George Lucas went back and changed the original Star Wars trilogy because he was "embarrassed" by some shots

Star Wars
(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

The Star Wars Special Editions are a point of contention among some diehard fans. The changes – both minor and major – from the re-releases of the original trilogy across the late ‘90s and into the mid-'00s still stick in the craw of many who perceived the originals to be untouchable.

George Lucas, though, has revealed why he went back to tinker and tweak A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.

In Taschen’s new coffee table book, Star Wars Archives: 1999-2005, the Star Wars creator revealed, “There are two or three shots that are really bad and I know that [1977’s Star Wars] is going to be judged on that. I was embarrassed. In 1993, the 20th anniversary was coming up and that was the impetus for doing a Special Edition of A New Hope – to bring it up to the standard we were aiming for.”

Lucas points out one scene in particular, a Stormtrooper riding a dewback during the extended Mos Eisley opening, as something he wanted to include and do justice at the time, but couldn’t due to the technology available.

The success of that first re-release gave Lucas the desire to go back and re-do some aspects from the other two movies in the trilogy – and it’s clear that he was perpetually striving for perfection after being left dissatisfied back in 1977.

“Nobody ever really finishes their movies; they’re abandoned… I was not happy with A New Hope. I was still mixing and we were still sticking shots in after the film came out,” Lucas explained.

While it may not quell Han Shot First truthers or those who can’t get over seeing Hayden Christensen’s ghost in Return of the Jedi, but at least Lucas has his reasons.

Star Wars Archives: 1999-2005 is now available to buy via Taschen - and includes more on George Lucas's plans for a sequel trilogy.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.