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Post #1459502

Author
oojason
Parent topic
#ReleaseTheOriginalTrilogy | OriginalTrilogy•com’s enduring goal | how you can help ❗
Link to post in topic
https://originaltrilogy.com/post/id/1459502/action/topic#1459502
Date created
25-Nov-2021, 10:21 AM
Last modified
30-Nov-2021, 9:20 AM
Edited by
oojason
Reason for edit
None provided

Yup. That’s us. You’re probably wondering how we got here…

A ‘Potted History’ - and also the continuing goal of the OriginalTrilogy•com & the community here; past, present & future.

 
(For those of us already familiar with the site’s history and the suppression of the original classic cuts… feel free to skip to the end!) 👍

 
 

A somewhat lengthy ‘Potted History’ of the OriginalTrilogy•com - and its goal…

Some supplemental background material for anyone unfamiliar with the history of the site, plus the various conflicting & disingenuous claims made by George & Lucasfilm as to why the unaltered theatrical cuts remain unavailable (on a quality modern digital format).

 

Jay - quoted from an article by our very own ‘Luke Skywalker’, back in early 2003, as to why Jay created the OT•com:-

“I created the site because I love film, both past and present, and I didn’t want to see some of my favourite films of all time fade away into obscurity. Star Wars should be preserved in its original form so future generations can experience it as we all have. Many people say online petitions have zero effect, but I’d rather know that I did all I could to gather fans and let their voices be heard.”

“I’m obviously not happy that George Lucas has decided to offer only finalized Special Editions of Star Wars on DVD. I hope Mr. Lucas understands that we’re not a bunch of rabid fan boys trying to push him around. We’re just trying to get him to understand that Star Wars is film history, and it should be preserved–not in a vault somewhere, but in a public format that the fans can enjoy.”

 

 

10th March 2003… The OT•com officially comes online (skynet style 😉) - the site petition gains traction and will eventually reach 72,000+ signatures; spearheading fan pressure campaigns at the time… culminating in a 2006 release of the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy on DVD - albeit as bonus discs - on a repackaged release of the ‘2004 Special Edition’ DVD set.

Every journey has a first step… Every Saga has a beginning… These are the voyages of the… 😉

 
Jay’s original petition calling for George Lucas to release the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy on DVD was hosted at the now defunct petitiononline•com website - though unfortunately frequent garbage and insulting comments were appearing on there amongst the many genuine signatures. These comments, coupled with the site’s restrictive controls in not being able to remove them - which could have damaged the integrity and cogency of the petition - led Jay to start afresh on an environment with it’s own petition ‘control system’; hence this place was swiftly created and then unleashed upon an unsuspecting world…

Originally, the forum on here was quite a basic and concise affair - mainly for ideas & suggestions from fellow fans who wished to contribute in someway to the cause of the petition’s goals, and for also recruiting other sites & publications who were sympathetic or keen to join and further strengthen the fan pressure on Lucasfilm. There was also an ‘Announcements’ section for site/petition news, a ‘Theatrical Cuts vs. Special Editions’ section for fans to learn about the many changes made to the OT films, a ‘General Star Wars Discussion’ section, and an ‘Off Topic’ section for anything else not covered by the other categories.

In little over a year, the OT•com forum had become a hive of scum and villainy dedicated members who had grown into a community interested in putting together and viewing our own fan-made preservation projects based on previous Original Trilogy releases - in the form of various laserdisc-to-dvd transfers - in a new and dedicated ‘Original Trilogy Preservation’ section of the forum. Skills, techniques, information, advice, stories, successes & failures, as well as answers to many questions & unknowns - all shared and experienced through the community on here, which had naturally evolved alongside the forum’s original premise - something which still remains true over 15 years later, on this, the most resolute and adaptable of places.

Well in, Jay. And also to every petition signee & every OT•com member who has contributed anything, something, on here too.

