Star Wars Blu-ray: behind the scenes

Lucasfilm take us on a tour of the most-anticipated Blu-ray ever

The new Blu-ray release of Star Wars fixes a number of the visual niggles that ended up on the DVD release of the films.

Lucasfilm kept quiet about any significant changes Lucas himself has made to the movies, but there have been numerous leaks about what has been changed since our trip.

star wars blu ray

IMPROVEMENTS: Picture quality for the originals has been improved

These include:

  • An all-new digital Yoda to replace the puppet in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace.
  • Ewoks in The Return Of The Jedi now blink, to add some realism to the creatures.
  • Greedo definitely shoots first, with no silly jolting in the scene now.
  • Obi-Wan's Krayt dragon call in A New Hope has been given more audio resonance
  • Perhaps the most contentious change is another audio addition: Darth Vader shouting 'Noooooo' in the climax of the fight between Luke and the Emperor in Return Of The Jedi - similar to the end of Episode III.

The changes TechRadar saw, however, were ones that righted a lot of wrongs. There's been meticulous restoration of some parts of the movie.

With The Phantom Menace, the visual effects supervisors went back to the original digital files of the film, so the image is crisper but there's also 8 per cent of the frame introduced that was missing in the original 2001 DVD release. Some of the 2,000 effects in the film have also been retouched.

Star wars blu ray

SCENE STEALER: The original scene was cut in

Star wars blu ray

MARKED IMPROVEMENT: The scene now comes alive

As Episode II and III were shot digitally (Episode I was the last to be made on film), these have had the least amount of correction, which meant most of the time was spent on the Original Trilogy.

Unlike the DVD 'special editions', however, which were the biggest restoration of the films so far, the tweaks made are a little more subtle. Blemishes have been removed, picture dirt erased and side effects from old school effects have been taken out.

There's now no 'garbage matte' boxes surrounding the TIE Fighters in Episode IV and the puppet arm that's attached to the Wampa in The Empire Strikes Back has been taken out. These are blink-and-you'll-miss them glitches, but ones that have irked fans and the makers of the movies for years.

Star wars blu ray

POLE POSITION: The purple pole is clearly visible

Star wars blu ray

IT'S ALIVE: The purple pole is no more

Another change has been re-introducing the white-hot core of the lightsabers, something which was dampened in the DVD version. Now, when the lightsabers of Luke and the Emperor clash in Return of the Jedi they no longer blend as one.

Star wars blu ray

LIGHT PROBLEM: Notice the merging of colours

Star wars blu ray

LET THERE BE LIGHT: Lightsabers are now white hot

And, those who weren't fans of the 'Emperor's slugs' in ROTJ – a hand drawn shadow on the face of the Emperor that has long been derided – you will be pleased to read this has also been fixed.