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FAQ Contents

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

When the film was originally released in 1977, it was simply referred to as "Star Wars"; though supposedly, George Lucas had intended to include "Episode IV" and "A New Hope" in the opening crawl, but Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation did not want Lucas to do so because they thought it would confuse audiences, since there were never any other episodes released before it.

After the commercial success of the original Star Wars, Lucas was able to continue with the multi-film epic he originally envisioned. The first sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, was released in 1980 and bore the full title of "Star Wars, Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back" in the title crawl, although it was referred to only as "The Empire Strikes Back" as the title of its commercial release. It was the "Episode V" appearing in the opening crawl which originally confused those members of the audience who had not been made aware of what Lucas was explaining, that the original Star Wars was now to be understood to be the fourth part of a nine-part series.

The original Star Wars was re-released in 1981 with a new title "Star Wars, Episode IV, A New Hope" in the title crawl. This title appeared on all subsequent re-releases and versions from then on (though the original version was released on DVD in 2006, which shows the title crawl in its original form). All subsequent Star Wars films have followed this new naming structure, although "Star Wars" often refers specifically to the 1977 film.

They were supposedly never part of any release of the film, having been edited out of the film long before the special effects, sound, and musical score were completed, and long before the first test screening. Though many fans claim to have seen them (as children, or on televised versions), they were never officially available until the CD-ROM "Behind the Magic" was released in the mid 1990s. Some photos from those scenes did, however, appear in books, such as The Star Wars Storybook, and the Marvel comic book adaptation.

Lucas has said that these scenes were only added after he showed the script to friends, who told him that he waited too long (almost twenty minutes) to introduce the main character of Luke Skywalker. Lucas felt it would be best to follow the droids until their story connected with Luke, but he gave in to his friends' criticisms and added these new scenes. Soon after assembling a cut of the film, he realized these new scenes slowed down the pace of the opening section, so he edited them back out again. Also, one member of a private test screening upset Lucas by joking that these scenes made it look like "American Graffiti in space", and these comparisons were something he was desperate to avoid.

The Imperial Academy, so to speak.

While the film does not specify, the novelization of the film indicates to what academy Luke and Owen were referring. A deleted scene wherein Luke talks with his recently graduated friend Biggs indicates that Biggs was planning, along with several friends, to jump ship and seek out the Rebel Alliance after beginning their tours of duty on the vessel Rand Ecliptic. Luke already knows this information when he has the discussion with his uncle, but the text of the missing scene, as well as Luke's later talk with Ben Kenobi, show that Luke was very uncertain of the idea of joining with the Alliance despite his voiced opposition to the Galactic Empire, and likely was not desiring to attend the Academy for the same reasons as his friend (though Biggs did not necessarily go to the Academy with the intention of joining the Alliance and may have heard about it while in school and decided where his true loyalties lay).

Luke views the Academy as his likeliest chance to make a life for himself away from home. In the course of the film, it is never specified exactly what is taught at "the academy", which might simply be a name for a general college. Biggs seems to have trained as a fighter pilot there, suggesting that it is a military academy, or something akin to the United States Reserve Officers Training Corps or ROTC. The Empire, like other totalitarian states, seems to have taken over all educational institutions. Both Luke and Biggs probably have no great sympathy for the Empire, but they have no other educational options. Luke's desire to leave his home for school in search of a better future is similar to the themes explored in George Lucas' previous film, American Graffiti. By virtue of that, it might be that the name and type of academy is left vague intentionally in the film to imply that it does not matter.

Although Luke had no official training as a pilot, he had developed sufficient piloting skills in his spare time on Tatooine (as mentioned by Ben Kenobi). In order to aid the Alliance as much as possible, he was allowed to join the Rebel assault on the Death Star—despite his lack of formal training. However, his old friend Biggs vouched for him to Red Leader, calling Luke "the best bush pilot in the Outer Rim Territories." As he had never been through any combat training, one can only attribute his abilities in battle to an innate skill, or his sensitivity to the Force, or (as in the case of his father) both.

