The Ultimate Introductory Guide

Harmy’s Star Wars Trilogy
Despecialized Editions

How to Download, View, and Stay Informed



006 - VITck5L.jpg

She may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid. (Original concept art by Ralph McQuarrie)

Authored by HanDuet

Latest revision: 2018-10-10 (v5.0.2)

Content reviewed and approved by Harmy

Latest review: 2017-01-02 (v4.8)

Share this guide directly with the following link:

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

To view a copy of this license, visit

Guide Contents

Guide Contents

Section 1: Introduction

Section 2: About the Despecialized Editions

Section 3: Manual Download

Section 4: Multipart RAR Download

Section 5: Other Download Methods

Section 6: File Verification (Optional)

Section 7: Playback

Software Playback

Disk Playback

Blu-ray Disk Boxset

USB Playback

Section 8: Staying Informed & Helpful Links

Staying Informed

Other Helpful Links

Section 9: Closing

Section 10: Feedback

How to Give Feedback

Section 11: Change Log

Section 1: Introduction


Thanks for your interest in the Star Wars Trilogy Despecialized Editions. As the author of this guide, allow me to emphasize that I'm simply a fellow Star Wars fan helping others discover this amazing project. Credit for its actual creation goes to Harmy along with countless others who have dedicated their time, skills, and resources toward this restoration. Getting copies of the Despecialized Editions (“DE”) can be a hurdle if you don't know what you're doing, so I'm here to help.

Remember, as with any fan edit, YOU MAY ONLY DOWNLOAD THIS PROJECT IF YOU ARE A LEGAL OWNER OF THE OFFICIAL SOURCE. For Harmy’s DE project, this means YOU MUST OWN AN OFFICIAL HD RELEASE for each respective film (i.e. Star Wars Episodes IV, V, & VI), such as the official Blu-ray Disks or digital purchase.

This Star Wars fan community is built on the honor system with the understanding that if people who don't own legal copies of the Star Wars Original Trilogy obtain the DE, it's entirely possible that the entire project will be shut down due to piracy allegations. So please encourage people to support the Star Wars franchise and purchase the official releases!

This guide is meant to introduce people to the DE project, outline methods of obtaining copies, and explain various ways to view the media.

For convenience, I encourage people to refer to this document as “TUIG” (short for “The Ultimate Introductory Guide”).

Special thanks to Harmy himself for reviewing this guide and approving its content for publication.

TUIG featured by Harmy at the following links: (links to “The Ultimate Introductory Guide”) (pinned on official Facebook page)

Section 2: About the Despecialized Editions

Born out of frustrated fans’ failed attempts to convince George Lucas to release the unaltered theatrical versions of the Star Wars Original Trilogy films (Episodes IV, V, & VI), the online forum community built around a popular petition hosted at turned to discussion of fan edits as a means to obtain their shared goal without Lucas’ help. Eventually, a fan restoration project led by Harmy as the primary video editor resulted in the what he called the Despecialized Editions.

Since the initial release of the Despecialized Edition (“DE” or “DEED”) of Star Wars [“Episode IV: A New Hope”] in 2011, Harmy has since published DE versions of The Empire Strike Back [Episode V, “ESB”] and Return of the Jedi [Episode VI, “ROTJ”], and continues to release landmark updates to each of these restored films.

As of December 2016, the Despecialized Edition of Star Wars was remastered then recolorized at version 2.7, ESB stands at v2.0 with additional improvements in development, and v2.5 of ROTJ saw the implementation of highly superior source material. Furthermore, Harmy shared his development plans for eventual v3.0 releases of the entire Trilogy over the next few years. If you plan to enjoy Star Wars DE to the fullest, check for the most current versions (Section 6), and learn how to stay informed (Section 8) so that you’ll know of future updates when they’re available!

Each of the DE films includes a combination of three major projects: video, audio, and subtitles.

The video itself was painstakingly restored from various sources, including the official Blu-rays, bonus DVDs, Digital TV broadcasts, film scans, and more. All these were gathered from fans around the world, then compiled and underwent massive fine-tuning by Harmy and others.

The audio features availability in numerous streams. From 5.1 DTS-HD-MA surround, to 1.0 mono mix to reproduce the feel of the original theatrical showing, to various dubs in a multitude of languages, the sound choices bundled with Harmy’s DE allows the films’ sound to accommodate any preference. Most audio work was contributed by hairy_hen and Belbucus.

