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Star Wars Trilogy: Special Edition

20th Century Fox

Star Wars: Special Edition - Release Date: January 31, 1997

The Empire Strikes Back: Special Edition - Release Date: February 21, 1997

Return of the Jedi: Special Edition - Release Date: March 7, 1997

Princess Leia is held hostage by the evil Imperial Forces, under orders from Darth Vader, in their efforts to quell the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. Luke Skywalker and Millennium Falcon Captain Han Solo team together with the lovable droid duo R2-D2 and C-3PO to rescue the beautiful princess and restore freedom and justice to the Galaxy. The force will be with you when the Special Edition of the original STAR WARS is released twenty years after its record-breaking debut. With a complete restoration, a new digital soundtrack, enhanced special effects and new footage added, George Lucas presents the films as he always envisioned it.

Starring Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness, the film was produced by Gary Kurtz, and written and directed by George Lucas.

For an entire generation, the only way to experience STAR WARS has been on the television screen. But now, to celebrate 20 years of STAR WARS, the trilogy returns to the big screen in a way audiences have never seen before. The SPECIAL EDITION are the films that George Lucas always envisioned in his mind's eye, but lacked the time, money and technology to achieve.

The realities of filmmaking two decades ago, and the limitations of technology at that time, were also important factors in the decision to go ahead with the STAR WARS TRILOGY SPECIAL EDITION. Back then, Lucas had to contend with a tight budget, deadline pressures and the technological constraints of pre-digital visual effects and sound. There were also numerous effects problems during STAR WARS' grueling shoot in Tunisia and at EMI-Elstree Studios in England. Two decades later, and with the critical help of today's state-of-the art technology pioneered by Industrial Light & Magic, Lucas is able to bring the films much closer to his original vision.

The adventure continues in this spellbinding STAR WARS sequel and the battle to save the galaxy from the evil empire rages on. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca face attack by the Imperial forces and its AT-AT walkers on the ice planet Hoth. While Han and Leia escape in the Millennium Falcon, Luke travels to Dagobah in search of Yoda. Only with the Jedi master's help will Luke survive when the dark side of the Force beckons him into the ultimate duel with Darth Vader. With a new digital soundtrack by THX sound, enhanced special effects, and a completely restored print, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK returns to the big screen with an amazing array of visual effects and blazing action.

The film stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels. The producer is Gary Kurtz. The story is by George Lucas and Irvin Kershner is the director.

Much of the work on THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK involved taking original elements of a particular sequence -- live action, miniatures, etc. -- and blending them together digitally, allowing for a much more precise alignment than was possible in 1980. This digital recompositing enabled the filmmakers to improve the look of a few key scenes. Most of the recompositing was done in the film's opening snow battle sequence, set on the planet Hoth. And a scene in an ice cave now contains a more ferocious Wampa creature.

Additional work was also done on some scenes set in Cloud City, the home of Lando Calrissian. Replacing the original matte paintings of a streamlined floating city are threedimensional environments built totally in the computer. Other scenes are opened up and given a more expansive feel by the addition of windows in several of the elaborate hallways in Lando's palace.

The film stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels. The producer is Howard Kazanjian, the story is by George Lucas, and the director is Richard Marquand.

For the RETURN OF THE JEDI SPECIAL EDITION, ILM has fleshed out a brief musical number that takes place early in the film in Jabba the Hutt's palace. There is new music in a blues vein and extra musicians, singers and dancers, some live action and some digital. Femi Taylor, who played the green-skinned Oola, an enslaved dancing girl in the original version, returned to shoot new footage that was intercut with material she had filmed 17 years earlier.

The ILM team also enhanced the sand pit sequence where Luke, Leia and a temporarily blinded Han clash with Jabba's henchmen above a pit occupied by the enormous and fearsome Sarlacc creature. In the original version, the monster is largely unseen; for the SPECIAL EDITION, Lucas decided to create additional chills by adding some more tentacles and a beak inside the pit.

Also adding to the fun is a re-working of the joyous victory celebration following the destruction of the second Death Star. Instead of a celebration on just the forest moon of Endor, audiences will also see victory parties on Tatooine, Cloud City and Coruscant, the Imperial headquarters planet.

Production Information

Click Here to view the 'STAR WARS TRILOGY: SPECIAL EDITION' production information file (24K) filled with facts about the restoration, new sound & visual enhancements of the films.

