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Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – A Visual Guide to Changes, Fixes, and Tweaks in the Disney+ 4K Version

January 29, 2020 - 3:00 pm   |   by

Our old friend Drew Stewart—who is a longtime Digital Bits reader—is the webmaster for Star Wars Revisited and also curates the Star Wars Visual Comparisons blog.

He’s been working diligently to create a kind of visual guide to all the changes found in the recent Disney+ 4K version of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

Drew’s created a set of comparison images showing all of these updates and alterations—39 of them in all—and he’s kindly allowed us to compile them here in a 7-page gallery on The Digital Bits for all of you to see.

We definitely think that Star Wars fans will find this gallery both interesting and useful, not just to compare the new Disney+ 4K version to past Blu-ray and DVD releases, but also as a baseline in the event that further changes appear in the future. [Read on here...]

With all of this in mind, here’s a look at the differences that Drew has spotted thus far...

A new Fox logo without the “News Corp” banner was created.

A new Fox logo without the “News Corp” banner was created.

 

The Disney-era LFL logo has replaced the 90s-00s one, even though it’s timing doesn’t really work with the Fanfare.

The Disney-era LFL logo has replaced the 1990s-00s one (even though its timing doesn’t really work with the Fanfare).

 

The preface was replaced with the Attack of the Clones preface in 2004, and now is back to the original.

The preface was replaced with the Attack of the Clones preface in 2004, and now is back to the original.

 

The 2011 Blu-ray introduced an expanded entrance to Jabba’s Palace. This 3D change was also done in 4K, but cropped differently for some reason. (This new shot makes the door three times larger on the outside than the inside)

The 2011 Blu-ray introduced an expanded entrance to Jabba’s Palace. This 3D change was also done in 4K, but cropped differently for some reason. (This new shot makes the door three times larger on the outside than the inside)

 

This is a comparison of the different home video versions of Luke’s hologram. It’s unknown if these are legitimate changes or results of different scans.

This is a comparison of the different home video versions of Luke’s hologram. It’s unknown if these are legitimate changes or results of different scans.

 

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Han’s unfreezing from carbonite was redone for the 2011 Blu-ray and again in 4K. It’s believed this was done to ease the 3D conversion.

Han’s unfreezing from carbonite was redone for the 2011 Blu-ray and again in 4K. It’s believed this was done to ease the 3D conversion.

 

Han’s unfreezing from carbonite was redone for the 2011 Blu-ray and again in 4K. It’s believed this was done to ease the 3D conversion.

Han’s unfreezing from carbonite was redone for the 2011 Blu-ray and again in 4K. It’s believed this was done to ease the 3D conversion.

 

Han’s unfreezing from carbonite was redone for the 2011 Blu-ray and again in 4K. It’s believed this was done to ease the 3D conversion. The carbonite slab glows red through this shot.

Han’s unfreezing from carbonite was redone for the 2011 Blu-ray and again in 4K. It’s believed this was done to ease the 3D conversion. The carbonite slab glows red through this shot.

 

A Dug (Sebulba’s species) was added to the Blu-ray, and added again in 4K. It is slightly adjusted to better contact the ground now.

A Dug (Sebulba’s species) was added to the Blu-ray, and added again in 4K. It is slightly adjusted to better contact the ground now.

 

All of the Rancor shots were redone for the 2004 DVD and again for the 4K. The fingers cast a shadow in the re-render.

All of the Rancor shots were redone for the 2004 DVD and again for the 4K. The fingers cast a shadow in the re-render.

 

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All of the Rancor shots were redone for the 2004 DVD and again for the 4K.

All of the Rancor shots were redone for the 2004 DVD and again for the 4K.

 

All of the Rancor shots were redone for the 2004 DVD and again for the 4K. Luke’s position in frame was adjusted in the recomposite.

All of the Rancor shots were redone for the 2004 DVD and again for the 4K. Luke’s position in frame was adjusted in the recomposite.

 

Part of the original shot of Han hitting Boba Fett’s jetpack was replaced with a different angle in the Blu-ray and 4K.

Part of the original shot of Han hitting Boba Fett’s jetpack was replaced with a different angle in the Blu-ray and 4K.