Finally, Harmy’s DE also includes & supports subtitles courtesy of Project Threepio led by CatBus. This ongoing fan project provides high-quality subtitles for Star Wars films in their unaltered forms in order to broaden the appeal of fan preservation efforts beyond the English-speaking world.


Be aware that Harmy releases Star Wars DE in multiple formats:

  1. MKV (.mkv) - the full, complete release with all features
  2. AVCHD (.iso, BDMV folder) - full video with limited extras formatted for Blu-ray Disk
  3. NTSC DVD5 (VIDEO_TS folder) - compressed content to fit project on a DVD

(see Section 7 for more info)

Many view Harmy’s Star Wars Trilogy Despecialized Edition as the quintessential version of the Original Trilogy and a testament to the unwavering dedication of fans inspired by the films. You can learn more about the project’s origin, development, and goals by reading this news article or searching for other online articles, as knowledge of the project has made its way to mainstream media on more than one occasion.

The rest of this guide explains how to obtain and enjoy Harmy’s DE.

FAQ: Why don’t you distribute this release with an official public torrent / upload to my favorite download site / post on YouTube / etc?


  1. For many reasons, is most convenient for Harmy as an upload location.
  2. Public torrents are too easy to access, and would greatly increase the chance of illegal downloads by people who don’t own the source material.
  3. If people aren’t willing to spend a few minutes following step-by-step instructions to obtain a free copy of a project created with countless hours of volunteer effort, that’s their loss. Patience, young padawan.

Section 3: Manual Download

Method Summary:

Search for filename on host site, then download one or two large files.


Simplest method. Minimal setup and installation of programs.


Slowest method. May not be available for all releases & formats.

Step 0 (Optional)

Install FreeRapid Downloader or an alternate download manager as described in Section 4, Steps 1-4. This will help speed up your download and allow you to resume an interrupted or paused download without needing to start over. If you do not want to use a download manager, skip this step and download through your browser.

Step 1

Go to, then use the website’s search bar to find the version of Harmy’s Despecialized Edition you want. Use the search terms provided in the table below to find each episode.

Despecialized Edition:

Search Term:

Star Wars


The Empire Strikes Back


Return of the Jedi



Step 2

From the list of search results, select the version and format of Harmy’s DE you want.

NOTE: Some formats may be available in a single download, while larger formats with the word “part” in their filename will require you to download all parts.


Step 3

If you completed Step 0, copy the page’s URL from your browser, then add the URL to your download manager program as described in Section 4, Steps 6-7.

Otherwise, click “Slow download” as shown in the image below, then solve the captcha and click the “Download” button to start the file download through your browser. (If you have an premium account, you may log in to use the “Fast download” instead.)


NOTE: The website may look different than in these pictures; use your best judgement to search the site, find your desired file, and start a free download.

For multi-file downloads, repeat Step 3 for each additional part.

Step 4

While waiting for your download(s) to finish, install a free RAR archive extractor that works with multipart RARs such as 7-Zip (Windows / Linux) or The Unarchiver (Mac).

Step 5

Once your download is complete, locate the downloaded .RAR file(s) on your computer, then extract the files with your installed RAR archive extractor.

For multi-file downloads, extract the first part of the RAR archive (will say something like “...part1.rar” at the end of the file); the RAR extractor will automatically combine all parts into the complete, original file.

[How-to article for more help.]

Use “harmy” if prompted for a password.

That’s it! See Sections 6-8 for additional helpful information.

Section 4: Multipart RAR Download

Method Summary:

Install download manager. Add list of URL links to initiate automated downloads of a multipart RAR file.


Faster method. Official releases first provided this way. Preferred method.


Installation of programs to setup.

Step 1

Java Runtime Environment version 7 (“JRE 7”) or newer is required to run the download manager. You probably already have this, but be sure to install or update to the newest version of Java as needed:

Step 2

Download the program FreeRapid Downloader (“FRD”). For convenience, I’ve provided the following Dropbox download (no login required):

FreeRapid-0.9u4.ZIP (Windows/Mac/Linux/Others)

MD5: A067ECBD37AC7C83A795C34A3DC6388F (source & alternate download links)

Step 3

Extract the downloaded .ZIP file. Move the extracted folder to a location on your computer where you want to save the program.

Windows users: It is recommended that you not save the FRD program under “Program Files” as this can prevent plugin updates. It may also be necessary to run the program “as administrator”.

Step 4

Open the extracted folder and open the file named “frd.jar” as shown in the image below. This will launch FreeRapid Downloader.


