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Articles & info that highlight / call for a classic version release of the Original Trilogy — Page 2

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 (Edited)

The release of the Original Trilogy to DVD’:-

Sorry, but this isn’t a review of the new DVD set from Lucas. I won’t be doing any review of the new set, because I won’t be buying. This isn’t a review, but rather an explanation as to why I’m not buying. It’s not a plea for you to boycott, or an attempt to tell you what to do - each person must follow their own conscience on such things. - from 2004.

(around the time of the 2004 OT SE DVD release…)

http://www.mwctoys.com/MOVIES_STARWARS_092104.htm
 

a snippet The whole thing…
 

"The reason I’m skipping this set of DVD’s is simple - I’m not going to feed the monster. Lucas is a man completely out of control at this point (and if some of the things I’m hearing about the final film pan out, God helps us), and it’s clear there’s no one around him with the courage to tell him he’s wrong. I can’t tell him he’s wrong (last time he called, we argued over Jar-Jar, and he hasn’t spoken to me since), but I can let him know my disapproval of his childish, immature, and downright stupid handling of the original trilogy by keeping my money right where it is.
 

Like many fans, I’m very bothered by the changes to these films. There are two core reasons for my disdain:

1 - Once a film is released, it is owned by those that paid for it with their ticket price. We bought the original film, in it’s original format, from Lucas, and it is no longer only ‘his’. I loved that film for what it was, when it was released - I want to be able to own that film, unchanged. Lucas may have the legal right to screw with that, but he lost the emotional right several billion dollars ago.

2 - Films are part of history. The look of the film, the actions of the characters, the theme and plot, all reflect the thoughts and feelings of society at the time the film is released. When Turner started colorizing old films for the sake of color, Lucas understood this and rallied against it. Unfortunately, like all good hypocrites, he can’t see that this applies to him as well as others.

I’m all for director’s cuts. I like to see what they might have envisioned, but couldn’t do because of external constraints. But that is not what is happening here. George is systematically destroying your chance of ever seeing the original film again, slowly killing off his original baby for the new and improved.

The argument for the changes goes something like this “I’m improving the film.”. When it becomes painfully obvious that the changes rarely do that, the follow up argument quickly raises its ugly head “It’s my movie and I’ll do whatever the hell I want.” Once you reach that stage, it’s pretty clear the person never had a leg to stand on in the first place.

If the changes were purely cosmetic, more people would buy into the ‘improving the film’ theory. Of course, Lucas didn’t buy it with the whole silly colorizing thing, but there are enough people out there that would say “sure, throw in a few more ships zipping around, what can it hurt?” But these changes, the ones that truly rub me the wrong way, are far more than simply the film version of Botox. These changes alter the motivations of the characters, and the intentions of key scenes.

Let’s look at the two worst - the demise of Greedo, and the final scene of the Three Jedi (any resemblance to Larry, Moe and Curly being a complete coincidence).

The Demise of Greedo. In our beloved original, Han knows exactly where the conversation with Greedo is leading, and he doesn’t like it. He finishes the slimy bounty hunter off before he ever has a chance to kill Han. The Cantina is a ruthless place, filled with ruthless people, and we realize that Han is a man not to be messed with.

In the first alteration, a poorly edited first shot from Greedo is thrown in. Obviously, George has decided in his old age that Han needs to be less ruthless and more puppy dogs and warm apple pie. This simple change alters the character of Han drastically.

And now, in this latest version, they shoot at the same time. At this point, the only thing the scene proves is that George is unable to make up his mind, and actually thinks that compromise makes for great art.

But what of the new change to the big finale? In one of our final scenes of Return of the Jedi, we see Ob-Wan Kenobi as played by Alec Guinness, Yoda as played by a puppet, and Anakin Skywalker as played by Sebastian Shaw, all in ghostly, force fed form, smiling over the festivities. This scene was intended to send a simple and straight forward message - although Anakin had strayed, his last final heroic act of self sacrifice redeemed him. This simple scene was all that was required to impart this important message.

In our new release, Shaw has been digitally replaced with Hayden Christiansen, the young version of Anakin Skywalker. What in God’s name is Lucas thinking? Or is it that he simply isn’t? In what fantasy world does this make sense? Perhaps he’s trying to set up whatever explanation he has for why Obi-Wan and Yoda disappeared when they died and Qui-Gonn did not, but if that’s the case, the answer smells lame already.

While the original scene told us that Anakin was redeemed, this scene now tells us that not only was he redeemed, but the cosmic forces once again went out of their way to screw the good guy, stiffing Obi-wan with an old man’s appearance and giving Vader back his youthful one. Even the Force screws you in the end.

There are several other changes as well, and even one that George reversed - he added in the girlie scream when Luke falls, but has removed it once again in the dvd release, proving the waffle theory once again. In a recent interview, he said he pays no attention to what the fans say about the films or the changes. Yea, right.

Lucas needs to move on, learn how to let go, and actually be creative, instead of obsessing and reassessing his past work. Grow up, George - nothing is ever perfect, and adults are usually smart enough to know that reworking something over and over sucks all the creative and spontaneous beauty out of it, leaving a technically perfect but lifeless creation.

Rating - Skip It.

All of this, and my general uneasiness with Lucas’ attitude, are why I’m not buying these films. Buying them simply sends the message that it’s okay, that I’m more than happy with the product. I’m not, and if I don’t have these DVD’s in my house on September 21st, I won’t suddenly die. In fact, by taking the money I would have spent and buying a few more Toys For Tots with it, I’m going to be feeling pretty good.

Of course, I might rent them…
 

Spoiler Laden Thoughts:-

Nothing more to spoil here - George did that for me."
 

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Will the original, unaltered 1977 Star Wars ever be released on Blu-ray?’:-

^ from ‘Episode Nothing: Star Wars in the 1970’s’

http://episodenothing.blogspot.com/2017/12/will-original-unaltered-1977-star-wars.html - 2017 article
 

a snippet…
 

"With Christmas upon us, there is one gift that legions of first generation fans want but seem destined never to get. The original, unaltered, 1977 cut of Star Wars on Blu-ray or DVD.

Today, we consider whether we’ll ever see Star Wars the way first generation fans remember it – and what form the ideal Blu-ray would take.

Star Wars before it was Episode IV: A New Hope. What happened to those rumours about a Blu-ray of the 1977 cut?

Star Wars Celebration (2017) in Orange County, California, this year, pulled out the stops to celebrate 40 years of the franchise. George Lucas was back, and he was on stage presiding over the festivities as though he hadn’t sold his company to Disney four years previously.

Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford were there too, while John Williams conducted a moving rendition of ‘Princess Leia’s Theme’ in tribute to Carrie Fisher, followed by other pieces from the original trilogy’s soundtracks.

It was all great fun. But there was no sign of the announcement that some sources had suggested was imminent. There was no news about a release of the original, unaltered Star Wars, the way the world saw it in 1977.

Ironically, if Star Wars had been a flop, or a moderate success, we’d almost certainly have seen a definitive home video release by now. Much lesser movies are available in gorgeous HD transfers with copious extra features. But the enormous success of Star Wars gave Lucas the power to tinker with his work, without giving us a copy of the original.
 

and…

Why Star Wars should be preserved (and why the film critics should back the fans:-

In the US, the National Film Preservation Board has the job of choosing up to 25 films a year which should be preserved because they are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

It’s natural that, in 1989, Star Wars was picked. After all, its harshest critics couldn’t deny that it’s culturally significant.

And yet, the film was not preserved.

As the excellent website Saving Star Wars explains, Lucasfilm stonewalled about handing a print of the film to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry – and then offered a copy of the 1997 Special Edition. That offer was declined, because the registry is there to preserve the original versions of movies.

The Library of Congress does have 35mm prints of the original Star Wars trilogy which were deposited for copyright purposes, but the public can’t see them.

This has upset a lot of die hard fans, but there should have been more of an outcry in the wider film-loving world than there has been. Star Wars had as much impact on the world as any movie ever has, yet we might never see a good quality release of it, in its original form.

I believe that every film should remain available in the form that audiences first saw it. Whether we’re talking about Metropolis or Blade Runner, we should always have that original theatrical version preserved.

Even if someone discovered Orson Welles’ original edit of The Magnificent Ambersons, as it was before the studio butchered it (and that, sadly, is almost certain not to happen), I’d want the released version kept for the sake of posterity.

I can’t help thinking that “serious” film critics would be angrier about this if the film in question was anything but Star Wars. But many blame Star Wars for every dim-witted blockbuster that came after it, and so they don’t much care which versions of it survive."
 

50 Cent is just an imposter

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Star Wars: The remarkable quest to restore the original film’:-

https://www.redsharknews.com/business/item/3176-star-wars-the-remarkable-quest-to-restore-the-original-film (date unknown - 2014?)
 

a snippet…
 

"Let me start at the beginning for the uninitiated. George Lucas’ popular space opera has actually been a source of controversy to its fans and they have not been the happiest folks around, despite having the ability to watch the films as much as they like and having brilliant replica lightsabers available to buy.

Lucas started the process of restoring and updating his much loved space saga at great expense in the mid-nineties (it is estimated to have cost about $15 million to complete the project - $10 million of which was just on the first film) and released them in 1997 for the 20th Anniversary of the original release. These reworked films were dubbed ‘The Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition’ and fans have been reeling ever since. There are technically three special editions that exist for home release, with new fan agitating changes and alterations. These are the 1997 original release, the 2004 first DVD and the 2011 Blu-Ray (I could go into greater detail about the differences between these and the various VHS and laserdisc releases, but there would be a risk of a severe intergalactic headache).

