Hopefully this OT•com timeline thread will help chronicle just some of the rich history from this immense and unique site - from humble beginnings as home and beacon for the petition - with also becoming an effective resource for the fan pressure campaign shortly after - to then becoming a community hub for many like-minded Star Wars fans in general. It’s further evolution over time to be a home for some superb and varied fan preservations, fan edits and projects - plus documentaries, technical, audio, and archival endeavours etc. As well as discussing some of the more prevalent news and events from in and around Star Wars since 2003 (or maybe 2002…), and also some of the other intriguing ventures from Star Wars fandom since.
Yet first, a little background and history of how - and why - all this came to be…
The vast majority of the following text has been taken from zombie84’s educational and informative SaveStarWars.com website; from an editorial piece here - link - and abridged, edited & updated for use here. Please click the link to read the full original article. More details can be found below. There are also ‘Further Reading’ links to SaveStarWars.com articles throughout - giving more in-depth insights on various subjects.
• A long time ago…
On May 25th, 1977, a film opened in 32 theaters in the United States and changed not only the movie industry itself, but the popular culture unto which it was released. STAR WARS not only quickly became the pop fad of the summer of '77, it endured as a monumental and historical achievement in cinema, not just as an entertainment piece of great cultural value, but as a “blockbuster” or “popcorn” film, as a special effects extravaganza, as a sci-fi fantasy picture, as a franchise, as a cinematic epic, and as a classic of American film - as well as later appealing to audiences all over the world. By the end of the year, it was the most financially successful motion picture of all time, and at the Oscars it saw nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor, among an additional seven which it won.
Simply put, STAR WARS is one of the most influential films ever made and quite possibly it is the most popular singular film of all time.
Star Wars was the first VHS to make $1m+ in rentals when it came out in 1982 - although technically, this was not the original version either, for in 1981 the subtitle “Episode IV: A New Hope” was added to the title crawl; but, barring this single, rather insignificant change, it was the same film. Star Wars and its two sequels, the EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980) and RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983), were not only three of the most popular films in history… until the late 1990’s, they all occupied the top ten box office list - having a significant impact on popular culture and film-making since their release.
In 1989, the US Library of Congress added a print of STAR WARS to its archive, the National Film Registry, representing a preservation of films with great artistic and cultural value. Printed in a 1993 video boxset release, Lucas wrote a letter to fans, saying “Star Wars was my elaborate fantasy, but its popularity has gone beyond anything ever I had imagined…I hope that you, your children, and your children’s children will enjoy experiencing this saga as much as I have.”
• An evolution of changes to become the ‘Special Edition’…
Also in 1993, Lucasfilm and Fox began discussing the upcoming 20th anniversary of the original film. “One of the reasons I chose to reissue the films rather than do a convention or one of the other things that was suggested for the twentieth anniversary was at the time we thought about all of this I had a two-year-old son,” Lucas would later explain. "And I thought, ‘I’m not going to show him the film on video, I’m going to wait and let him see it on the big screen the way it was meant to be, and let him really be overwhelmed by the whole thing.’ Lucas remembers in 1997: “This was supposed to be a nice little twentieth anniversary for the fans.” Lucas had also long complained about a compromising 1976 shoot, and surmised that perhaps a few special effects could be added or cleaned up, similar to the way Steven Spielberg had done with his Close Encounters ‘Special Edition’ in 1980.
“[Fox said], ‘we should celebrate the fact that we’ve been here for 20 years.’ I said, ‘If you’re going to put that much money into reissuing the movie, I want to get it right this time.’” Lucas’ main idea was to expand the Mos Eisley space-port sequence and restore a deleted scene with Jabba the Hutt. “The initial scope of it involved just two dozen shots,” ILM animator Tom Kennedy says. FX wiz Dennis Muren then suggested that the release offered the opportunity to correct a list of 15 to 20 shots that had always bothered him. “I suggested to George that we expand the vision and he was open to it,” Muren says. “Motion issues, particularly in the space battle scenes, were my concerns. Then Tom Kennedy and the others contributed their own ideas for redoing shots.”
The ‘Special Edition’ was slowly growing in scale. Lucas was eager to use new CG technology - he had just announced he was making the Prequel Trilogy, and the ‘Special Edition’ of STAR WARS was free research and development since Fox was paying the bill. “We called it an experiment in learning new technology,” Lucas says, “and hoped that the theatrical release would pay for the work we had done.” Many new insertions were decided upon the basis of their usefulness as learning tools - how to do crowd replication, how to handle extreme close-ups on CG characters, etc.
Further reading: SaveStarWars•com’s ‘Special Edition Changes’ article (for the theatrical versions of the OT vs 2004 Special Editions)
Further reading: ‘George Lucas: Unreliable Narrator & Time Travelling Revisionist… - Category 15’ thread - where George Lucas states in his own words that “So yes, The Special Editions were a means of re-searching and testing what I was trying to do with this film [The Phantom Menace].”
By the time this ‘Special Edition’ was complete in 1997, the original camera negative had been restored, the sound remixed in 5.1 channel surround, many special effects were re-composited digitally, and the film had been enhanced with CGI in approximately 35 shots, and with an additional 30 brand new shots, offering a markedly different viewing experience…
• Fan reception…
Many fans felt non-plussed by many of these new additions - Greedo inexplicably shot (and missed, from just two feet away) before Han shot in order to “soften” Han’s character, “kiddie” humor is abound in slapstick CG droids, and even the long-awaited Jabba scene disrupted the pace, gave redundant information, showcased a lacklustre CG model, and had Boba Fett posing for the lens.
The term ‘Han Shot First’ would become a popular mainstream rallying call - highlighting that significant alterations were being made to the these icons films. Fan-made merchandise with ‘Han Shot First’ became widespread to the point where even Lucas himself some years later would wear a t-shirt (ironically?) sporting the phrase.
Yet, in spite of some mixed opinions about the changes, the main reason to go see the ‘Special Edition’ release for many fans was a chance to see the Original Trilogy on the big screen once more, and to that end it was a remarkable experience that brought in more money than all but the top six films that year. The public - not just “fanboys” - loved the chance to see the films again on the big screen.
However, most of us did not realize that Lucas had other plans. This version - a ‘Special Edition’: an enhanced, “nice little twentieth anniversary for the fans” and “an experiment in learning new technology”… would actually soon replace the historical and groundbreaking theatrical version of the Original Trilogy…
Further reading: SaveStarWars•com’s ‘Do As I Say, Not As I Do: George Lucas Quotes on Film Preservation’ article
• Revisionism in full swing…
Lucas furthermore told American Cinematographer in 1997: “There will only be one. And it won’t be what I would call the ‘rought cut’, it’ll be the ‘final cut.’ The other one will be some sort of interesting artifact that people will look at and say, ‘There was an earlier draft of this.’…What ends up being important in my mind is what the DVD version is going to look like, because that’s what everybody is going to remember. The other versions will disappear. Even the 35 million tapes of Star Wars out there won’t last more than 30 or 40 years. A hundred years from now, the only version of the movie that anyone will remember will be the DVD version [of the Special Edition]… I think it’s the director’s prerogative, not the studio’s, to go back and reinvent a movie.”
Lucas had just purchased the copyright to STAR WARS from Fox, and when the films were re-issued on VHS in 2000 the boxes had now removed the label of “Special Edition” - but not the content; and the film still claimed 1977 as its release date. Critics and audiences asked Lucas if the original would be released… for many, this was the film of their adolescence, and an edit of the movie deemed superior by just about everyone, aside from its historic value. But Lucas refused - for him, he felt that the original was now a half-complete embarrassment. Moreover, he hoped that the ‘Special Edition’ would better integrate with the Prequel Trilogy he was releasing, so that the six film cycle could be seen as a more singular entity, and with all the criticism the Prequels received, seemingly became all the more stubborn and defensive that this should happen - in spite of what the rest of the world thought (and release both versions).
Further reading: SaveStarWars•com’s ‘Request Denied: Lucas Refuses to Co-Operate with Government Film Preservation Organizations’ - and The US National Film Registry… editorial
By 2001, VHS had been replaced by DVD - yet STAR WARS remained mysteriously absent from the new DVD format. Lucas’ plan to not release the films on DVD until after 2005 (after The Prequels had been released). When DVD officially overtook VHS in sales in 2003, Lucas finally relented - yet the original version of STAR WARS was in more dire straits than ever. A second ‘Special Edition’ was quickly put through for a 2004 DVD release - this time, plagued with color errors and timing issues that even the most ardently stubborn devotees of Lucas had a hard time appreciating this as a ‘Special Edition’ (unless fans consider Darth Vader’s now pink lightsaber is a superior artistic choice?).
The 2004 version had added more Prequel Trilogy references - such as Jar Jar Binks and Hayden Christensen, had replaced more many visual effects, tossed aside the color palette of the original photography, and came up with some highly questionable ‘deliberate creative decisions’ claims to cover basic rudimentary mistakes and lack of QC regarding the sound…
• Rebels striking from a hidden base win their first victory… (I’m very sorry!)
The original theatrical version, of course, was once again suppressed in 2004 DVD release. Yet Lucas went even further - seemingly trying to eliminate these OOT versions from existence. Prints from the OOT were recalled from circulation, and Lucasfilm only lent out 35mm prints of the ‘Special Edition’. There has been at least one documented instance where a theatre tried to screen a print sourced from collectors, as Lucasfilm refused, only to have official reps waiting to confiscate the print and shut down the screening. When American Cinemateque screened the film with a Q&A with model-maker Lorne Peterson as part of their tribute to ILM’s pioneering FX in the mid-2000s, they were forced to screen a version of the film that only contained roughly 30% of that original groundbreaking work!
The Associated Press asked Lucas in 2004 why he didn’t just release the original alongside the Special Edition, the way many movies had been done at that point. “The Special Edition, that’s the one I wanted out there,” Lucas replied. “The other movie, it’s on VHS, if anybody wants it… to me, it doesn’t really exist anymore. It’s like this is the movie I wanted it to be, and I’m sorry you saw half a completed film and fell in love with it. But I want it to be the way I want it to be.”, “I’m the one who has to take responsibility for it. I’m the one who has to have everybody throw rocks at me all the time, so at least if they’re going to throw rocks at me, they’re going to throw rocks at me for something I love rather than something I think is not very good, or at least something I think is not finished.” George was now conveniently ignoring the fact no one ever would ‘throw rocks at him’ for releasing the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy films…
Further reading: SaveStarWars•com’s ‘Can’t Even Get the Special Edition Right’ editorial on the 2004 DVD releases
By this time, fans were so disillusioned that they had actually formally organized themselves. OriginalTrilogy•com had been formed back in 2002 (coming online in 2003), offering a petition of signatures by fans to Lucasfilm asking for the original theatrical versions of the trilogy to be released due their treasured status with fans and historical significance in the medium. By 2006, OriginalTrilogy•com’s petition had astoundingly garnered over 72,000+ signatures - a remarkable sign of how beloved the films were.
