1. The original theatrical version of Star Wars is impossible to see
It turns out that there have been special altered versions of Star Wars from the very beginning of the film’s existence.
From the very beginning Lucas was already making changes to the original film, even while it was in theaters back in 1977. The end result of all these changes means that the very first cut of Star Wars, the version released on May 25, 1977 has been pretty much lost forever.
Most of the changes that were made early on involved sound. The first print was made on 70mm film that had limited sound qualities when compared to the 35mm print that followed soon after. Numerous sound effects were added or altered in 1977 as well, with R2-D2 making different beeps at certain points in the film, blaster fire being changed or background sound effects being increased.
A lot of dialogue was subtly changed to include better sounding takes or to reflect more congruent changes. For example, when Luke is making his trench run on the Death Star he originally said, “Blast it! Biggs! Where are you?” in reference to his Tatooine buddy Biggs Darklighter who had joined the rebellion earlier but was replaced with, “Blast it! Wedge! Where are you?” to highlight the rebel ace who appears in all three original trilogy films.
Though the changes are slight they do add up and make for an original, rougher, cut of Star Wars that has been lost to time over the years and numerous remasters and special additions.
However, all hope is not lost as a few diehard fans have taken it upon themselves to “despecialize” the film to make it appear more in line with the original release. The best example of this effort is the Harmyfilm restoration which gives a glimpse into what audiences originally experienced when they saw the film for the very first time. Ever.
Did you know? Star Wars didn’t receive it’s Episode IV: A New Hope name change until 1981, a year after the release of The Empire Strikes Back. It wasn’t until then that Lucas had the idea of expanding the original film into a series of six stories that required a reordering of the films.
What other obscure Star Wars facts do you know that you think others might not? Post them in comments for others to see and show off your extensive Star Wars knowledge!