George Lucas and his team have produced version after version, alterations after alterations and new editions after new editions of the original Star Wars trilogy. Many have these changes have driven fans bonkers and sent them crying artistic and historical blasphemy. The changes were numerous; some were subtle (lighting and colour palate alterations, retimed sequences), but some were glaring and stuck out like a computer generated sore thumb (extra aliens and creatures filling the foreground and background, updated spaceship sequences and the controversial ‘Han shot first’ debacle). There is a CGI sequence here, a replaced audio there and even blinking Ewoks (not as an adjective before a noun, they actually do blink in the Blu-Ray releases). The reasons for the various alterations have been numerous, from ‘artistic reasons’ to Lucas being unsatisfied with certain special effect sequences that were troublesome to create in the 70’s and 80’s. Even a deleted scene from the first Star Wars movie involving the villainous crime lord Jabba the Hut that was abandoned for budget, logistical and technological reasons was restored, completed and added to the new cut.

For decades, fans have been craving the holy grail of Star Wars home releases – the original, unaltered editions of the original Star Wars trilogy as it was shown in theatres, special effect warts and all, as they originally experienced it. Petitions, forums, documentaries and websites have been created purely for that dream. Unfortunately, Lucas has been adamant about not releasing or even considering such a product. In a 2004 interview he stated, “It’s like this is the movie I wanted it to be and I’m sorry if 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.” His reluctance to release such a version has sparked debates on artist vs. audience ownership and even a refusal by Lucas to submit the Oscar-winning original to National Film Registry for preservation.

Some fans got tired of the Lucas Empire not adhering to such demands, and so the fan community of originaltrilogy.com started working on a version of its very own…"
 

50 Cent is just an imposter

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 (Edited)

’John Landis Says Original ‘Star Wars’ Theatrical Cuts Will Be Re-Released’:-

John Landis Says Original ‘Star Wars’ Theatrical Cuts Will Be Re-Released - 2015 article

https://www.indiewire.com/2015/09/john-landis-says-original-star-wars-theatrical-cuts-will-be-re-released-259706
 

a snippet…
 

"A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, George Lucas released a trilogy of classic sci-fi fantasy films that captured the imagination of a generation. But then, the dark side took over, and he couldn’t stop tinkering with them. For anyone with even half a passion for the “Star Wars” franchise, Lucas’ CGI drenched additions to the original trio of films have been controversial if not outright blasphemy. It has been a further thorn in the side of fans that Lucas has long refused to re-issue the original theatrical cuts, only half-heartedly including them in non-anamorphic form in a 2008 box set of the trilogy, sourced from the 1993 LaserDisc release (the quality was far from ideal). While this bit of news comes second-hand, it’s a brief flame of hope that the original movies will once again be seen as they were for the first time on the big screen.

Participating in a Halloween Horror Nights Q&A in Orlando, Florida this weekend, John Landis revealed that Lucas told him that Disney will be re-releasing the theatrical cut of the original “Star Wars” trilogy. That’s about it as far as details go, but it’s likely not going to happen for a while yet as there are still rights issues to sort out."

 
 

a 4-minute youtube video titled ‘John Landis talks theatrical cut of Star Wars’ (from the ‘Behind The Thrills’ youtube channel) can be found here:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWeDd7lfNsM

 

a few other articles on the same subject, from the same 2015 time-frame:-

Is The Original (Unaltered) ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy Finally Coming To Blu-Ray? - at Forbes
Could the original Star Wars cuts be heading to Blu-ray?- at WhatHiFi
John Landis Claims Disney Will Re-Release The Theatrical Cuts Of The Original ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy - at Inquisitr
Disney to re-release the theatrical cuts of the original Star Wars trilogy, according to John Landis - at Flickering Myth
John Landis Claims Disney is Releasing the Original Star Wars Trilogy - at FuriousFanboy
John Landis Claims Disney To Release Original Theatrical Cuts Of Original Star Wars Trilogy - at The Bearded Trio
 

No fate but what we make - apart from force dyads!

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'Why finding the original 1977 Star Wars is verges on the impossible:-

https://www.inverse.com/article/3942-why-finding-the-original-1977-star-wars-verges-on-the-impossible - 2016 article
 

a snippet…
 

"It’s a scene etched into every Star Wars fan’d mind. The roguish anti-hero Han Solo sits alone at a bare table in the Mos Eisley Cantina. An alien bounty hunter pulls up a chair to confront him. After some chit-chat, the amphibian-looking barfly pulls a gin and fires a laser blast inches from from Solo’s head. Without batting an eye, Han fires a return blast from under the table, killing the bounty hunter and sauntering away from the grisly yet PG-rated scene. Everybody’s seen it Except not.

That impromptu shootout in the first Star Wars is but one of the sequences that diverges from what audiences saw when the movie was originally released in 1977, and it’s perhaps the most infamous of writer/director George Lucas’s endless tinkering with his beloved space saga. This means that a whole generation of supposedly passionate fans have been living a lie. The galaxy far, far away that fans like me fell in love with is a different film entirely.

I confess that I love Star Wars far too much. It’s a cultural artifact that permeates my whole being. I couldn’t count how many Star Wars birthdays I’ve had, how many toys I’ve bought, and how many home video editions of the original trilogy I owned. I’ve even made some of my best friends by challenging them to exceedingly nerdy Star Wars trivia (Q: What was the number of the garbage compactor that nearly killed Han, Luke, and Leia in the first movie? A: If you don’t know it, we aren’t best friends.)

And yet I’ve never seen the original version of Star Wars — a crime that should be punishable by freezing me in Carbonite and shipping me off to an uncertain fate with Boba Fett. But in 2015, it requires nothing shy of an actual quest if you want to find Lucas’s 1977 original, the ur-Star Wars from which the subsequent multi-multi-billion-dollar cultural empire sprang. Lucas has ensured the “original” is a tampered-with version he now sells riven with edits and festooned with computerized effects. To see his original vision, one must dig."
 

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'A “New” New Hope: Film Preservation and the Problem with ‘Star Wars’:-

https://www.popoptiq.com/a-new-new-hope-film-preservation-and-the-problem-with-star-wars - date unknown
 

a snippet…

"In an episode of ‘The Big Bang Theory’ (a sitcom lampooning modern “geek” culture with varying degrees of success), physicist Dr. Sheldon Cooper refuses to watch the ‘Star Wars: Clone Wars’ animated series before the Clone Wars movie. He explains, “I prefer to let George Lucas disappoint me in the order he intended.” Though likely unintentional, this offhanded remark reveals the central dilemma of the Star Wars fandom. Does the franchise “belong” to Lucas or does it “belong” to the public, as an artifact of cultural history? With the 2011 release of the 6-part Star Wars saga on Blu-ray came the announcement that the version of the trilogy available in the set would not be from the original theatrical prints, but the 1997 “Special Edition” versions of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, which include additional scenes and updated technology. Many fans of the franchise see this decision—coupled with the critical backlash stemming from the three Star Wars prequels—as evidence of George Lucas’ transformation from an innovative filmmaker into a profit-seeking businessman.

There may be a more pertinent problem at stake. As the years go by, the original theatrical print of the trilogy has become more and more difficult to access. The original version of Star Wars has a loyal and prolific fan following, including the website Save Star Wars, a space promoting the preservation and distribution of the original theatrical prints of the trilogy. But what constitutes an original art object in film? With regards to this issue, Star Wars presents a unique problem—what the fans consider the original work of art has been actively suppressed by its creator.

In an interview in the February 1997 edition of American Cinematographer Magazine, Lucas stated: “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 [VHS] tapes of Star Wars out there won’t last more than 30 or 40 years.” From this, it appears that Lucas intends for the Special Edition of the trilogy to supersede the original versions, eventually taking their place in our collective cultural memory."
 

and…

"Another influential fan-based initiative for the preservation and public distribution of the original cut of Star Wars is the online petition at OriginalTrilogy.com. The current version of the petition reiterates that authorial agency and cultural responsibility are not mutually exclusive—while Lucas has every right to alter his films, he has an artistic obligation to preserve the original version for future generations. The website has also published a letter from a Lucasfilm PR rep, responding to the site’s original petition. It is damning evidence for Lucas’ continued suppression of the original trilogy:

“The negatives of the movies were permanently altered for the creation of the Special Editions, and existing prints of the first versions are in poor condition. […] Since these movies do not represent George’s artistic vision, we could not put the extraordinary time and resources into this project as we did with the Special Editions. […] We want you to be aware that we have no plans—now or in the future—to restore the earlier versions.”

The argument that the updated version of Star Wars constitutes Lucas’ original “artistic vision” is not entirely cohesive. Such an admission implies that, had computer generated graphics existed in the 1970s as they do today, Lucas’ original version of Star Wars would have more closely resembled the Special Edition. However, this argument is historically and technologically deterministic—that Lucas was somehow destined to make the Special Edition at any point in history. Films as artifacts are a product of their cultural, historical, and aesthetic limitations, and as such, the original Star Wars theatrical prints should be preserved as a representation of science fiction filmmaking in the late-70s and early-80s."
 

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Disney Has Acquired Fox; What Does that Mean for Star Wars?’:-

https://www.starwarsnewsnet.com/2019/03/disney-acquired-fox-star-wars-meaning.html - 2019 article
 

a snippet…
 

"Let’s start by clearing up a big misconception right off the bat: no, we are not getting the original theatrical trilogy. For those of you unaware, there has been a long-running fan conspiracy that Lucasfilm are set to release remastered, unaltered versions of the first three Star Wars movies (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi) before George Lucas went back to edit them any day now for the over two decades. In spite of that hope becoming more and more of a pipe dream since Lucas released the initial versions of the Star Wars Special Editions and their plethora of changes (some controversial, some deemed unnecessary, and a few actually praised), the belief that Lucasfilm are waiting for the right time to release the unaltered versions of the movies has persisted, and has gained new life with Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm and Fox alike.