 

The actual above post can be viewed here - via the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine

 

The actual above post can be viewed here - via the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine

 

 

February 10th 2004 saw an announcement that many Star Wars fans long awaited - that the Original Trilogy films would finally be released on DVD…

The actual post on the official Star Wars website can be found here - via the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine

 

That first release of the Original Trilogy on DVD in 2004 unfortunately did not carry the unaltered theatrical version of the films - but instead contained new and further changes made in addition to those previous alterations made for the 1997 Special Editions (aka ‘The Final Cut’ - according to George Lucas himself).

Fan reception at the time to these changes and the release itself (which became known as the ‘2004 Special Edition’ version) was one of bemusement and frustration; not only with the changes but also with quality control issues with the release. Members of OriginalTrilogy•com and Star Wars fans from all over the globe came together to strengthen support for the site’s petition and to continue to press Lucasfilm for a release of the much-loved unaltered theatrical versions of the three classic films…

 

 

The fans continue to campaign for a release of the original theatrical cuts… and then, two years later, in 2006…

 
StarWars•com announced on the 3rd May 2006 that the unaltered Original Trilogy would be released on DVD for the first time:-

StarWars•com’s actual post on the announcement can be found here - also via the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine

 

On the 5th May appeared this article on the Baltimore Sun website featured quotes from Lucasfilm spokesman John Singh about the OriginalTrilogy•com - the passion of the fans here - as well as acknowledging that the unaltered theatrical version of the Original Trilogy are “…the movies that some fans have always wanted own, because they’re the ones they first saw in theaters.”

 
 
Jay’s response on the 8th May 2006 - to the news of the StarWars•com announcement re the classic version of the Original Trilogy being released on DVD:-

The fan pressure campaign spearheaded by the OriginalTrilogy•com, their members, the petition, and fans’ campaigning… had successfully resulted in Lucasfilm relenting… and finally agreeing to release the unaltered theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy films on DVD.

Jay’s actual post can be found here - via the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine (read from the bottom of the page to the top)

 

 

 

Balance had been restored to The Force… (or something like that)

 

 

 

And then, just days later in May 2006, came a great disturbance in the The Force…

 
The news that the recently announced unaltered theatrical version release on DVD would be in letterbox format - and not in anamorphic widescreen…

Shortly followed by the further reveal that the transfer to be used for the release would be from what was used for the 1993 Definitive Edition Laserdiscs - a 13 year old project and, even back then (in 2006)… be of substandard quality - using compressed sound and adding DVNR to reduce the picture quality and detail further.
 

Fans here and elsewhere then immediately contacted Lucasfilm via email, phonecalls, faxes, and letters… informing them of our dissatisfaction with their decision to use this substandard transfer as a means to release the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy on DVD…

An abridged screenshot image of Jay’s post on the OriginalTrilogy•com at the time:-

^ Jay’s actual post can be found here - via the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine (read from the bottom of the page to the top)

 

 

Within days, after already receiving a mountain of criticism for their choice to use such a 13 year old substandard and limited quality laserdisc transfer for the coming 2006 DVD release, Lucasfilm then released this somewhat factually disingenuous statement, in reply…

The actual post can be viewed here - via the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine
 

‘Disingenuous? How so?’ - we hear you say…
 

This topic, with multiple sources of information, is covered in the following section of the…

George Lucas: Star Wars Creator, Unreliable Narrator & Time Travelling Revisionist…’ - OT•com thread, in ‘Category 20’:-

20. The Lucasfilm claim that… ‘The negatives of the movies were permanently altered for the creation of the Special Editions’.
 

^ Needless to say, the claims made in the above 2006 Lucasfilm PR release were quickly debunked - disproving their notion that an unaltered theatrical cut release could not be physically done, or that the elements or negatives don’t exist anymore, or that the ‘permanently altered’ negatives cannot be copied and then be reconfigured. Along with claims that it would cost ‘millions of dollars’ to do, or that the classic cuts of the OT do not represent ‘George’s vision’ - when there have five separate official releases of ‘George’s visions’ to date. That other quality prints of the original cuts did in fact exist (especially interpositives, IB tecnicolor prints, three-color separation masters, and many quality 3rd or 4th generation prints) - does contradict the claim by Lucasfilm that…

“existing prints of the first versions (the unaltered theatrical version) are in poor condition”….

