In 1977, viewers discovered Han Solo played by the charismatic Harrison Ford, who would go on to become the most famous smuggler in space. In one of his first scenes which take place in the Cantina, Han Solo takes out the bounty hunter Greedo at close range.
Twenty years later, director George Lucas released, in cinemas and on VHS, a “Special Edition” of the trilogy. In this newer version, some of the scenes had changed profoundly such as the famous scene in the Cantina. In the newer version, Greedo shoots first and misses Solo, allowing the smuggler to kill him in self-defence. The anger of the fans was quickly heard, especially because of the famous slogan “Han shot first”. George Lucas subsequently changed the scene again in the DVD and Blu-Ray releases of the trilogy.
This change is probably one of the most well known but there are a plethora in this newer version of the trilogy. George Lucas has notably reviewed some of the special effects and some of the extraterrestrials have now been digitalised, like the repugnant Jabba the Hut. The creator of the saga has not held back on revising the original trilogy to better fit his vision even if it angered many of the fans. The changes that have been made have come at a price. Almost million (about £7 million) was invested in The New Hope, while million (about £3.5 million) was injected into the Empire Strikes Back and the Return of the Jedi.
Is it possible to watch the original trilogy then?
In the most recent TV re-run, in the scene with the clash between Han Solo and Greedo, both characters shoot simultaneously. This version is supposed to be final, but for diehard fans who want to watch the 1977 release version, this isn’t what you’re looking for unfortunately.
While Disney, which bought Lucasfilm in 2012 announced that the latest versions of the film would not be changed, fans came together to work on a “Despecialised Edition”. By arming themselves with 35, 80, and 16mm copies of the feature films, Blu-Ray, DVDs, and Laserdiscs, they have managed to recreate the original trilogy.