Mac users: Since the file is unsigned, the first time you launch this program you will need to locate this app through Finder (not Launchpad), click “frd.jar” while holding the Control key, and then choose “Open” from the shortcut menu.

For more information, see:

Step 5

Once the program loads, go to the Help menu to check for and install any updates for the program and plugins.



Step 6

Take a minute to open and view the Preferences window under the Options tab and configure settings as you want.


Step 7

Visit the Multipart RAR Download Links supplemental guide with the link below:

Follow the guide’s instructions to find the version of Harmy’s DE you want. For each film, follow the provided link to a Pastebin post containing a list of download URLs from a host site. As shown in the example image below, select and copy all text in the RAR Paste Data box.


Step 8

Open FRD. If “Clipboard monitoring” is enabled, all the URLs you copied will be automatically shown. Otherwise, click the “Add URL(s)” icon and paste all the copied URLs copied from Step 7. Choose a “Save To” location where the files will be downloaded onto your computer, then select Start to begin downloading.


Step 9

FRD will analyze, queue, and begin downloading the files automatically. If you encounter errors, close and restart FRD. If some download links are offline, recheck those links later by right-clicking and selecting “Validate” in FRD.

Once started, FRD will run multiple downloads simultaneously and start the next queued items once a download is completed. At any time, you may pause the downloads and later resume them, even if you close FRD or restart your computer.


Step 10

While waiting for your download(s) to finish, install a free RAR archive extractor that works with multipart RARs such as 7-Zip (Windows / Linux) or The Unarchiver (Mac).

Step 11

After you’ve downloaded ALL files of the multipart RAR archive, use your installed RAR extractor to extract the first part of the RAR archive (will say something like “...part01.rar” at the end of the file). The first part of the multipart RAR archive contains information about how many parts are in the complete file, so the RAR extractor will automatically combine all parts into the complete, original file.

[How-to article for more help.]

Use “harmy” if prompted for a password.

That’s it! See Sections 6-8 for additional helpful information.

Section 5: Other Download Methods

The download methods described in Sections 3 and 4 are the most efficient known ways to obtain official releases of the Despecialized Editions provided directly from Harmy. However, it is worth noting that a number of alternative download methods are available if you know where to look. While detailed guides will not be provided, here are a few more summaries to get you started if you’d like to look into alternative download methods.

Method Summary:

Multipart RAR download with JDownloader or other download manager.


More program features than FRD.


Updated guide not provided. May involve programs that include adware.

To start...

Follow these older directions from TUIG v4.0. (I may occasionally make slight updates to these directions, but no promises of accuracy.)

Method Summary:

Download through public torrent tracker.


Potentially faster downloads. Different formats and versions may be available (smaller file sizes, BD25 format with menus, etc.)


No guide. Obtained files may be not be official versions provided by Harmy (see Section 6), and are likely lower quality.

To start...

Google it.

Section 6: File Verification (Optional)

This is an optional step you can utilize to ensure you find and successfully download the official current versions of Harmy’s Star Wars Despecialized Edition. File names, sizes, checksums, and instructions to accomplish this are provided at the link below:

Supplementary Guide: File Verification

Section 7: Playback

OK, so you've made it this far and finally obtained a copy of the Despecialized Editions. Now, how do you watch them? Depending on which version you downloaded, the files will be in one of three possible formats: MKV, AVCHD, or NTSC DVD5.

The MKV (.mkv) releases are the best, comprehensive versions, with all the various soundtracks and subtitles included. This version can most easily be converted into other formats with the right programs.

AVCHD is formatted for burning onto a Blu-ray Disk (BD) or even a dual-layer DVD (DVD-DL). This version usually downloads as a .ISO file (often with a .MDS file included). Not all soundtracks and subtitles are included in this version due to BD limitations. See this article to learn how to “mount” the .ISO file on Windows, Mac, or Linux.

NTSC DVD5 is for burning onto a compatible DVD. This version may only include a single soundtrack and possibly no subtitles in order to make the files small enough to load onto a DVD.

Software Playback

For viewing directly on your computer (my preferred method), the MKV version is best. If you don't already have a program installed that can play MKV files, here are some recommendations:

VLC (Windows / Mac / Ubuntu / others) is a very popular free media player that's compatible with almost all media file types.

MPC-HC (Windows) is a minimalist player and my personal favorite.

I recommend downloading and installing codec pack such as K-Lite Codec Pack, which includes MPC-HC bundled with powerful playback options.

Both VLC and MPC-HC can also be used to view the AVCHD / NTSC DVD5 versions on your computer by opening the BDMV or VIDEO_TS folder with the media player.

