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George Lucas on the O-OT

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This is a statement by George Lucas, printed on the 1995 "Faces" fullscreen collection box.

The appeal of STAR WARS has gone beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I am pleased that for the final video release of STAR WARS in its original version, we can present it with the best sound and picture quality yet available, thanks to THX Digital Mastering.

In the years to come I hope you, your children, and your children's children will enjoy not only this trilogy but also the adventures yet to come in the continually unfolding STAR WARS universe.

George Lucas (signed)


If we look closely, there's several interesting statements here that explode myths later promulgated by Lucas and his employees.

"I am pleased that for the final video release .... "

At the time this statement was published, "video" was widely considered synonymous with "VHS." It took a number of years for the popularity of DVD to divest the term "video" of its association with tape (a linguistic shift not yet fully completed).

In 1995 it was known that a new video disc format was coming, but not when it would arrive or what it would be called. I believe that, in 1995, Lucas was open to the possibility of releasing his original original trilogy on this new format. The 1995 release was the last video (read: VHS) release of the trilogy, but he had not yet decided it would be the last period.

"... we can present it with the best sound and picture quality yet available ... "

How odd to see that statement, in light of today's furor over the slipshod treatment of the original original trilogy.

"In the years to come I hope you, your children, and your children's children will enjoy not only this trilogy ... "

Note that Lucas wrote "this trilogy," instead of the more ambiguous "the trilogy," etc. He is clearly referring to the original original trilogy. Realize, also, that Lucas is knowledgeable about film and video preservation. His is one of the few voices that has spoken up about the impermanence of DVD media and the need to find long-term solutions for storing digital video. Such a man would certainly know that VHS is not a suitable medium to archive something for our "children's chidren."

To me, it seems clear that in 1995 Lucas had every intention of keeping the original edition and Special Edition alive side-by-side. This intention only changed when he found himself planning further alterations to make the Special Edition conform to the Prequel Trilogy. When his ideas for the Prequels were still in there very early stages, there was no reason to "suppress" one version of the Original Trilogy in favor of the other.

"but also the adventures yet to come in the continually unfolding STAR WARS universe."

In 1995, there were no prequels or TV shows. The "unfolding STAR WARS universe" was the so-called Expanded Universe. While Lucas has done much to distance himself from the EU recently, he was singing a different tune in 1995. This isn't terribly relevant to this site, but it's a neat look back at certain attitudes held by Lucasfilm and fandom in the nineties.
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Originally posted by: Scruffy

"I am pleased that for the final video release .... "
As per the promotional tagline for the set "one last time."

The 1995 release was the last video (read: VHS) release of the trilogy, but he had not yet decided it would be the last period.
Same as above. "Own the original, one last time."

"In the years to come I hope you, your children, and your children's children will enjoy not only this trilogy ... "

Note that Lucas wrote "this trilogy," instead of the more ambiguous "the trilogy," etc. He is clearly referring to the original original trilogy.

It doesn't seem to me that he's clearly referring to the OOT, it seems he's referring to the prequel trilogy that had been gestating in his beard-- err, brain for years.

To me, it seems clear that in 1995 Lucas had every intention of keeping the original edition and Special Edition alive side-by-side.

Again, back to the "one last time" thing.

"but also the adventures yet to come in the continually unfolding STAR WARS universe."

Again, the gestating prequels.

Just my take on it, though.

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As per the promotional tagline for the set "one last time."

One should not interpret Lucas's words based on a promotional tagline dreamt up by his marketing droids. "One last time" is relative, as we have recently seen. "Your children's children" is absolute (albeit relative to the 1995 cohort). Final video release is also telling; it allowed for future releases on other, yet to be named, formats.

It doesn't seem to me that he's clearly referring to the OOT, it seems he's referring to the prequel trilogy that had been gestating in his beard-- err, brain for years.


Why ever would you assume that? Lucas had made no mention of the PT, or the SE-OT, or any other new or imagined trilogy up to that point in the statement. The whole first paragraph is clearly about the O-OT; it would be very odd for him to start talking about some other trilogy without any other kind of segue.

Again, the gestating prequels.


Note that he said "continually unfolding." Not "will unfold at some point four or five years from now," but "continually." He wasn't trying to sell the public on the PT -- which was barely on the public radar at the time -- but on the continually-published EU novels and comics.

The current version of George Lucas, the film purist, is a relatively recent emanation. During the intertrilogy period, he was George Lucas Who Doesn't Read Everything But Personally Approves Every Story Concept That Goes Through Lucas Licensing and Sometimes Directs Changes to Ensure They Fit In With His Own Ideas. I'm sure there's a quote by Lucy Autrey Wilson or someone like that somewhere in the public record. Anyway, the only aspect of the Star Wars juggernaut that was "continually expanding" in 1995 was the EU.
"It's the stoned movie you don't have to be stoned for." -- Tom Shales on Star Wars
Scruffy's gonna die the way he lived.
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Except if "video"="VHS" then why was it also released on Laserdisk?

I think when he meant video he actually meant video.

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I think you have some pretty interesting interpretations, and I agree with a lot of them, but when he says "this trilogy" he is definitely referring to the prequel trilogy. If you watch the documentaries in The Phantom Menace, it shows a day in the life of Lucas from 1995, taking his kids to school and stuff like that. It was, specifically, the day in 1995 when he first started writing the script for The Phantom Menace. So it was definitely in his head at that point.

There is no lingerie in space…

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don’t exist… then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks… and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming… Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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Originally posted by: Scruffy
Note that Lucas wrote "this trilogy," instead of the more ambiguous "the trilogy," etc. He is clearly referring to the original original trilogy.



I think he was more refering to the trilogy of Luke, Leia, and Han, as opposed to the trilogy of Anakin, Padme, and Obi-Wan. He was working on the PT during this time if you remember. He even mentioned it on the Faces Box set interview.
"I am altering the movies. Pray I don't alter them any further." -Darth Lucas
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Yes, that's true, too. Maltin even asked him when the next movie came out, and Lucas estimated a '98 or '99 release.

There is no lingerie in space…

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don’t exist… then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks… and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming… Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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I'm with the Reverend: IMHO, in this blurb "video" meant home video generally (not VHS) and "this trilogy" meant the OT (not the OUT). But I enjoyed reading your analysis all the same, Scruffy.
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I thought he talked about prequels in the late 80's? And in '94 there was mention of new movies in that Screensaver thing from LucasArts. Back in '94 I was certain there'd be more Star Wars, even though maybe no one ever told me definitely. hah.
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