Click Here to view the 'LUCASFILM TECHNOLOGY BREAKTHROUGHS' information file (14k) filled with facts about the the technological breakthroughs behind the new films.

The Main Cast (from the 3 movies)

Luke Skywalker.......................... MARK HAMILL
Han Solo................................ HARRISON FORD
Princess Leia Organa.................... CARRIE FISHER
Ben (Obi-Wan) Kenobi.................... ALEC GUINNESS
C3P0.................................... ANTHONY DANIELS
Lando Calrissian........................ BILLY DEE WILLIAMS
Chewbacca............................... PETER MAYHEW
Darth Vader............................. DAVID PROWSE
Darth Vader (voice of).................. JAMES EARL JONES
R2-D2................................... KENNY BAKER
Yoda (voice of)......................... FRANK OZ
Emporer................................. IAN McDIARMID
Grand Moff Tarkin....................... PETER CUSHING
Wicket.................................. WARWICK DAVIS
Admiral Piett........................... KENNETH COLLEY

Star Wars directed by................... GEORGE LUCAS
The Empire Strikes Back directed by..... IRVIN KERSHNER
Return of the Jedi directed by.......... RICHARD MARQUAND

Movie Stills

(58k) Princess Leia (CARRIE FISHER) comforts Luke Skywalker (MARK HAMILL) after the disappearance of Ben Kenobi in "STAR WARS SPECIAL EDITION"

(42k) HARRISON FORD is Han Solo, the Corellian pirate and captain of the Millennium Falcon from "STAR WARS SPECIAL EDITION"

(45k) ALEC GUINNESS is Ben Kenobi, who was one of the greatest warriors in the Old Republic before the rise of the sinister Galactic Empire in "STAR WARS SPECIAL EDITION"


(73k) In the aftermath of the their duel, DARTH VADER beckons Luke Skywalker in a scene from "THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK SPECIAL EDITION"

(57k) Luke Skywalker (MARK HAMILL), Princess Leia (CARRIE FISHER) and Han Solo (HARRISON FORD) search for an escape route on the maze-like Imperial Death Star in "STAR WARS SPECIAL EDITION"

(76k) Han Solo (HARRISON FORD), Ben Kenobi (ALEC GUINNESS), Luke Skywalker (MARK HAMILL) and Chewbacca, the Wookie, are surprised by the awesome size of the Death Star in "STAR WARS SPECIAL EDITION"

(90k) Han Solo (HARRISON FORD) confronts an unhappy Jabba the Hutt in an enhanced scene from the STAR WARS SPECIAL EDITION. The digital Jabba was created with computer technology twenty years after the basic scene was originally filmed (but not used)

(105k) In a scene from the original STAR WARS, R2-D2 and C-3PO arrive in the relatively barren Mos Eisley

(109k) For the STAR WARS SPECIAL EDITION, the streets of Mos Eisley are now populated with new digitally-created creatures

(89k) An Imperial At-At Walker attacks Rebel forces in an enhanced scene from "THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK SPECIAL EDITION"

(96k) Jabba the Hutt's Sail Barge goes up in flames above the Sarlacc pit in "RETURN OF THE JEDI SPECIAL EDITION"

(74k) In a new scene from the STAR WARS SPECIAL EDITION, Imperial Storm Troopers ride giant beasts of burden

(44k) Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader fight the ultimate battle in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK SPECIAL EDITION

(55k) A digitally enhanced scene, featuring MARK HAMILL as Luke Skywalker, from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK SPECIAL EDITION

(62k) Princess Leia (CARRIE FISHER) plays captive to Jabba the Hutt in RETURN OF THE JEDI SPECIAL EDITION

(48k) In a digitally enhanced scene, for the RETURN OF THE JEDI SPECIAL EDITION, a battle is fought around the Empire's new Death Star
(48k @ 600x287 resolution)
(87k @ 900x431 resolution)
(273k @ 1800x862 resolution ... O.K., so we got carried away!)

Movie Trailer

Click Here to download the EMPIRE STRIKES BACK / RETURN OF THE JEDI (SPECIAL EDITION) movie trailer. [STARWARS.EXE is a 5.2mb Self-Playing ALARIS Inc. "VideoGram" video file: 160x120 pixels @ 10 frames/sec in high-definition audio, running time 1:57]. The video-player is built into this file which can only be viewed on a Windows based PC with at least a i486-66mhz processor!

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