Due to this fan pressure campaign, Lucasfilm VP Jim Ward begged Lucas to release the original theatrical versions. There finally was a small compromise - a release of the OOT as a “bonus feature”; a master tape of the transfer done 13 years earlier, in 1993, for Laserdisc was pulled out of a dust bin from the Lucasfilm archives and included as a bonus feature in a 2006 DVD re-release of the ‘Special Edition’, in a non-anamorphic letterbox format. This blatant disregard and disrespect for the film angered not just fans but film buffs around the world, naturally. After a massive fan letter-writing campaign, Lucasfilm finally responded to the criticism, saying that the 1993 tape represented the best source of the originals - a claim obviously not true and reflecting Lucas’ attitude to those fans who wished to have the opportunity to be able to see the original theatrical versions. Renowned film restorationist Robert Harris - went on record saying he knew for a fact that there were pristine master 35mm elements available and that he would fully restore the original films! Lucasfilm did not respond to his offer.
Further reading: SaveStarWars•com’s ‘Got GOUT? The 2006 Original Version Bonus Feature Fiasco’ editorial on the 2006 DVD releases
• Artistic merit… should go to the artist - yet that’s more than just George…
Lucas’ refusal versus the demand of audiences has also sparked debate about artistic merit and respect for the intentions of the artist. No filmmaker is ever totally satisfied with their finished work, which is part of the drive to work on a next one - Alfred Hitchcock is famous for having remarked when asked what his favorite film of his was: “the next one.” The fact is that, regardless of whether Lucas likes it or not, STAR WARS was released as a finished product in 1977. It is 100% faithful to the shooting script, and on a technical level was the most advanced display of graphics ever made at that time. It was not “unfinished” in this sense, rather it simply was a product of the era that produced it.
Furthermore, the ‘Special Edition’ has gone far beyond “completing” anything - his insertion of Jar Jar Binks and Hayden Christensen was obviously not in his mind when he made RETURN OF THE JEDI in 1983. Moreover, EMPIRE and JEDI were not even directed by him - while he is undoubtedly a primary creative force behind the franchise, these films are not “his” in this kind of direct sense. EMPIRE director Irvin Kershner, for example, maintained when he was hired in 1977 that he must be able to have artistic control over the production: “It’ll be your film,” Lucas told him. Lucas states to Rolling Stone on June 12, 1980: “It’s truely Kershner’s movie.” Furthermore, JEDI director Richard Marquand passed in 1987 (Kershner in 2010). Lucas today represents a totally different person than the rebellious anti-establishment 30-year old of 1977 - and many of the changes are simply revisions, NOT completions.
Further reading: SaveStarWars•com’s ‘The Greatest Speech Against the Special Edition was from George Lucas’ editorial
The original award-winning work of the many artisans, sound technicians, craftsmen (& women), model makers, special effects artists, editors, and the talented crew’s priceless contributions increasingly lost - seemingly permanently… to ill-fitting mid-1990’s CGI and substandard efforts that have since themselves been replaced in latter changes to the ‘Special Editions’.
Some more info from the 40th Anniversary Reunion of Star Wars (both links feature videos and interviews by surviving members of those involved making the film - as well as Empire and Jedi too):-
HelloGreedo has a superb ‘Star Wars Profiles’ youtube video series, featuring some of those in front and behind the camera from the Original Trilogy films, which is full of informative insights and information - link.
The Original Trilogy Film Crew & People Behind The Scenes: Profiles, Info & Links… thread contains some introductory information on a number of people who worked on the original three landmark & groundbreaking classic films.
• Yet even more changes to the Star Wars films…
The fact is that, if so many people enjoy the originals theatrical versions and would like to see them, wouldn’t that please a filmmaker? One of the reasons no other director has refused to release a version of their film when there has been so much demand and love for it is precisely because of this. Ridley Scott hates the theatrical cut of BLADE RUNNER, and as one of the most powerful directors in the world he would have the ability to maintain it not be released - but many people either enjoy it or would like to see it simply for posterity, and that is not anything to be bothered by.
No one ever has suggested that the ‘Special Edition’ - Lucas’ “Director’s Version” - be suppressed, or replaced. That a filmmaker gets to re-shape their film the way they want is a great privilege that every director should enjoy, and no one should deny Lucas this. The issue is: releasing the theatrical versions does not nullify the director’s cut. Everyone would have treated the ‘Special Edition’ as the final artistic statement of the director. They can both exist. In the current era of home video, there is no relevance in any argument that relies on only one version existing.
The theatrical versions of the Star Wars Original Trilogy are important classics of cinema.
Further reading: SaveStarWars•com’s ‘Don’t Rock the Boat: Why the Media, Public Figures, and Fans are Afraid to Speak Out’ editorial
2011 saw the Original Trilogy released on the blu ray format for the first time - featuring only the ‘Special Editions’ films once again - and along with even more numerous changes made to these editions of the movies; including yet further changes to the ‘Han / Greedo shooting in the Cantina’ scene. (For the 2015 Digital release there were changes to the iconic 20th Century Fox opening logo and fanfare - removed from all the OT films, except Star Wars '77, of which Fox still owned at the time).
2019 saw the fifth version of the Original Trilogy released - with more changes made to them - on the Disney+ 4K streaming service (with a 4k UHD / blu ray / DVD release in 2020). There was no prior announcement to the changes made for this version - or list official list or statement provided on the changes made. The changes were actually made in 2012 by George for the later cancelled 3D project release of the films. Again, additional changes were made to the ‘Han vs Greedo’ scene in Star Wars - now the fifth ‘vision’ of the scene from George - #Maclunkey
• Hypocrisy highlighted further…
While the ‘Special Editions’ are the same basic films… they do NOT in any way represent the look or experience of their original groundbreaking theatrical releases. This is an important issue in contemporary cinema, especially because, unlike any other films of historical significance that have not been restored (DVD & blu ray have offered remarkable historic preservation of all the major classics), they are not being withheld due to neglect by the studio but due to a crusade of deliberate revisionism. This suppression of some of the cinema’s classics represents a stain against our cultural heritage, a reflection of our society, our technology and our values. As custodian of national treasures, there is an ethical mandate to preserve, protect, and display these works for the public good.
Lucas himself in the late 1980s spoke out against companies altering old films and colorizing black and white features; he claimed that, as a proponent of history, viewers should be able to appreciate a film as it was originally released. Regardless of arguments about artists versus companies altering films - Lucas is talking about history, and our shared heritage:-
“I am very concerned about our national heritage, and I am very concerned that the films that I watched when I was young and the films that I watched throughout my life are preserved, so that my children can see them,” he said. He furthermore once remarked in 1988: “In the future it will become easier for old negatives to become lost and be ‘replaced’ by new altered negatives. This would be a great loss to our society. Our cultural history must not be allowed to be rewritten.”
Perhaps it is time George Lucas himself, or Lucasfilm & Disney, to re-examine his beliefs?
Further reading: SaveStarWars•com’s ‘The Right to Cultural Heritage: Film Preservation and the Law’ editorial
• The students surpass the master…
Meanwhile, it has been the efforts and dedication from fans and communities on sites such as the OriginalTrilogy•com - and those that followed in the shape of savestarwars•com, secrethistoryofstarwars•com, fanedits•com, thestarwarstrilogy•com, fanres•com, fanedit•org, and many other countless websites and fan alliances highlighting the lack of a OOT release (as well as changes made to them over the years and various releases)… who came together, pooled their resources, skills, experiences, patience, dedication and determination to come up with releases for the theatrical versions 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 2011 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 and forthcoming 4K digital preservation projects for the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy - from 35mm film sources…
• ^ Complete credit, kudos and immense thanks to OT•com member zombie84… ^ •
As stated above, the vast majority of the above text is abridged and edited (& also re-formatted and updated) from zombie84’s superb 'How the Grinch Stole Star Wars’ editorial piece on his quality SaveStarWars.com site - an excellent resource of information for any Star Wars fan. The site provides an absorbing and comprehensive look (presented clearly and concisely) - chronicling and illuminating the behind the scenes history of the Original Trilogy films - along with the changes and revisionism surrounding them.
All credit goes to zombie84 for his exhaustive investigative endeavours - and please visit his site linked above to view the full original unabridged & unedited article. Be sure to also check out his website’s intriguing and informative FAQ, Editorial and Resource sections too. An OT•com thread on zombie84’s SaveStarWars•com website can be found here - link.
zombie84 also released a comprehensive and highly regarded book in 2008 - ‘The Secret History of Star Wars’. An OT•com thread of which can be found here - link; AudioBook thread : Amazon book (also available for Kindle & Audible), here - link; and Barnes & Noble book, here - link.
Although zombie84’s SecretHistoryOfStarWars.com website itself is no more (though the facebook page for it still exists) - OT•com member none has archived the website, and is hosting a version - available here (massive thanks and respect, as ever, to none):-
zombie84 also has a youtube channel - ‘Star Wars News and Views’ - as well as a facebook page for the video channel too.
Sources of information on many of the changes made to the Original Trilogy films over the years:-
‘Complete Comparison of Special Edition Visual Changes’ - OT•com thread by doubleofive - with many sources of information…
‘Star Wars Visual Comparisons’ - website by doubleofive
‘Star Wars Special Edition Visual Comparisons’ - blog by doubleofive; with links to Photo Galleries here - SW : ESB : ROTJ
‘Star Wars Special Edition Visual Comparisons’ - twitter page by doubleofive
‘Disney+ Should Offer the Star Wars Original Cuts’ article on the Wired website by doubleofive : #ReleaseTheOriginalTrilogy : #ReleaseTheOriginalTrilogy : OT.com thread on doubleofive’s article : ‘What We Want And How To Make It’ - a sequel article.
'A Visual Guide to Changes, Fixes & Tweaks in the 2019 SE Version - article by doubleofive on The Digital Bits : SW : ESB : ROTJ
StarWars•com Official 2004 Changes Preservation : SW : ESB : ROTJ - compiled by doubleofive
StarWars•com Official 1997 Changes Articles : SW: SE : ESB: SE : ROTJ: SE - via the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine website
A helpful overview of the changes to the OT - and surrounding issues - from zombie84’s SaveStarWars•com’s FAQ Page
‘Special Edition Changes’ - 2010 article on the changes made for the 2004 DVD release - from zombie84’s SaveStarWars•com
‘Shot List Spreadsheet - v0.6.05 - 6 films - Multiple SW Audio Mix Changes Added’ - OT•com thread, by none.
‘Star Wars Changes’ (Original Trilogy) - YouTube Videos by 13las : SW : ESB : ROTJ : Disney+ : The Prequels
‘All Changes Made To Star Wars’ (Original Trilogy) - YouTube Videos by Marcelo Zuniga : SW - Part 1 : SW - Part 2 : ESB : ROTJ
DVDActive•com’s ‘Star Wars - The Changes’ articles (via the Internet Acrhive’s WayBack Machine) - SW : ESB : ROTJ : The Prequels
‘The Big List of Changes to the SW films’ OT•com thread on the FromScriptToDVD site’s comparison articles - by Gregatron
‘Who Shot First? The Complete List Of Star Wars Changes’ - an Empire film magazine article
Wookieepedia’s ‘List of changes in Star Wars re-releases’ page
‘List of changes in Star Wars re-releases’ - from the IPFS•io website
Star Wars Comparison’s YouTube video channel for comparing theatrical cuts to official blu ray and various fan projects.
and also reading through these superb OT•com threads (by doubleofive):-
‘Sources on the Special Edition’ - in the Theatrical Cuts vs. Subsequent Releases section of the site.