The thing is, ownership of Lucasfilm and Fox are not what what’s keeping the old versions of the movies from seeing the light of day in an official capacity; George Lucas himself is. And he’s repeatedly stated that he wants those changes to stay put. When he threw fans a bone in the early 2000s with DVD versions of the original versions, it turned out to be not what fans were hoping for when it was really just the LaserDisc version of the movies ported over to DVD, without any actual remastering of the visual or audio quality put into place. That alone should indicate what his position on his old versions of the movies are – in spite of the preference of the fans, he feels that the revision of Return of the Jedi that has Darth Vader shout “No!” and a celebration of the Emperor’s death across the galaxy far, far away instead of just on Endor is the definitive version of the film. Unless he suddenly changes his mind (and, sure, he’s flip-flopped plenty of times before, but this is one subject he’s remained steadfast on for over twenty years), we’re not going to get official remastered versions of the original cuts of those films anytime soon, if ever.

Evidence has surfaced suggesting that Lucasfilm have internally decided to remaster the original, unaltered prints – from of footage that made it to the theater to footage included as deleted scenes on the DVD and Blu-Ray versions and some footage that has still not seen the light of day – but it appears to be for their use only. It appears that this played a role in how they were able to integrate unused footage of Red and Gold Leaders into the final battle sequence of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, or how they were able to include a slightly different take of Princess Leia’s plea for help in The Last Jedi to suit the shot that Rian Johnson filmed with Mark Hamill and Jimmy Vee. But don’t expect the unedited clips that were actually featured in the original trilogy movies to see the light of day.

The plus side is that, if you know where to look, Lucasfilm has seemingly agreed to turn a blind eye toward fans creating their own remasters of the original movies as long as they’re not sold for profit. Technically, distributing that kind of stuff is not legal, but it appears that Lucasfilm are not going to feed you to their Rancors if you burn these versions onto the Blu-ray discs that you’ve purchased. Just to be clear, we’re not encouraging that you do kind of thing and we respect Lucas’s own wishes… But if you want to see high-quality versions of the original Star Wars trilogy as it appeared to audiences in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with some visual effects mistakes from the old versions fixed without anything else being changed, then they are out there."
 

No fate but what we make - apart from force dyads!

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An Uncut and Non-Remastered List of Star Wars Editions!’:-

https://www.tor.com/2015/05/04/an-uncut-and-non-remastered-list-of-star-wars-editions-2 - 2015 article
 

a snippet…
 

"The thing that makes Star Wars truly great is Greedo shooting first. Wait, come back, I’m being serious! The original Star Wars trilogy was an incredible cultural touchstone, and obviously Star Wars merchandise and expanded universe novels created a whole world for fans to inhabit. However, the moment when Star Wars became truly great was the moment in 1997 when a generation of fans had to examine what this film meant to them, and why it was so important that Han shoot first. This moment galvanized an already fervent fandom to, if you don’t mind me mixing my geek metaphors, play Sam Beckett in the SWU, going back to earlier prints of the films to put right what Lucas had made wrong.

Using the sort of film tech popularized by Lucas himself, the fandom dove in and started making new editions of the original trilogy, and then turned their scalpels on each of the prequels. Rather than accepting anything as “canon,” they made their own."
 

and…

"I saw the original trilogy, uncut and pre-specialized, at about the same time that I read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and a few weeks before I dove headlong into Star Trek: the Next Generation. I am personally pro-Original Trilogy and anti-prequel, but I come here today not to rant about that—okay, there will be some ranting, but mostly I’m just interested in how many different ways there are to watch these movies.

Plus, George Lucas’ own divided nature fascinates me, as does his fans’ reactions to him. Lucas wants people to have access to more tech, and Lucasfilm held The Official Star Wars Fan Film Awards from 2002 until 2012 (and apparently they’re coming back this year) — Lucas himself bestowed one of the awards. Troops, which showed Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru in a fairly negative light, won the OSWFFA’s Pioneer Award the year it was released. And he liked George Lucas in Love enough to send its creators a congratulatory letter. So he’s evidently okay with fans mucking about in his universe. Which is great!

But then there are his thoughts on the 1997 Special Edition vs. the Original Trilogy:

“There will only be one. And it won’t be what I would call the ‘rough 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.’ …[W]hat 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], and you’ll be able to project it on a 20’ by 40’ screen with perfect quality. I think it’s the director’s prerogative, not the studio’s, to go back and reinvent a movie.”

Which, again, I completely agree with keeping the studio out of an auteur’s vision! But I don’t think Lucas realized that it wouldn’t be the studios interfering, it would be the fans themselves. Over the last thirty years, Star Wars enthusiasts have come up with many ways to re-experience the films, some with official sanction, and some without."
 

No fate but what we make - apart from force dyads!

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Whose Film Is It, Anyway? Canonicity and Authority in Star Wars Fandom’:-

‘Journal of the American Academy of Religion’, Volume 80, Issue 3, September 2012, Pages 775–786, https://doi.org/10.1093/jaarel/lfs037 - published in 2012

https://academic.oup.com/jaar/article/80/3/775/710872
 

a snippet…
 

"Fans are not passive receptacles of the messages of manufacturers to the extent that they interact with the products and interpret them in personal ways that have significance for them.

Again, it may seem like a stretch to view such parodies as “religiously” motivated, but it is clear that the fans are very attached to the narratives, and do want to appropriate them in certain ways rather than others. This has been seen in the battles between Star Wars fans and George Lucas regarding the “original” trilogy of films. In 1999, George Lucas released a “special edition” of the original three films (Episodes IV, V, VI) that included scenes shot in the 1970s and 1980s but deleted from the original theatrical releases, as well as digital alterations and additions to the films.

Many fans took issue with the changes, as these altered the “canon” with which they were familiar.3 One change in particular that elicited a great deal of controversy involved the encounter between Han Solo and the bounty hunter Greedo in the bar in Mos Eisley. In the original, Han shoots Greedo under the table before Greedo can fire; in the 1997 version, a digitally enhanced scene shows Greedo shoot first, with Han shooting second, although the result is the same (namely, Han kills Greedo).

Fans insisted that this preemptive action shows Han’s willingness to do whatever it takes to survive, and that the change “dilutes and compromises Han’s rebellious and ruthless nature” (“Han Shot First” 2012). In addition, it was regarded as ludicrous that a bounty hunter could miss someone from three feet away. On the other hand, Lucas defended the change as recently as February 2012, in fact claiming that it had always been the case that Greedo shot first, and Han was simply responding to defend himself:
 

“Well, it’s not a religious event. I hate to tell people that. It’s a movie, just a movie. The controversy over who shot first, Greedo or Han Solo, in Episode IV, what I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo [who seemed to be the one who shot first in the original] to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t. It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down.” - source: IndieWire article

(Vin Edit: the above claim by George Lucas was debunked by doubleofive, in his article here - https://twitter.com/StarWarsVisComp/status/1168554173136166913)
 

"What is interesting is not only that Lucas defends the change—he denies that there was any change, as what “really” happened was not fully visible in the original film. For someone who claims that “it’s just a movie,” this seems an oddly realistic defense of the alteration, as if to claim that there is some reality “out there” to which the film refers. His dismissive comment (“it’s a movie, just a movie”) also appears ironic in light of the fact that he has made a great deal of money from people who obviously regard it as much more than just a movie; otherwise, they would not care as much, nor would they have created the popular success of the films from which Lucas benefits. Also worth noting is his comment, “it’s not a religious event.” In fact, from the fan point of view, this alteration in the “canon” may well be a religious event, and a heretical one at that.

The attempts of fans to defend the original version of the original films are also found in the battle to have a decent print of these films available. As late as 2004, Lucas insisted that his revisions to the original (which continued, as he tinkered with successive DVD releases) were his prerogative as the filmmaker. In fact, he claimed that the originals were “unfinished” works, and now with more time, money, and technology, he was able to “finish the film the way it was meant to be when I was originally doing it” (Lucas 2004). In essence, the rereleases were the originals, in his view, as they better expressed the original intent of the auteur.

Fans, however, believed that the text as received by them in their original theatrical experience was the original film, as it was seen by them at that time. In their view, the film belonged not to Lucas, but to the viewers. Lucas refused to release the original version of the films in 2004, but a fan outcry resulted in the 2006 release on DVD of these. However, it then turned out that this version was made from a vastly inferior source, so that the visual quality was poor; specifically, the remastering was done from a 1993 Laserdisc rather than a thirty-five millimeter original.

The web site savestarwars.com claims that:
 

“Lucas deliberately wanted the original versions to be presented in an inferior format so that they would not have to compete with the Special Editions. First, while bootlegs were sourced from Laserdiscs, to outcompete them all one would have to do is make an official transfer from the Laserdisc master—the result would be just a bit better than the bootlegs, which would be enough to put them out of commission. In other words, the least amount of quality possible to still have this as the “best available version.” A high quality new transfer is unwanted because it also makes the Special Edition not look as good, so all you have to do is pull that 1993 master tape out of a dust bin in the Lucasfilm archives and you’ve accomplished your mission of not letting people really enjoy watching the originals; they look rough, crude, the way Lucas wants us to think they look.” - _source: SaveStarWars.com ‘Get Gout’ article
 

and…

“It is also worth noting that even while Lucas defends the films as his own products and hence implies his right to revise them as he sees fit, he has not attempted to squash the right of the fans to create their own films. He even seems to applaud their bravado at times, as when he was seen wearing a “Han Shot First” T-shirt (Hollis 2012) (Figure 2). Fan videos, meanwhile, have multiplied, many of them critical of Lucas and the changes he has made, but in this way still expressing an appreciation for the work of the “original” Lucas who created the films they grew to love.”
 

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Nooo! George Lucas Makes More Changes to Original Trilogy’:-

https://ca.movies.yahoo.com/blogs/movie-talk/nooo-george-lucas-makes-more-changes-original-trilogy-191605694.html

^ 2011 article for the-then coming blu ray release.
 

a snippet…
 

"Many would argue that the original “Star Wars” films were masterpieces when they were first released (the prequels not so much). However George Lucas just can’t stop futzing around with his creations.