It would, at first, seem unwise for Obi-Wan to hide a child with his adoptive parents and give him the same surname as the father from whom he were trying to hide the child. However, there are more sides to the story. In the film, the first time Luke is identified by his whole name is many scenes after he has agreed to go with Obi-Wan to Alderaan, so the audience cannot assume that he has always gone by the name of "Skywalker". Furthermore, as seen in the third prequel, Revenge of the Sith, Luke was delivered to Owen and Beru Lars by Obi-Wan Kenobi. We never learned what Obi-Wan has told them about Luke's family history.

Owen and Beru already knew that Anakin was a Jedi (having met him themselves); but what Obi-Wan probably did not tell them was that Anakin had joined the Emperor, that Luke could one day destroy the Emperor and that Luke should therefore stay hidden from the Emperor (and, as Obi-Wan would later discover, Anakin/Vader too). If they had known, then Luke would certainly have been called "Lars", like his adoptive parents (just as Leia got her adoptive parents' name), to hide his ancestry. It may also have caused his uncle and aunt to take more extreme measures to keep Luke hidden, and if the truth about Luke was ever divulged by accident, the wrong people might have found out (since the Empire has spies everywhere surveying for a number of specific crucial things). Obi-Wan still needed Luke, believing that Luke might be the one to fulfill the prophecy of bringing balance to the Force. Owen and Beru were thus probably kept out of the loop, while Kenobi stuck around to made sure Luke would be safe and hear the truth when the time was right.

Obi-Wan probably told them that both Anakin and Padm were killed in the Clone Wars, and that Owen and Beru were now Luke's only family. He may have added that: Luke might want to become a Jedi like his father one day and he could train with Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan rightly assumed that Tatooine was remote enough from the Empire for him not to be detected accidentally, so there would be no reason to give Luke a different name (the name "Skywalker" being already known from Luke's grandmother, Shmi, and not something to have raised questions on Tatooine).

From Obi-Wan's dialogue in the film, it appears that Owen assumed that Anakin died in the line of duty, and did not approve of Anakin's career as a reckless Jedi ("He [your uncle] didn't hold with your father's ideals. Thought he should have stayed here and not gotten involved"). Owen certainly did not want Luke to follow that same path ("Your father wanted you to have this [lightsaber] when you were old enough, but your uncle wouldn't allow it. He feared you might follow old Obi-Wan on some damn fool idealistic crusade like your father did"). He therefore told Luke that Anakin had been a navigator on a spice freighter, and warned him stay away from Obi-Wan ("That wizard's just a crazy old man").

The opposite is true of Leia, as her father is an important figure in the Rebel Alliance. Although Leia was never told about her true heritage; her father knew to keep her hidden from the Empire, and he even groomed her for an active role within the Rebel Alliance.

The only thing Obi-Wan ever says is that he doesn't "seem to remember ever owning a droid." This does not imply that he isn't familiar with them, merely that Luke saying "Then the droid does belong to you" is an untrue statement. It's possible that, as with other secrets, Obi-Wan doesn't reveal quite everything at first brush, and that what he does reveal could be seen as true from certain points of view. The whole setup is a lie from R2-D2, who claims to be the property of Obi-Wan, when in fact he's been in the possession of the Organas (and the Alliance) for a long time. R2's lie is just to get off the homestead and on with his mission.