‘Modern SE Revisionism’ - in the Theatrical Cuts vs. Subsequent Releases section of the site.
as well as these Index Threads - which link to many topics of discussion here on the OT•com regarding the changes made to the Original Trilogy films:-
An Index Thread for Theatrical Cuts vs. Subsequent Releases…
An Index Thread for Original Trilogy Discussion…
plus these three similarly related threads, pinned in the Original Trilogy Discussion section of the site…
An OriginalTrilogy.com timeline thread - a history of the site and why & how it came to be…
George Lucas: Unreliable Narrator & Time Travelling Revisionist…
Some useful OT.com threads re the non-release of the theatrical OT films | How you can help…
Some chronicles of the various Star Wars home video releases down the years…
Wookieepedia’s quality page listing the many ‘Star Wars home video’ releases - link
Video Collector’s superb & informative ‘Star Wars on Video’ resource website (with images and info) - link
projectcclarke’s superb & informative ‘Star Wars On Home Video Reference Site’ (with images and info) - link
DavisDVD•com’s Information Pages on OT VHS & DVD releases (from 1982 to 2004) - SW : ESB : ROTJ : Misc
Nathan P Butler’s ‘Star Wars Home Video Library Timeline 3.2: Star Wars Films & TV Series on Home Video’ on youtube - link
NeverarGreat’s image guide for the image quality of the various Star Wars releases (and also projects on the OT•com) - link
World Of Media’s home video timeline for the Star Wars films (1982 onwards) - link
StarWars•com’s article regarding many of the VHS releases of the Original Trilogy - link
althor1138’s OT•com thread on Star Wars Laserdisc Preservations - featuring some quality info - link
The ‘Home Releases and Formats of the differing versions of the OT films’ section of An Index & Help Thread for Original Trilogy Discussion contains information on the many differing media formats that the three classic films have been released on.
A Timeline chronicling the history & evolution of the OriginalTrilogy•com itself…
From 2002… (the R&D era)
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.”
More images of the site in it’s various guises down the years can be found in this thread… here
and http://web.archive.org/web/*/originaltrilogy.com will likely be a useful & helpful resource
as are the site’s ‘Feedback Forum’ & Sites and Publications Supporting the Petition sections - especially when working backwards from old threads to new…
10th March - The OT•com officially comes online (skynet style 😉) - the site petition gains traction and will eventually reach 72,000+ signatures; leading and 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 ‘Special Edition’ DVD set (see 2006 for more info).
across 2003 - Lucasfilm Animation is founded.
14th April - sees the video of ‘The Star Wars Kid’ uploaded to the internet.
14th May - ‘Jedi: Shaak Ti’, the second issue in the ‘Star Wars: Jedi’ series of comics, is released.
26th June - Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided is released for the PC.
17th July - Knights Of The Republic (KOTOR) is released for the XBox.
September - ‘Episode III – Revenge of the Sith’ starts production.
20th October - Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike is released for the Nintendo Gamecube.
7th November - Star Wars: Clone Wars (Tartakovsky’s animated Clone Wars series) is aired on US tv.
19th November - sees the last ‘Star Wars: The New Jedi Order’ (aka NJO) book in the series released.
30th December - ‘Tatooine Ghost’ post-ROTJ paperback - the 1st EU novel to bridge the gap between PT & OT characters.
31st December - The OriginalTrilogy•com petition reaches over 47,500 signatures.
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 and suggestions from fellow fans who wished to contribute someway to the cause of the petition’s goals, and for also cataloging and finding other sites and publications who may been affable or sympathetic to join and further strengthen the fan pressure on Lucafilm. 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.
across 2004 - Rikter & others highlight the Dr Gonzo and Cowclops/TR47 sets of the laserdisc captures to dvd format for the Original Trilogy. Editdroid, ISOMIX, Farsight, Moth3r’s PAL version, Zion - X0, Laserman - X0, Citizen, Grinder, Doctor M, OCP/Dark Jedi, Dark/Sega, Wookie Groomer, Puggo, MoveAlong, Arnie.d, tellan, msycamore, LeeThorogood, althor1138, MeBeJedi, RowMan, PaulisDead2221, ocpmovie, babyhum, DarthEditous, and many, many other editions all soon follow in the next few years.
across 2004 - MagnoliaFan releases his Episode I & II Prequel Edits, as well as a pre-ANH version.
1st May - Hal 9000’s ‘The Phantom Edit’ thread - on probably the 1st mainstream Star Wars fan edit.
20th June - Rikter’s ‘Star Wars - The Edits and DVDr releases thread’ archive.
September see the first full release of the Original Trilogy on DVD. Unfortunately it does not carry the unaltered theatrical version of the OT. More info - link.
21st September - Molly’s 'Using the ‘04 version to restore teh original’ - '04 OT DVD release to bring about an OOT version project.
30th September - The MeBeJedi feedback thread.
30th September - ocpmovie’s Star Wars: Deleted Magic documentary.
3rd October - The “ISOMIX” feedback thread.
4th October - Zion’s ‘The Zion DVD Project’ thread.
15th October - The “Farsight” Trilogy DVD Info and Feedback Thread.
16th October - grisan’s ‘Star Wars OT ANH - PAL Laserdisc transfer’ preseveration project.
19th October - khamul02’s ‘The Odyssey Collection’ - ‘Faces Set’ laserdisc to dvd project.
20th October - mverta’s ‘Star Wars Legacy’ project.
25th October - tellan’s ‘The Lancer DVD Project’.
15th November - ADigitalMan’s ‘Thoughts on de-SE’ing the DVD’ ideas thread.
29th November - jwenig’s ‘Troops on Total Movie DVD’ thread.
Rikter (and his spookies) had really helped spread the word regarding the existence and availability of two main sets of fan-made Laserdisc to DVD transfers of the Original Trilogy knocking around at this time - those being the ‘TR47 / Cowclops’ and the ‘Dr Gonzo’ versions. These projects inspired many talented, determined or just curious individuals on here to attempt to create their own versions over the next couple of years (and beyond) - PAL or NTSC, through differing quality laserdiscs players, from the various OT laserdisc releases - with some DVD sets even having their own customised menus or bonus features!
These newly created projects were sent to the four corners of the world and beyond - by some of the community on here - creating free Pay-It-Forward (PIF) networks of snail-mailing DVD discs through the post. This was at a time when dial-up internet was still prevalent for many, few computers had dvd re-writers - yet had meagerly sized hard drives, and also a lack of online storage services for dvd files as large as 4gb or so - let alone the 12-13gb required for the three Original Trilogy films.
Obviously, 2004 also saw the first release of the Original Trilogy on DVD - yet these would be the ‘Special Editions’ only - with more changes made to them since the 1997 SE release - and no sign of the unaltered theatrical versions.
3rd January - Laserman’s ‘The X0 Project Discussion Thread’ project.
13th January - Zion becomes part of the OT•com moderation team.
18th January - The “EditDroid” Trilogy DVD Info and Feedback Thread.
4th February - Greetings from Wookie Groomer; Split Screen News.
13th February - The Official babyhum Release Thread.
20th March - Trooperman’s ‘Episode II: Shroud of the Dark Side (the TM edit)’ fan edit.
28th April - SKot’s Preserving the…cringe…Star Wars Holiday Special project.
5th May - Original Trilogy.com in the Press (with quote from Lucasfilm PR re the OT•com and the OOT; from the Baltimore Sun)
19th May - Episode III : Revenge Of The Sith is released (US date).
19th May Star Wars: Classic Edition by Ocpmovie.
1st June Darth Editous’ ‘Episode IV DVD Info and Feedback Thread - a partially “de-specialed” DVD’
5th June - ADigitalMan’s ‘non-Star Wars DVD Info Projects and Feedback’ Thread.
8th June - Citizen’s NTSC DVD / PAL DVD / XviD project.
26th June - Hal 9000 starts work on his Prequel Trilogy Edits.
2nd August - Dr. M’s Reinventing The Wheel Edition (PAL to NTSC+).
3rd August - Rikter’s ‘The Official ANGRYSVN STAR WARS Release Thread’ project.
3rd August - DigitalFreakNYC’s Projects Release Thread.
8th August - The Official RowMan Release Thread.
3rd September - segaflip’s ‘The Official Dark/Sega Special Collection*** Release Thread’.
19th September - JackLucas’ 'Does Anyone Have The Old Original Theater Bootleg ‘77 Tape?’ thread.
26th September - Classic Edition: The Empire Strikes Back by Ocpmovie.
27th October - Zion’s ‘The XØ Project - Laserdisc on Steroids’ project.
14th December - The Moth3r PAL DVD Set Info and Feedback Thread.
25th December - Grinder’s PAL widescreen project.
29th December - Classic Edition: Return of the Jedi by Ocpmovie.
across 2005 - ADigitalMan releases his Star Wars Saga Edit releases.
across 2005 - JambeDavdar’s first of his OT Filmumentaries - ‘Building Empire’.
2005 saw the release of ‘Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith’ in the cinema - and later in the year on DVD; with therein work commencing on an array of Prequel Trilogy Fan Edits, ‘3-in-1’ PT projects, ROTS edits, and ‘Complete Saga’ fan projects to come. Fans had been inspired and curious for some time by ‘The Phantom Edit’ released back in 2000/2001 on VHS - and given the general unhappiness with the quality of the Prequel Trilogy… many took to editing and making their own versions (or ‘Special Editions’) of the Prequels.
Some Edits were fairly light with changes - whilst other Edits featured heavier alterations - new alien subtitles and scripts altering the story, re-colouring of scenes (and even lightsabers), insertions of deleted scenes or bonus materials, actors’ voices and scenes from other bodies of work were inserted, cuts were made for pace and timing - along with some Edits near-on removing entire characters from the original story.
The year also saw OT•com member Jambe Davdar commence work on his superb Filmumentaries OT project - fan-made, yet professional quality documentaries; starting with ‘Building Empire’ (and would later go on to release ‘Returning To Jedi’, and finally ‘Star Wars Begins’.
4th January - Jambe Davdar’s ‘Returning To Jedi’ OT filmumentary.
17th January - daveytod’s ‘The Clones Revealed’ Episode II: AOTC fan edit.
25th January - Moth3r becomes part of the OT•com moderation team.
29th January - jasonrocksout’s ‘Song Of The South’ non-SW project.
8th February - Byakko’s ‘X-Men: the animated series (1992-1997)’ non-SW project.
12th March - Doctor M’s ‘The Matrix Hacked’ non-SW fan edit.
14th March - marioxb’s ‘Backstroke of the West with retail DVD quality’ fan edit thread.
18th March - marioxb’s ‘Little Shop of Horrors original ending’ non-SW project.
28th March - MoveAlong’s - The Story of Star Wars.
27th April - Darth Editous’ ‘Episode V DVD Info and Feedback Thread - a work in progress’.
7th May - spaint’s ‘Giorgio Moroder’s Metropolis’ non-SW project.
8th May - ReverendBeastly’s ‘Criterion Collection: Adventures of Baron Munchausen & The Fisher King’ non-SW project.
20th May - Moth3r’s ‘My Summer With Des - VHS preservation’ non-SW project.
24th May - Lucasfilm’s PR Response regarding the 2006 DVD release by Jay (8th-24th May) : Screencapture of Lucasfilm PR Response
5th July - Spence101287’s ‘Young Indiana Jones…’ non-SW project.