The billionaire filmmaker’s latest change can be seen in the upcoming Blu-ray release of the original trilogy. In the battle between Luke Skywalker and the Emperor in “Return of the Jedi,” Lucas has given Darth Vader a new bit of dialogue.

Originally, Darth Vader just stood and watched the Emperor electrocute Luke with lightning bolts before coming to his son’s rescue. Not anymore. Now, right before Darth Vader comes out of his daze, lifts up the Emperor, and tosses him to his death, the Dark Lord of the Sith yells a helpless “Noooo!”

If you’re having having flashbacks to the awkward moment in “Revenge of the Sith” when the newly created Darth Vader screams “Noooo!” after the Emperor lies to him about Padme’s death (awesome parody here), you’re not alone. “Star Wars” fans far and wide have voiced their displeasure. Among the disappointed is filmmaker Simon Pegg, who wrote on Twitter that he “always loved Vader’s wordless self sacrifice.” Pegg then goes on to use salty language to bring home his point.

Commenters at Entertainment Weekly are equally displeased. One person writes, “WHY? WHY? WHY? Mr Lucas — do you have sooo much time on your hands that all you want to do is to simply keep tinkering with the movies? Leave them alone and go fishing!” Another jokingly posts, “Oh, now I get it. Vader threw the Emperor down the shaft because he was saying “NOOOOO….” to what the Emperor was doing to his kid. And here I always thought it was just a big ol’ bear hug that went wrong…”

Still, for all the outrage, Lucas has been unapologetic about his desire to alter his movies, probably because he truly believes he’s improving them. In the past, he’s made Han Solo shoot Greedo first, added Hayden Christensen to the end of “Return of the Jedi,” and given Jabba the Hutt an ill-advised cameo in “A New Hope.” None of thoes changes have gone over well with the fans who have made him a billionaire. Perhaps one day he’ll digitally remove Jar Jar Binks from “The Phantom Menace.” Would anyone complain about that? Anyone?"
 

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Untouched is impossible: the story of Star Wars in film’:-

Star Wars: A New Hope has been re-released, re-edited, and updated more times… - a 2010 article

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2010/05/star-wars (2 pages)
 

a snippet…
 

"Last week saw the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, and along with it came discussions about the best way to watch the film and what we can expect from future re-releases. Michael Kaminski wrote the exhaustively researched and illuminating book The Secret History of Star Wars, so he knows damn near everything there is to know about the film stock used to shoot the film. George Lucas famously said that the original film “doesn’t exist” anymore, but is that accurate?

How exactly does Star Wars exist now? What are the challenges and possibilities involved in re-releasing a perfected original cut? How do the bootlegs stack up? Let’s find out.
 

Many prints exist…

We asked Kaminksi about the master copy of the original Star Wars. What does it look like now? “The term ‘master copy’ is slightly vague, because there are various kinds of print masters of different generations,” he told Ars. The original negative is conformed to the 1997 Special Edition, meaning the physical copy has been cut and edited with CGI “improvements.” With sections of the film being too damaged to work with, parts of that print were taken from other sources. “You never throw away your original negative, so I must assume that any pieces or shots that were removed are in storage somewhere at Lucasfilm or Fox,” he explained.

Kaminski points out that a duplication of the original negative—commonly printed for the sake of protection—doesn’t seem to exist for Star Wars. Something better was created, though: separation masters. “These are special silver-based copies that do not fade, and in theory should be almost identical in quality to the original negative itself, so even if the negative was destroyed you still have a perfect copy (which is the point of making the separation master).” Duplicates from these prints were used to replace damaged sections of the negative during the restoration before the release of the Special Edition.

That’s not all, however. “There are also Interpositives and master prints. Interpositives (and Internegatives) are the color-corrected masters that theatrical prints are duplicated from, and were used in the past to make the home video telecines from 1985-1995.” Another common practice is keeping print masters, which are high-quality, fine-grain prints kept in the eventuality that no other higher-quality copies or masters are available.

What this tells us is that Lucas wasn’t lying—the original copy of Star Wars is, in fact, gone. What exists in its place is a composite film that has been restored and spliced together with Special Edition scenes and sections from other, later prints. There exist enough film copies and back-ups to re-create the film, however, so nothing is impossible in terms of a more classical high definition re-release."
 

and…

Is there hope for a definitive release of the original films?

Kaminski says that he’s fairly sure Lucas is done with large, sweeping changes, but we should expect a CGI Yoda in Episode 1 instead of the physical effect shot on the set. The inevitable Blu-ray copy of the movies will likely be safe from further meddling.

The thing he stresses is that a perfect, uncut version is possible with the film left from the edits, and there is money to be made there. “It’s certainly possible to do a new, high-quality transfer from original 35mm material. You could totally restore the original films from their original negatives for a few million dollars, and the 2004 release sold $100 million in a single day, so that pricetag is meaningless.”

We’re not asking for much, here. “Even films like Revenge of the Nerds have new transfers from 35mm prints. It costs nothing, and there are fine-grain masters and Interpositives that would only require mild clean-up to be presentable, even if the transfers were grainier and a bit damaged.”

Kaminski is not convinced that we’ll get a classic version of Star Wars on a high definition format, at least not for a while. “I’ve been trying to organize a letter writing campaign to Lucasfilm and get websites to promote the importance of having the original versions in high quality,” he said. “I really don’t have any need to pay money for another release of the films unless the originals are restored and available, and I don’t want to sound like a disgruntled fanboy. I just don’t think the 2004 master is something I would pay money for again; I would rather just watch the bootlegs of the original versions.”

What George Lucas does love is money, however, and the hunger and enthusiasm for the non-fussed-over releases is going to be impossible to ignore. “Which is a great—but callous—business practice on their part, because you get people to buy the same thing over and over again.”
 

Why is this important?

The story of Star Wars is the story of film, and of how we keep our past to share with the future. George Lucas does have the legal right to change and adjust his own work any way he’d like, but Star Wars existed in a very specific way for its original theatrical run. Those memories, and those scenes, have a very real value and meaning to fans. This isn’t just a science fiction film anymore—it’s an important piece of culture.

Star Wars is always going to be an ephemeral thing, changing and shifting as the film adapts to the technology of the time. As the film gets older, digital copies will become more important, but fans are always going to yearn for a version of the film that may exist mostly in their imaginations. Every time George Lucas or a fan takes another crack at the film, it’s a new interpretation of the past, and as the film ages and our viewing technology changes, it will continue to look different from how each of us remembers it."

 
 

A 2014/2017 article from ‘ARS Technica’, a sort-of update on the above subject, can be found here:-

https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Articles-and-info-that-highlight-call-for-a-classic-version-release-of-the-Original-Trilogy/id/75597/page/1#1350469
 

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Star Wars original cuts on Blu-ray: the evidence’:-

Rumours suggest that original cuts of Star Wars are heading to Blu-ray. But how likely is that? Ryan weighs up the possibilities…

https://www.denofgeek.com/movies/star-wars-original-cuts-on-blu-ray-the-evidence - a 2014 article
 

a snippet…
 

"For many Star Wars fanatics, the special edition release of the Original Trilogy back in 1997 was a bittersweet moment. On one hand, it offered us the chance to see George Lucas’s space opera films in their natural habitat: on a huge cinema screen.

Then there’s the restoration to consider: Lucasfilm took the original Star Wars negatives from its archives and cleaned them up, removing years of dirt and scratches, and restoring the colours to their original balance. Thanks to the efforts of people like effects supervisor Dave Carson and his team, Darth Vader’s outfit was once again black and imposing, not an embarrassing shade of faded blue.

During this process, however, George Lucas decided to make a number of small yet significant alterations: the insertion of new effects shots, an entire song-and-dance sequence in Return Of The Jedi, and, most infamously, a change to Han’s fateful meeting with Greedo in A New Hope. Further alterations were made when the Original Trilogy made its way to DVD and then Blu-ray, which quickly led to a persistent question among Star Wars fans: when might we see a release of restored yet otherwise unmodified versions of the original films?

For George Lucas, there was one simple answer: never. Back in 2004, Lucas told The Today Show, “I’m not going to spend the money and the time to refurbish that, because 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.”

Fans, it seemed, would have to make do with the bonus feature on the DVDs released in 2006: some decidedly threadbare original cuts taken from an old Laserdisc edition released in 1993. Otherwise, there are the various fan-made ‘de-specialised’ edits to be found on the internet. For the past eight years, the chances of seeing an official, high-quality, remastered edition of the Star Wars Original Trilogy have grown increasingly slim.

But over the past few days, rumours have begun to circulate that, with George Lucas now in retirement and Lucasfilm in the hands of Disney, the original theatrical cuts of Star Wars could be appearing on Blu-ray after all. It’s a story that has generated no small amount of excitement, but understandably, quite a bit of scepticism."
 

and…

"When George Lucas argued against an unaltered restoration of Star Wars in 2004, he said that he wasn’t willing to “spend the […] millions of dollars” on the process of making it. Two years later, Lucasfilm stated that the “negatives of the movies were permanently altered for the creation of the Special Editions.”

Taken at face value, this might suggest that a HD theatrical cut of Star Wars would not only be commercially unviable, but also technically difficult. Yet according to an Ars Technica article published in May this year, such a restoration would not only be possible, but also relatively cheap to produce. Star Wars expert Michael Kaminski suggests that a new, 4K scan of the trilogy would “likely be under a million dollars” – hardly a huge sum of money for a Hollywood studio.

What’s more, it emerged in July that a company called Reliance Media Works had created a 4k 16-bit remaster of the original Star Wars trilogy. Reliance’s demo reel even shows off its work on Star Wars:

While we don’t yet know whether Reliance’s conversion was based on the original theatrical cuts or the Special Edition, it seems highly likely that some kind of high-resolution release is being prepared."
 