To say nothing of the somewhat mendacious Lucasfilm statement that the…

“1993 laserdisc masters represented the best source for providing the original versions as DVD bonus material”.

 

The above 2006 PR statement from Lucasfilm is, to date, the last time they have publicly commented on a release of the unaltered theatrical version of the Original Trilogy films.

“Over the years, a truly countless number of fans have told us that they would love to see and own the original version of that they remember seeing in theaters”.

and

“This is something that we’re very excited to be able to give to fans in response to their continuing enthusiasm for Star Wars.”

…has become forgotten, sidestepped and ignored… whilst Lucasfilm have not officially commented on the status or possibility of a dedicated release for the original version of the ground-breaking and much-loved three classic movies for years now.

 

 

As mentioned previously in this thread, the 2006 ‘GOUT’ DVD release suffered many quality issues…

 
More detailed information on the substandard 2006 ‘GOUT’ DVD release can be found at the SaveStarWars•com website, in the following article…

‘Got GOUT? The 2006 Original Version DVD Bonus Feature Fiasco’
 

and also on here in the ‘Archival / Historical discussions’ section of An Index Thread for Original Trilogy Discussion….
 

…Yet, to date, this is the only official digital format release of the Original Trilogy - in its unaltered theatrical version.

 

 

George’s artistic vision’ (as per the 2006 Lucasfilm PR release - and the later further changes of that ‘vision(s)’)…

 
Lucasfilm later made further alterations to the Original Trilogy films - for the 2011 blu ray release, and even more changes for the 2019 release on the Disney+ streaming service (later released on 4K physical media - aka the ‘2019 Special Edition’).

So, to date, there have been four ‘Special Edition’ version releases of the Original Trilogy - in 1997, 2004, 2011 and 2019.

Lucasfilm chose to not even issue ‘Change Lists’ for the 2011 and 2019 Special Edition releases of the Original Trilogy films - which would have chronicled the numerous and continuing changes made in each respective version - as they had previously done for both the 1997 and 2004 Special Edition releases.

The 2019 Special Edition version also appeared on the Disney+ streaming service with no official announcement that further alterations had even been made to these three iconic films (these changes were made by George Lucas back in 2012 for a later-cancelled ‘3D release’ - before selling Lucasfilm to Disney later on in the year).
 

If George’s ‘vision(s)’ for the films results in numerous alterations and various Special Edition versions of the films, then as all of these differing versions were released to public as the ‘latest version of Star Wars’ at the time of release, the option should exist to still be able to view and experience all of them. Yet to suppress the original theatrical cuts - including both the original work and vision of the two directors who made Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi - is not something that George Lucas should be able to do - as George himself* admits, when stating they are not his films to change…

“A director should be able to change his film - but nobody else.”

^ At the time of above quote, George Lucas had already made changes to directors Irvin Kershner’s ‘Empire Strikes Back’, and Richard Marquand’s ‘Return Of The Jedi’, and would also make go on to make further additional changes to both films.

Neither the Empire Strikes Back or Return Of The Jedi are available as their respective directors intended, or indeed made, on a modern & quality digital format.
 

*: more information on this can be found in ‘Category 39: Who made the Original Trilogy films…? Whose are they to alter…?’ of the following OT•com thread:-

George Lucas: Star Wars Creator, Unreliable Narrator & Time Travelling Revisionist…

 

 

 

Whilst Lucasfilm have remained silent since its 2006 PR release, George Lucas himself did briefly talk about the issue of restoring the unaltered theatrical version of the films - when announcing the ‘2011 Special Edition’ version of the Original Trilogy for blu ray - back in 2010…
 

^ a screenshot image of the NY Times’ 2010 article re the ‘2011 Special Edition’ release on blu ray. The full article can be read below:-

https://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/14/star-wars-films-coming-to-blu-ray-next-year

 

Again, like the Lucasfilm PR release in 2006… George’s words in the above article are somewhat disingenuous…

“go through and do a whole restoration on it, and you have to do that digitally”

…when if fact you only need to restore & digitise the original theatrical scenes not used for the 1997 Special Edition, and then re-edit those scenes back into the film - not the whole process as stated by George - after all, the rest of the digitised restoration has already been completed.
 