It's entirely possible that Obi-Wan does not recognize these droids at all. In the case of C-3PO, Obi-Wan and the protocol droid never meet until the Clone Wars, and even then, those meetings are likely infrequent between a Jedi on the front lines of a war and the protocol droid of a galactic senator. After a scant few scenes together in Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan and 3PO part ways for the next 19 year. Likewise, R2 and Obi-Wan have minimal history together, starting with R2 just being one of the astromechs aboard the Queen's starship in Episode I and moving along to sharing all of one scene together in Episode II. The Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith see the two meeting again occasionally, but R2's always Anakin's droid. They too part ways not to see each other for 19 years. Some faces of occasional acquaintances fade over time in real life, and the same could be said for the Star Wars universe. Worse, these droids are dime-a-dozen models, regularly seen throughout the galaxy. Especially without the droids mentioning their names (a point true when Obi-Wan delivers the line in question; in fact, 3PO isn't even directly present at the time), Obi-Wan recalling an R2 unit or protocol droid as a specific one he's worked with 19 years after the fact has about the same likelihood as someone from our time picking their specific iPhone 5 out of a lineup of identical phones almost twenty years later.

One could conclude that perhaps Anakin had at some time spoken of having a child and wanting that child to follow in his footsteps, but given the strict Jedi Code which forbade this (as revealed in the prequels), that would seem an unlikely desire/admission. Perhaps the best way to summarise what Obi-Wan really meant would be to say that: Obi-Wan knew that Luke would be the only hope of destroying the Emperor, and he himself wanted Luke to one day have the weapon and become a Jedi. But by telling Luke this was his father's wish and not his own, he knew Luke would be more drawn to taking the weapon. Or it could be that Obi-Wan honestly felt that this is what Anakin would have wanted.

A central feature of both confrontations between Luke and Vader is Obi-Wan's trustworthiness, first about what really happened to Luke's father, then about having hidden Leia. Here Obi-Wan is again acting in the name of Anakin's good side. Alternately, he might simply wish to keep the truth of Luke's parentage secret for the time being, preferring for Luke to have fond feelings toward his father, the man Obi-Wan knew before Anakin's fall to the dark side. It could be assumed that based on their close friendship, Obi-Wan was projecting what he believed his friend Anakin would have wanted prior to turning to the dark side of the Force. Obi-Wan speaks of Anakin and Vader as if they are two completely separate people. He may truly feel that what he is telling Luke is the truth "from a certain point of view."

Note, by the way: The questionability of Obi-Wan's honesty and trustworthiness is confined strictly to the matter of informing Luke about Anakin. Apart from misleading Luke with what could be considered white lies, Obi-Wan is a man of honor. From a technical standpoint, none of the character's statements unrelated to Anakin have been subject to persistent retroactive continuity.

As we could see in the third prequel, Revenge of the Sith; Obi-Wan is referred to as "Master Kenobi" by Yoda after Luke's birth, but no one ever called him 'Ben' before that time. So it may be puzzling to hear him say otherwise in A New Hope. But there are several explanations for this.

The most technical would be that the chronology of the Star Wars saga was far from established at the time when the first movie was made. George Lucas did not fully know how his saga would evolve. So he had no firmly established ideas about Obi-Wan Kenobi's back story yet. (In certain story drafts, Obi-Wan was even Owen Lars' brother.) Kenobi's history gradually became more fleshed out during the production of the next five movies, and Lucas may have made changes along the way that sometimes deviated from what had been established earlier. So this discrepancy may simply reflect the improvisational nature of the writing process.

As an in-story explanation, one could argue that Kenobi has been on Tatooine for 19 years; assuming the name of "Ben" for a long time already, he may simply have forgotten when he exactly stopped using the name "Obi-Wan". He could also mean it in a symbolic way: Obi-Wan was his name by which his fellow Jedi used to call him. In the years when he had served in the Clone Wars before Luke was born, he was addressed as "Master Kenobi" or "General Kenobi" more often. He may have meant to say that he has been more of a soldier and a simple hermit than a Jedi for the last decades.

There is another important reason, which may tie in to the questions why Kenobi lies about Luke's father, the lightsaber and possibly also about not recognizing R2-D2 and C-3PO (see other FAQ items). Kenobi could tell Luke the truth, that he stopped using the name Obi-Wan just after Luke's birth; but such a coincidence would only increase Luke's curiosity. It would raise many questions from Luke, forcing Obi-Wan to admit he was present at Luke's birth, how he brought Luke to his uncle and aunt, and what really happened to his father; all information he is not ready to reveal yet. So Kenobi stays vague about this, acknowledging that he knew Anakin, but remaining silent about Anakin's fate, and his own part in this.