 

This shot was all tan in every version until the 2004 scan, and seems to have been recolored again in 4K.

This shot was all tan in every version until the 2004 scan, and seems to have been recolored again in 4K.

 

Obi-Wan’s ghostly blue was redone in 2004 and is the same in 2004. It no longer covers his whole body into the weeds in front of him and stops at his knees.

Obi-Wan’s ghostly blue was redone in 2004 and is the same in 2004. It no longer covers his whole body into the weeds in front of him and stops at his knees.

 

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Wicket was given new eyes in select scenes for the Blu-ray and again in 4K.

Wicket was given new eyes in select scenes for the Blu-ray and again in 4K.

 

Wicket blinks in select scenes for the Blu-ray and again in 4K.

Wicket blinks in select scenes for the Blu-ray and again in 4K.

 

There was a hole in the transition between the live action element and this matte painting. It was filled in for first time in the 4K.

There was a hole in the transition between the live action element and this matte painting. It was filled in for first time in the 4K.

 

The 2004 scan appears to have introduced a square dark spot in this flash frame shortly after the trap is sprung. It does not appear in the 4K scan.

The 2004 scan appears to have introduced a square dark spot in this flash frame shortly after the trap is sprung. It does not appear in the 4K scan.

 

The Emperor’s “slugs” (dark spots added in post around his eyes that covered the eyelight in the hood) were blended in for the 2004 version and blended in better for the 4K.

The Emperor’s “slugs” (dark spots added in post around his eyes that covered the eyelight in the hood) were blended in for the 2004 version and blended in better for the 4K.

 

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Starting in 2011 after R2 is shot, his center area (the blue bits and the vents) were replaced with CG and additional bits were added. The part that shot water now shoots steam and the ground in the background was replaced to cover the water stream. This was redone for the 4K.

Starting in 2011 after R2 is shot, his center area (the blue bits and the vents) were replaced with CG and additional bits were added. The part that shot water now shoots steam and the ground in the background was replaced to cover the water stream. This was redone for the 4K.

 

Starting in 2011 after R2 is shot, his center area (the blue bits and the vents) were replaced with CG and additional bits were added. This was redone for the 4K.

Starting in 2011 after R2 is shot, his center area (the blue bits and the vents) were replaced with CG and additional bits were added. This was redone for the 4K.

 

In order to not have to animate the sparks around the now-CG center area, a bright white matte was added in 2011 to just cover that area. Now in the 4K, the original center section was added over the top of the new CG bits, bringing back the water stream for a couple of frames and making the new animated bits fade out for just as long.

In order to not have to animate the sparks around the now-CG center area, a bright white matte was added in 2011 to just cover that area. Now in the 4K, the original center section was added over the top of the new CG bits, bringing back the water stream for a couple of frames and making the new animated bits fade out for just as long.

 

The crossed sabers in front of the Emperor has seen a lot of action. The 97SE used the original composites, but in 2004 they started a new composite, but neglected to add the bright core element. In 2011 they went through and added the core element. It’s unclear if the 4K version is redone or just the straight scan from the 1997 negative.

The crossed sabers in front of the Emperor has seen a lot of action. The 97SE used the original composites, but in 2004 they started a new composite, but neglected to add the bright core element. In 2011 they went through and added the core element. It’s unclear if the 4K version is redone or just the straight scan from the 1997 negative.

 

The speeder bike being roped into a tree was brightened in the 4K. Note that the new bright matte makes a glow between the front spokes. (Thanks to Adywan for pointing this one out)

The speeder bike being roped into a tree was brightened in the 4K. Note that the new bright matte makes a glow between the front spokes. (Thanks to Adywan for pointing this one out)

 

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An example of how the core element was missing in the 2004 and restored in 2011. It’s unclear if the 4K version is redone or just the straight scan from the 1997 negative.

An example of how the core element was missing in the 2004 and restored in 2011. It’s unclear if the 4K version is redone or just the straight scan from the 1997 negative.

 

The lens flare coming from the top of this shot as the Executor explodes has been reduced for the 4K.

The lens flare coming from the top of this shot as the Executor explodes has been reduced for the 4K.