19th July - adywan starts work on his Revisited Edition of Star Wars (as past of his OT Edits).
12th September - The theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy are released on DVD - albeit on bonus discs as part of another Special Edition release set - in a substandard non-anamorphic format; even for 2006.
16th October - The Puggo Edition - webpage and screenshots project.
24th October - InfoDroid’s ‘Star Wars: REBORN - The Complete Saga’.
19th November - Moth3r’s Pre-ANH bootleg telecine - a widescreen version project.
1st December - GhostAlpha26’s ‘PT as one movie’ fan edit.
A screenshot image of the article on the Baltimore Sun website from the 5th May 2006, featuring quotes from Lucasfilm spokesman John Singh about the OriginalTrilogy•com - the passion of the fans here - as well as acknowledging that the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy films are “…the movies that some fans have always wanted own, because they’re the ones they first saw in theaters.”…
An abridged screenshot image of Jay’s post on the OriginalTrilogy•com at the time:-
The fan pressure campaign spearheaded by the OT•com and their members & petition… resulted in Lucasfilm relenting… and they finally agreed to release the 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)
A screenshot image of StarWars•com’s announcement re the unaltered Original Trilogy being released on DVD for the first time (and only time) - as linked to in Jay’s post, above:-
StarWars•com’s actual post on the announcement can be found here - also via the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine
Then, later in May… came the news that coming unaltered theatrical version release on DVD would be in letterbox format - and not anamorphic widescreen. Followed by the reveal that the transfer would be from what was used for the 1993 Definitive Edition Laserdiscs - a 13 year old project and, even back then (in 2006), 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 - politely 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)
Just days later, after receiving a barrage 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 nonsensical and factually disingenuous… statement in reply:-
(The actual post can be viewed here - via the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine)
The return "to the Lucasfilm Archives to search exhaustively for source material that could be presented on DVD." as originally stated by Lucasfilm VP Jim Ward - seemingly turned out to be not very exhaustive - or much of a search, at all.
To date this is the only time the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy has been officially released on a digital format…
More detailed info on the 2006 OT DVD release itself can be found at the SaveStarWars•com website, in the article titled ‘Got GOUT? The 2006 Original Version DVD Bonus Feature Fiasco’, and also in the An Index Thread for General Star Wars Discussion… - in the ‘Archival / Historical discussions’ section.
4th January - Moth3r’s The Mono Mix Restoration Project.
5th January - RIJIR’s ‘Is anyone doing a “Virtual” Lost Cut?’ thread.
20th January - Jambe Davdar’s ‘Star Wars Begins’ OT filmumentary.
12th February - Jonno’s ‘Alien Appendix #3: The Alien Archive’ non-SW project.
27th February - musicman’s ‘Two-Face (A Batman: The Animated Series Movie)’ non-SW fan edit.
5th March - GoodMusician’s Star Wars Prequels/Original Trilogy: The Complete Scores project.
9th March - ‘Wookie Groomer Presents: ADDICTED TO STAR WARS’ thread.
12th March - PaulisDead2221’s ‘The Empire Strikes Back - The Vintage Edit’ project.
6th April - ThatArtGuy’s ‘The Spinal Tap Omnibus - Volume 6: The 1992 Concert Tour’ non-SW project.
30th April - wainsco’s ‘1997 SE TB Digital Broadcasts’ thread.
27th May - PaulisDead2221’s ‘Star Wars - The Vintage Edit’ project.
12th June - Pat-Fett’s ‘30th Anniversary DVD Idea’ thread.
12th June - FanFiltration’s ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Special Longer Version)’ non-SW project.
27th June - Wookie Groomer’s 1080p Star Wars Saga project.
9th July - Doctor M’s ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - The Enhanced ABC Cut’ non-SW project.
13th July - reave’s ‘Transformers The Movie: Resparked’ non-SW fan edit.
14th August - ThrowgnCpr’s ‘The Harry Potter Archives’ non-SW fan edit.
25th November - Lord Phillock’s ‘The Fellowship of the Ring - The Book-Cut - v2’ non-SW fan edit.
29th November - Bob’s ‘The Star Wars Holiday Special De-Campified’ project.
By 2007 the OT•com had already seen many preservation, fan edit and fan projects for Star Wars material in it’s short time - yet was also now seeing many edits and preservations for non Star Wars material too. From films, documentaries and tv series, and audio and soundtrack projects as well. From popular classics to long-forgotten gems, out-of-print or previously thought-lost material, bonus materials and deleted scenes being more available than before, and also giving some new life to content that hadn’t been seen or released in certain countries before.
All the while Editors were honing and also sharing their skills, experiences, info and advice, with more techniques being catalogued, new software being released - along with advances in technology making it slightly easier and cheaper to accomplish many highly polished fan-made releases.
With this growing popularity of fan-made projects, Jay launched a ‘sister site’ to the OT•com - FanEdits.com - a wiki-style fan project database with the goal of featuring the various film ventures being produced by fans.
10th January - JasonN’s ‘The Matrix Evolutions’ non-SW fan edit.
12th January - klokwerk’s ‘The Keep - Satellite Rip’ non-SW project.
20th January - Molly’s ‘The Vaultbreakers Collection - Disney Preservations’ non-SW project.
12th February - focuspuller’s ‘Blade Runner: The Complete Music Collection’ non-SW project.
15th February - adywan’s ‘Empire Strikes Back’ Revisited Edit.
27th February - Galactus’ ‘Star Wars: Bounty Hunter - Beyond The Game 2.0’ - with MoveAlong + ThrowgnCpr project.
25th April - Rock Savage’s ‘V For Vendetta: The Fan Edit’ non-SW fan edit.
2nd May - djsmokingjam’s ‘The Evil Dead Treasures Collection’ non-SW project.
24th-28th May_ - Zion’s ‘Star Wars CELEBRATION IV in Los Angeles - May 24-28 2007’ 30th Anniversary Convention thread.
5th June - InfoDroid’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom non-SW fan edit.
11th July - JasonN’s ‘Shadows Of The Old Republic’ (3-in-1 Prequel Film).
10th August - The Clone Wars animated film premieres at US cinemas.
17th August - Asteroid-Man’s ‘Star Wars: Renascent’ project.
11st September - Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda’s ‘Puggo GRANDE - 16mm restoration’ OT project.
3rd October - The Clone Wars animated tv series is aired on US tv.
22nd October - TMBTM’s ‘Star Wars Saga: Silent Film Edition’ project.
4th November - sees another re-release of the Original Trilogy in a DVD boxset - still with no unaltered Theatrical Versions of the Original Trilogy (a Prequel Trilogy boxset is also released too). More info here - link.
8th November - Bingowings’ ‘The Prequel Radical Redux Ideas Thread’.
2008 saw the highly anticipated release of adywan’s 'Revisited Edition’ of Star Wars. Inspired by watching the ‘ADigitalMan / Darth Editous Hybrid’ Fan Edit of Star Wars, adywan had started off simply colour-correcting the official Specials Edition DVD release. As he progressed he found that there were many things he could figure out how to do to make what he felt the Special Editions could - and likely should - have been; resulting in new scenes being filmed and added, a new sound mix, effects, music, and hundreds of small tweaks and edits made.
Another OT•com member also had a busy year… zombie84 released his book ‘A Secret History of Star Wars’ to critical acclaim and high praise. The detailed and thorough book (containing over 400 sources and filled with quotes from people such as George Lucas, Gary Kurtz and Mark Hamill) challenged many myths, legends and revisionism surrounding the origins of the series - and placed the films, both in their inception and history, as well as what had become oft-repeated ‘lore’, in a new factual light.
21st February - Troy’s ‘What Ever Happened To PAY IT FORWARD System? (PIF)’ thread.
17th March - teharri’s ‘Star Wars: Fan Trailers’ project.
28th March - ABC’s ‘THE OT SOUNDTRACKS SALVAGE - SW ESB ROTJ - “remastered”’ project.
20th May - GoodMusician’s ‘Episode III Re-Edit’ project.
30th June - dark_jedi’s ‘Star Wars OT & 1997 Special Edition Info’ archive.
22nd July - DuTwan’s ‘Voice Actors for Fan Edits and Re-dubs Thread’ thread.
25th July - Jonno’s ‘Alien Appendix #4: The ALIENS Archive’ non-SW project.
1st August - fishmanlee’s ‘Yellow Harvest (ROTJ Fan Edit)’ thread.
8th August - arnie.d’s The X9 Project.
9th August - Funcha’s ‘A new edit of Empire Strikes Back’ project.
12th August - TheBoost’s ‘Worst Edit Ideas’ thread.
31st August - tb1971’s ‘Alien Appendix #5+6: The ALIEN SAGA Archive’ non-SW project.
26th September - Kevinicus’ ‘Transformers: Reformatted (2007)’ non-SW fan edit.
6th October - Moth3r’s ‘Project Index: Star Wars Fan Edits’ archive index thread.
12th October - ABC’s ‘Re-Scoring The Empire Strikes Back - The 1980 Film Version Edit’ project.
20th October - rpvee’s ‘My Revenge of the Sith Trailer’ project.
11th December - TheBoost’s ‘Dracula (1931) - The Transfusion Edit’ non-SW fan edit.
December - OriginalTrilogy•com’s twitter account is started.
31st January - JasonN’s PT FanEdits (Attack of the Federation, Twilight of the Republic, & The Black Knight Rises).
For a couple of years prior, news of a documentary being made which would include fans’ own opinions on Star Wars had piqued much interest amongst SW fandom. The ‘People Vs George Lucas’ is an examination of the widespread fan disenchantment with George Lucas at the time; the lack of an acceptable quality release of the theatrical versions of the OT, as well as disappointment with aspects of the Prequel Trilogy - the changing of the mythology - as well as the story itself.
The director of the ‘People vs George Lucas’ documentary invited fans from here to contribute to it, and 2009 saw the cut-off point for applications as the film would be released early 2010. Members of the OT•com feature in the documentary and some of their thoughts (and others) can be found in the subject’s discussion thread, here - link.
ABC’s (and seventiesfilmnut’s) project to salvage and remaster the Original Trilogy Soundtracks - from changes made to them over the years by the releases of the Special Editions soundtracks (and restoring the original dynamic sound, warmth and depth back to them) - was released this year.
across 2010 - hairy_hen starts work on the 1977 70mm sound mix recreation project.
8th January - ThomasJarvis’s ‘Phantasm: Ultimate Extended Edition’ non-SW fan edit.
10th March - helmetcrow’s ‘New Star Wars Edit’ remix project.
14th March - the release of ‘The People vs George Lucas’ documentary
19th March - bobgarcia74’s ‘SW Episode III - Reign of the Dark Side’ fan edit.
20th March - hairy_hen’s ‘Star Wars 1977 70mm sound mix recreation’ - 5.1 & stereo available project.
17th April - tb1971’s ‘Alien Appendix #7: The ALIEN SAGA Archive’ non-SW project.
30th May - Nicholas J. Michalak’s ‘Star Wars Prequels: The NJM Edits’ thread.
7th July - The Cutter’s ‘Revenge Of The Cut - Fan edit of Star Wars Revenge Of The Sith’ fan edit.
12th July - none’s ‘Star Wars - The Ultimate Experience - Is Forever …One Last Time (Television Trilogy Preservation Set + SW Commercial Breaks)’ thread.
