With the upcoming released of The Force Awakens, there’s a renewed arms race of online quizzes and detailed message board debates to flex Star Wars fan muscles, but if you’re wondering who’s the biggest Jedi geek of them all, it’s Marcelo Zuniga.
The header of his YouTube channel claims, “I just post Star Wars clips (that’s it really),” complete in the title crawl style (of course), and he’s proven his dedication about and beyond the call of duty by painstakingly annotating every single change that was made to the original trilogy.
It’s absolutely exhaustive.
That becomes clear early on, because while you’re thinking, “Cool, side-by-side comparison of added CGI dewbacks and desert rocks,” Zuniga points out a previously uncapitalized letter R in the opening crawl. He is not messing around.
What’s most interesting about watching the hour of changes is the blend of elements that enhanced, detracted or (for some) outright ruined the re-releases of the films. Thanks to detail work and color correction, the clarity and beauty of several scenes on Tatooine, for one example, are stunning in comparison to the fuzzier 1977 look. It’s easy enough to imagine any indie filmmaker loaded down with new tools and enough money to buy God wanting to clean up the hazier parts of their homegrown hit.
But there are also obvious stumbles, thanks in part to the nascent CGI and an inability to leave technologically tricky scenes alone. The most confusing ones are minor dialogue changes that actually subtract from the cleverness of the original scripts.
The best example is in the original Empire when Luke pulls R2 out of the swamp, saying “You’re lucky you don’t taste very good.” In the 2011 re-release, it’s altered to the aggressively generic, “You were lucky to get out of there” – the kind of line that feels more like filler than a smart observation following a swamp beast ejection.
So, some of the changes are clear while some of them are confusingly unnecessary. Some feels like steps forward while others feel like steps back to the first draft. Watch Zuniga’s series with bright eyes and clenched fists, and let’s not even get started on Han shooting first.