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George Lucas Approved Rare Pre-Special Edition Star Wars Screening’:-

https://comicbook.com/starwars/news/star-wars-special-edition-original-screening-70mm-rare-lucasfilm - 2019 article
 

the full thing…
 

"In 1997, Star Wars fans were delivered the Special Edition of the original trilogy, allowing them to witness the iconic films with the best sound and visual effects imaginable, while also introducing a new generation of audiences to the galaxy far, far away. While most fans appreciated the technological updates, the films also featured a handful of narrative tweaks that differed from the original films in ways that were difficult to overlook. In the years since those Special Editions were released, George Lucas continued to tweak the films for various home video releases, though a special event over the weekend hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences featured an original 70mm print of Star Wars: A New Hope along with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

“I just got to see Star Wars projected from an immaculate 70mm print,” one viewer tweeted about the experience. “The original Star Wars, pre-special edition (‘A New Hope’ was on the crawl, but otherwise unaltered). It’s an impossible dream come true, and I’m so extremely grateful for this opportunity.”

With it being unclear whether there would ever be an additional movie, the original was released without the “A New Hope” title, with the release of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back resulting in the original film having “A New Hope” added into the crawl.

One of the biggest alterations between the original film and the Special Edition is that, when Greedo confronts Han in Mos Eisley, the Special Edition depicts Greedo shooting first with Han then retaliating. When the film landed on DVD in 2004, the film was again altered to depict the two characters firing at the same time, with digital effects manipulating Han so he moves out of the way. This is how the scene has played out in all subsequent releases.

In 2011, the Blu-ray release of the original trilogy offered more updates, such as the Ewoks in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi earning digital blinks. The last time the unaltered trilogy was released in an official capacity came in 2006 when a Special Edition DVD release included the unaltered films, though the files came from a laserdisc transfer of the film, with their audio and visual quality lacking compared to the DVD release of the Special Editions.

This past weekend’s screening might mean nothing more than an exciting opportunity for fans, but as the Twitter user noted, this is the first time there has been an official, public screening of the original film since 1997. However, with Lucas no longer having as active a role at Lucasfilm and with Disney acquiring 20th Century Fox, who previously distributed the original films, we can’t help but wonder if this could lead to the original films being made available to the public in some capacity at some point in the future."
 

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Star Wars Original Cuts Could Be Released, But Disney Won’t Do It’:-

There’s nothing officially holding up a release of the unaltered Star Wars original trilogy. So why won’t Disney release them?

https://www.denofgeek.com/movies/star-wars-original-cuts-could-be-released-but-disney-wont-do-it - 2017 article
 

a snippet…
 

"For the last 20 years, virtually the only way for fans to officially watch Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi has been via the Lucasfilm approved Special Editions, the versions that were “improved” with extra scenes, “modern” special effects, and some needless extra shots. You know exactly what I mean by shots, too.

While director’s cuts and movie tampering is nothing new, it’s relatively rare that these become the only versions available to the public upon their release, but that has been the case with Star Wars. Over the last few years, depending on who you asked, the culprit was either George Lucas, who was famously never satisfied with the final product of his films, rights issues between 20th Century Fox and Disney, and the state of the film prints themselves.

Well, now it turns out that it’s none of the above. Disney could release the original cuts, they simply won’t. The Steelewars Podcast (hat tip to MovieWeb for the transcriptions) caught up with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy at Star Wars Celebration (where many fans, including this writer and most of the Den of Geek staff, were hoping for news of an original cut Blu-ray release as part of the 40th anniversary festivities), and asked if there were plans for the unaltered version of the trilogy.

There’s little doubt that under Disney and Kathleen Kennedy, Star Wars as a franchise is healthier than it has been in well over a decade, with high quality offerings like The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and Rebels reaffirming fans’ faith in the brand and making new converts by the bucketload. But that very success makes Lucasfilm’s continued reluctance to release the originals in the form they were intended even more disheartening. These are some of the most important science fiction films ever produced, and the fact that fans can’t own the best possible versions of them in their unaltered state is frustrating.

The unaltered trilogy did get one official home media release in the days since the dawn of the Special Editions, on the first DVD release of the trilogy in 2006. The problem is that while those were certainly the original cuts, there was no effort put into the release. Instead, they were considered “bonus features” on the special edition DVDs, and while the special editions were there in remastered glory, the original cuts were hasty laserdisc transfers, and of much lower picture and sound quality than what fans were expecting…or that the movies deserved.

This is why dedicated Star Wars fans have had to take matters into their own hands in recent years, with the famous Despecialized Editions making the rounds. For those who know where to look, the Despecialized Editions are absolutely gorgeous, HD versions of the Star Wars trilogy, without any of the unnecessary “enhancements” of the last 20 years.

Hopefully Ms. Kennedy will have a change of heart."

 
 

Or hopefully remember her previous words and thoughts on tinkering with classic films…

^ taken from a 2012 interview by ‘Collider’ with Kathleen Kennedy, which can be be found below:-

https://collider.com/et-henry-thomas-kathleen-kennedy-interview

 

 

Mod Edit: for additional information…
 
The full audio interview of the ‘Steele Wars Podcast’, conducted in a media line event for ‘The Last Jedi’ at Celebration 2017, can be found below. The section with Kathleen Kennedy starts at 12m 45s:-

https://omny.fm/shows/steele-wars/ep-131-3-star-wars-celebration-orlando-day-2-the-l (21 minutes long)
 

The relevant section of the interview is at 15m 32s…

Interviewer: “A lot has been said about the pass over to Disney, but Star Wars is film of changes… it has evolved over time. Uh, is there like, a contractual or a handshake agreement that the films are locked in their current form?”.

Kathleen Kennedy: “No, there is no-one actually locking us into anything. In fact, the beauty of this relationship with The Walt Disney Company is they have been absolutely fantastic at standing back and pretty much letting us do what we want.”

Interviewer: “Sorry, I mean like the… the vision of George’s final cut of the film that he left us with? Like whether that might be altered over time?”

Kathleen Kennedy: “I haven’t touched those. (both interviewer and Kathleen Kennedy laugh) You kidding? Those will always remain his.”
 

No fate but what we make - apart from force dyads!

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Star Wars on Blu-ray: what surprises does LucasFilm have in store?’:-

Review copies of the Blu-ray boxset containing another re-working of the space saga were unavailable a week before release. What are these versions hiding? - a 2011 article

https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2011/sep/15/star-wars-blu-ray-lucasfilm
 

a snippet the whole article…
 

"Last year I pointed out that there’s a certain hypocrisy in Star Wars creator George Lucas’s penchant for tinkering with his beloved Star Wars series. Lucas, after all, testified before Congress to stop the “colourisation” of black-and-white movies. Does he genuinely believe that the Star Wars trilogy – the first Star Wars trilogy, produced at a time when it was impossible to make an Ewok blink – are inferior? That’s the message he seems to be sending us – that his “vision” for the trilogy was so much greater than what could be achieved at the time.

The new Star Wars Blu-ray boxset (released in the UK this week and the US tomorrow) includes several changes to the original films, including a scene where Darth Vader has the sudden urge to speak as he throws the Emperor down an exhaust shaft. Not all of the changes revealed in the box set (which contains the entire saga, including the prequel trilogy) have been negatively received. Footage of a CGI Yoda (replacing the puppet version in The Phantom Menace) has been welcomed. The change is acceptable, fans argue, because the puppet looked absolutely terrible. But then, in a movie awash with CGI spectacle, a puppet Yoda was always going to look out of place.

Which leads me to wonder if we judge special effects against the context of when the film is released, rather than what we expect of films today. The Star Wars movies pioneered all sorts of visual trickery, so surely our loyalty isn’t swayed by the arrival of movies with more dazzling effects? Lucas’s films don’t struggle to compete with the bombast of Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean. Lucas might argue that it’s because of his changes, but it could also be that Star Wars is simply a well-met marriage of story and spectacle.

Of course, Lucas isn’t alone in tinkering with his films after they’re released. Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Spielberg do it, as do other contemporaries such as Ridley Scott and James Cameron. Their efforts to recut their films are greeted with both positive and negative reactions, but never with the fervour that greets an announcement about changes to Star Wars. That’s because, by and large, other recut editions don’t tend to supersede their originals. The Apocalypse Now Blu-ray set includes both the “Redux” edition and the original theatrical presentation. The release of Blade Runner’s “Ultimate Collection” Blu-ray features as many as four different versions of that film to compare and contrast.

Lucas has made one concession to beleaguered fans since the Special Editions were released in 1997. A limited-edition run of DVDs in 2006 issued the 2004 sweep of changes on one disc, and included a low-resolution, poorly transferred version of the theatrical originals on a second. He had previously claimed the original negatives were destroyed in the production of the Special Editions.

New fans continue to be swept up in the world of Star Wars, and while some older fans may complain, most will happily line up when the Blu-ray goes on sale. Still, Lucas’s disregard for a significant portion of our cultural heritage is more important than our own memories of seeing Star Wars in its original form. Lucas has the money, the means and the materials to restore and re-release the original Star Wars trilogy in its theatrical form. As the man in charge of those materials, he has a responsibility to do so."
 

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Disney+ Should Offer the Star Wars Original Cuts—All of Them’:-

George Lucas has been retro-tweaking the saga for years. It’s time to give fans every version.

https://www.wired.com/story/put-original-star-wars-on-disney-plus

^ 2020 article. I know the above article was posted in the thread OP, but thought the accompanying words below, also from doubleofive, struck a chord, and were worth mentioning in here too…
 

https://twitter.com/doubleofive/status/1257273173231439875

It’s that special time of year when we all come together over #StarWars & I shout about the importance of preserving film history. Hopefully I’m able to shout a little louder this #MayThe4th. #ReleaseTheOriginalTrilogy @starwars @disneyplus @wired
 

“The SE’s function well enough as what they should be: a side-project version that looks more like and ties into the prequels. They’re the movies you can turn on when you want to rewatch the whole saga, an artifact to show how artists are better off not changing their works.

