Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition - Behind the Scenes (1997)

DISCLAIMER: I DON'T OWN ANY OF THIS MATERIAL! ALL FOOTAGE BELONGS TO LUCASFILM AND FOX NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED THIS WAS UPLOADED SIMPLY FOR ENTERTAINMENT AND FAIR USE ONLY Since Rogue One is about to come out next week, I thought it'd be cool to show you guys an extremely rare behind the scenes look at the Star Wars trilogy's special edition re-release back in 1997. And yes, I will agree with all of you that George Lucas pretty much ruined the originality of the first three films, adding silly CGI (i.e. Jabba in A New Hope, and that horrendous dance number in Return of the Jedi), but on some things he was kinda right about, some needed to be updated. In case you haven't known but when he directed the first film, he was under a lot of stress, and almost couldn't complete the film in time for it's release. Either way, try and enjoy this behind the scenes look at the films.

This was all very exciting back in 1997. Little did we know it would be the only version going forward. And that's the problem.
Goodbye, Carrie fisher.
Aidan Farren-Hart
15:04 - It's sad that CG Jabba took a whole year to make, and he just ended up looking.... well, a bit crap.
Poe Ghost
I may despise the changes made to these films, but goddamn if this ain't some fascinating shit to watch.
You know I'm willing to bet these Special Editions wouldn't nearly be as hated if George had just released the original theatrical editions for people to compare them against. But for whatever reason he didn't and only allowed these versions available. You know other film makers like James Cameron and Ridley Scott have done their own special editions of their own movies like Aliens and Blade Runner, but the original theatrical version is still made available regardless. For whatever I see Lucas loyalists defend the Special Editions with the excuse of: ''Well they were Lucas's films so he could decide what to do with them''. This isn't a very strong argument to make. Okay they were Lucas's films but that doesn't mean therefore he was incapable of making bad decisions for said films. By that logic if Leonardo Da Vinci had one day decided he was no longer satisfied with his original Mona Lisa and decided to destroy or hide the original painting from the public eye to create a new Mona Lisa that wasn't nearly as good would this be acceptable? You certainly wouldn't see anyone trying to add in CGI monkeys and Munchkins in the Wizard of Oz or CGI in films like the Dark Crystal or Labyrinth. Hell when Spielberg made that special edition of ET, and the public reacted negatively towards it, he re-released the original version and apologised for his mistake. People for years had voiced their disdain for the new editions of the classic trilogy but Lucas rubbed off their criticisms regardless. Lucas clearly has no understanding of the phrase: ''if it ain't broke don't fix it''.
This is the best documentary about the making of the Special Editions. George explains very well the need to improve the certain scenes he changed.
80% of the additional effects were not needed, especially the Jabba the hut. They didn't even need that extra scene. Totally pointless.
Dragon lair
oh God the song in the palace is awful and that was supposed to be in the original cut
Tyler Brown
I miss these behind the scenes. Whether the changes were needed or not I grew up with the special editions and watching the behind the scenes before the movie started was what wanted me to be a film maker
The Special Editions...I couldn't care any less. I understand George Lucas's original vision for the original trilogy not fully realized because of the limited amount of time and technology. Besides, all of these are minor changes, the story is still the same and that's all I care about.
marco thommen
I do not HATE the special edition, however, the effects form '77 made Star Wars that huge hit!
That CGI Jabba looked so off.
TIBOR Purzsas
They didn't realise at the time how terrible the dancing/singing sequence was ! They were quite proud of it actually ! I never understood , that the layman sees how bad something comes out , yet the creators don't
Bravo Sierra
I watched these clips so many times as a child. When I was 8 I got the Special Edition Trillogy on VHS. This beginning part of the tape became so worn out and grainy it looked like a herd of buffalo in a snowstorm!
_Vulcanic _
I'm so happy he didn't make the new Wampa cgi
The only real improvement that the Special Edition did was John Williams' new score of the end victory at the end of Return of the Jedi I say
Polly Ann
There's a very bright, very zany star in the sky tonight. That's Carrie! 😢LOL
Andy Wenner
funny how whenever there's something good, George says "I did" but when describing something he didn't like, he says "they couldn't"
"I wanted to fix the film." - George Lucas. Talk about an epic fail.