The same applies to George’s claim that…

“It’s a very, very expensive process to do it. So when we did the transfer to digital, we only transferred really the upgraded version.”

…again, you only need to restore & digitise the original theatrical scenes not used for the 1997 Special Edition, and then re-edit those scenes back into the film - not the whole process as stated by George - afterall, the rest of the digitised restoration has already been completed.

 

SaveStarWars•com’s article on George Lucas’ 2011 blu ray announcement and restoration claims - ‘The Star Wars Blu-Ray Blues’ - goes into further detail on this…

 

 

 

In 2017 it was also confirmed that the footage from the unaltered theatrical version of the Original Trilogy, that was replaced for the 1997 Special Editions (and later SE releases) still exists - by 20th Century Fox’s Senior Vice President of ‘Library and Technical Services’ at the time, Shawn Belston:-

 

 

Another alternative approach to restoring the theatrical cuts of the OT films…

 
All of the above, of course, ignores the possibility of using any of the numerous film prints of the unaltered theatrical version of Original Trilogy films as an alternative source for provide a quality preservation or reconstructed release - interpositives, the three-color separation master, and IB Technicolor prints, or any superior 2nd generation copies struck from the original negative, 3rd and 4th generations copies, and so on… that are in Lucasfilm’s possession - or available to them…
 

^ The above image, and more information, can be found in the link below…

The Frequently Asked Questions section of the Save Star Wars website.
 

Working links contained in the above image can be found here:-

From Interpositives to Separation Masters: How Film Preservation Works - at the Save Star Wars website.

Saving Star Wars: The Special Edition Restoration Process and its Changing Physicality - at the SHoSW website (re-hosted by ‘none’).

 
 

What We Want And How To Make It’ - an article by doubleofive at the Star Wars Visual Comparisons website, also highlights that such a high quality preservation of the unaltered theatrical cuts of the Original Trilogy is indeed possible - by simply using the existing separation masters that have previously been utilised by Lucasfilm over the years.

 
 

We also know with certainty that other quality prints of the unaltered theatrical version of the Original Trilogy are still in existence… given Lucas’ showing of a 70mm print of Star Wars in 2019, and other various screenings - both private and public - over the years. Not to mention Lucas’ own theatrical Technicolor prints of the trilogy, other IB Technicolor prints known to exist and some have been shown, the interpositives and fine-grain prints, let alone numerous other prints in existence - and even theatrical prints out there which form the basis for fan preservations…

Even in 2006, Robert Harris - the man who had hand-restored ‘Vertigo’, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, and ‘The Godfather’ - is on record saying he knows there are pristine 35mm elements available for use, and offered his services to restore the film - Lucasfilm did not respond to his offer.

 

 

 

In 2017, Lucasfilm employee and Lucasfilm Story Group member Pablo Hildago tweeted
 

^ So, it is not that such a release of the unaltered theatrical cuts cannot physically be done - or that the elements, negatives, prints, and masters don’t exist anymore - or that the negatives could not be copied and then be reconfigured. Nor is it claims that it would cost ‘millions of dollars’ to do, or that the classic cuts of the OT do not represent ‘George’s vision’ - when there have five separate official releases of ‘George’s visions’ to date - including the 1997 Special Edition (‘The Final Cut’). Nor is it the disproved claim by Lucasfilm that “existing prints of the first versions (the unaltered theatrical version) are in poor condition”

… it appears it is simply that one man doesn’t want the unaltered theatrical version of the Original Trilogy to be released.