But they do not stand up on their own as individual movies or as a stand-alone trilogy… they assume that viewers have seen the movies already, which creates a recursive loop. If these were the movies that were originally released, they would not have become a phenomenon.

Even if Lucas has lost his sense of pacing and dramatic structure, audiences haven’t. Fans forgive the Saga Editions for all of their flaws simply because they’re still Star Wars. But those movies wouldn’t be Star Wars without the originals.

That’s what they fell in love with. They’re what the Academy nominated. They’re what the National Film Registry deemed to be ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant’ movies. They’re what changed the way movies were made and inspired generations of artists.

The simple fact is that the originals are historical artifacts that can stand on their own, separate from the franchise they birthed… Fans should be able to watch the versions that hit theaters some four decades ago."
 

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^ Beautifully put 😃
 

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The Original Theatrical STAR WARS Trilogy Will Never Get an HD Re-release Because of George Lucas’:-

https://geektyrant.com/news/the-original-theatrical-star-wars-trilogy-will-never-get-an-hd-rerelease-because-of-george-lucas

^ a 2018 article
 

a snippet the full thing…
 

"After the deal between Disney and Fox closed, some Star Wars fans wondered if that means that now there would be a bigger possibility of seeing the original theatrical versions of the Star Wars trilogy get a high-definition home entertainment release.

Fans have been wanting to see this happen for years! There have been rumors in the past, but it turns out that it may never happen. After George Lucas released the “Special Edition” Star Wars trilogy, he never wanted the original theatrical versions of the film to see the light of day again.

Pablo Hidalgo, who serves as a member of the Lucasfilm Story Group, took to Twitter to address the big question and he says that the issue surrounding an HD release of the films isn’t related to the legal rights that the studios have. Basically, George Lucas doesn’t want them re-released and the studios are honoring that.
 

Good morning! What’s kept the original theatrical editions off of home video is the same thing that’s always been doing that. It’s not a studio thing.

^ Pablo Hidalghost of Christmas Future (@pablohidalgo) December 14, 2017
 

And for what it’s worth*, I’d love to have 'em. * it is worth nothing

^ Pablo Hidalghost of Christmas Future (@pablohidalgo) December 14, 2017
 

When asked what the hold up was on the release, he said:

There’s one pretty noteworthy person who doesn’t want them released. Shouldn’t be too hard to research who that is.

^ Pablo Hidalghost of Christmas Future (@pablohidalgo) December 14, 2017
 

That’s a shame! Fans would absolutely love to see those original films get an HD rerelease. Do you think Lucas will ever change his mind? I wonder why he’s being stubborn about this. I understand that their are flaws, but a lot of fans still prefer them over the “Special Edition” films!"
 

50 Cent is just an imposter

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 (Edited)

Rick McCallum - Producer of the Star Wars Special Edition’:-

http://www.maikeldas.com/SWrick1eng.html - 1997 interview article

(^ for the 1997 Special Edition - re the print likely used for the 2019 Special Edition 4K release?; in ‘Question 3’)
 

a snippet…
 

"Question 1: Star Wars is a 20 years old science fiction cult movie. What was the reason for Lucasfilm to redo/rework the Star Wars Triology?

Rick McCallum: When it first was an idea represented to us by 20th Century Fox, they wanted to find out, if we wanted to do anything for the 20th year celebration. At first we thought putting it out maybe in 100-150 theaters for the hardcore fans. And once that happend, I started to try restore the negative and I also wanted to remaster the soundtrack, because for the first time in the history we really have a technology in 35-50% of the theaters out there, where you can actually hear it. And one of the problems at least for us, is that we spent an enormous amount of effort trying to create a soundtrack you can feel not just listen to. This is 50% of the experiences for us. Nothing is more frustrating when you spent millions of dollars and thousands of hours on a soundtrack that no one can actually hear, because of multiboxes, where the theater owner doesn’t care at all about quality.

So, again it was always gonna be a very minimal thing. But once I started the recreation I couldn’t find the negative in a lot of sections. Therefore I had to convert the film into data. Once that happend George desperately wanted to go back and fix the film in the way he originally had written it. He made so many compromises making Star Wars. It was frustrating to him and he was so unhappy with so much of the film, that this became a golden oppotunity for us to fix the picture in the way he always wanted them to be. That process became very complicated, very expensive and it became bigger than we were originally sending out to do. The negative was so badly damaged and destroyed that we’d lost in some places up to 35% of the actual color. It was often like a b/w movie. Once that happened we had a mission.

It was only 'till last year, when Independece Day came out that we ran a trailer to try and judge what the reaction would be, to see in how many theaters it would be proper to put the film in. But again we were only talking about maybe 200-500 theaters, because we got a little bit more ambitious. But the reaction to it was so huge, so overwhelming. Theater owners wanted to book it, fans were writing, calling begging. In some cases there were people who were going back to see ID 4 and if the trailer wasn’t running they asked for their money back. It was huge. And it wasn’t just in the States.
At first we ran the trailer in L.A. But everybody is weird there. We thought, well that’s just L.A. Then we did in San Francisco, Houston Dallas, New York… the same reaction. London, Paris, Rome… it was the same reaction everywhere. Then we knew something else was going on. It just became bigger than us. I wish I could say it was a marketing campaign and we devised it but it just didn’t have anything to do with us anymore.
 

Question 2 : I guess, you and Lucas talked about this becoming so huge. Star Wars was nearly forgotten but now, first the THX video re-releases, now the special editions and in two years the prequels. How’s the feeling for Star Wars today?

Rick McCallum: It’s big, it’s huge, it’s overwhelming in many cases. I mean… just opened last night and instantly it’s the #1 film for weeks. And it’s allmost everywhere the same. I think the reasons are two things. Primaly it’s a great story and has great characters. The most important thing driving it now, is not just the film itself, but the event of the movie. Star wars is a movie for the big screen and people haven’t experienced it for 20 years. It’s more like going to a rock-concert and having a collective experience. Very few movies crossover to do that. Star Wars is one of those films. There’s something that happens when the Lucas logo comes on. It’s like a license to go insane. You can talk and yet still follow the story, you can cheer, you can jump up and down. The other day I was leaving Paris to come here. I passed the theater at eleven in the morning and 1500-2000 people outside in front of the theater were trying to break in, 'cause it doesn’t open until twelve. But what was amazing, they were all dressed up in characters. There must be 500 Luke Skywalkers. That’s just a hard thing to do in a normal movie. Kids like to role play. They like to fantasize. There’s a number of characters that you can be. Nothing is more enjoyable for a 6 or 7 years old to close the door of his room and act to pretend he’s Luke Skywalker. Those are the things you do as a kid.

When I was young it was cars that I all care about. I used to make them, build them, rebuild them. You get obsessions, you have fantasies; you work them out and they stay with you for two or three years. But often for Star Wars it’s been lasting for 20 years for some people. I don’t understand them but it’s fantastic that it actually happens. What’s also unique and this is mostly an American thing: Everybody knows where they were, when JFK was shot, when Neil Armstrong landed on the moon and everybody knows where they were, what time it was and which theater they saw Star Wars.

These three existing events in popular culture define a collective experience. I visited Berlin on November the 8th in 1989 and spent three days here while the Wall came down. It was the most powerful three days in my life, because I never had to worry about Vietnam or the Wall again and I had never seen 100.000 of people. I felt so overwhelmed by the collective experience of being alive. It was an amazing weekend and I will never forget it. That’s part of what the experience Star Wars is. It’s not obviously political, nor have it the same meaning overall, but there is someting very moving about it. People share something and want to continue to share that experience."
 

Question 3: The scenes which were not digitally remastered, but only chemically restored are still looking faded or have a color tinge. You see the shift between the the new scenes and the original material.

Rick McCallum: Here is what we were talking about this earlier. One of the most frustrating things is, if you could see the print that stuck of the original negative that we have done - it’s perfect. It’s not perfect in terms of the colorrestauration, because we still have a long way to go. We will need to scan the movie. In propably five years, when scanning technology drops at a cost that isn’t so prohibitive anymore. Now it would cost 10-12 millions Dollars only to scan the whole movie. We just can’t do it. Possible we take 2-3 years to be able to restore the color back to its original. We did the best that we could within the technology we have today. This is one of the big challenges for us in the future.

The problem is, film is a chemical process and it’s like alchemy. It’s magic. If you do a print and the developer bath isn’t as clean or whatever it is - it’s very hard to stain, because it’s a photo-chemical process. It lives, it breath, it changes on every print. We are hoping to drive the technology to a level to distribute movies electronically. So we can incode in digital data the color, the contrast and the level that the soundtrack has to do. No theater owner can screw us up again. It’s not just the theater owner, it’s this bizarre process called filmmaking that is still so fragile.

It’s hard to believe that we actually had to restore a film that’s only 20 years old. Film is an inherently instable medium. It’s there and it’s changing every day. It feeds on itself, it destroys itself. But it’s not only Star Wars. The whole films of the 70s are at risk. With the success of Star Wars all the studios are rushing back trying to protect their films. They are inherently what gives them value. But I apologize for the shift. It’s something that goes beyond us. That is the thing what is most frustrating."

 

^ “Here is what we were talking about this earlier. One of the most frustrating things is, if you could see the print that stuck of the original negative that we have done - it’s perfect.” - Rick McCallum.

That’d likely be the print used ofr the 2019 SE in 4K? Either way, it’d probably be a great quality print to use as a base for a theatrcial reconstruction of the unaltered Original Trilogy - removing the fewer changes made in 1997 and inserting the unaltered version scenes back in and then matching them up.
 
