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To Hyperspace on May the Fourth

Somehow May 4th became Star Wars day—“May the Fourth be With You.”

It’s not even a release date of any of the movies. But oh well. Even our kids this morning said, “Today is Star Wars day.”

Dominic Sewell on YouTube released his condensed score of one of my all-time favorite film music cues, “Hyperspace” from the climax of The Empire Strikes Back by John Williams (titled “To Hyperspace” on the sketch).

I love this piece! I can’t begin to tell you how electrified I was by it the first time I heard it in the early 1980s.

I don’t remember if it was on the 2LP soundtrack album, in the radio show, or during a bootleg videotape watch of the film itself (where it also appears in tracked form over the snowspeeder search for Luke and Han).

But I was like, wow, I love listening to this! And I still do!

Incidentally, I finally realized why this was, more than likely, used to replace part of Williams’ original cue for the aforementioned Hoth rescue. As originally written, Williams wrote the end of “Ben’s Instruction” to segue directly into the start of “Luke’s Rescue”—there’s a half-step figure in French horns that connects them.

This is not how it appears on the RCA 2CD set—there’s a gap to allow one cue to end, and the next to start. Listen at 6:48:

You can hear how that half-step figure is meant to be continuous, right? That’s how it is indicated in the scores (“overlap”), and if you try to track it against the film, that’s the only way it works.

However, my suspicion is that on the dubbing stage, they wanted to drop the beginning of “Luke’s Rescue” to favor the sound effects of the snowspeeders. The opening of Williams’ cue is very busy and heraldic and I suspect it was clashing with the FX.

But, when they tried to “dial in” the original “Luke’s Rescue” cue after their sound-effects fly-bys, it probably didn’t sound very good—because it was taking a musical idea already in development, and fading it up mid-stream.

So my guess is they went searching for another piece of music to needle-drop instead, and settled on “Hyperspace”—which works great.

I’ll bet I’m right!

One other thing this May the Fourth...not to pile on, and certainly not a news flash, but these Special Editions are so irritating. I don’t mind certain VFX shots being updated, but the narrative revisions are just maddening.

Specifically, the way the Special Edition of Empire breaks the narrative flow of Williams’ score to add pointless traveling shots of Vader going to his Star Destroyer (stock footage from Return of the Jedi)—why?!?!?

Talk about a solution in search of a problem.

I was fortunate to obtain copies a few years ago of the fan-made “Despecialized Editions,” which are cleaned-up versions of the original films, sans changes.

Don’t ask me for copies because the file sizes are HUGE—or where to get them, because I don’t know! I had to bring a hard drive to a friend’s house.

But those are the films I remember and it’s such a shame that they don’t make them available as well.

I love and admire George Lucas for everything he’s done, but on this point, I just don’t agree or understand. Give us both!

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Karim Elmahmoudi
Karim Elmahmoudi
May 05, 2023

I think my least favorite SE revision was Return of the Jedi's "Nooooooooooo!!!!!" from Vader. It ruins what was one of the most powerful scenes in the entire trilogy.

Lukas Kendall
Lukas Kendall
May 05, 2023
Replying to

The one time I met Mark Hamill (at a comic con maybe 20 years ago) I asked if he performed that unwisely added “Luke scream” as he’s falling out of Bespin in Empire. He was visibly upset, “No! And I wouldn’t have, if they asked me.” The point is that Luke was giving up in order to prevent Vader from getting him, he would not be screaming.

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