In the original release, Han shot first before Greedo ever even pressed the trigger of his blaster, so in reality Greedo never even got the chance to shoot—we see Han slyly drawing his own blaster during the conversation and when he shoots Greedo, we get a closeup of Greedo's face that disappears in a flash of flames. In the Special Edition and subsequent versions, Greedo's actions were retconned in that laser bolts were added as he raised his blaster. This newly inserted blaster shot missed which was then followed by Han's original deadly blaster shot.

The scene with Greedo in the original shoot was much shorter and did not contain the dialogue revolving around Han's dumping of stolen goods meant for Jabba. When the decision was made to cut the Jabba scene out, owing to the time and funds needed to add the desired stop-motion creature, a new version of the Greedo scene was filmed, this time using a female performer in the costume, which added the needed exposition that would have otherwise been lost. (During the interim, a method was found for articulating the snout of the Greedo mask by having the performer hold a clothespin in her mouth; one may notice that the shot wherein Greedo first confronts Han and forces him to sit does not feature the alien's mouth moving during its dialogue.)

In the original 1976 shoot, Jabba was actually played by a short, rotund man (Declan Mulholland), with the intention of changing the character (either through stop-motion or more traditional animation) into an alien. When the Special Edition was being compiled in 1995, ILM artists realised that Han walks around Jabba when talking, and decided to fix this potential problem by making Han step on Jabba's tail. The image of Harrison Ford in the shot was lifted digitally, resulting in a somewhat jarring motion. Another clue as to Jabba's original form is when Han says "Jabba, you're a wonderful human being." With Jabba now being an alien, the line becomes a wry joke on Han's behalf. Some of the original footage from this scene can be found in the television special From Star Wars To Jedi and before the feature of the Star Wars (Special Edition) VHS cassette. When the decision was made to restore the Jabba scene, too many years had passed to have Harrison Ford record new lines; therefore, the scene appears as it was originally scripted, redundant dialogue and all. However, it is possible that while Jabba knew that Han had shot Greedo in the cantina, he was not aware of the details of the conversation Han had with him. Also, it adds a bit more humour where Han uses the exact same excuse word-for-word with Jabba that he did with Greedo: "Even I get boarded sometimes. Do you think I had a choice?", showing what a smooth-talker Han is.

The first lightsaber effects were created using wooden dowel rods wrapped in Scotchlite (a reflective white material used for lettering on road signs for night visibility) which were attached to the saber hilts. The hilts contained small motors which would spin the rod, which would reflect a front-projected light source, causing a shimmering effect. The activation and deactivation of the lightsabers were accomplished by simply stopping the camera with the actor (usually) standing still and attaching or removing the rod before restarting the camera, resulting in a slight jump in the image. This approach was not entirely successful for a number of reasons. It was hoped that the reflective surface would cast ambient light on the saber's immediate surroundings, but this was rarely if ever noticeable. The brightness of the saber could vary drastically depending upon its angle relative to the front-projected light, and additionally, the wooden blades were very fragile and tended to break during the dueling scenes. A few of these in-camera effects found their way into the film's first teaser trailer. The in-camera approach not culminating in satisfactory results, ILM added an animated glow to the blades in post-production, now differentiating the color of the individual sabers, which had all previously been white. For unknown reasons, two separate shots (one of Obi-Wan's saber and one of Vader's) did not have this effect applied, and the shots appeared in the finished film with the characters holding plain white sticks. This discrepancy was finally addressed in the DVD release of the film. Two shots appearing in the film differed from this approach.

