Star Wars Special Editions were on the way. And so was more merchandise.
I was never a big crisps eater. But when Walkers Crisps did their collectable Star Wars Tazos (like Pogs but not quite) I ate crisps like nothing else. I had almost the whole collection and I even had the special folder to store them in. But there was an elusive set of 10 that you could only get by eating a specific brand that neither me nor my parents ate. I was gutted. But some family friends came through and I got all but one, the Wampa. Oddly enough I managed to complete the set about two years ago when I found that last Tazo at my local comic shop. Best 10p I ever spent.
The weekend Star Wars: A New Hope SE came out I was staying at a friend of the families house and we were all going to see Space Jam. I was a late addition to the group and it was questionable that I would get a ticket to see the Warner Bros crew team up with Michael Jordan, so I said if I couldn’t see that maybe, just maybe I’d be able to see Star Wars. I’m afraid it was not to be that day, but I did watch the Behind-the-Scenes special that was on TV that evening. My friend Vix joined me in front of the TV, and when it finished she said she wanted to see those films having never seen them before.
A couple of weeks later Vix and I were sat in the cinema with my Brother and Sister and a few of their friends and it was amazing. We were so in awe we stayed until the end of the credits with my Sister who proclaimed that you hadn’t fully seen a film unless you watched the credits. This was before post-credits scenes were a thing so god knows why. I remember enjoying the new and altered scenes. CGI Jabba was a novelty and something I remembered from the novelisation. The Death Star hanger bay where Han runs in and then away made sense and the new Battle of Yavin shots with more X-Wings and more dynamic shots was mind-blowing.
My Dad took me to see Empire. He hadn’t seen that one before, only having seen A New Hope and Return of the Jedi when they came out originally. I pointed out the stuff that wasn’t in the original cut. The changes to Empire, aside from the Wampa sequence were subtle and welcome. Cloud City looked so much better with windows and the fly-through was great. The new Vader shuttle sequence was one of my favourite changes. Always like more Vader but why was Luke screaming when he let himself fall down the shaft after the revelation? Wasn’t so sure about that.
Vix joined Dad and I for Return of the Jedi. At the time I loved Jedi Rocks (I have since seen the error of my ways). The Sarlacc changes didn’t bother me much. But the ending, the celebration across the galaxy. Wow. The new music was great, it still gives me chills now, and I loved Yub Nub growing up but this was something else entirely.
Of course Star Wars fever carried on through the year, books were read and toys were bought. I was over the moon when on Christmas Day I opened a present to reveal the Special Edition Box Set (Gold). Just in time as well, I was wearing my previous versions out through repeated viewings.