Trevor Wright
Me after watching the Special Editions: "It's as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I feel something terrible has happened"
Kori Jenkins
No, a musical number was not and would never be funny in the middle of a Star Wars film.
Joshua Pritchett
I enjoyed the Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition and the modern technology is pretty good for those films.
Movie Man
Behind the scenes of the butchering of the Star Wars trilogy....😡😞
The peaceful is willing to
They should have done the same now for the 20th anniversary of The Phantom Menace
They keep talking about the essence of the storytelling being sacrificed. I don't think they know what the definition of essence is. The essence of the story is very well presented just as it was. What they did here is bloat the story with turds. The new CGI shots, changed shots, added dialog, CG rendered composite frames, do nothing at all for the experience except detract from it. Now it looks all CG fake. New inserted scenes ruin the perfectly edited and crafted flow. Took a dump on the talented people that stitched the movies together. *You ruined a great thing, Jorge.*
Jim Koral
Mark, Harrison and Carrie look great in these clips. The sequels should have been made between 1997 and 2003. As it is, they all looked too old and tired in Force Awakens and Last Jedi.
Grego The Dago
Everyone’s hoping of course that Disney is going to release the original trilogy as was released in the 70s and 80s. Fans WANT it! I don’t want the Special Edition. It was cool to go to movie theaters and see the changes that were made. It was like a novelty but I don’t want to only be able to watch those for the rest of my life. I WANT to see the compromises I WANT to see the ingenuity of limitations and the way they got around them in the 70s and 80s. Those movies are classics and won Academy Awards for special-effects and sound and to take them and all of that Genius and hard work and just erase it is a sin.
Ballowax 92
I love the "Empire Strike Empire Strikes Back" special edition. But George screwed up to much when "restoring" ep4 and ep6
Benjamin Coutts
Thanks for this. I have the original cuts and all the DVD's but I remember this VHS version. I loved it at the time but the original is the best.
Franz Chavez
Where is this sourced from? The VHS included in the Special Edition Box set Long box or the laserdisc?
Frankly, I have mixed feelings here. "Star Wars" was never sacred to me, although the music by John Williams felt very infectious. I DID toy with the idea of sharing with a certain boy, when he's old enough, the 2006 DVDs with the overall original footage one weekend, then 1-6 later. Sometimes, I even thought of letting those go by arranging my own videos for YouTube with footage from said DVDs but muted except for points with dialogue, sounds and music that got replaced by something different in the 1997 editions and the others since. For fair use, of course.
"look at how young they are" in the 20th anniversary.
A few changes were good, but I would say a lot were bleh. I like the "cleaned up" parts obviously (fixing black lines, transparent snow speeder, etc.), the new ending, and a select few scenes (NOT the Jabba scene or dance scene).
Critic in the Shadows
I don’t hate the Special Editions, but I do prefer the theatrical version of the Original Trilogy. I get what he was going for in a lot of these changes but where I feel he epically f up was in not keeping the unaltered version in the market, leaving us with these versions. The Special Editions are no longer the Special Editions, they’re the final cut. If George Lucas had a time machine and could replace the original one with the Special Edition back in 1977, he would.
Geert Matthys
I saw these things in cinema and kinda knew I outgrew star wars then
Slim Daddy
The 1999 Jabba was terrible. I'm so glad they went over it a third time in 2004
Carl Ciadella
Screw you Rick Berman!
I don't care much about most special edition cg. Keep em or leave em. I dont mind. BUT I will definitely point out that many scenes on the death star attack don't look like CG from the late 90s at all. They look quite model like. And it's just the simple truth that some original shots didn't look as nice and at times continuity between the visual look of the ties and xwings was shifting. Oh same applies to the Escape from Tatooine scene. The Millenium Falcon even at that close distance doesnt feel like 97s CG at all. And looked quite model like.
Colin Wilkie
Loved Star Wars, then came the dark days. Then come Disney. Why couldn't Disney make a movie, out of one off the thousands of books, that were written. Instead off making a movie, about a New Hope, but just with a few changers.