The first scene of Luke training aboard the Millennium Falcon featured a completely animated blade. Without a practical blade attached to the hilt for reference, the saber beam appears slightly unsteady in this shot. The shot in which Obi-wan activates his saber as he prepares to confront Vader, the only instance in the original film wherein the saber is seen to slowly extend from the hilt as it would in all subsequent films, was achieved by attaching a glass rod to the hilt, initially pointed directly at the camera. Alec Guinness turned his hand slightly in the course of the shot, causing reflected light to travel along the length of the tube and give the effect of of an extruding blade. Again, a rotoscoped glow was eventually added for a more dynamic visual effect.

All subsequent films in the series dispensed with the Scotchlite approach completely, and the sabers were equipped with sturdier metal rods for both dueling and as guides for the animated blades.

This backstory is only hinted at in the films, though the novelization of the third film, Revenge of the Sith, and the uncut screenplay make it clearer. After his death in the first prequel, The Phantom Menace; Qui-Gon Jinn gained the ability to live on and observe events from within the Force (which is why we can hear him crying out after the Sand People are slaughtered in the second prequel, Attack of the Clones). Yoda is actually communicating with him as Obi-Wan returns with the dying Padm in Revenge of the Sith (Qui-Gon's voice was reportedly recorded but ultimately deleted). In this missing scene, Qui-Gon states, "The ability to defy oblivion can be achieved, but only for oneself. It was accomplished by a Shaman of the Whills. It is a state acquired through compassion, not greed"; hence when Obi-Wan tells Vader, "If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine", he refers to the fact that he can achieve what Anakin gave up his good side in search of. During their exile periods on Dagobah and Tatooine respectively, Yoda and Obi-Wan communicate with Qui-Gon and learn the ability to be absorbed into the Force at the time of their deaths; living on as translucent, hazy blue ghosts.

It does not seem to be essential, however; since both Anakin and Qui-Gon live on through the Force without being absorbed, though arguably Qui-Gon's ghost never appears and Anakin's never speaks (but, to be fair, in the only scene in which Anakin's ghost appears, nobody else, including Obi-Wan and Yoda, speaks either), so their influences could be weaker. (According to the missing scene, Yoda likely sees Qui-Gon as they communicate, and it is only the audience who cannot see him. Similarly, at the Rebels' party at the end of the sixth film, Return of the Jedi; Luke can see the three ghosts, but Leia—not to mention everybody else—cannot. In the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, the audience seeing and hearing what Luke does; in Yoda's hut, Luke overhears Obi-Wan talking to Yoda, and quite possibly, Yoda can see him, but Luke cannot.)

Perhaps Qui-Gon was only able to manifest his voice into the minds of fellow Jedi after his death. [Obi-Wan does exactly the same thing in A New Hope, as he does not appear visually to Luke until The Empire Strikes Back. This may reflect the evolution of the story in George Lucas' mind, or perhaps Luke's developing perception of the Force, whereby Luke's first vision comes only in a delirious, semi-conscious state, but later he is able to see Obi-Wan clearly, and even to carry on detailed arguments with him. Anakin, when he first experiences Qui-Gon's voice (like Luke when he first experiences Obi-Wan's voice), is not a fully trained Jedi. Also, he (like Luke) is in the heat of battle, and does not have the inner calm necessary for good communication.] Appearing as a Jedi spirit may have required training during life which he had never received. But he was able to pass on this knowledge, so Yoda and Obi-Wan could have maximum benefit from it. Darth Vader witnessed Obi-Wan disappearing upon death, which may have prompted him to seek out this ability for himself during the times he was meditating inside his regeneration hub (seen in The Empire Strikes Back). With Darth Vader being possibly the most powerful user of the Force, it is not unthinkable that he could master the ability himself, perhaps even communicating with Qui-Gon's spirit (although this is pure speculation). However, he could only ever use it after turning from the dark side of the Force. After Anakin's death, it took a while for him to be completely on the light side of the Force, and perhaps his body disappeared during his cremation (or after). If this is also true for Qui-Gon, that means his ashy remains would have finally disappeared years after his death. (By the tale end of Return of the Jedi, it seems that Anakin was taught by Yoda and Obi Wan, just as Qui-Gon was taught after death.)

