The Star Wars Re-Releases Have More Good Changes Than Bad

By Christopher Isaac | Updated

star wars episode IV: a new hope

Whenever I get into a discussion about the original Star Wars trilogy with other people, it usually involves a lot of back and forth about favorite scenes, favorite characters, and which movie is the best. Everyone is having a good time until someone invariably has to say, “until George Lucas ruined them with the re-releases.” And from that point on, I feel like an enemy in the room because I genuinely feel that the Star Wars movies are better with many of the changes.

Not Every Change Is Great

george lucas

Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly additions that I won’t defend. Dubbing in Darth Vader’s “NO” from Revenge of the Sith into the scene where he kills the Emperor was completely unnecessary, the new song that was added into the scene in Jabba’s palace is tonally inconsistent with the rest of the movie, and Jabba appearing at all in A New Hope undermines some of his later menace. But I’ll still defend the re-releases of Star Wars as being overall better for the changes.

The Positives Outweigh The Negatives

For one, there is no comparison when it comes to the ending scenes in Return of the Jedi. In the re-releases, we fittingly see the entire galaxy celebrating the empire being vanquished. In the original movie, all we get is Lando awkwardly dancing with Ewoks while underwhelming music plays.

The re-released Star Wars movies makes these changes and gives the original trilogy an ending that feels worthy of the journey the characters have been on.

And for all the complaints about George Lucas’ overuse of CGI, some cases were legitimately better for it. Cloud City in particular looks so much better in the re-releases with the added windows showing the sky outside rather than just drab hallways. CGI also corrected a lot of limitations on the technology of the original movies, such as removing wheels on vehicles that were supposed to be “flying.”

I don’t think any Star Wars fan would complain about those changes.

Corrections to Continuity

first lightsaber

The re-released versions of the original Star Wars trilogy even makes changes that help correct continuity errors. It fixes the color of Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber to always be consistent. It replaces Boba Fett’s voice with the voice of Temuera Morrison to better match the prequels. And changing the Emperor to match Ian McDiarmid’s version of the character from the prequels not only creates better continuity but is simply a visual improvement over the original.

Manufactured Outrage As A Running Joke

Star Wars Han Solo

Honestly, I have always felt that many of the changes fans complained about were overblown anyway. Like it really does not make that much of a difference whether Han or Greedo shot first. And adding in Hayden Christensen’s version of Anakin as the force ghost at the end of Return of the Jedi honestly makes more sense seeing as how anyone watching the movies at this point will have seen Hayden as Anakin for so much more screen time thanks to the prequels. Sometimes it feels like Star Wars fans just complain about the changes as a running joke.

The Best Version Of The Original Trilogy

Star Wars Anakin changes

I understand the nostalgia Star Wars fans have for the original versions of the movies they watched, and I do believe a release should be done that does not have the changes so all audiences can be satisfied. But I think those rose-tinted glasses blind a lot of fans to the fact that there really are a lot of good additions in the re-releases, which is why I genuinely consider them the best versions of the original trilogy.