10 of the worst changes to the Star Wars trilogy after their original theatrical release

There have been so many little changes in the original Star Wars trilogy since their theatrical release because there have been so many “special edition” DVDs and Blu Rays and VHS tapes and LaserDiscs that have come out after the fact that it’s really hard to keep up with what the original movies showed in theaters.


Some of those changes since the theatrical release are good—the films look better because its in higher quality?—but many of those changes have driven fans crazy like how Han didn’t shoot first and the needless splicing of special effects to the original trilogy and the addition of Anakin to old scenes. And the worst thing is, you can’t watch the original versions of Star Wars anymore! Well, unless you get your hands on the Despecialized Edition. You can learn how to do that here.

As for the bad changes, WatchMojo lists the 10 worst changes to Star Wars in the “special edition” sets below.

The list:

  1. Greedo shooting first
  2. Adding in Hayden Christensen
  3. Han Solo talking to Jabba the Hutt
  4. Changing who says Boba Fett’s lines
  5. Changing the song performance
  6. All the CG crap to Mos Eisley entrance
  7. Adding a scream to Luke’s fall
  8. Making Darth Vader yell “nooo!” in Return of the Jedi
  9. Bedazzling the Sarlacc Pit in 3D
  10. Changing Luke’s dialogue when R2-D2 falls in the swamp

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Eric Ravenscraft

I would argue one of the worst isn’t even on here. The changes to the dialogue in the Emperor’s call to Vader makes the exchange make no sense and runs the risk of ruining the biggest reveal of cinematic history.

Here’s the original:

Here, the Emperor simply says “We have a new enemy. Luke Skywalker,” and later, “The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi.” In context, this makes sense. We established in the previous film that, as Obi-Wan said, Vader betrayed and murdered Anakin, so as far as the audience is concerned, this is consistent. Vader going after Anakin’s son makes some sense.

Here’s the new version:

In this version, in addition to the previous lines, the Emperor says something very different:

“The young rebel who destroyed the Death Star. I have no doubt this boy is the offspring of Anakin Skywalker.”

Disregarding that this scene already has the problem of Vader apparently discovering his son is alive and taking it in stride, this dialogue introduces a really weird inconsistency:

Why the hell is the Emperor talking to Vader in the third-person?

Maybe I’m just reading too much into this, but the previous dialogue seemed perfect. Referring to Luke as “the son of Skywalker” doesn’t sound significant. Just an old timey way of talking, I guess. But now, the Emperor is screaming it at the audience: BY THE WAY, I WOULD LIKE TO REINFORCE FOR YOU, THE VIEWER, THAT LUKE’S FATHER ANAKIN IS SIGNIFICANT TO US, THE BAD GUYS. Aside from being a guy that Vader betrayed and murdered a long time ago (among the how many countless dudes Vader betrayed and killed?), there was no reason to suspect that Anakin was any threat to the Empire. Luke, sure. But Anakin? Hell, why is being Anakin’s son more threatening than being the guy who blew up the damn Death Star? I wasn’t even thinking about that until you said it, movie.

If there weren’t perfectly serviceable dialogue in place before, I might chalk it up to clumsy exposition, but now? It’s just short of the movie telegraphing what was once one of the most dramatic and shocking reveals in movie history. Sure, most people already know it, but it seems like a monumentally stupid change to make that weakens the reveal for future generations.