Harmy's Despecialized Edition is a series of fan edits of the first three films in the George Lucas-created Star Wars franchise: Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The edits were created by a team of Star Wars fans led by Petr "Harmy" Harmáček, an English teacher from Plzeň, Czech Republic.
The original Star Wars trilogy was released theatrically by 20th Century Fox for Lucasfilm between 1977 and 1983. Subsequent releases on home media, such as the 1997 "Special Edition" releases, introduced significant changes to the films, including additional scenes and new computer-generated imagery – these changes were met with a mixed response from critics. As of 2017, the films are no longer widely available in their original theatrical releases.
Harmáček felt that altering the films in this way constituted "an act of cultural vandalism", and in 2010 was inspired to create his own series of fan edits that restored the theatrical releases in high definition. With no experience in professional film editing, he taught himself as he went, using programs such as Avisynth and Adobe After Effects. Taking the 1993 LaserDisc releases as a guide and a majority of source material from the 2011 Blu-ray releases, Harmáček and a team of eight other fans constructed the edits over many thousands of hours of work. In 2011, one year after the project had begun, the first version of Harmy's Despecialized Edition was published online. Updated versions have been created in the years that followed.
As a fan edit, Harmy's Despecialized Edition cannot be legally bought or sold, and is "to be shared among legal owners of the officially available releases only". Consequently, the films are only available via various BitTorrent trackers. Reaction to the project has been positive: Nathan Barry of Wired praised the films as "an absolute joy to watch", while Gizmodo described them as "very, very good". Sean Hutchinson of Inverse placed Harmy's Despecialized Edition at number one on his list of the best Star Wars fan edits and called them "the perfect pre-1997 way to experience the saga".