 

Anakin’s eyebrows were removed for the 2004 DVD. This was redone in 4K slightly differently, and you can see a slight brown spot where the eyebrows were removed in the shadow.

Anakin’s eyebrows were removed for the 2004 DVD. This was redone in 4K slightly differently, and you can see a slight brown spot where the eyebrows were removed in the shadow.

 

Anakin’s eyebrows were removed for the 2004 DVD. This was redone in 4K slightly differently.

Anakin’s eyebrows were removed for the 2004 DVD. This was redone in 4K slightly differently.

 

Anakin’s eyebrows were removed for the 2004 DVD. This was redone in 4K slightly differently.

Anakin’s eyebrows were removed for the 2004 DVD. This was redone in 4K slightly differently.

 

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When Naboo was added to the ending celebrations, the Mos Eisley tower that wiped to Coruscant was cut out to make a wipe to Naboo. This was redone in 4K (note the wider pole on the top left and how the cutout is different on the main section.

When Naboo was added to the ending celebrations, the Mos Eisley tower that wiped to Coruscant was cut out to make a wipe to Naboo. This was redone in 4K (note the wider pole on the top left and how the cutout is different on the main section.

 

Naboo was added to the ending celebrations in 2004, and the same shot was added to the 4K. Note that this is a mirrored shot of the Trade Federation invading in The Phantom Menace.

Naboo was added to the ending celebrations in 2004, and the same shot was added to the 4K. Note that this is a mirrored shot of the Trade Federation invading in The Phantom Menace.

 

When Naboo was added to the ending celebrations, the Mos Eisley tower that wiped to Coruscant was cut out to make a wipe to Naboo. A new wipe was created to move from Naboo to Coruscant, which was recreated in 4K.

When Naboo was added to the ending celebrations, the Mos Eisley tower that wiped to Coruscant was cut out to make a wipe to Naboo. A new wipe was created to move from Naboo to Coruscant, which was recreated in 4K.

 

The 1997 version of Coruscant added to the ending celebrations had random buildings in the background. These buildings were replaced with the Senate building from the prequels for the DVD, which had to be redone in 4K. The matte lines on the foreground building to the left are different and a ghost of the left part of the original background building can be seen.

The 1997 version of Coruscant added to the ending celebrations had random buildings in the background. These buildings were replaced with the Senate building from the prequels for the DVD, which had to be redone in 4K. The matte lines on the foreground building to the left are different and a ghost of the left part of the original background building can be seen.

 

The 1997 version of Coruscant added to the ending celebrations had random buildings in the background. These buildings were replaced with the Jedi Temple from the prequels for the DVD, which had to be redone in 4K. The original shot of the X-wings shooting off fireworks was completely replaced.

The 1997 version of Coruscant added to the ending celebrations had random buildings in the background. These buildings were replaced with the Jedi Temple from the prequels for the DVD, which had to be redone in 4K. The original shot of the X-wings shooting off fireworks was completely replaced.

 

Sebastian Shaw’s head was replaced by Hayden Christensen for the DVD. This was redone in 4K, but it is now more apparent where the head was added.

Sebastian Shaw’s head was replaced by Hayden Christensen for the DVD. This was redone in 4K, but it is now more apparent where the head was added.

 

Sebastian Shaw’s head was replaced by Hayden Christensen for the DVD. This was redone in 4K, but it is now more apparent where the head was added.

Sebastian Shaw’s head was replaced by Hayden Christensen for the DVD. This was redone in 4K, but it is now more apparent where the head was added.

 

The final wipe was recreated in 1997, and it looks to have been done again in the 4K.

The final wipe was recreated in 1997, and it looks to have been done again in the 4K.

 

So those are all the changes, fixes, and tweaks spotted so far. If Drew finds more, we’ll add them here.

Meanwhile, our thanks to Drew Stewart for all his hard work! And be sure to check out our similar guides for Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back here on The Digital Bits as well.

You can find Drew online on his Star Wars Revisited and Star Wars Visual Comparisons sites, and also here and here on Twitter.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the guide to Return of the Jedi 4K!

As always, stay tuned....

- Bill Hunt

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)