The Star Wars chronology’s most important event is A New Hope’s Battle of Yavin. Or, to the casual fan, the Death Star battle. That’s why most official sources for the Star Wars timeline refer to events as happening “BBY” or “ABY” (Before and After the Battle of Yavin, naturally). But we imagine many out there have not experienced the iconic assault on the Death Star in its original form. The 1997 version is the only one that’s been widely available for the past twenty-five years.
But now, get ready to watch the iconic trench run the way audiences originally saw it, way back in 1977. And for twenty years after, on TV and VHS. YouTuber Prometheus of Videos has given us a 4k do-over of the do-over, specifically of the Battle of Yavin IV. You can watch the entire thing right here.
The “De-Specialized” versions of the original Star Wars trilogy are fan-made HD upgrades of George Lucas’ films, and have circulated among fandom for some time. They created these as a response to Lucasfilm’s insistence that the 1997 Special Editions are the only ones officially available. Well, now someone has upgraded them even further, and in 4K glory.
While it’s great to see the original model work once again, watching it reminds us that the CGI upgrades to this scene for the Special Edition are actually pretty darn great. And maybe the only needed upgrade (outside of cleaning up matte lines) that A New Hope really needed. Sorry, we know that’s blasphemous to many of you. Actually, only a few shots went CGI for the ’97 version. ILM seamlessly blended as many original practical models with newer effects as they could. But as you can see in this side-by-side comparison video, it’s really not as many as you may think.
Regardless of preference, for history’s sake, the original cut of Star Wars should be available. After all, how many cuts of Blade Runner are there by now? And all co-existing side by side. We can only hope that George Lucas softens his stance on this in the future. Maybe one day we’ll have the option to watch the ’77 cut of Star Wars in 4K glory on Disney+ someday. Let’s keep hope alive.