20th July - captainsolo’s ‘Hard Boiled and The Killer’ non-SW project.
23rd July - msycamore’s ‘THX 1138 “preservations”’ non-SW project.
14th August - George Lucas announces the 2011 release of the Star Wars Saga being available on blu ray.
15th August - LeeThorogood’s PAL LaserDisc Preservation Project.
13th September - doubleofive’s ‘Complete Comparison of Special Edition Visual Changes’ project.
26th September - See No Evil’s ‘Book Of The Dead AKA The Evil Dead - Preservation’ non-SW project.
26th September - satanika’s ‘Nezha Conquers the Dragon King (1979)’ non-SW project.
30th September - muddyknees2000’s ‘ANH…Revisited or Purist???’ adywan edits conversation thread.
6th October - Moth3r’s ‘Project Index: Star Wars Fan Edits’ archive for Star Wars fan edits.
25th October - nightstalkerpoet’s ‘Episode 1: The Phantom Hour’ fan edit.
20th November - none’s Theater Performance Preservations archive.
Two years on from the release of his informative book (A Secret History Of Star Wars), zombie84 started the SaveStarWars•com website - a comprehensive journal chronicling many intriguing articles and editorials as well as news and information from the time - and proves to be a great resource for anyone interested in the evolving changes made to the Original Trilogy. The website can be found here, and his OT•com discussion thread on the website can be found here.
2010 also saw zombie84 write this article covering some of the history of OT Laserdisc Preservations on the OT•com (as well as general info on the background of Preservations and Star Wars DVD info) - which can be found here - Fan Preservations
doubleofive’s ‘Complete Comparison of Special Edition Visual Changes’ quality project thread (here) - made for a superb contribution to the site - listing all of the numerous and continuing changes made to the Original Trilogy over time. His later twitter page and blog page also archive those changes on differing media platforms and well worth visiting to see just how many have occurred since the 1997 ‘Special Editions’.
hairy_hen’s ‘Star Wars 1977 70mm sound mix recreation’ project also came to be in 2010; providing a release that had not been previously made available on home video - as well as fulfilling the stated goal of trying to sound as much like the original mix as possible.
George Lucas announced that a release of the Star Wars Saga on blu ray would occur in the following year (for what would be a new version of the Original Trilogy with more even more changes made - aka the ‘2011 Special Editions’)…
…featuring more claims, by George himself, as to why the unaltered theatrical version of the Original Trilogy could not be restored or included:-
^ an abridged screenshot image of the article. The full article can be found here:-
‘Star Wars Films Coming to Blu-ray Next Year’
The somewhat disingenuous claims made by George Lucas in the above article, including…
“go through and do a whole restoration on it, and you have to do that digitally” and “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.”
…were swiftly contested and debunked by many people at the time, including SaveStarWars.com’s article in response:-
^ a screenshot image of the article. The full article can be found here:-
‘The Star Wars Blu-Ray Blues’
These two articles from the ARS Technica website on the issues of restoring, preserving and releasing the classic OT films, and also providing insight into what is actually possible in making an official release of the unaltered theatrical version of the Original Trilogy:-
‘Untouched is impossible: the story of Star Wars in film’ - 2010 article
‘Could Disney finally give us the remastered, unedited Star Wars we want?’ - 2017 article
We also know with certainty that 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.
22nd January - doubleofive’s ‘Modern SE Revisionism’ thread.
22nd January - Brash’s Star Wars Sound Effects Archive - A collection of the best Star Wars sounds for use in Fan Editing project.
7th February - TV’s Frink ‘Episode I: The Ridiculous Menace’ project - part of Frink’s Ridiculous SW Saga releases.
23rd February - Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda’s ‘Puggo Strikes Back!’ 16mm project commences.
7th March - SpenceEdit’s ‘Duel of the Fates’ project.
15th March - none’s ‘Treadwell Collection’ VHS archive project.
5th April - Harmy’s Despecialized Editions of the Original Trilogy - Star Wars.
7th April - Harmy’s ‘STAR WARS TRILOGY - The Very Special Edition (Feature length parody compilation)’ project.
17th April - Harmy’s Despecialized Editions of the Original Trilogy - Empire Strikes Back.
18th May - none’s ‘FLIMSIPLAST DATABASE’ archive project.
18th May - doubleofive’s ‘Sources on the Special Edition’ project.
6th June - Harmy’s Despecialized Editions of the Original Trilogy - Return Of The Jedi.
5th September - Anchorhead becomes part of the OT•com moderation team.
7th September - dark_jedi’s ‘Conan The Barbarian 1982 US Theatrical Edition’ non-SW project.
11th September - SilverWook becomes part of the OT•com moderation team.
12th September - mysycamore’s ‘STAR WARS - Special Widescreen Edition (Technidisc)’ project.
16th September - sees the release of the ‘Star Wars: The Complete Saga’ on blu ray - with more changes made to the films. More info can be found here - link.
25th September - pittrek’s “The Ewoks Project” DVD set’ project.
17th October - Joshua_Blue’s ‘ANH:R - Stronger Vader edit’ thread.
31st December - fishmanlee’s ‘The Star Wars Movie Score Unused/Replaced Music Restoration Thread’ project.
The Original Trilogy had it’s first blu ray release in 2011 - featuring yet more changes to the Original Trilogy - though did not feature a release of the theatrical versions of the films.
However, Harmy’s ‘Despecialized Edition’ of the Original Trilogy would start work in 2011 - eventually providing a fan-made 720p HD quality restoration of the theatrical versions first three films - sourced mainly from the official blu ray release themselves (along with a few other elements). A tireless and exhaustive task - made a little easier by the community here collaborating with Harmy to help him come up with a professional-level release - that for many fans surpassed any of the official home video releases of Star Wars, previous.
Harmy had no prior professional experience with film editing - and taught himself as the venture progressed, beginning with some Photoshop skills that he had developed in college. To remove the post-theatrical version changes he painstakingly went through the films frame-by-frame, correcting colours and rotoscoping scenes - undoing some shots took only an hour, while others took hundreds. Lightsabers were color-corrected, and CGI characters & backgrounds were removed. Harmy then edited these sources together using software such as Adobe After Effects and Avisynth.
2nd January - JawsTDS’s ‘Jaws the Revenge: Off the Cutting Room Floor Preservation’ non-SW project.
25th January - Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda’s ‘Return of the Pug (ROTP)’ 16mm project starts.
28th February - thunderclap’s (aka Q2) ‘The Fall of the Jedi Trilogy’ Prequel Edits.
4th March - retartedted’s ‘Droids Series Complete Set’. Reconstruction from multiple sources project.
7th March - Octorox’s ‘Topher Grace’s prequel edit’ thread.
20th June - AntcuFaalb’s ‘Pre-ANH Star Wars Bootleg VHS from 1978’ project.
28th June - Brooks’s ‘Adventures in VHS preservations’ project.
19th July - none’s ‘International Audio (including Voice-Over Translations)’ project.
15th August - schorman13’s Star Wars Laser Disc Audio Archive.
2nd September - Team Negative 1’s 35mm theatrical version projects for the OT start.
1st November - Emanswfan’s Prequel Trilogy fan edits.
11th November - You_Too’s ‘Our Night Of The Living Dead 1990’ non-SW project.
25th November - arctofire’s ‘Do you think Disney will release the unaltered versions for DVD and blue ray’ thread.
15th December - Molly’s ‘ROBOTECH: The Deculture Collection’ non-SW project.
21st December - Disney buys Lucasfilm, the company behind the Star Wars films - from its chairman and founder George Lucas, for $4.05bn.
25th December - emanswfan’s ‘Star Wars Prequels 35mm 4K Filmized Editions’ project.
27th December - none’s ‘AARRSSTW - WTSSRRAA’ Special Edition made ‘Specialer’ project.
across 2012 - Catbus starts work on Project Threepio - Star Wars OOT subtitles.
Disney buys Lucasfilm. During a meeting that George Lucas had with Disney CEO Bob Iger, Lucas told Iger he was considering retirement and planned to sell the company, as well as the Star Wars franchise. On October 30, 2012, Disney announced a deal to acquire Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, with approximately half in cash and half in shares of Disney stock.
Kathleen Kennedy became president of Lucasfilm, with George Lucas originally announced as serving as creative consultant. On December 21, 2012, Disney completed the acquisition and Lucasfilm became a wholly owned subsidiary of Disney. The company also announced the future release of new Star Wars films, starting with Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, in 2015 - part of the new Star Wars Sequel Trilogy.
Catbus’ superb ‘Project Threepio’ (Star Wars OOT subtitles) project was released in 2012. The venture’s aim is to ‘provide high-quality subtitle options for preservations of the Star Wars “Original Original Trilogy” – Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi in their unaltered forms – and to provide a framework with which anyone can add or change subtitles as needed for any other purpose. I hope that this will broaden the appeal of our preservation efforts beyond the English-speaking world’.
18th March - althor1138’s ‘Star Wars Laserdisc Preservations’ archive.
3rd April - Lucasfilm confirmed that LucasArts ceases to operate as a video game developer. Future video games based on its properties will either be developed by Disney Interactive Studios or licensed to third-party developers.
26th April - ^…^'s ‘Jurassic Park’ non-SW project.
7th May - TM2YC’s The Star Wars: The Lost Workprint project.
18th May - njvc’s ‘Pulp Empire’ fan edit project.
20th May - Lucasfilm announces Star Wars Rebels - an animated TV series for 2014.
20th June - kk650’s Star Wars Saga: Regraded and Semi-Specialized project.
20th June - kk650’s Miscellaneous Regraded Films projects.
26th June - Hal 9000’s ‘Star Wars Episode I: Cloak Of Deception’ Prequel Edit project.
15th July - dark_jedi’s ‘Fright Night Part II 1988’ non-SW project.
17th July - Hal 9000’s ‘Star Wars Episode II: The Approaching Storm’ Prequel Edit project.
20th August - Bladez636’s ‘Star Fleet/X-Bomber (1980) Remastered Edition’ non-SW project.
20th September - Laserschwert’s ‘Krieg der Sterne - Despecialized Edition 2.7 (German)’ OT project starts.
21st September - Tasjo’s ‘Holiday Special WHIO 1st Gen VHS Preservation’ project.
8th October - sees the release of the ‘Star Wars: The Complete Saga’ on blu ray and dvd box sets again - still no unaltered Original Trilogy versions. More info can be found here - link.
11th October - Matt_Stevens’ ‘Crocodile Dundee - 1080p video plus Uncompressed audio from Laserdisc’ non-SW project.
18th October - dark_jedi’s ‘released projects’ thread.
30th October - ^…^'s [spoRv] projects - past and future.
3rd November - ^…^'s ‘Haloween’ non-SW project.
3rd November - ^…^'s ‘Disney’s Beauty and the Beast’ non-SW project.
