Star Wars Revisited (2008)
Back in 2008, I discovered a fan edit of George A. Romero’s iconic Dawn of The Dead and was very impressed with the way that enthusiasts can now re-edit and re-imagine any film of their choice, using commonly available tools. I subsequently spent some time looking into this entire sub-genre further and found that one of the most popular franchises to be fan edited was naturally Star Wars. One of the first fans edits of this kind I watched was a "Grindhouse" version of A New Hope that had been retitled The War of The Stars. It was fun and tried to be different but overall it was simply an amusing diversion. Something that could viewed as a in joke among fans. Not all of the fan edits out there are particularly good and as a genre it can be very uneven. Yet through word of mouth it became quite apparent that one particular Star Wars fan edit seemed to be getting a great deal of attention and praise from both the fan and wider community. Namely Star Wars Revisited by Adywan.
Now, I need to impress upon you, that Star Wars Revisited isn't just a case of moving a few scenes around and adding deleted footage from alternate sources. This is a labour of love of unparalleled magnitude. Material has been re-shot, miniatures remade and animatronics reproduced. All of which has then been seamlessly integrated into the film. Certain scenes have been modified to either replace the changes made by George Lucas. Other material has been replaced to improve perceived deficiencies. Star Wars Revisited is more than an attempt to present the movie as it was seen back upon its 1977 release. It is also a revisionist piece of work driven by an inherent love of the source material. It is quite staggering what has been achieved, especially when you consider that this is the work of a member of the public and not a film studio.
Now the changes are far too numerous for me to list here. For those of you that wish to digest them in detail, follow the link to the Star Wars Revisited blog. I've added a few screen captures below to give you a taste of the changes that have been made. NB Star Wars Revisited was created using standard definition source material. Adywan has announced that he will be producing a 720p version.
Imperial Star Destroyers now patrol around the Death Star as well as the sentry TIE Fighters. The infamous "Imperial March" from TESB has been added to the score for this scene.
When the Rebel HQ picks up "enemy fighters" on their long range scanners, we now get to see the incoming squadron sent to engage the Rebels.
Finally, Chewie gets a medal! It's very clever the way the new scene has been edited so that Princess Leia can put it round the Wookies neck.
Because of the viral nature of the internet, Adywan's fan edit has built up quite a following within the Star Wars community. Star Wars Revisited has been well received, so as a result, he has been diligently working on a revisited version of The Empire Strikes Back for the last few years. This has recently been released and I shall be focusing on the specifics of that edition in another blog post. In the meantime, I would recommend readers to seek out Star Wars Revisited. Now there are obviously some copyright issues regarding fan editing, so common sense dictates that we tread around that issue quite carefully. I will therefore not link to it directly. However, Google is your friend. Track this version down and watch it. Then ponder what a resourceful fan has managed to achieve on their own and compare it to the multiple changes that George Lucas has made over the years. I would be very interested to hear your opinion as to which is the better cut of the movie.