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9.9 155 10
(Updated: August 21, 2012)
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I usually don't read about the specific changes to an edit before I start watching (other than just the basic overview), preferring to be surprised. But, while watching Adywan's edit, I couldn't see any differences. After 20 minutes, I finally had to check to see what was changed!

Don't misunderstand me. This is the *highest compliment* I can pay to any fan editor. Every editor wants his work to be so seamless that people can't tell what's changed and what hasn't. Adywan's changes were so subtle, that even for someone like me, who's seen the original movie hundreds of times, I was hard pressed to figure them out. Imagine my surprise when I went to check the list of changes and discovered that there were hundreds that I had already missed by this point!

Adywan's goal is to do what George Lucas claimed that he intended to do with his Special Editions - update the technology slightly. But while Lucas failed miserably, altering characters' behaviors, adding obnoxious and gratuitous CGI, while leaving huge technical errors completely unchanged, Adywan actually makes such a smooth transition between versions that you'll think you're just watching the 1977 version of the film, and not realizing how much better it is.

To wit: 1) Ever since "Episode IV" was added to the opening scroll, the timing of the scroll has been slightly out of sync with the music. I never noticed this. But Adywan has fixed the timing so that it's the same as all the other films now! 2) Even on the Blu-ray version of this film, the "laser blasts" look cheaply painted onto the screen. Adywan has replaced the original effects with new effects that match the look of the laser blasts in the other five movies. 3) When the Tantive IV ship is being fired on by the Imperial Destroyer at the beginning, a part of the ship blows up that wasn't even being fired upon! Adywan has made the firing blast match up with the explosion.

These are just a few of the thousands of changes that Adywan has made. Meanwhile, he's removed all of Lucas's egregious changes from the 1997 and 2004 Special Editions. (The 2011 Blu-rays were not out when he released this edit in '08, but his versions are actually superior even to those.)

Intriguingly, Adywan has made some other slight revisions that have generated some heated controversy, but all of those changes were intended to properly make the film a consistent part of a six-film cycle. For instance, the duel between Darth Vader and Ben in this film (previously without music) has now had the score from their *previous* encounter in "Revenge of the Sith" added. When R2 and 3P0 are in the Jawas' sand crawler, a non-functioning battle droid has been added in the background. And the number of moons on Tattooine has been made consistent with the prequels.

I for one fully support these changes. Firstly, again, unless you know the movie really well, you're not even going to notice these subtle alterations. Second, don't we *want* a fully fleshed out, satisfying six-film series (which Adywan intends to do)? I like the little connections. And they're considerably less appalling than George Lucas adding a demented "NOOOOOO!" to Darth Vader at the end of "Return of the Jedi."

Also controversial is Adywan's heavy reworking of the pacing and the action in the Death Star sequence. Having seen a side-by-side comparison, I will go on record as saying Adywan's version exceeds the original.

Much anger and frothing has come from the Star Wars fan community from this edit. I have three things to say to naysayers: 1) Unlike George Lucas, Adywan isn't forcing you to take his version. You can feel free to ignore it all you want. 2) Also unlike Lucas, Adywan isn't charging you for his altered product. 3) Many of the most vehement opponents of this edit have *never even seen it.* Their complaints come from looking at the cut list. Watch it and judge for yourself.

Adywan spent four years assembling this edit; he's working on "Empire" now, and the images released so far blow away anything on the Blu-ray. Clearly, Adywan is the J.R.R. Tolkien of fan edits; i.e., he may only ever be known for one long project, but *man,* what a project! This is his (unpaid) life's work, and I anxiously await the next installment. This is the most popular and acclaimed fan edit of all time for a reason.

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