I recent published an article on the site called Rewatching Star Wars. The aim of that exercise was to list the changes made in the 1997 (and subsequent) versions of the films that worked, detail what didn’t and prove that he people ask for the originals on DVD and BluRay, that its not really what they want. Well that article become a list of edits that were begging to be made. So I did it. I cut Star Wars…
Initially I was going to call this The Rogue Cut, but X-Men already did that. This version of Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope is called The Scoundrel Cut and you will never see. Because: the law, but I can walk you through the changes I’ve made. Check it out below.
I have removed the extra Stormtroopers at the look sir droids section. I made the new cut as close to the theatrical release as possible. I used a new wipe and mixed the audio to cover my edit, and it works. I’m really pleased with the results. I think it was the success of this initial cut that lead to my continuing on and changing som of the other elements that bugged me.
I wanted to remove the rocks that were added over Artoo, but I just don’t have the required skills. I tried to recompose the scene and zoom in on Artoo in those moments but I had issues preserving the aspect ratio of the source file so I quickly abandoned that idea. It’s a shame because this is one of the more egregious changes to this movie. It contradicts itself too because the reverse shots do not include the rocks in front of Artoo. Maybe one day I will work out how to achieve this change.
I’ve recut the entry into Mos Eisley to remove the annoying robots and extra crane shots. I got rid of the Jawa on the ronto and the swoop bike and remixed some of the audio elements to cover up my cuts. I’m sure the intention of these changes was to open up Mos Eisley, but there were too many cartoonish shots for it to work for me. Unfortunately, like Artoo’s rocks, I couldn’t remove the CGI Ronto that hides the Land speeder approach, but you can’t have it all.
I started playing around with the cantina and removing some of the newer puppets and replacing them with cut aways to the band,mouth I got a little repetitive so I stopped at one. It required a lot of audio mixing too, which would have gotten messy.
Han shoots Greedo first in my cut. It was the easiest alteration to make. It looks as though the scene was altered to include 1 to 2 seconds of additional material including a ridiculous looking Greedo and an animated Solo. I took this few frames out and ended up with a perfect match to the original.
I completely removed the Jabba The Hutt scene, which was surprisingly difficult. I wanted to preserve as much of the initial wipe that existed between the imperial informant and Luke and Obi-Wan’s approach to docking bay 94. In order to retain Alec Guiness’ dialogue on the docking bay side of the cut I had to “frame f***” (James Cameron’s term not mine!) the informant side and I had limited options with the wipe. An iris in or out revealed the Jabba scene behind the edit, a wipe from right to left had to be intricately timed inorder to hide as much of the Jabba scene’s wipe as possible. In actually worked in the end.
Docking Bay 94 escape. The new Millennium Falcon escape from Tatooine always bothered me. I love the new “bank” the Falcon takes but I hate the crane shot of the ship lifting off. I removed the crane shot of the ship taking off and carefully cut the scene to resemble the original with the newer elements. I have to mix the audio to blend the cuts but I think I got away with it.
This is the most personal, and difficult edit I made. Vader’s dialogue and hand gestures are out of sync in this scene. When he says “I told you she would never consciously betray the rebellion” David Prowse is standing still, and then after James Earl Jones’ line Prowse gestures with his hand toward Tarkin. I had to cut the scene and alter the playback speed of the final few frames to preserve the timing of the scene and the intersection of the two sides of the conversation. Again I had to Frame F*** the scene to remove any artefacts of my edit but it kind of works.
The final change I made was to cut the Biggs Darklighter scene in the hanger prior to the assault on the Death Star. I have always hated this scene and I hate the cut I had to make. I removed Biggs and cut the two sides together. I had to play around sampling audio to cover the edit, and eventually had to recut it and remove a little more of Luke than I would have liked. There was a cool shot of Luke walking beneath and X-Wing and her reaches up to touch the underside of the wing. I’ve always liked that shot, but including it made the edit I made more obvious so I cut it so that it goes from Leia talking to Luke to a wide of the hanger to Luke climbing the ladder of his X-Wing and being offered a new Artoo unit. It works but I wish I could have preserved that one shot of Luke. More Hamill is always a good thing!
I wasn’t expecting to make my own cut of Star Wars A New Hope, and it is certainly very simplistic. Its only a fraction more than skipping ahead whilst playing the special editions, but I think I’ve got the bug now.
My plan has always been to rematch each of the original movies, with Empire next on the list. I suspect I will recut these films too, although Empire is almost perfect already so I don’t expect to be doing a great deal on that one. Whatever I do I will detail for a future post.
Thanks for reading,