I wrote last month about the upcoming release of the Classic STAR WARS films on DVD. Among my other complaints about the fact that only the Special Edition version will be available was this little-known tidbit:
And all the changes in the Special Editions weren’t technical effects changes. There were also editing changes made that were not discussed at all. During the gun battle in the detention block of the Death Star, for instance, editing changes were made to the SEs to remove some fire and smoke issuing from the holes in stormtrooper armor after they were hit. There’s a clever side-by-side video comparison of the sequences, but I can’t seem to find it anywhere.
Well, I found it on DVDFile, which is where I saw it in the first place, IIRC.
You can view a Quicktime video comparison here. I recommend using the frame-by-frame advance to see what I’m talking about. (If the clip disappears, let me know. I, ahem, might be able to find it somewhere.)
The clip actually shows Death Star officers getting blasted, not stormtroopers as I wrote earlier. The first guy gunned down is the officer in the landing bay control room, not the detention center. (Does knowing that make me a nerd?) There are similar shot of stormtroopers getting the same treatment in the original version of the movie, though, that have also been edited out.
A big deal? Not really. But why sneak that edit in there? I just have trouble taking George Lucas at face value, I guess, despite the fact that I’m a pretty big fan of his. Go check it out.
Also notice the little puff of smoke that issues from Han’s (in stormtrooper armor) blaster before the laser bolt exits the barrel. Incredible attention to detailed blaster functioning, or a side effect of the special effect?