Hal 9000 releases the first of his revamped Prequel Trilogy Edits - coming up with the quality ‘Cloak of Deception’; ‘a re-crafted perspective on Star Wars Episode I in keeping with the drive of the Original Trilogy of films. Unnecessary ‘galaxy shrinking’ cameos from classic characters have been cut down or removed. Anakin is depicted as a more mature and capable figure an audience can identify with. Jar Jar is recast as an everyman caught up in events outside his control who does his part in the fight for freedom, rather than a traitorous clown.’
njvc’s Pulp Empire is released. A Tarantino inspired slick Star Wars mashup and remix - intended as a fun homage to one of njvc’s favourite filmmakers. Steering away from the Tarantino vibe, he also included a hero moment for most of the main characters, and threw in a great selection of music from previous Tarantino releases - ‘as well as a few songs that Tarantino would never use in a million years…’
Disney boss Bob Iger confirms that Lucasfilm plans to have stand-alone Star Wars films, with Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg lined up to develop the movies, that would be released sometime during the six-year period the then-coming Sequel Trilogy will be released - link.
1st January - NeverarGreat’s ‘A New Hope Technicolor Recreation’ project.
1st January - Darth Lucas’ ‘The Star Wars Mono-logy’ project.
26th January - docsap’s ‘The Abyss - Special Edition (1989) BluRay Project’ non-SW project.
14th February - 13las’ ‘Radical Attack of the Clones Edit’ fan edit & ideas thread.
25th February - Hal 9000’s ‘Star Wars Episode III: Labyrinth Of Evil’ Prequel Edit project.
10th March - marioxb’s ‘It’s the full collection, Charlie Brown! AKA continuing the Warner Peanuts 1960s, 1970s “decade” collections’ non-SW project.
21st April - csd79’s ‘Star Wars SWE LD preservation’ 1993 Technidisc preservation project.
25th April - Lucasfilm announces the end of the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
29th May - schorman13’s HDTV Star Wars Saga Preservation project.
6th June - Flanders of Iowa’s ‘Star Wars: Rendezvous at Kazook. (SWHS meets Episode II)’ project.
24th June - jimbotron235’s ‘Amadeus - Theatrical Cut Restoration 1080p’ non-SW project.
8th July - Jetrell Fo’s ‘Alien DC Project’ preservation.
12th July - jerryshadoe’s ‘Last of the Mohicans - Original Theatrical Cut’ non-SW project.
14th July - danny_boy’s 4K restoration on Star Wars discussion thread.
26th July - dvdmike’s ‘Slipstream 1989’ non_SW project.
24th September - PDB’s ‘Blade Runner Color Regrade’ non-SW project.
11th December - RU.08’s TPM 1080p Theatrical Preservation project.
17th December - smudger9’s ‘Clone Wars Movie Series’ Edit project.
20th December - dark_jedi’s ‘Terminator 1 & 2 Projects’ non-SW project.
Disney’s Lucasfilm announced it had dissolved the Expanded Universe (aka EU) permanently - and Lucasfilm would have local Governors would have direct control over these territories to keep it all in line - or possibly something about ‘Canon’ & ‘Legends’, who knows? 😉 The OT•com discussion thread on this decision, with honourable mentions to why fans’ own personal canon can be just as relevant and important, along with various other thoughts and comments, can be found here - link.
2014 also saw the US premiere of the animated tv series Rebels - which would go on to run for four seasons. Rebels was set five years before the events of Star Wars '77, and tells the story of the Rebellion’s beginnings while the Empire spreads tyranny through the galaxy.
Though not ‘year specific’ to this timeline thread… I’d just like to highlight some of the great work done by many of the talented individuals on here who made dvd and blu ray covers, inserts, disc-art, boxsets, other media device covers, and fan art in general on the OT•com - in the site’s ‘Case Covers, Disc Labels, and Fan Art’ section. Also kudos to those who’ve supplied info and resources, advice and help on how best to print these works of art - and also to further improve the quality of sets available - whether from the official Star Wars releases - to the numerous fan edits, preservations and fan projects on here - and to non-Star Wars content as well.
1st January - Marduk666’s ‘Return of the Sith – Revenge of the Jedi’ fan edit.
16th January - CSchmidlapp’s ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy - Theatrical Preservation’ non-SW project.
20th January - eldusto84’s ‘JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit: turning a mediocre trilogy into one really good film’ non-SW fan edit.
23rd April - ^…^'s Star Wars: SDTV & HDTV digital broadcast database archive.
24th May - Ziggyonice’s ‘Episode VI: Return of the Jedi — The ‘Ziggy’ Edit’ fan edit.
1st June - poita’s ‘Fantasia’ non-SW project.
7th June - GoboFraggle1983’s ‘The Smurfs and the Magic Flute - United States English Dub from 1983’ non-SW project.
14th July - mredthefed’s ‘Heavy Star Wars Prequel Trilogy - Heavy Metal Style Fan edit’.
18th July - peter_pan’s ‘Red Dwarf Night: 10th Anniversary’ non-SW project.
21st July - ‘Yotsuya’s Two Saga Edits’ project.
31st July - STENDEC’s ‘Tugs VHS to DVD Preservation’ project.
13th August - DrDre’s ‘Color matching and prediction: color correction tool’ project.
15th August - Disney announces Star Wars-Themed Lands Coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.
13th October - sees the repackaged re-release of ‘Star Wars: The Complete Saga’. Still no unaltered Original Trilogy. More info here - link.
12th November - hundsdorfex’s ‘Need special effects for your edit? Request them here!’ thread.
14th November - swazzy’s ‘The Spongebob Squarepants Movie - 35mm ReCreation’ non-SW project.
29th November - Colek’s ‘Morphine / ??? - 1080p Bluray - The Real Thunderbolt’ non-SW project.
18th December - ‘Episode VII : The Force Awakens’ is released (US date).
Episode VII: The Force Awakens was released in 2015, heralding the start of a new Sequel Trilogy from Lucasfilm - without the direct influence of George Lucas. The film harked back to the feeling and vibe of the Original Trilogy - with much emphasis placed on the film using real sets and props over unnecessary overuse of CGI. Even the story - an almost retelling or interpretation from sections of the entire OT paid homage to this - the first Star Wars film in 12 years, and the first investment from new owner’s Disney since their $4b takeover in 2012. Fan reaction was generally positive, though while some found the film ‘to play it safe’ somewhat… many agreed it was an overall improvement on the Prequel Trilogy.
DrDre, with a background in image analysis and enhancement, released his Color matching and prediction: color correction tool and also Star Wars GOUT in HD using super resolution algorithm projects in 2012 - just a couple of the many informative and quality projects by the talented and more technical-minded members on here since 2003 - that takes place on the site to help editors and preservationists here learn and achieve even better results for their quality projects.
As well as the general help, advice and info offered - and questions answered - by many helpful members in the OT•com’s much-underrated and overlooked ‘How-To’s and Technical Discussions’ section.
25th January - Octorox’s ‘Star Wars: The Phantom Menace - Faster, More Intense!’ project.
14th February - towne’s ‘Harmy’s Despecialized Star Wars 1977 - Color Adjustment Project for v2.7’ project.
25th February - Sheepish’s ‘Star Wars - Shroud of the Sith, a radical fan edit of The Phantom Menace’ fan edit.
6th March - darthrush’s ‘Return of the Jedi - Remastered’ fan edit project.
19th March - Zion’s ‘Star Wars Holiday Special - Zion Hybrid v2’ project.
4th May - poita’s ‘The Original Trilogy restored from 35mm prints’ project.
14th May - Windows7Guy100’s ‘The Blackened Mantle is finally back on YouTube!’ project.
20th May - njvc’s ‘Star Wars Despecialized Editions - Custom Bluray Set’ project.
27th May - Hal 9000’s ‘The Force Awakens: A Gentle Restructure’ fan edit.
26th July - DigMod’s ‘Star Wars: Heir to the Force (TFA)’ fan edit.
13th August - Kenny Baker passes.
25th August - DrDre’s ‘Indiana Jones trilogy regrade, using the 2003 DVDs as a reference’ non-SW project.
13th September - TheHutt’s ‘Stephen King’s IT (1990) - Original two-part version!’ non-SW project.
17th October - Williarob’s ‘Project #4K77’ project thread.
14th November - ^…^'s ‘Star Wars: deleted and extended scenes database’ project.
15h November - ^…^'s ‘Star Wars: audio/video bonus material (home video releases) database’ project.
27th November - ^…^'s Star Wars saga - Extra Extended Edition (1080p) project.
16th December - ‘Rogue One : A Star Wars Story’ is released (US date).
27th December - Carrie Fisher passes.
Rogue One, the first of the standalone ‘A Star Wars Story’ films was released in 2016 - to mainly positive reviews and high-grossing takings at the box office. Set at the time of Star Wars '77, the film also featured CGI recreations of the Tarkin and Princess Leia characters - which caused some debate on how ‘good’ (or not) the final compositions were. The film did undergo some much publicised re-shoots - and whilst many enjoyed the released project, it was somewhat disappointing for some that the original and unused footage has not been aired or included as deleted scenes or bonus material (to date).
Zion’s ‘Star Wars Holiday Special - Zion Hybrid v2’ was released. The 1978 Star Wars ‘curiosity’ has a strong cult following - and this release combined the best sources available to achieve a superb quality preservation project that possibly surpasses the quality of the content itself (sorry Zion! 😉)
poita’s fantastic ‘The Original Trilogy restored from 35mm prints’ project commenced in 2016. poita has managed to secure all three OT films on 35mm prints and is in the process of cleaning and scanning - before getting to any digital cleanup and colour correction…
That’s all I’ll put here - as much of this stuff is way beyond my comprehension - though I’d encourage anyone with any interest in seeing a professional quality preservation of the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy to visit and read poita’s thread above - and also, if they can, to make a donation.
Donations of any size are welcome - and necessary - for the project to be completed; see his linked thread above for details…
across March - Octorox’s ‘Star Wars: Attack of the Clones - ‘Sanded Down’’ fan edit (links to FanRes).
21st January - DrDre’s ‘The theatrical colors of the Star Wars trilogy’ thread.
23rd March - eldusto84’s ‘Rogue One: The Battle of Scarif’ Fan edit.
19th April - NeverarGreat’s ‘The Force Awakens - The Starlight Project’ fan edit.
4th May - Dreamaster’s ‘Denoise, Regrain And CC of ESB Grindhouse’ project.
23rd May - Sir Ridley’s ‘The Force Awakens - Ridley’s Edit’.
25th May - OriginalTrilogy•com’s Open Letter to Disney and Lucasfilm asking for an official release of the unaltered theatrical version of the Original Trilogy films is published.
11th June - ARS Technica publishes the ‘Could Disney finally give us the remastered, unedited Star Wars we want?’ article on its website - on the issues of restoring, preserving and releasing the classic OT films.
22nd June - Octorox’s ‘Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Extended Edition’ fan edit.
14th July - DigMod’s ‘Rise of the Rebellion: A Rogue One Edit’ fan edit.
3rd July - Star Wars : Forces Of Destiny, an animated tv series, airs on Youtube.
20th August - SparkySywer’s ‘A 3-in-1 fanedit of the Star Wars Trilogy (With only one Death Star)’ project.
1st September - adywan’s ‘Return Of The Jedi’ Revisited Edition project.
23rd September - oojason becomes part of the site moderation team; bans everyone 😉
2nd October - RU.08’s ‘The Phantom Menace on 35mm’ preservation project.
8th October - poita’s ‘1997 Star Wars Special Edition 35mm Project’.
12th October - solkap’s ‘NJVC Custom Bluray Set of Harmy’s Despecialized Editions now available on Mega’ project.
9th November - Lucasfilm announces Rian Johnson will create a brand-new Star Wars trilogy.
