"These changes include new special effects, revised and updated shots and scenes, and new footage shot with actors Hayden Christensen (Anakin) and Ian McDiarmid (the Emperor) that would flesh out moments with their characters in the original films. For example, an aged and scarred Hayden now appears as Anakin at the end of Return of the Jedi when Luke removes Vader's helmet.
Among the other changes reportedly being made are the restoration of the original "Han shoots first" moment from Star Wars and a revamped lightsaber fight between Obi-Wan and Vader. What we've heard meshes with what we've been told before, which is that Lucas has always planned to release ultimate, "Archive" editions of these films that tie in better with the new prequels.
The main question in our minds now is this: will these changes be completed in time to appear on the DVD releases planned for next September, or will we have to wait until after Episode III hits theaters to see them? And if we have to wait, what versions will appear on the DVDs? Time will tell".
In addition, The Force.net has listed the apparent changes that are to be included in each DVD of the set:
1. The Imperial March has been added to Darth Vader's first appearance on Princess Leia's ship.
2. When Obi-Wan is talking to Luke about his father Anakin's Theme plays in the background and then it turns into the Imperial March as he talks about Vader.
3. The lightsaber effects have been redone and the frame jumps of lightsabers being turned on has been removed.
4. There's a new scene which has been shot during the filming of Episode III in which the Emperor dissolves the Senate.
5. In the Cantina, the Duros (green aliens guys) have been replaced with Neimoidians and some aliens from the prequels have been added.
6. The bleeding arm on the floor in the Cantina has been replaced with a non-bleeding arm because it's now canon that lightsabers cauterize wounds.
7. The original shooting scene between Han and Greedo has been restored.
8. Jabba the Hutt has been given a makeover and Han no longer steps on his tale.
9. In place of R2 wobbling down the stairs to the Falcon's hangar, a CG R2 navigating the stairs like he does in Attack of the Clones was added.
10. The white boxes around space ships have been removed and new CG shots have been added.
11. The scene of the Falcon being chased by the two Star Destroyers was modified. The Falcon now does spinning moves, avoiding the Star Destroyers' fire.
12. When the Death Star destroys Alderaan there's a new scene of Yoda's reaction to the disturbance in the Force that is created by all those deaths and then it cuts to Obi-Wan reacting to it as well.
13. The Dianoga has gotten a CG makeover and were are now able to see more of the creature.
14. The Death Star's paneling and computers have been slightly altered to show similar displays to those in the prequels.
15. The words "Tractor Beam" with Aurebesh lettering.
16. More stormtroopers have been added to the Death Star.
17. Temuera Morrison's voice is being recorded for use with all the stormtroopers.
18. The Obi-Wan/Vader duel has been spruced up. It is much more epic and there is much more movement. A modified version of Duel of the Fates is being considered for the scene.
19. The Death Star plans that are taken from R2 have been updated. When the Rebels are reviewing the Death Star plans they look similar to the plans we see in Attack of the Clones.
20. The Death Star battle is much more epic with more Tie Fighters and more Rebels being blown to bits. We get to see old Naboo starfighters being used by the Rebels.
21. There's a new scene (shot during Episode III) where Darth Vader goes to Coruscant and lands his ship in the same building Count Dooku does at the end of Attack of the Clones. Except now the building is all fixed up and it is now Palpatine's palace. He meets with Palpatine to ask for forgiveness for his failure and inform him of a new potential who is strong in the Force.
22. Chewbacca now gets a medal.
1. The taun-tauns are now CG.
2. The battle of Hoth is much more epic. We see the Imperial ships land on Hoth and release AT-ATs. The AT-ATs have been sped up a bit. There's a ground battle between the Rebel soldiers and stormtroopers featuring new ships and vehicles.
3. Temuera Morrison's voice is being recorded for the older Boba Fett and all the stormtroopers.
4. The white boxes around space ships have been removed.
5. The slug monster is CG.
6. Ian McDiarmid has refilmed scenes as the Emperor. The conversations between Vader and Palpatine is now longer and features a few connections to the prequels.
7. Yoda's face is now animated in CG allowing more expression of emotions yet his movements remain the same. Also two deleted scenes featuring Yoda instructing Luke have been restored.
8. A new scene was shot in which the stormtroopers, after they capture Han, Leia and Chewie, bring Vader the box containing C-3PO in pieces. Vader orders the stormtroopers to bring the broken droid to Chewbacca's cell so that he can fix him.
9. The lightsaber effects have been redone in certain parts.
10. Luke's fall from Cloud City has been reshot against bluescreen using a stuntman.
1. Jabba the Hutt is now a combination of the puppet and CG.
2. The Rancor is CG and looks disgusting as ever.
3. Yoda is CG. Yoda disappears leaving his clothes behind like Obi-Wan now.
4. The ewoks are now mostly CG and there are a lot more of them.
5. The plan is to insert the love theme Across the Stars when Luke is talking with Leia about their mother.
6. Temuera Morrison's like before is now the voice for Boba Fett and all the stormtroopers.
7. In the battle of Endor there are thousands of Ewoks and they are more vicious than there midgets-in-suits counterparts. More bite the dust now.
8. White boxes around ships removed.
9. The black blotches around Palpatine's face are gone.
10. Some of the lightsaber effects have been redone. The shadows that the lightsabers made on the floor are gone.
11. During Anakin's death scene it starts with a sad rendition of the Imperial March and slowly evolves into Anakin's Theme.
12. Sebastion Shaw who played Anakin when he was unmasked has been replaced with Hayden Christenson in make-up to make him look older. Anakin has much more dialogue. He apologizes for the destruction he caused, he thanks his son for turning him back to the light, he tells his son to rebuild the Jedi and he says he loves him and his sister. Just before he dies he says, "It is finished...".
13. We see more planets celebrating at the end of the movie. We see an aged Jar Jar, who is now the leader of the Gungans, on Naboo celebrating with the people of Naboo and the Gungans. We see an old Watto, who is now unable to fly, sitting in a hover chair cheering on Tatooine. During these scenes Across the Stars plays transitioning to the victory celebration music at the Ewok tree village.
14. Anakin's spirit is now played by Hayden Christenson with make-up to make him look his age. He looks on proudly at his son Luke with the spirit of Padme by his side.
Then quite recently, 'Moriarty' of AICN has weighed in on the topic and called these changes "an utter fabrication":
"I'm going to have to call this one out as being total nonsense. This exact word for word list ran as a talkback by a guy named "Donnie Darko" several weeks ago, and that's not the first time I've seen it show up. Yes, Lucas is working on Archival Editions of the films, despite his continued denial of it in public, like at a UCLA appearance this week. Yes, there are some dramatic things they're trying. But this fanboy wish list is just not true. And the films that are coming out on DVD next fall are the Special Editions you've seen already. The ones released in '97. No changes. Nothing done to them"
I guess time will tell! We'll keep you posted!