Jack Smith
16:46 to 16:52, the original THX Cimarron trailer audio mix (not the James Horner remix) can be heard.
Isaac Wale
I only have the remastering s but I've seen clips of the originals
Nicholas Czech
"Special edition's"
Those mechanical practical effects are way more impressive than any of George's computers could ever be.
Well those CG effects dated fast!
I want that collectible Darth Vader diorama figure that George Lucas has in the background.
not all of these changes improve the film
One of the major failures of the SPECIAL EDITION, was execution. It was like taking a Rembrandt painting and touching it up with a set of Crayola Markers.
John Cribbs IV
Wow 1997 was spectacular with the Star Wars trilogy special edition (11 years later the Indiana Jones trilogy special edition and Indiana Jones 4-Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull, 2008 came out into theaters and eventually came out on DVD a few months later cool huh). The special edition of the Star Wars trilogy changed the way everyone sees movies in theaters and today on tv with recently newer movies from a great few years back whichever are better looking than the craptastic crappy stupid movies that were very badly bad looking and the graphics were very shaky and the movies of today are better than they should have been years back oh well but I'm glad that cooler movies came to theaters back from 1997 whichever dantes peak went out with a huge explosion expensive to do but the movie itself was a great movie peace and love blessings to you all together thanks.
Anthony Hood
The artist talks about the new Mos Eisley footage as "improvements"
Random Stormtrooper
The only changes that I feel are necessary are the appearance of Palpatine in Episode 5, and as well as Bobas voice being Temura Morrison. Then there’s also the technical ones like the sound quality and fixing some of the lightsabers looks like making Vader’s blade red and not white in a new hope. I like the touch of putting windows in cloud city and giving us a few extra shots.
"Getting ready for the prequels" :-[
some of the scenes were definantly improved, but some of the changes were absolutely useless and cringy (good god, that 1997 CGI Jabba, total nightmare fuel)
Rainbow Runner
I'm glad I got to watch this since a few of these clips I haven't seen before. On the normal Fullscreen (Gold) or Widescreen (Silver) VHS box sets, these clips were simply before the films. But this is from the Limited Edition Collector's Set where this was separated into an extra VHS while on the cassettes with the actual films, they have the Special Edition trailers.
Evan Stanek
I appreciated getting to see these in the theater.
A big meme
It's absolutely wrong Not to have the Original Films Available !!!
The Chrome Knight
CGI Jabba looks even worse than the CGI in the prequels
Fallen Hero
By the way, the actor who was originally saying Jabba's lines in the scenes was named Declan Mulholland. It feels kind of awkward watching this and hearing George Lucas and the others say "We had to replace this actor with Jabba." I guess maybe they couldn't say his name for legal reasons.
Beau Ferret
Oh Lucas. After all those years of re-mastering the original trilogy, didn't you ever feel sorry for that snow-creature whose arm was sliced off? I know that Mark Hamill hated that scene.
Luis Ramón López Meléndez
I honestly would probably prefer watch either the original and the special edition in 4K remastered whether on a theater screen or a 4K monitor.
Paul Floyd
fix the speeder. STOP
Jake Cooke
Of course Rick McCallum produced these, too. "Every frame is so dense" I don't like any of the Special Editions, but I wish that (along with the original theatrical cuts) they were ALL released in HD, for the sake of film preservation. Yeah, these '97 cuts suck, and the DVDs were worse, and the Blu Ray is awful, but all versions are equally important to film history, and deserve to be put out there with clear distinction for the consumer.
Empire was the only one with good changes
Fly Beep
Still have these special editions on VHS in a box set in impeccable state.
German say THX for Top Information..
The difference between Steven Spielberg and George Lucas!! Think about it!
How’d you get the quality to work this good?
Justin Fencsak
This is how millenials first saw star wars.
Special Editions all the way.
jackjackson 4
Omg , the new movies should of been filmed at this time... Carrie looked amazing... Luke and han were looking great..
Macca And Creation In The Backyard
Harrison sounds like a robot lmao
Leif Berg
Beginning of the end
Planet Jump
I think Rick McCallum misses the point about Mos Eisley, and maybe SW altogether. Back in the day when the film first came out we did feel that Mos Eisley was a big space port because we used our imaginations to fill in the gaps, we didn't need to see everything, sadly a bit of a curse with some of the visuals in the prequels. Often less is more.