 

 

 

The OriginalTrilogy•com’s petition is no more - with the site evolving and the members here taking it upon themselves to attempt to preserve the original cinematic version of these landmark films - with the love, care & respect they so richly deserve…

 
It has been these efforts and dedication from fans and communities on sites such as the OriginalTrilogy•com - and others similarly aligned - savestarwars•com, secrethistoryofstarwars•com, fanedits•com, thestarwarstrilogy•com, fanres•com, fanedit•org, plus many other countless websites and fan alliances highlighting the lack of an OOT release (as well as changes made to the various official releases since)… who came together, pooled their resources, skills, experiences, patience, dedication and determination to come up with preservations of the unaltered theatrical version of the Original Trilogy ourselves…

Projects that have surpassed the quality of previous official releases of the Original Trilogy from Lucasfilm - whether that be in the form of tape or laserdisc transfers to dvd some years ago, Harmy’s Despecialized Editions circa 2015 on blu ray and other digital formats, adywan’s Revisited OT fan edits as an alternative to the ‘Special Editions’ (from a certain point of view), to recent 4K digital preservation projects for the unaltered theatrical version of the Original Trilogy - from 35mm film sources.

In unison with these continuing and evolutionary fan-made projects, as well as many other countless efforts and beautiful endeavours along the way, all proving that quality releases of the unaltered cuts can be achieved, the enduring aim of this site remains the same; not to mention the legions of fans the world over - to be able to buy and experience an official release of the unaltered theatrical version of the Original Trilogy - the three classic films that underpin the entire Galaxy Far Far Away…
 

Even in 2017, for the much-heralded and publicised 40th Anniversary of Star Wars, Lucasfilm refused to answer the question as to whether they will release an official unaltered classic version of the Original Trilogy:-

the question asked by this very site in the form of an open letter

 

^ It also being the same question that is still continued to be asked of Lucasfilm - by numerous fans from all around the world…

…that Lucasfilm themselves have also previously acknowledged:-
 

“the biggest question we’ve ever gotten from Star Wars fans is, ‘When are you going to release the originals?’”

the “overwhelming demand” for the unaltered theatrical version.

the "long awaited release of original theatrical incarnations of the classic Star Wars trilogy.”

“over the years a truly countless number of fans have told us they would love to see and own the original version that they remember experiencing in the theatres.”

 

So here we still are - and now with even more fans from all over the world asking for the same thing too.

Just simply asking to have the option to purchase an official release for the unaltered original Star Wars Trilogy on a modern, high quality, digital format…

…done with the love, care & respect it so deserves. So we and future generations can all enjoy & experience them once more.

How To Help / What YOU can do…

 

May The Force - and the unaltered Original Trilogy - be with you… always.

 

 

 

 

Although already posted earlier in the thread, just in case it was missed, and for luck…

 

The following two insightful articles, by OriginalTrilogy•com member doubleofive, chronicles and highlights how many fans feel about not having the option to buy and experience an official release of the unaltered theatrical version of the Original Trilogy…

Disney+ Should Offer the Star Wars Original Cuts — All of Them - article at the Wired website.

What We Want And How To Make It - article at the Star Wars Visual Comparisons website.

 
 

doubleofive is also curator of the insightful & comprehensive ‘Star Wars Visual Comparisonstwitter page and website.

#ReleaseTheOriginalTrilogy merch is available at SWVC - with 50% of any profit going to GiveWell.org’s Maximum Impact Fund.

 
 

An OT•com thread with many sources of information chronicling the changes made to the films over time can be found here:-

Complete Comparison of Special Edition Visual Changes - by doubleofive.
 

#ReleaseTheOriginalTrilogy is not about the ‘theatrical cut vs the various special editions’ or which is ‘the best’, ‘preferred’, ‘canon’ or ‘definitive’ version. It is simply about giving the fans the opportunity to own and view any & all of the differing versions of the Original Trilogy - whilst also affording landmark film history to be once again enjoyed and experienced by everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

Some further information on the history of this site, and other related discussion topics, can also be found in these threads:-

An OriginalTrilogy.com Timeline | a history of the site | the why & how it came to be…

Some useful OriginalTrilogy.com threads re the non-release of the theatrical OT films | How you can help…

George Lucas: Star Wars Creator, Unreliable Narrator & Time Travelling Revisionist…

 
 

#ReleaseTheOriginalTrilogy