Content Warning: This list contains mentions of suicide.
after Stranger Things fans caught a mistake revolving around Will’s birthday, which was forgotten by the creators, Matt and Ross Duffer told variety that they were considering going back and changing the season 2 scene where the birthday is mentioned to fix the mistake made in season 4. The news that the Duffer Brothers would be willing to go in and change scenes and dialogue sparked a debate amongst Stranger Things fans which soon bled out into movie and TV fandoms of all types.
Re-editing scenes and portions of shows and movies isn’t a new concept and has been in practice for years. And while creators think the process of re-editing makes their original stories stronger, many fans reject the idea and prefer movies and shows to stay in their original formats. Despite what fans want, Hollywood and the creatives behind it continue to change movie films for a variety of different reasons.
Perhaps only die-hard Disney fans know this bit of Disney trivia, but the animated aladdin that audiences have loved for three decades now is a bit different than its original theatrical release. However, unlike some edits, this one was warranted and served to correct insensitive lyrics that offended many movie-theater goers during its initial release.
The lyric in question is found in the movie’s opening song, “Arabian Nights.” During the theatrical release, the Peddler introduced the audience to Agrabah and sings about it being a place “where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face.” The lyric was changed to “where it’s flat and immense and the heat is intense” for home distribution and remains changed in its digital form on Disney+.
Blade Runner (1982)
Not only is the 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner one of the best sci-fi movies of all time, but it might also be one of the most re-edited movies of all time. During its initial release, director Ridley Scott was encouraged to include copious voice-over narration by Harrison Ford to explain the character’s complex backstory to the audience. He was also encouraged to give the movie a traditional happy ending.
However, Scott was never pleased with this decision, and in 1992, a new version of Blade Runner was released without the narration and without the happy ending, which drastically changed many fan theories. Scott still wasn’t pleased, though, and in 2007, he recut the film again and included several deleted scenes American audiences never saw, which furthered the theory that Deckard is a replicant.
Lilo And Stitch (2002)
When the Walt Disney Company launched their streaming service Disney+, die-hard Disney fans were thrilled at having access to the complete Disney catalog of movies until they learned that Disney had subtly edited several classic movies to make them more palatable to modern audiences. One of the best post-Renaissance Disney era movies, Lilo and Stitch, was among those edited.
After a surprise visit from their social worker, Nani chases Lilo around the house, trying to punish her for her bad behavior in his presence. In the original edit, Lilo climbs into the dryer to hide from her sister. However, the version on Disney+ has Lilo hiding under a commode while using a pizza box to obscure her face. The edit is rumored to have been done to discourage children from hiding in their own dryers.
Star Wars Original Trilogy (1977, 1980, 1983)
When it comes to the discussion of re-editing movies, the original Star Wars trilogy is always brought up in conversation since George Lucas made the act of re-editing mainstream. 20 years after the original Star Wars was released, Lucas released a “Special Edition” cut of the original trilogy. The biggest of the edits included several new digital backgrounds and CGI creatures that Lucas was never able to create in the originals because the technology wasn’t there.
While fans aren’t thrilled about those changes in the Special Edition, they understand them more than they do the changes to the actual story. The biggest qualm Star Wars fans have with the reedits involves the heavily debated scene between Han Solo and Greedo over who shot first — the answer depends on which version one watches. Despite the backlash from the edits, Lucas continues to alter the originals as technology improves and allows for more tweaks here and there.
Stranger Things (2016-)
While the Duffer Brothers haven’t made changes to the notable Will’s birthday mistake quite yet, many die-hard Stranger Things fans have noticed that one particular scene in season 1 has been altered. In mid-July 2022, several TikTok users pointed out that “The Weirdo on Maple Street” has been slightly edited to remove a scene that paints Jonathan in an unflattering light.
Upon its original release, the episode contained a scene where Jonathan takes pictures of Nancy getting undressed in Steve’s bedroom while he’s supposed to be out searching for clues about his brother’s disappearance. Fans have claimed the scene has been altered but there has been no confirmation about the changes to this scene. However, the Duffer Brothers have confirmed that they’re not against changing portions of the show, so anything is possible.
The Falcon And The Winter Soldier (2021)
The MCUs The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is barely a year old, but even the Marvel superhero miniseries isn’t immune from Disney’s re-editing efforts. In March 2022 some devoted Reddit fans discovered that a scene where Bucky throws a pipe through a woman’s shoulder had been altered so that woman falls back on the pipe instead.
Fans speculated that the edit was done to make the scene less violent; however, Disney Plus quickly released a statement saying that the edit was “an error” and that someone had uploaded the wrong version of the scene onto the streaming platform. Thus, the original scene is now back on the streaming service; however, many fans are still skeptical about Disney’s excuse for the re-edit in the first place.
The Program (1993)
The Program might not be the best sports movie of all time, but it did have quite the impact on 1993 theater-goers, so much so that the sports movie had to re-edit the film to remove a scene that caused quite the controversy.
In the original release, the movie contained a scene where the quarterback and the rest of his football team lie down in the middle of a busy road as a form of team bonding. Young audience members thought the scene was exciting and decided to recreate it in real life, which ultimately led to a fatal accident in October 1993 that left one teen dead and his friend seriously injured. Immediately after the accident, the scene was edited out of the movie while it was still in theaters to discourage any more copycats.
The Shining (1980)
The iconic The Shining is one of the best psychological horror movies that also happens to be based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. During the premiere and first week of its theatrical release, the movie contained a scene at the end where Mr. Ullman explains to Wendy that Jack’s body couldn’t be found. The line was confusing for critics and audiences who thought it would be impossible for Jack’s body to simply disappear.
After the initial reviews, Warner Bros. and Stanley Kubrik ordered projectionists to cut the scene out of the movie in theaters, and when it was released for home video the scene was missing. Many fans were thankfully for the edit citing that it made the movie’s ending stronger.
13 Reasons Why (2017-2020)
Based on the teen book of the same name, Netflix’s teen series 13 Reasons Why might be their most controversial original series of all time. Both the book and the series deal with mature themes like suicide, but the series got a lot more criticism than the book did for showing in great detail how Hannah, the main character, took her own life.
The scene was met with great concern, especially from the suicide prevention organizations who felt the scene romanticized suicide and would lead to copycat incidents. Netflix originally defended its choice to include the scene but ultimately changed course two years later and edited it out of season 1 so that Hannah’s mom simply finds her instead.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Stanley Kubrick once again found himself unhappy with the released version of one of his movies. This time the culprit was the iconic sci-fi movie 2001: A Space Odyssey which was released in 1968. During its limited release, the movie was nonstop and left audiences feeling “restless,” which wasn’t quite the vibe Kubrick was going for.
Thus, he made the decision to re-edit the movie before it was widely released and trimmed 20 minutes off of the movie’s original runtime. However, since the original version was already distributed to theaters, theater chains had to follow directions on what scenes to cut which ultimately led to discrepancies between versions depending on the theater one attended.
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