An understandable confusion, as it is never explained in the movies. In Episodes II and III, the Galactic Republic's armored troops are clone troopers, cloned from the DNA of Jango Fett (played by Temuera Morrison). Boba Fett is also an unaltered clone of Jango, raised as his son. For the DVD release of The Empire Strikes Back, Temuera Morrison dubbed over the voice of Boba Fett to help tie in the original trilogy to the prequel trilogy. In Episodes IV through VI, the Galactic Empire has armored troops known as Imperial stormtroopers. The reason that Morrison does not provide the voice is because the stormtroopers are not of the same genetic stock as Jango and very well could be men who were recruited without having prior Imperial affiliation (meaning the Empire did not commission their conceptions, births and upbringings), or they could be clone troopers constructed from more than one genetic template, excluding Jango.

It is possible and perhaps likely that, as the years went on, the Emperor disbanded Clone squads and started recruiting and drafting men from traditional families, and while there are still some Clone units scattered throughout the galaxy, they are mostly obsolete. However, Lucas has since gone on record saying that the stormtroopers that board Leia's ship in this film are actually the clone troopers that Anakin led in the assault on the Jedi Temple in Revenge of the Sith, so make of that what you will (it is interesting to note that this particular group of troopers mounts a suprisingly successful attack on the rebels, whereas most other Stormtroopers in the original trilogy are considerably less effective in their military victories).

Another explanation is given in the video game Star Wars: Battlefront II. The game follows the story of the 501st legion of the Grand Army of the Republic, later becoming "Vader's Fist", Darth Vader's personal unit of stormtroopers. It is revealed in the game that they were, in fact the same troops that assaulted the Jedi Temple. It is also explained in the game that after clones are created by the Rebel Alliance using Jango Fett's DNA, the Empire decided to clone from a variety of sources, hence the differing voices, while the 501st legion remained "pure".

For more information, see the FAQ for Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones.

Yes. During the scene where our heroes are caught in the trash compactor and are being aided by the droids R2-D2 and C-3PO via comlink, a group of stormtroopers manage to break into the control room where the droids are stationed. If you look at the stormtrooper on the right as he's rushing the door with the other troopers his height is too tall for the door frame so unfortunately he hits his head and it snaps back but like a trained trooper he recovers quickly and finishes the break in with the rest of the troopers. The stormtrooper hitting his head was actually a blooper and when Star Wars was released on DVD a thumping sound effect, which was not in the original release, (as well as the sound of another Trooper saying 'Need a hand?') was added as the trooper hits his head. A shot the famous trooper blooper can be found here.

In Attack of the Clones, Jango Fett bumps his own head on the hatch of Slave I when he and Boba are leaving Camino after his battle with Obi-Wan. The gag was included as an homage to the original blooper.

We see the beginning of the Death Star's construction at the end of the third prequel, Revenge of the Sith. As Star Wars officially takes place 19 years later, we may wonder why it took the Galactic Empire so long to get it built. It is especially confusing in the light of the second sequel, Return of the Jedi, in which a second, larger and fully operational (though incomplete), Death Star was shown, no more than four years having passed since the destruction of the first. The obvious source for the answer would be creator George Lucas. During the commentary track on the DVD release of the second prequel, Attack of the Clones, he briefly addresses the matter, and suggests that the Empire may have had problems with contractors and construction workers who were hired to build the first Death Star (who were mostly Geonosians, since they designed the station in the first place). It should be noted that he may be referring in a tongue-in-cheek way to the famous dialogue from the movie Clerks, in which the characters discussed the issue of contractors and workers being involved in the construction of both Death Stars and dying in the destruction of the second station. Joke or not, this could of course be a good reason why the construction of the first Death Star slowed down. Remember that it was still a prototype, so perhaps there were problems with the supply of materials, difficulties in implementing the new technology, lack of engineers, inexperience, growing pains in the mechanisms (like computer system glitches and bugs), attacks by rebels, etc.