17th November - RogueLeader’s ‘Rogue One Edit’ fan edit.
15th December - ‘Episode VIII : The Last Jedi’ is released (US date) - everyone loves it 😉
18th December - NeverarGreat’s ‘The Starlight Project Part 2: The Last Jedi’ fan edit.
24th December - DigMod’s ‘Star Wars: Legacy of the Jedi (A The Last JediT)’ fan edit.
29th December - Hal 9000’s ‘The Last Jedi: Legendary’ fan edit.
Episode VIII: The Last Jedi from director Rian Johnson saw intriguing receptions from many Star Wars fans… everyone loved it! 😉 Where some fans had criticised TFA for playing it safe - some fans had issues with the TLJ film and it taking a large leap story-wise, subverting expectations - moving the story onwards at a frenetic & dense pace. Whilst others said certain characters felt a little shallow, that the story was not true to what had come in the previous films of the Saga. TLJ also saw a further rise and apparent growth of toxicity from some vocal ‘fans’ - racist & sexist abuse; and also many people seemingly not liking purple hair on aliens in their space fantasy films. I’d write more - yet have likely triggered some reading this already…
2017 also saw adywan being work on final part of his OT Revisited Editions - Return Of The Jedi. Given the outstanding and meticulous labour of love undertaken by him on the previous two OT films we wish him all the good fortune that can come his way - and also hope for a smooth experience in completing his highly rated and much-anticipated finale to the Trilogy.
It being the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars… a much publicised and heralded event - without the actual original classic version of the films being available to buy and experience… OriginalTrilogy•com’s Open Letter to Disney and Lucasfilm asking for an official release of the unaltered theatrical version of the Original Trilogy films was published:-
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.
Also 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 be physically be done - or that the elements or negatives don’t exist anymore - or that the negatives cannot 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 (aka the supposed ‘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.
Though not specific to this year… colossal thanks, respect and kudos to the tremendous efforts by some members on here to bring us all the various Star Wars news & information since 2003 (and / or archiving it), as well as helping with fellow members’ queries - seeking out info and providing answers to them. To members such as ADigitalMan, adywan, alexp120, althor1138, Anchorhead, ATMachine, Bingowings, Bossk, Bluto, canofhumdingers, Captain_Danielsan, Catbus, ChainsawAsh, crissrudd4554, CO, coov, dark_jedi, Darth Chaltab, Darth Editous, darth_ender, digitalfreaknyc, Doctor M, DominicCobb, doubleofive, DrDre, emanswfan, EyeShotFirst, Fang Zei, fishmanlee, hairy_hen, HanDuet, Jay, JennyS1138, Jetrell Fo, Jonno, Laserman, Laserschwert, Luke Skywalker, Mavimao, MeBeJedi, Mielr, Molly, Moth3r, motti_soL, moviefreakedmind, Nanner Split, Neil S. Bulk, NeverarGreat, njvc, none, one69chev, Octorox, paja, phildesfr, poita, Puggo - Jar Jar’s Yoda, RRS-1980, ricarleite, Rikter, Ripplin, russs15, RU.08, schorman13, screams in the void, sean wookie, SKot, SilverWook, solkap, spoRv, Tobar, TM2YC, towne32, Video Collector, Williarob, yhwx, Yoda Is Your Father, yotsuya, Z6PO, ZigZig, Zion, & zombie84 - as well as the countless other members I’ve already forgotten to mention in here (and for which I profusely apologise). Also many positive waves to every other member of the community here who contribute bits and pieces of SW content, insights, advice, help, encouragement, funny anecdotes & more - all sharing experiences - and ‘just’ being part of the resolute ‘Rebel Scum’ which makes up the Alliance that is this unique site.
9th January - darth_ender’s ‘Star Wars: The Lost Cut’ project.
21st January - krlozdac’s ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Stardust Edition’ fan edit.
4th February - OutboundFlight’s ‘Vader - a 7 in 1 edit of the Star Wars Saga’ fan edit.
6th February - Lucasfilm announce Game Of Thrones’ David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are going to write and produce a new series of Star Wars films.
18th February - OutboundFlight’s ‘Maul: Son of Dathomir’ - a Clone Wars based fan edit.
8th March - Lucasfilm announces that Jon Favreau is going to produce and write a live-action Star Wars tv series for Disney’s new direct-to-consumer platform.
10th March - Happy Birthday, OT.com - now 15 years old
26th April - LucasFilm announces a new animated TV series - Star Wars Resistance.
28th April - Snooker’s ‘DESTROY ALL JEDI: The unfinished Tarantino-inspired prequel edit’.
13th May - IlFanEditore’s The Chosen One: A Star Wars Story - ROTS Prequel Edit with footage from Eps I & II.
18th May - timemeddler’s ‘4k77 released’ thread.
23rd May - Chewielewis’ 'Phantom Menace ‘99 - HD Theatrical Version’ project.
24th May - DrDre’s 4k77 - shot by shot color grading project starts.
24th May - paja’s ‘SOLO: A Star Wars Story: Fan Edit Ideas’ thread.
25th May - ‘Solo : A Star Wars Story’ is released (US date).
5th June - DrDre’s 4k77 - reel by reel color grading project commences.
23rd June - Mark69’s Box art (and more) for Bluray Set of Harmy’s Despecialized Editions project.
19th July - Lucasfilm announces new episodes of The Clone Wars.
29th July - Hal 9000’s The “Custom Special Edition” That Will Likely Never Be project.
31st July - ronwlim’s The Disney/Fox acquisition… thread.
31st July - 44rh1n’s “The Fellowship of the Ring” Extended Edition Color Restoration project.
1st August - Episode IX begins filming.
26th August - 15 MaF’s Blade Runner - The Analogue Cut fan edit.
24th September - Gary Kurtz passes.
1st October - adywan makes available Michel Parbot’s “The Making of The Empire Strikes Back” Documentary (full version).
7th October - ‘Star Wars Resistance’, a new animated tv series, airs on the Disney Channel.
22nd October - JawsTDS’s ‘4K83 Released’ thread.
2nd November - Anjohan’s Star Wars: Episode I - The Ancient Lore fan edit is released.
11th November - Williarob’s ‘Project 4K80’ thread.
17th November - saw the 40th anniversary of the release of The Star Wars Holiday Special.
25th November - poppasketti’s The Last Jedi: Rekindled fan edit is released.
30th November - saw the first episodes of the Galaxy Of Adventures animated series air online.
11th December - railerswim starts on his UHD Blu-ray Authoring - Technical Discussion thread.
12th December - The cast of the forthcoming live action SW tv series The Mandalorian is announced.
15th December - Anjohan’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Revisited fan edit is released.
19th December - Jay; the founder, site owner and admin of the OT.com announces that after near-on 16 years… he will be stepping down from many of his roles here.
27th December - Jackpumpkinhead’s Rogue One - The JPH Edit fan edit is released.
2018 was seemingly the year for announcements for all things Star Wars… with Game Of Thrones’ David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to write and produce a new series of Star Wars films, a live-action tv series The Manadalorian, a Cassian Andor live-action tv series, two new animated tv series - ‘Star Wars Resistance’ and a short animated series in ‘Galaxy Of Heroes’ (both of which also aired this year).
2018 also saw both the cinematic and home format releases of Solo: A Star Wars Story.
March 10th saw the OriginalTrilogy•com celebrate it’s 15th year online - a feat that not many sites or fan forums have acheived.
4K77 (Star Wars) was released this year - in 1080p and UHD formats; shortly followed by 4K83 (Return Of The Jedi) in the same 1080p and UHD format - from 35mm film sources by the good people at thestarwarstrilogy.com. 4K80 (Empire Strikes Back) is being worked on - yet will take some time to complete.
December saw OriginalTrilogy•com owner & admin Jay announce he was stepping down from many of his roles here after near-on 16 years. Whatever the future holds for him (Jay will still providing the OT•com with his invaluable tech support and knowledge - nobody else knows how to turn it off and on again 😉) we wish Jay all the very best for the future - and many, many thanks for his tireless work and efforts (much of it unseen) in creating, funding, maintaining, and evolving this unique forum since it’s humble beginnings way back in 2003. And for being the catalyst in building us this great Rebel Base from which the community here operates from.
Anchorhead & SilverWook be taking over the control of all site content and day-to-day operations from 1st February, 2019. Donations will be required from this date onwards to cover the site’s monthly overheads - more info can be found here.
1st January - Cameron Samurai’s ‘Star Wars: The Ford Awakens (Han Lives Edit)’ TFA fan edit is released.
12th January - emanswfan’s ‘Solo: A Colorful 80’s Version’ preservation project is underway.
18th January - Darth Editous’ ‘I made a distortion filter (warp) for Avisynth which may be useful’ technical help project.
20th January - CarstenJ.dk’s ‘Solo - A Star Wars Edit’ fan edit project is released.
21st January - SWOTFAN25 Ideas for “Fanedit Documentary” project is announced.
22nd January - Jackpumpkinhead’s ‘The ever useful Custom Crawl Creator: Revisited v2.0’ project is released.
26th January - DigMod’s ‘Star Wars: The Coaxium Heist’ Solo fan edit is released.
31st January - IlFanEditore’s ‘Shadow Of The Past’ TPM fan edit is released (part of his Prequel Trilogy Edits).
1st February - Anchorhead and SilverWook now manage the day-to-day running of the OT.com
1st February - 15 MaF’s ‘Blade Runner 2049 1.1’ fan edit is released.
15th February - danny_boy’s ‘Open letter to Lucas in October 1980 to release Star Wars on Home Video’ newspaper article.
16th February - emmett’s ‘Star Wars: Path of the Jedi’ Preservation Effort is released.
23rd March - Bad Atom’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture - 40th Anniversary Edition fan edit is released.
10th April - SomethingStarWarsRelated’s ‘Attack of the Clones - Alternate Timeline Edit’ is underway.
13th April - TK42-WAN’s ‘The Fallen’ 3-in-1 non-linear Prequel Trilogy Fan Edit is underway.
25th April - OutboundFlight’s ‘Clone Wars Cinematic Universe’ Fan Edit is announced.
15th May - Mavimao’s ‘The Last Jedi - Isolated Score’ info thread.
19th May - ZigZig’s ‘The Phantom Menace - Theatrical version scanned in 4K’ project announced.
16th June - G&G-Fan’s My Star Wars Saga Episodes 1-6 Edits is underway (with some edits already released)
10th June - SF01’s ‘RAW DV VHS transfers of ISD Executor and maybe more’ project underway.
16th July - Dazman’s ‘Prometheus - Improved edition’ fan edit is released.
17th July - Porkerrican’s ‘Star Wars Rebels Movie Series’ project info - thread by Nigleet
26th July - RoccondilRinon’s The Matrix: Édition Noir et Néon fan edit is released.
4th August - Brodnation’s ‘Preserving Unaltered Beatles in Mono’ project is announced.
12th August - EditModd’s ‘Return of the Jedi Edit’ ideas and concept Edit underway.
3rd September - trillary dump’s ‘Return of the Jedi 1997 Special Edition HD Reconstruction’ project announced.
3rd September - Bluto releases a comprehensive step-by-step Guide to Downloading Projects from Usenet - which may be of interest for those members looking to acquire Harmy’s Despecialized Editions or TN1’s 4K OT Preservation Projects etc.
