As many a Star Wars fan knows, over the years George Lucas made changes to the original trilogy. The most commonly debated is "Who shot first?"

I am just looking for the timeline on when the edits were made, not a list of the edits (as seen in this related question) nor a list of all the releases. I have seen this list on Wookieepedia, but my feeble brain can not discern the information I am looking for.

To clarify, I am talking about story line edits (e.g. added, deleted, or changed scenes or dialogue.) Cosmetic edits like coloring or lighting are not as big of a deal to me.

To give an example I would be looking for:

  • 1977: Theatrical Release
  • 19XX: Edits, Round 1
  • 19XX: Edits, Round 2
  • ETC...

Help me, Stack Exchange, you're my only hope!

  • 1
    The only thing that we really need to know is that "Team Negative One" has a restored original theatrical release. ::Sigh:: Pure, liquid nostalgia. And better than any of the 'improved' versions. Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 19:39
  • Wait, what's this team negative one of which you speak???
    – Paul
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 22:00

1 Answer 1


While Wookieepedia is a great resource for in-universe information, to be honest Wikipedia is probably better in this regard for tracking versions.

Some minor changes were made fairly early on, like adding the title "Episode IV: A New Hope" to the first film - it was only added after it was clear there would be more episodes. The big changes didn't start until later...

  • 1997: Special Editions. These were the ones that really started the whole ball rolling, replacing old FX shots with CGI, editing in Greedo shooting at Han, adding the Jabba scene to Episode IV, Luke screaming as he fell at the end of Episode V, the musical number in Episode VI, and so on. After the release of the prequels, we got...

  • 2004: DVD release. More FX changes, recolouring (and miscolouring), added new dialogue, removing some of the previous changes, editing the Han/Greedo sequence again.

  • 2011: Complete collection blu-ray release. More changes that it's hard to keep track of. Vader now shouts "NOOOOOO!" while throwing Palpatine down the shaft (because everyone loved it so much in Revenge of the Sith).

This is just a brief rundown, of course - there are a LOT of changes. The source linked above gives a fairly complete rundown.

  • There are 29 "minor changes" before the title was changed. I'm almost certain Skooba was asking about those and not just the main releases. The 1985 VHS release has sound and visual edits done to it; the 1993 definitive edition has changes that weren't mention; Episode V had a list of things done before the 1997 special editions, followed by those listed. The source however doesn't date the early 29 changes for Episode IV or the 30+ for Episode V.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 16:55
  • @Edlothiad Thanks for the comment. It got me thinking of what I was really after. I added to the question... I am really looking for when the story was changed.
    – Skooba
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 21:11
  • @Werrf, well if this is the answer you're looking for, then don't stop me, but of the "minor changes" mentioned a few are dialogue changes and such
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 21:14
  • @Edlothiad It sounds like you should post another answer. I'd be interested to see it.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 21:36
  • @DCShannon, they're all from the wiki link in Werrf's answer, and I couldn't find dates
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Dec 15, 2016 at 21:38

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