I’ll be there are a lot of Star Wars fans that didn’t know how it was eventually saved in the edit process. Before we got this wonderful, jaw-dropping saga it was almost worthy of a scrap pile according to those few that Lucas showed the initial film to. It was too long, the scenes didn’t make sense when they pulled away to shift to a different setting and then back to the previous setting. There was too much buildup to scenes, and the dialogue needed a serious overhaul. So quite honestly Lucas had the imagination and the ability to create a whole new world, but he needed it fine-tuned before unloading it on the public.
Those same friends came in and helped out as much as they could, taking Lucas’s film and working their magic in a way that helped the movie in so many ways that it wasn’t hard to recognize the film when it was all done, but it was a decided improvement. The initial title crawl at the beginning was originally WAY too long. It gave out information that had no bearing on the current movie just yet and would have force-fed, no pun intended, a great number of facts onto the viewers without giving any basis for what they were reading. Now you might argue that it did this anyway but if you’d watched the original lines of script versus what actually made it to film you might likely agree that the changes made were entirely warranted.
The continuity between the scenes is also something that was very problematic. During the capture of Princess Leia’s ship the film shifts back and forth between the ship and Luke, who in the deleted scenes gets introduced much too quickly. This not only gives away the fact that there are people on Tattooine, but it also takes up too much time in which nothing really happens. At this point in the movie we don’t really need to see Luke, so the changes that were made had to do with keeping the scenes on the ship and ditching Luke’s early scenes.
A lot of the scenes were out of sequence as well. Too much was given without a clear basis of what the characters were talking about and the flow of the movie was choppy at best and discombobulated at worse. By shifting scenes around however that problem got solved very quickly. The dialogue was also a problem since in many areas it was just too long and complicated for a movie like Star Wars. This was an epic scifi movie that people wanted to see action sequences from, not bunch of poorly-written banter.
What came after the films were finally released and many years had passed was that Lucas decided to make some changes by adding things that weren’t initially in the film and changing a few things around. A lot of hardcore fans weren’t too happy about this, but Lucas usually just shrugs and states that the editing is his favorite part. After all it’s where he has the most control.