Request to Restore the Theatrical Cuts of the Original Star Wars Trilogy for Blu-ray

Mr. Lucas,

Star Wars is a cultural icon that permanently changed the landscape of cinema, both in the US and abroad. It has earned its place not only in film history, but in the home video library of any film fan.

There has been much debate regarding the digital enhancements made to the original Star Wars films, beginning in 1997 with the release of the Special Edition. The debate was reignited in 2004 with the release of the DVD box set and culminated with the release of the 2006 limited edition DVDs, which contained substandard transfers from 1993 as bonus material. The purpose of this petition is not to debate copyright holders' rights; legally, you have every right to make alterations to your films. We do believe, however, that as the steward of one of the most recognizable and beloved film series of all time, you have a responsibility to restore and preserve Star Wars in its original form, unaltered, and make it accessible to fans in a quality equal to that of the Special Edition.

Speculation runs rampant as to the availability of suitable elements for a proper restoration of the theatrical cuts of the original trilogy. It has been suggested by your organization that the original negatives were permanently altered in order to create the Special Edition, making a complete restoration of the theatrical cuts impossible. The deliberate destruction of the original elements demonstrates such disrespect for film history that many of us find it hard to believe, given your firm stance in the past on film preservation. We hold out hope that claims of the negative's demise have been exaggerated.

Assuming adequate source materials do exist, our goal is to convince you that providing home video releases of the original theatrical cuts and the Special Editions in the best quality possible need not be an either/or proposition. Both versions can coexist without one detracting from the other. Ridley Scott supervised a definitive release of Blade Runner on Blu-ray with 4 distinct cuts that chronicle the evolution of the film over 3 decades, and all versions are presented in high quality. Close Encounters of the Third Kind has 3 cuts on the Blu-ray release—all with the blessing of Steven Spielberg and all presented in the best quality possible.

Outstanding Blu-ray releases like those for Blade Runner and Close Encounters of the Third Kind prove there can be a balance among creators' rights, film preservation, and fan service. The original Star Wars trilogy deserves the same treatment.

To clarify our request:

1) We ask that the theatrical cuts of the original Star Wars trilogy be restored from the best elements available using modern methods and technology.

2) When you decide to release the Star Wars saga on Blu-ray or any future format, we ask that the theatrical cuts of the original trilogy, with high definition transfers struck from the newly restored elements, be included alongside your most recent version.

We thank you for giving us Star Wars, and for your attention in this matter.


The Undersigned

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