I think if the major changes had stopped here, there wouldn't be nearly as much animosity as there has been to Lucus now a days.
A digital backlog, a testing ground to getting ready for the prequels....oh dear god
Pukka Asiaford
Surgé Land
The making of the original trilogy is a tale of innovation and creativity, whereas the making of the prequels and the special editions are tales of greed and misdirection. It's weird, it just sums up capitalism very nicely.
Zoltán Varga
Thank You Mr Lucas!
Sergi Medina
I really do believe in improving and remastering... But not like that. If it's not substantially better, then don't thouch anything. And CGI still can't be as good as good practical effects.
Michael Scott
Since everyone is throwing their two cents in, here's mine. The Special Editions, specifically the releases between 97 and 2004 are the best versions of the films available. The Originals basically don't exist outside of private collections and the despecialized edition is a pain in the ass to get a hold of. All the changes made here are minor and usually content neutral or additive. New, short scenes such as the Jabba in New Hope. Or special effects fixes like the wampa or the death star explosion. I find the blu-ray changes far more disturbing. Huge changes to the coloration of scenes, sound changes, and that dumb "noooooo" when vader saves Luke in Jedi all of which totally change the emotional tones of the scenes the changes were applied to. Something a few CGI Dewbacks or digitally added windows in Cloud city don't.
Petar Djurisic
24:18 Big mistake
Kyle Hayse
Don lafontaine did not narrate this version of the featurette.
Christian Edwards
@ 11:01 I see the wheels under the Land speeder.
for example in the Mos Eisley sequence you don't need dinosaurs and Jawas flopping and making wired noises or a green creature walking in front of the camera. you just need more background and the wider shots to show more of the city
Captain Andrew Armstrong
I am glad that George had the opportunity to upgrade his classic work. Most filmmakers never get that opportunity.
gamers in a container
1:27 why didn’t you just stop there!?
Evan Stanek
George saw it clearly, his comments right before 29:00 were prophetic.
Rod Champ
Sarlac looks like little shop of horrors
Julius Ulit
Lucas did the SE purely for money
نادر الی راحمان
I like some of the changes made on the original trilogy, but not all of them.
D. J.
It should be clear now that the original trilogy was great in spite of, Lucas, not because of him.
Robert Pritchard
"Back then we just didn't have the technology to put an obvious cartoon monster in a jazz band in Jabba's palace. You gotta remember, Who Framed Roger Rabbit was years in the future at that point. George originally wanted the monster's uvula to wiggle when he sang and, well, that just wasn't possible. But now, thanks to the new digital technology, that uvula is right in the audience's faces."
Andrew Bevan
I wonder it the people involved in the special editions deny all knowledge of it these days..
aleksandar miletic
Love leila
I hadn't watched the original trilogy in years, I pulled out my VHS tapes that I got for Christmas back in 1997 hoping to watch them for Star Wars day but they were so worn out that the image was too staticcy so I had to throw them out, to me the 1997 were my ideal version (I know I know everyone loves the original but still, this is my nostalgia talking) this was before Vader yells "No!" before saving Luke in Return of the Jedi, before they changed Boba Fett's voice in Empire Strikes Back & before they used Hayden Christianson for Anakin's spirit, I don't mind the new additions otherwise, I actually like the new MaxRebo dance scene (I can understand why people don't like it though) & the things changed for Most Eisley & the CGI Jabba scene
That is one SAD looking Jabba at 15:35.
AndrewTheManWho’sMostWanted !!!
George if you wanted to go back and redo your seems like at the Masai sleep use actual sets okay no CGI
Bobby Beretta
Am I just not seeing what he's seeing (around 9:01ish)?
Hiatt Grey
Is it bad to say that I grew up watching the Special Editions and not watched the original versions at all?
Jack Barnett
“It was supposed to be a big musical number, which I thought would be funny, in the middle of a Star Wars movie” that’s your reasoning? Bruh I can understand almost every other change from the way George defends them but that’s just not a good reasoning for that addition