8th September - Bobson Dugnutt’s ANH Jabba Scene Pre-Special Edition Recreation project underway.
25th October - sanjuro_61’s ‘Terminator 2 Judgment Day (1991). Regraded + Partially DeRemastered + Regrained’ project released.
12th November - Disney+… Disney+ streaming service starts airing
12th November - Disney+… Further changes are made to the Original Trilogy films - with a new version. #Maclunkey
12th November - Disney+… The Mandalorian also airs its 1st episode…
27th November - Jackpumpkinhead’s ‘Han Solo and the Kessel Run’ (A Solo Edit) is released.
17th December - Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga 4k UHD - 27 DISC Boxed Set announced (+ a 18-disc blu ray set & 9-disc DVD set)
18-20th December - Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of Skywalker - is released in cinemas - the final part of the Main Star Wars Saga.
19th December - SigmaEcho’s ‘I Spent 10 Years Rewriting the Prequels to Match the OT | “Prequels SE”’ script re-writing project
20th December - the site’s General Star Wars Discussion section is split into 3 new new categories - Original Trilogy Discussion, Beyond the Original Trilogy, and The Expanded Universe & General Star Wars Discussion…
27th December - Pickle2503’s Attack of the Clones Theatrical Preservation(ish) is underway.
The year saw the Disney+ streaming service launch in certain countries - and frustratingly not others… The Mandalorian was a big hit for the new Disney platform - fan reception overall was very positive and has many eagerly awaiting season two.
Also on the Disney+ platform 4K versions for many of the main Star Wars saga films were made available - with more added changes for the Original Trilogy films… including the 5th ‘vision’ from George Lucas for the Han vs Greedo scene - #Maclunkey! Nothing official from Lucasfilm or Disney was announced re these changes - which turned out to have been carried out by George himself back in 2012 for a planned 3D release of the films (which was later cancelled).
Complete Saga Boxsets for 4K UHD, blu ray and DVD are planned for release for March 2020 - with little other info available.
Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker, the final installment of main Star Wars Saga, was released in December to mixed reviews - many saying it was a fast-paced fun adventure romp, yet also felt shallow and rushed. The film broke through the $1 billion mark from world-wide cinema ticket sales within a month of its release.
Site-wise… the OT•com’s ‘General Star Wars Discussion’ section was split into three forum sections to make threads on certain topics easier to find - and also to give the Original Trilogy films their own specific discussion category.
2020 - sees Lucasfilm release yet another blu ray set of the ‘Special Editions’ of the Original Trilogy - with yet even more changes made to them - though still no unaltered theatrical Original Trilogy officially available…
20th April - see the 27-disc 4K releases of the 2019 SE ‘Maclunkey’ Skywalker Saga (main Star Wars films: Episodes 1-9)
(^ I was joking, I didn’t think it would actually happen - honest!)
1st January - DigMod’s The Dark Crystal: The Great Conjunction fan edit is released.
9th January - Buzz Lightyear’s My personal edit of A New Hope (with SC38 Reimagined) fan edit is released.
10th January - krausfadr’s The Rise of Skywalker: RESURGENCE fan edit is released.
12th January - heathen3017’s Creed Duology Extended Editions (1080p) fan edit is released.
22nd January - alleycat’s Halloween - Criterion Laserdisc Preservation project is released.
5th & 23rd February - DrDre starts work on his 4K77 reel by reel color grading & 4K83 reel by reel color grading projects.
19th February - trillary dump’s The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions 4:3 Open Matte DVD Preservation is released.
20th February - DominicCobb’s ‘Dom’s (Possibly) Useful TROS Edit’ is underway.
23rd March - IlFanEditore’s Episode IX: A New Order fan edit is released.
31st March - doubleofive’s Magnum Opus: ‘Disney+ Should Offer the Star Wars Original Cuts’ article, appears on the Wired website : #ReleaseTheOriginalTrilogy : OT.com thread on the article
12th April - Bobson Dugnutt’s Revenge of the Sith - Expanded Edition fan edit is released.
29th April - joshuabri’s A Palpatine-less Edit of The Rise of Skywalker fan edit is released.
2nd May - smudger9’s The Mandalorian: A Vergence in the Force fan edit is released.
5th May - oohteedee’s D+77 - Star Wars - 4k Theatrical reconstruction is released.
5th May - oohteedee’s D+80 - Empire Strikes Back - 4K Theatrical Reconstruction is released
15th May - Macsvoltage’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker edit : The Final Sith is released.
25th June - Harmy provides some Despecialized 3.0 updates on his quality youtube channel + more updates later in the year.
27th June - TriggeredPuppy’s ‘First Order, Last Jedi’ - A Star Wars 3-in-1 Sequel Story is released.
26th July - Zion’s Star Wars Holiday Special - Zion Hybrid v3 is underway.
2nd August - Rancor022’s Project Ewok | Caravan of Courage & The Battle for Endor - 4K Upscales is released.
10th August - ExpandedUniverses’ The Clone Wars Saga fan edit project is released.
18th August - stotchy’s ‘Return of the Jedi: The Destiny Edition v1.0 | Theatrical Reconstruction in 4K’ is released.
19th August - hedgesmfg’s 4K HDR Edits Megathread, Clips Previews, and Release Info list of many released upscaled Star Wars projects is announced on here.
August 21st - doubleofive’s What We Want And How To Make It - a sequel to his Wired article - is posted up on 005’s site.
1st September - Darth Zounds’ Revenge of the Sith: Blue Harvest Cut fan edit is released.
6th September - Tackels’ Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003) in 4K project is released.
3rd October - MMP’s The Last Jedi Reforged fan edit is released.
16th October - Buzz Lightyear’s Star Wars Rebels with the epilogue scene removed (for chronological viewings) is released.
30th October - smudger9’s The Mandalorian Episode 2 project is underway…
7th November - PJ’s ANH 1997 Inspired Regrade with SE Soundmix is released.
10th November - Hal 9000’s Fan Edit of The Rise of Skywalker: Ascendant is released (and well worth checking out)
7th December - fraunpetri’s The Mandalorian Rogue Cut fan edit is released.
7th December - adywan announces his Original Trilogy Revisited Saga will be released in 1080p
21st December - Drdoomblyat’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars Essentials Edit is released.
In early 2020 the entire world underwent a transformation, consumed by the Coronavirus pandemic that altered life for countless people. Most of our normal routines, jobs, hobbies and even seeing family and friends changed immediately - and dramatically. Towards the end of the year vaccines for Coronavirus were introduced and started to be rolled out - though there is still a long road ahead for many, many people.
The 27-disc Skywalker Saga boxset was released in 4K - and outside the USA there were also 18-disc blu ray & 9-disc DVD sets released. Later in the year all the Star Wars 'Saga films (plus Rogue One & Solo) were made available to buy as single disc releases (in 4K, blu ray or DVD) in many countries.
The animated ‘Lego Star Wars: Holiday Special’ aired on Life Day on Disney+ in 2020.
Disney announced 10 (ten!) Star Wars series / films to come - some known about and mentioned previously, and some brand new shows; of which three shows would be spin-offs of The Mandalorian. Speaking of which Mando’s second season seems to positively received as it’s first was - leaving viewer wanting more and that third season coming in December 2021.
Another series ‘The Book Of Boba Fett’ was announced in a post-credit scene in the Mandalorian season finale.
2020 also saw the passing of David Prowse, Jeremy Bulloch, Alan Harris, Wilford Brimley, and Ron Cobb - among many others.
? January - tba…
For more info on the Timeline above, as well some of the OT•com’s history & continuing evolution, please have a look through the Index & Help Threads…
• Original Trilogy Discussion
• Beyond the Original Trilogy
• Theatrical Cuts vs. Subsequent Releases
• The Expanded Universe
• General Star Wars Discussion
• Collections, Toys and Memorabilia - an Index of Discussion Threads…
• Star Wars Preservation… (oojason’s 2017 Thread)
• Project Index: Star Wars Preservation and Other Projects (Moth3r’s original 2005 Thread)
• Star Wars Fan Edits and Other Projects
• Project Index: Preservation of Other Properties (Moth3r’s original 2010 Thread)
• Preservation of Other Properties (oojason’s 2018 Thread)
• Fan Edits and Projects for Other Properties
• Case Covers, Disc Labels, and Fan Art
• Script Writing and Re-writing
• Media section (in Off Topic)
• Culture & Current Events section (in Off Topic)
• The Cantina section (in Off Topic)
…and the Sites and Publications Supporting the Petition section of the OT•com for some further history too.
If you are new to the OriginalTrilogy•com then the following info may be of some assistance…
The Welcome to the OT.com; Introduce yourself in here thread is just that; a place to make your first post on here - and for more longstanding members to welcome new additions to our community.
Secondly, the About and Help sections may be of interest to you regarding this site and what the OriginalTrilogy•com is about.
Thirdly, the ‘How do I do this?’ on the OriginalTrilogy.com - some info & answers to members’ queries thread should also hopefully be of some help as to many of the functions of the site, along with other related info as well.
The Announcements Section - including Site Rules & Guidelines, Fan Edit & Preservation Rules & FAQ, as well info for Signatures, Linking Policy for Downloads, and Plot Spoiler Policy (and much more) that may be of use too.
If you are having any issues with the site, have a question, an idea to improve the site, or would like to give some feedback - then these can be done in the Feedback Forum and General Assistance sections.
There are also several Index Threads pinned at the top of many respective sections of the OT•com - which may help members find various topics of discussion, fan edits, preservations and other projects etc.
To Join the OT.com Discord server! click on the link. There is also the OriginalTrilogy.com Twitter too.
The ‘Complete Comparison of Special Edition Visual Changes’ thread by doubleofive contains many sources of information as to the numerous changes made to the Original Trilogy films over time - as well as serving as an insightful and comprehensive discussion thread and reference point on the subject.
Also, the ‘George Lucas: Star Wars Creator, Unreliable Narrator & Time Travelling Revisionist…’ thread attempts to highlight and catalog some of the revisionism, altering of history and contradictory claims by George Lucas / Lucasfilm as to the formation, planning and history of the Star Wars films and universe therein.
The ‘Some useful OT.com threads re the non-release of the theatrical OT | How you can help…’ thread - highlighting just a few of the many discussion threads on this site focusing on our love and appreciation for the Original Trilogy - and ongoing attempts to achieve a modern, high quality, official release of the unaltered theatrical version of the classic Star Wars movies.
Please take your time to look around before posting - to help get a feel for the place. We are not like reddit or 4chan etc (not that there’s anything wrong with these sites) - we’re just a little different… more of an old-skool site ‘for a more civilised age’… 😉
Immense thanks to zombie84 for allowing me to use, edit, abridge & update his comprehensive editorial piece from the SaveStarWars.com as part of this thread - and also to doubleofive for getting me the ‘greenlight’ to do so.
As ever, please let me know if you see any incorrect info or broken links - or have any suggestions for content to be included in here - thank you.
Please feel free to contribute your own thoughts, impressions, memories, overviews and comments etc below too…
Last updated - 19th January, 2021.
A wise man - also a cunning Fan Editor on here (and one of the best in the Galaxy 😉) - once said that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly upon our own point of view. This post is merely another…
‘The Star Wars Trilogy; three timeless adventures that changed movie-making forever!’ - no longer available.
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