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How many versions of the movies were released?

This section deals with some of the information from the Re-editing chapter in Ryan Silva's Compendium. In that chapter the differences between the bootleg copy and the (first?) laser disc version are compared. There are also comparisons to the original release of the film and the recent laser disc version.

Sometime around 1979 when we had one of the movie channels, I made an audio cassette recording that doesn't seem to match any of the three discussed above. While quoting from the Compendium, I've included sound files that show the differences. I don't know what format Showtime or any of the other "movie channels" were provided with (i.e. video tape or laser disc).

To add to the fray, I'd like to work up a list of all of the various times that all of the films were released. Also working in when they were shown on network and things like Showtime or HBO. Specials and other items are included.

  • May 1977 - Star Wars premieres.
  • Wednesday, August 15, 1979 - Star Wars 1st re-issue.
  • 1980 - The Empire Strikes Back premieres.
  • April 10, 1981 - two-week reissue (Star Wars becomes Episode IV: A New Hope) BTW - This was also to be the date of the first launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia.
  • July 31, 1981 - TESB 1st re-issue in the theaters.
  • April 10, 1982 - AHN in the theaters.
  • November 19, 1982 - TESB 2nd re-issue.
  • 1983 - Return of the Jedi premieres
  • 1997 - ANH is re-released for the 20th anniversary.
    Television, Videotape and other
  • 1977 - Star Wars is bootlegged.
  • 197? - The spoof Hardware Wars comes out. It was shown on cable and some people (myself included) also saw public performances of it on 16mm film.
  • 197? - The Donnie & Marie Show featuring Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2, Kris Kristoferson, Redd Foxx & Paul Lynne.
  • 197? - The Making of Star Wars airs on CBS(?).
  • 1978 - Star Wars Wookie Holiday Special aired on CBS.
  • 198? - Special Effects: The Empire Strikes Back airs on TV.
  • 198? - Trilogy released in fold-out box set.
  • 19?? - The definative collection is released to laser disc. (First version had many errors)
  • 1984 - The Ewok Adventure comes out (direct to tape?)
  • 1985 - Ewoks: The Battle for Endor comes out (direct to tape?)
  • 1992 - From Star Wars to Jedi: the Making of the Saga comes out on videotape.
  • 1995 - The One Last Time trilogy is released to videotape in both cropped and letterboxed versions.
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Copyright © 1997, Michael A. & Tammy G. Hendershot