The video game Star Wars: Battlefront II features a story mode that contains a mission of sabotage toward the first Death Star before the events of Star Wars, though this is obviously an after-the-fact rationalization not originally considered when Lucas was writing the story. This may go some way towards explaining why the second Death Star was constructed much faster: it was no longer a prototype, and although production of a Death Star does not seem exactly like assembly work, previous experience may have significantly sped up construction. And although operational, it was still far from completed. Another consideration is that it is not literally stated that the construction of Death Star II was started after the destruction of the first, and perhaps the Empire had already started building a second one while the first one was being finished -- perhaps the plan was to build several of them that would be stationed a key points throughout the galaxy. The architects must have considerably reworked the original plans, because the design flaw in the first Death Star (that it can be destroyed by firing a simple torpedo in the exhaust port) was eliminated in the second one. It is possible that the end of Revenge of the Sith, where Vader and the Emperor are looking upon the construction of the Death Star, took place some time after the other events shown in the end. There is, however, nothing in the scene to suggest this, nor any precedent for scenes in a Star Wars film being presented as flashforwards or flashbacks.

A more factual line of logical conjecture would be that it should come as no surprise that when it takes years to build an aircraft carrier, it should take a little longer to build something the size of a moon, especially since it was supposed to be a secret construction project (hard to hide a new moon, or the sudden disappearance of a million zero-g construction workers). As for why the second was built so much faster; just like in the movie Contact, why build just one when you can build two almost as easily? The hard parts were fabrication of new dies and tech. Once you can make something the first time, you just have to put a nominal cost into making a duplicate of all the new parts. Ultimately, having several Death Stars throughout the galaxy could only aid the Empire in achieving its goal of dominating the entire galaxy through intimidation.

Although Palpatine, the Emperor, was not featured in this film, it is mentioned by Grand Moff Tarkin that the Emperor has dissolved the Imperial Senate permanently, that the regional governors will now have direct control over their "territories" and that fear of the Death Star will keep the local systems in line. This means that during the first nineteen years of his reign, the Emperor kept the Senate intact in order to maintain the appearance that the people still had a certain amount of power (a ploy also used by Roman emperors); however in reality, the Senate probably had increasingly less to say, up to the point where the Emperor had so much military power that he could dismiss the Senate without much resistance. For the next steps, see the FAQ for Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back.

In the mythos of the Star Wars franchise, any Sith immediately outranks any member of the Imperials. However, that was back before the "Rule of Two" was introduced into the stories. It is possible that the Emperor was impressed with Tarkin's ruthlessness and ability to command the Imperial forces and so he is considered an equal to Vader, or simply the supreme commander of the Imperial forces, whereas Vader technically has no military rank (yet), just Lord and special servant to the Emperor (like Darth Maul was to Darth Sidious, in the first prequel, The Phantom Menace). Tarkin never really gives Vader orders, but he simply tells him to release General Motti from his telekinetic choke and to terminate Leia. Vader and Tarkin obviously have a long history together, so Vader respects Tarkin enough to honour his requests: "As you wish." Any other scenes with Vader and Tarkin, they converse as if equals and Tarkin even refers to Vader as "my friend".

Additionally, In the scene where Vader chokes Motti, Vader's actions also serve no other purpose than his own; Motti obviously dislikes and perhaps even hates Vader (remember how he tells Vader "your sad devotion to that ancient religion" hasn't accomplished anything?). It's simply a terror tactic employed by Vader to demonstrate how powerful he is and to show the audience how frightening a villain he is. When Tarkin tells Vader to cease his torture, he may be doing so because it is not serving any purpose during the council meeting and is only interrupting the discussion. Vader, realizing that Tarkin is correct, releases Motti—as even villains as menacing as Vader can have common sense.