Disk Playback

If you're wanting to burn the video onto a disk to view through a hardware BD or DVD player, clearly you should choose the AVCHD or even NTSC DVD5 version. Then, use a program like ImgBurn (Windows) to write the files onto an appropriate disk.

Here's a guide for using ImgBurn to create a Blu-ray Disk movie from AVCHD files:

Blu-ray Disk Boxset

Many people are interested in creating a Blu-ray Disk boxset of the Despecialized Editions, complete with BD menus, special features, and cover art. There are no plans for an official release in this format, but others have created BD50/BD25 files with these features, which can be obtained following other guides or through certain torrent trackers. Full details are beyond the scope of this guide, so it is left to each individual to find the resources they want to create on their own Blu-ray Disks.

USB Playback

If you're wanting to watch on a TV screen but don't want to burn on a disk, some modern TVs and Blu-ray players can play files from a USB drive. Some of them can even play MKV files directly.

Otherwise, you could try converting the MKV file to the widely-compatible .MP4 format with a program like HandBrake (Windows / Mac / Ubuntu / others). Research online as needed to learn about file converting programs.

Section 8: Staying Informed & Helpful Links

Staying Informed

As stated in Section 2, Harmy and others are constantly working on new versions of the DE Trilogy as better sources, technology, and skills become available. To stay informed about the ongoing work and updated releases, you’ll want connect and/or get involved with the project through one or more of the following ways.

First, I highly encourage you to visit the official forum threads on for each film of the Star Wars Original Trilogy, found at the links listed below. The first post of each thread will tell you about the most current version of that film along with detailed specifications. In addition, it's a great place to communicate with Harmy and the other contributors of this project!

Official Project Threads:

Star Wars:

Empire Strikes Back:

Return of the Jedi:

Other good ways to connect with Harmy and stay informed are through the official project Facebook page and Harmy’s YouTube channel.

Official Star Wars Despecialized Facebook page:

Harmy's official YouTube channel:

Follow my Facebook page to be informed of updates to this guide and other helpful/interesting information related to the Despecialized Editions:

Other Helpful Links

Finally, here is a collection of links that might be of help or interest to you. Directly relevant links are already incorporated into this guide.

Video Sources Documentary for Star Wars DE v2.5 (11 min version)

Extended Video Sources Documentary for Star Wars DE v2.5 (20 min version)

The “Machete Order”

IFDb - The Internet Fanedit Database

L8wrtr’s Star Wars Prequel Trilogy:

Episode I: Shadow of the Sith

Episode II: The Republic Divided

Episode III: Dawn of the Empire

Star Wars Respecialized Edition ‘97

Other Star Wars Preservations and Fan Projects on Forums

Section 9: Closing

Thank you very much for referencing this guide! While admittedly lengthy, I strived to create a comprehensive, yet reasonably concise summary that provides detailed answers to the most frequently asked questions by those who discover the Despecialized Editions.

As long as you credit “HanDuet” as the source and provide a link back to this document, feel free to download, share, and reference this guide in part or in whole (see license for more info).

Please use this link when sharing TUIG:

   May the Force be with you,



Section 10: Feedback

I’m working hard to keep this guide up-to-date and constantly improving. See the Change Log for past updates made so far.

How to Give Feedback

If you find any errors, have feedback, or can think of ideas for improving this guide, please leave a comment on my Facebook page. I will also post on that page when a new version of this guide is published, so please “like” the page if you’d be informed of future updates:

Section 11: Change Log

2014-01-05, v1.0:

2015-12-10, v2.0:

2015-12-11, v2.0.1:

2015-12-11, v2.0.2:

2015-12-11, v2.0.3:

2015-12-12, v2.1:

2015-12-14, v2.2:

2015-12-14, v3.0:

2015-12-14, v.3.1:

2015-12-15, v3.2:

2015-12-16, v3.2.1

2015-12-23, v3.2.2

2015-12-24, v3.2.3

2015-12-27, v3.2.4

2016-01-08, v3.3

2016-01-17, v3.4

2016-01-24, v4.0

2016-02-07, v4.5

2016-02-07, v4.5.1

2016-02-07, v4.5.2

2016-02-10, v4.5.3

2016-02-11, v4.5.4

2016-02-13, v4.6

2016-05-04, v4.6.1

2016-10-21, v4.7

2017-01-02, v4.8

2017-01-03, v4.8.1

2017-09-27, v5.0

2018-01-03, v5.0.1

2018-10-10, v5.0.2