If only they would release the 1997 Special Edition for fans on 4K media… 😉 It’d certainly be benefical to have all these differing versions available - if nothing other than to give the fans the choice of watching all the previous versions of the Original Trilogy sold to us over time…
 

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Star Wars, Blu-Ray and a Boycott’:-

Why did so many fans boycott the Blu-Ray release of the Star Wars saga?

https://www.ourgazebo.net/star-wars-blu-ray-and-a-boycott.html - a 2011 article
 

a snippet…
 

"As most everyone knows, the Blu-Ray version of the Star Wars Saga will be released in 6 days. Many people have recently canceled their pre-orders now that the disc contents are known. The news is abuzz about the widespread outcry, especially against one particular change: Darth Vader now saying “No!” twice as he throws the emperor to his death in the climactic scene of Return of the Jedi. While that is proving to be the final straw for many people in their decision not to purchase this set (as one blogger eloquently explains in this post ) it is certainly not the only issue with this release. There are many other technical and aesthetic issues . This has led to a movement to boycott this release.

The Amazon product page is the site of a heated debate . It is being deluged with angry 1-star reviews by people boycotting the release, accompanied by retorts from some people posting 5-star reviews in support of the Blu-Ray release and expressing disdain toward those who are complaining about it. These people for the most part feel that the complaints are nitpicky and not worthy of serious consideration. However, I believe they are worthy of serious consideration.
 

There are two main problems people have with this Blu-Ray release:

First, people are being asked to pay $90 for a product that has myriad technical flaws, things that should have been corrected regardless of what movie it is. These are a distraction and shoddy workmanship.

Second, changes are continually being made to the substance of the movies without offering the originals. Many movies get doctored by their directors. But when this is done, it should be and usually is done concurrently with a careful restoration and release of the original version in the best possible quality. But in this case it’s not. And that is what the boycott, and this article, is mostly about.

The owner of SaveStarWars.com makes an excellent point about this: "…none of this would be an issue if the originals—and the previous special editions, for those now crossing over—were available in high definition. We could just shake our heads at Lucas when we thought he made a stupid decision, say “well, I wouldn’t have done that,” and then watched the version we liked, whether it was the original theatrical version, or the 1997 version, or the ones from 2004 and 2011. It wouldn’t matter if we liked a change or not, or which version was “right”, we could just agree to disagree and be happy with the version that Lucas gave us that spoke to us the most. The way every other film with multiple versions—Blade Runner, Alien, Lord of the Rings, Close Encounters, etc—has been treated. Lucas is so narcissistic about suppressing the older and original versions of the films, as though they no longer exist, that he has brought the heat on himself. And, unfortunately, he has opened up a lot of rifts in the fan community that really should not exist in the first place. We all love Star Wars, but it has so many versions, sequels and permutations that it is inevitable that we all never agree on one single, absolute Gospel canon the way Lucas wants: there’s too much radical variation.

The only way things will be good is if we can each have the one we fell in love with, because we all fell in love with different variations at different years for different reasons. When you create something as big as Star Wars, you sort of have an ethical mandate to do this, to protect a cultural artifact and make sure it is seen and treated with respect. As Lucas himself said : “American works of art belong to the public; they are part of our cultural history.” I hope one day Lucas can drink his own medicine so we can all just get along."
 

and…

“Some people have the impression that the desire to preserve original films is unreasonable and/or just a weak peep from a small minority of over-the-hill geeks, but it’s the stance taken by the AFI, the National Film Registry (which Lucas had a big hand in creating), the Film Foundation (Lucas is on the Board of Directors) and the Library of Congress. It is a widely recognized principle and one that Lucas is a huge supporter of, even, so he says, with regard to Star Wars. “Lucas, a proponent of film preservation, has said recently that he would like to restore the originals but can’t pay for it, even though he is a billionaire. Yet when an outside organization from the federal government bodies of film preservation [National Film Registry] offer to foot the bill in the meantime, what does Lucas do? Try to get them to take the Special Edition,” which the NFR refused to do. ( Full story here .) The Guardian wrote about this principle here with regard to the Star Wars Blu-Ray release. So it’s not just a closet idea… and clearly money is not the true reason Lucas doesn’t want the originals released.

The fact that Lucas continually makes changes to the Star Wars movies while not preserving the originals for viewing, frankly is reprehensible both as an artist and as a businessman, regardless of whether one feels the movie was actually ‘improved upon.’ What would the reaction be if the Tower of Pisa were straightened, or Mona Lisa’s face touched up to smile a little more, or Mickey was given brown fur, or countless other famous and beloved historical icons were tampered with beyond mere maintenance, either by their creators or by others? Star Wars was nominated for 11 Academy Awards in 1977 and won 7 of them, and the Star Wars saga is beloved the world over. As the most successful film series in all of film history, Star Wars is a historical treasure and global icon that should be treated with the same respect that it and those who love it deserve.”

 

The above article is well worth a read in its full form, with url links for useful infomration throughout the piece. It was recently posted in this engaging thread:-

Is it Lucas, or Fox, who has prevented the restored OOT release?
 

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Disney’s Fox Acquisition Likely Won’t See Original ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy Released’:-

https://comicbook.com/starwars/news/star-wars-disney-fox-original-films-special-edition-release - 2017 article
 

a snippet…
 

"In the late '90s, the world of Star Wars changed forever when George Lucas oversaw the development of the Special Edition trilogy, which featured the original films getting updated special effects and modified scenes. Many fans have been desperate to own the original, unaltered versions of these films in a high-definition format, which seemed like it would never see the light of day.

With Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox, who previously held the rights to the first six films in the saga, many think that one result could be the release of those unaltered films. As one Lucasfilm executive recently pointed out, the issue surrounding their release wasn’t related to legal rights, but due to an adherence of Lucas’ wishes.

Pablo Hidalgo, a member of the Lucasfilm Story Group, took to Twitter to preemptively address the big question he was sure to be asked repeatedly."
 

 
"While Hidalgo doesn’t explicitly state what is keeping the original films from being released on Blu-ray, subsequent replies paint a pretty clear picture of the situation.

The stumbling block in releasing the unaltered films comes down to George Lucas claiming that the definitive versions of his films were already released on Blu-ray in 2011. Disney now owns the rights to the original films, but Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has always adhered to Lucas’ decisions about the original films, which will likely continue for the foreseeable future.

If the studio hierarchy ends up shifting in the future to the point that Lucasfilm execs no longer believe in Lucas’ vision, the recent acquisition could cut through some of the red tape, despite those releases negating Lucas’ beliefs about the films he created.

Currently, the highest quality versions of the unaltered films that exist came with a 2006 DVD release of the trilogy. Initially, the Special Edition trilogy was released on DVD in 2004, but limited editions of the set were released two years later that featured both versions of the films, with the original trilogy files being taken from the laserdisc releases of the films, which were relatively poor quality.

Star Wars fans can’t help but get excited over the world of possibilities relating to the future of the saga, but we won’t be holding our breath about ever seeing a Blu-ray release of the original, unaltered trilogy anytime soon."
 

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Here’s Why Old School STAR WARS Fans Should Be Insanely Excited About The Disney/Fox Deal’:-

https://revengeofthefans.com/2018/05/03/heres-why-old-school-star-wars-fans-should-be-insanely-excited-about-the-disney-fox-deal - 2018 article
 

a snippet the full article…
 

"While the bulk of the discussion about the creative pros and cons of Disney’s acquisition of Fox have centered on how it’ll impact the Marvel Cinematic Universe– since it means that Marvel Studios will now have access to the X-Men and Fantastic Four properties- there’s one crucial bit about this deal which could be huge for old school Star Wars fans.

See, ever since George Lucas deemed it necessary to go back and tinker on the Original Trilogy to create Special Editions of each film in it (A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return of The Jedi) there’s been a desire by Star Wars purists to have the original theatrical cuts get a proper HD home release. Sadly, that’s never come to be. If you want the full HD cinematic experience, you have no choice but to watch Lucas’ reworked versions of the films.

In 2012, Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney, and- briefly- there was hope that the Mouse House, with its unlimited resources, would give the Original Trilogy a proper home release. But those hopes were dashed when it was revealed that, despite Disney now owning the Star Wars IP, Fox actually retained the rights to the first film in the series: A New Hope.

With Fox hanging onto A New Hope, that meant that Disney wouldn’t be able to release the unaltered Original Trilogy even if it wanted to. Also, Fox would have no real incentive to release an unaltered A New Hope on its own, since it would essentially just be hyping up a property it doesn’t even own anymore.

Now that Disney is on the verge of owning Fox, though, that could all change.

Depending on who you ask, there are other- more technical- hurdles to deal with. For starters, back in 2006 Lucasfilm claimed that the original prints of the films were altered during the process of putting together the Special Editions:
 

“As you may know, an enormous amount of effort was put into digitally restoring the negatives for the Special Editions. In one scene alone, nearly one million pieces of dirt had to be removed, and the Special Editions were created through a frame-by-frame digital restoration. The negatives of the movies were permanently altered for the creation of the Special Editions, and existing prints of the first versions are in poor condition.”

 
Not only that, but George Lucas himself has asserted that it would cost “millions of dollars” to reverse the changes made.

However, the passionate folks behind SaveStarWars.com have said that the process isn’t as impossible as others would have you believe:
 

“The negative is conformed to the Special Edition edit, because there can only be one original negative. So, technically speaking, the negative assembly of the originals does not exist. But it would be very easy to simply put the original pieces back in and conform it to the original versions. Actually, in a theoretical modern restoration, they would just scan the original pieces and make a digital edit, especially since disassembling the negative puts a lot of wear on it. There are also secondary sources, such as separation masters and interpositives, both of which were used to make duplicate pieces to repair parts of the original negative for the 1997 release. So, basically, the official Lucasfilm stance is a lot of crap, designed to confuse people who don’t have a thorough knowledge of how post-production works.”