It is also possible that Vader has temporarily fallen out of favor with the Emperor, which is bound to happen, as Darth Vader expresses his intention to overthrow the Emperor several times in the saga (hence the reason why there are never more than two Sith, as they always scheme to kill and overthrow each other). (Plus, the data on the vulnerability of the Death Star are missing and may have been a slip-up by Vader himself.) This may be why Tarkin is in control of the Death Star, and Vader is there merely as the Emperor's representative. Leia also mentions that Tarkin is "holding Vader's leash", and George Lucas mentions on the audio commentary that he perceives Vader as a servant who is frustrated by the bureaucratic powers around him. In the video game Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, which takes places shortly before the film, Vader indeed has a plan to seize control from the Emperor which he is forced to abandon when the Emperor finds out. It may be that Vader is significantly demoted at the start of the film as punishment, but still holds Tarkin's respect. For whatever is the case, there is little doubt that from the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back, onward; with Tarkin gone, Vader is in full executive power, and all Imperial officers answer to him.

In 1997, George Lucas re-released the original Star Wars trilogy. All three movies were not only reissued on video, but were also released in theaters worldwide, due to the 20th anniversary of the first movie. These versions contain the most changes the saga has seen yet. Particularly in the case of the first movie; complete scenes received new animations, and new scenes were added or were enhanced by numerous new characters. It was shown in cinemas, released on video twice and broadcast on television countless times. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here and here.

The DVD edition is primarily the 1997 Special Edition with a few added changes for either continuity purposes or otherwise. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here and here.

For the recently released Blu-ray discs, George Lucas altered some shots and dialogues of the Star Wars movies again. In the first movie mostly very small changes can be found like modified colors, e.g. the hatch of the escape capsule or a digital rock was added to the movie in the scene where R2-D2 is hiding from the sand people. Additionally tiny sound alterations are audible as well; and last but not least the Solo-Greedo scene was edited too, the gap between the blaster shots being reduced again. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here and here.

George Lucas has stated that the more recent versions of the original trilogy are the "definitive" versions. He quoted a statement among moviemakers, "movies are not finished, they are abandoned", and added that he himself decided not to abandon his movies, but properly finish them. The reason for this is because at the time the original films were made, 1977, 1980, and 1983; the technology to bring Lucas' true vision to the screen simply did not exist and the cost to realize it would have been astronomical. So with the technology available in the late 1990s through the 2000s; Lucas was able to touch-up, re-envision or create from scratch scenes from his original trilogy.

On the flip-side, many die-hard Star Wars fans disagree with many of the changes or additions that Lucas made to his original trilogy (the most infamous being Greedo shooting at Han) and consider the original theatrical releases of the films the definitive "perfect" versions of the movies. It is your own personal opinion what version you consider "definitive"; but to ask the creator himself, you will find the newer "special editions" are his preferred visions.

You can view the Star Wars Enhanced Script Presentation, with highlighted dialogue, over 900 screenshots appropriately placed, and soundtrack/audio effects highlights.

Originally the plan was the release each Star Wars movie, post-converted to 3D every February, starting with The Phantom Menace, in 2012, though many fans complained about having to invest six years into getting to see each Star Wars movie in 3D. In late 2012, it was announced that both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith would be released back-to-back in late 2013. However, once Walt Disney Studios acquired Lucasfilm, and the production of Episode VII was announced, Disney eventually declared that they were postponing the conversion to 3D and release of any more of the previous movies in order to focus on Episode VII. They also added that after production wraps on Episode VII they may continue to release the previous movies in 3D.

Princess Leia observes that the Imperial forces allowed them to escape the Death Star in order to track them to the Rebel base and this is later confirmed in the conversation between Darth Vader and Governor Tarkin. However, Vader is intent on facing Obi-Wan in single combat and it seems doubtful that the Imperial stormtroopers or TIE fighter pilots were in on the plan, so the perils faced by the heroes are likely quite real.


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