… Obvious changes include smoother stop-motion animation for the Tauntaun, new matte for the Echo Base hangar, AT-ST’s are added to the Hoth battle, Yoda’s mouth moves organically and he blinks thanks to CGI, Emperor Palpatine’s hologram finally resembles his Return of the Jedi (1983) look, Han in carbonite now sports his TESB shirt instead of ANH style, Vader’s lightsaber blade visibly retracts instead of just being suddenly gone in a subsequent shot, and more.
Now, for my favorite parts of these two edits…
The two best parts of ANH: R include Obi-Wan’s home and the dogfight over the Death Star! In the former scene, it’s obvious that the conversation is recut but here it makes so much more sense and flows in a more linear fashion! It doesn’t feel like sudden jumps in conversation anymore. And the dogfight in space makes a lot more sense because this time there are more ships from both teams; with reworked footage and added effects it looks more like a battle than even its original version.
Also… CHEWIE FINALLY GETS A MEDAL!
In TESB: R, I was impressed over all with the many little fixes which made for a better experience. Wires are removed, richer lightsaber animation, new visual effects help sell the scenes better whether it’s the Battle of Hoth or the swamps of Dagobah… It’s amazing how well the changes flow in the movie.
The only Revisited change I didn’t like was the addition of “Battle of the Heroes” from Revenge of the Sith (2005) into the Obi-Wan/Darth Vader duel on the Death Star. Beyond that, I think these edits are spectacular!
Forget the nay-say from some of the fans; Star Wars Revisited does more effectively what George Lucas and his crew claimed was the whole reason for each new edit with every re-release of their trilogy: clean up the picture and sound quality, and make edits to scenes and special effects which couldn’t be pulled off before. Purists and devoted Lucas fans will swear it doesn’t, but I guarantee the first two entries alone restore an already amazing story.
Yes, only the first two chapters of the Original Trilogy (OT) have been Revisited and released so far; the final chapter — Return of the Jedi: Revisited — is still a work in progress and expected to see the most changes in any of these edits.
Both A New Hope: Revisited and The Empire Strikes Back: Revisited are different, but in this case different does not equal bad; if you aren’t scared off by the official additions like Vader’s “NOOOO!” in Return of the Jedi and “Macklunkey!” in A New Hope (1977), I think one can show patience, try this thing out too, and give it a fair shot. What’s more is it’s obvious that this Star Wars fan, Adywan, took great care in his efforts at giving a real treat for other fans; something which respected where it came from but isn’t afraid to be bold.
Watch Star Wars Revisited! Be prepared to be amazed at what the vision and effort of a fan can accomplish! Because it’s a fan-edit, Adywan encourages that people procuring the movie files absolutely must own official copies of the OT; he does not encourage piracy. And remember… “This is the May!”