 
It should also be noted that Lucasfilm’s old stance on this issue was likely influenced by Lucas himself who, at the time, was adamant that the Special Editions were the “real” versions he wanted to be considered canon. Specifically, while discussing the infamous “Who shoots first?” alteration and other changes made to A New Hope, Lucas has said “[The Special Edition] is the movie I wanted it to be, and I’m sorry you saw half a completed film and fell in love with it.”

With George out of the picture now, and Disney on the verge of owning the original negatives and the distribution rights for A New Hope, we’ve never been closer to the Original Trilogy getting a proper release in the premium formats now available to us.

And even if it would cost millions, we have a feeling Disney has some spare change rolling around somewhere…"
 

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^ Nice one, Vin - I wasn’t sure if you wanted to include the Disney acquisition in here 😃

 


 

Disney Has Acquired Fox; What Does that Mean for Star Wars?’:-

Rev up the iconic fanfare, because Disney has officially completed their acquisition of 21st Century Fox. While the main perks of the deal benefit the Marvel Cinematic Universe way more than Star Wars, there are some Star Wars-related tidbits that are tied to the deal itself that are worth discussing here – and one thing that definitely won’t happen.

https://www.starwarsnewsnet.com/2019/03/disney-acquired-fox-star-wars-meaning.html - 2019 article
 

a snippet…
 

"Let’s start by clearing up a big misconception right off the bat: no, we are not getting the original theatrical trilogy. For those of you unaware, there has been a long-running fan conspiracy that Lucasfilm are set to release remastered, unaltered versions of the first three Star Wars movies (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi) before George Lucas went back to edit them any day now for the over two decades. In spite of that hope becoming more and more of a pipe dream since Lucas released the initial versions of the Star Wars Special Editions and their plethora of changes (some controversial, some deemed unnecessary, and a few actually praised), the belief that Lucasfilm are waiting for the right time to release the unaltered versions of the movies has persisted, and has gained new life with Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm and Fox alike.

The thing is, ownership of Lucasfilm and Fox are not what what’s keeping the old versions of the movies from seeing the light of day in an official capacity; George Lucas himself is. And he’s repeatedly stated that he wants those changes to stay put. When he threw fans a bone in the early 2000s with DVD versions of the original versions, it turned out to be not what fans were hoping for when it was really just the LaserDisc version of the movies ported over to DVD, without any actual remastering of the visual or audio quality put into place. That alone should indicate what his position on his old versions of the movies are – in spite of the preference of the fans, he feels that the revision of Return of the Jedi that has Darth Vader shout “No!” and a celebration of the Emperor’s death across the galaxy far, far away instead of just on Endor is the definitive version of the film. Unless he suddenly changes his mind (and, sure, he’s flip-flopped plenty of times before, but this is one subject he’s remained steadfast on for over twenty years), we’re not going to get official remastered versions of the original cuts of those films anytime soon, if ever."
 

Evidence has surfaced suggesting that Lucasfilm have internally decided to remaster the original, unaltered prints – from of footage that made it to the theater to footage included as deleted scenes on the DVD and Blu-Ray versions and some footage that has still not seen the light of day – but it appears to be for their use only. It appears that this played a role in how they were able to integrate unused footage of Red and Gold Leaders into the final battle sequence of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, or how they were able to include a slightly different take of Princess Leia’s plea for help in The Last Jedi to suit the shot that Rian Johnson filmed with Mark Hamill and Jimmy Vee. But don’t expect the unedited clips that were actually featured in the original trilogy movies to see the light of day.

The plus side is that, if you know where to look, Lucasfilm has seemingly agreed to turn a blind eye toward fans creating their own remasters of the original movies as long as they’re not sold for profit. Technically, distributing that kind of stuff is not legal, but it appears that Lucasfilm are not going to feed you to their Rancors if you burn these versions onto the Blu-ray discs that you’ve purchased. Just to be clear, we’re not encouraging that you do kind of thing and we respect Lucas’s own wishes… But if you want to see high-quality versions of the original Star Wars trilogy as it appeared to audiences in the late 1970s and early 1980s, with some visual effects mistakes from the old versions fixed without anything else being changed, then they are out there."
 

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The Disney/Fox Merger is Done; Is a Re-Release of the STAR WARS Original Trilogy Theatrical Cut Next?’:-

https://www.thathashtagshow.com/2019/03/25/re-release-star-wars-original-trilogy-theatrical-cut - 2019 article.
 

a snippet… the full thing (it is not very long):-
 

"Last week Disney completed its multi-billion dollar merger with Fox. From an entertainment perspective, one of the main focuses has been on the effect the merger will have on the X-Men and Marvel franchises. For many of us, however, there is a much bigger, burning question. Now that Disney owns 20th Century Fox, will we finally get a re-release of the Star Wars original trilogy theatrical cut?

For years fans have been begging for the studio to re-release the original trilogy theatrical cut. Hopes ran high that it would happen when George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney a little over six years ago. Unfortunately, at the time 20th Century Fox retained the rights to Star Wars (A New Hope, that is), and that was that. Plus, Kathleen Kennedy has never made re-issuing the original trilogy theatrical cut a priority. But things have changed. With the merger now complete, and given the state of the Star Wars fandom, now is the perfect time to make the move.
 

It’s Time to Re-Release the Original Trilogy Theatrical Cut
 

We’re living in an age where the Star Wars fandom is practically split down the middle. That is thanks in most part to Rian Johnson and his controversial take on Star Wars with The Last Jedi. While expectations are high that Star Wars: Episode IX may narrow that gap, it’s no given. If there is one thing that can bring balance to the For…er, fandom, it’s the original trilogy theatrical cut.

Ask even a casual Star Wars fan “who shot first?” and the universal answer is Han Solo. Likewise, mention the nonsensical musical number in the Return of the Jedi Special Edition and see what kind of reaction you get. Don’t get us started on adding Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker as a Force ghost. George Lucas forgot an important, old adage when it came to Star Wars: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Releasing the original trilogy theatrical cut to Blu ray now could heal a lot of old wounds when it comes to the Star Wars fandom.

Fast forward to 2020. Can you just imaging an ultimate Skywalker Saga box set that contains the original trilogy theatrical cut? Based on the sales of that alone Disney wouldn’t have to make another Star Wars film ever again. (Note to Disney: even if you release the unaltered OT, please don’t stop making Star Wars movies.)

Star Wars: Episode IX hits theaters December 20. Here’s hoping the original, unedited trilogy returns with it."
 

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‘Star Wars’ Films Coming to Blu-ray Next Year

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

A snippet… The full thing:-
 

"Though nearly 35 years of “Star Wars” fandom have yielded all kinds of memorabilia inspired by George Lucas‘s outer-space epic, including light saber lookalikes and wearable replicas of Princess Leia’s slave costume, one holy grail has lately eluded fans: a video version of the “Star Wars” films that takes the fullest advantage of their top-of-the-line home theater systems.

That’s a Death Star-sized void that Lucasfilm plans to fill shortly. On Saturday, the studio is to announce that it will release all six live-action “Star Wars” features on Blu-ray DVD in fall 2011. A boxed set containing the Blu-ray versions of the movies, spanning from 1977’s “Star Wars” through the final 2005 prequel, “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith,” will mark the first time the films have been offered in a high-definition home format, and will include documentary features and previously unseen footage.

Given Mr. Lucas’s exacting standards for film presentations (he founded the THX company) and Lucasfilm’s embrace of digital movie technology (digital projection was used for the theatrical release of all three “Star Wars” prequels, and the last two prequels were shot digitally), many fans expected that high-definition versions of the “Star Wars” features would soon follow.

But in a telephone interview, Mr. Lucas said he had been waiting to see if the Blu-ray format would be widely accepted by home viewers.

“We’ve been wanting to do it as soon as we possibly could, but we just wanted to do it when enough people would be able to buy it and see it,” Mr. Lucas said on Friday from the Star Wars Celebration V convention in Orlando, Fla.

When the original “Star Wars” movies were released on VHS in the early 1980s (along with other short-lived home video formats), Mr. Lucas said sales were slow to take off at first.

“We came out with ‘Star Wars’ right at the beginning of VHS,” he said, “and we sold 300,000 copies.” Within a few years, he added, “They were selling 1 million, 2 million, 10 million. So we learned from that experience that if you’re too early in the marketplace, there’s just not enough demand for it.”

In the case of Blu-ray, at least the potential for galactic-scale sales exists: a recent report by the media firm DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group said that nearly 2 million Blu-ray players were sold in the first half of 2010, an increase of 103 percent over last year, for a total of 19.4 million such devices in the U.S.

Mr. Lucas said the versions of the first three “Star Wars” films – “Star Wars,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” – included in the Blu-ray boxed set will be the special-edition releases that were shown theatrically in 1997 and digitally restored for a 2004 standard-definition DVD boxed set.

Perhaps bracing for the reactions of fans who decried some of the changes made to the special-edition films – like, say, an exchange of gunfire between Han Solo and a certain green-skinned bounty hunter – Mr. Lucas said that to release the original versions of these films on Blu-ray was “kind of an oxymoron because the quality of the original is not very good.”

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

And while some viewers might want the “Star Wars” Blu-ray release in time for this year’s Life Day – that is, the Wookiee holiday that roughly coincides with the start of the holiday shopping season – Mr. Lucas said a 2011 release was the earliest possible date.

That, he said, was partly due to continuing work on the additional Blu-ray features, and partly to factors beyond his control.

“We’ve been working on them for quite a while,” Mr. Lucas said, “but still, there are pipelines. Unfortunately, the recent releases get priority over what we call the classic versions of things.”"

 


 

In a 2010 article on SavingStarWars•com - The Star Wars Blu-Ray Blues - author Michael Kaminski addresses some of George’s claims and quotes made at Celebration V - and gives a fuller and clearer picture as to restoration process, as well as the ability of Lucasfilm to preserve, restore and release an official unaltered theatrical version of the Original Trilogy films:-
 

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