Mike O said:
I don’t mean to be crude, but it sounds like good, bad, or indifferent, we won’t get them while Lucas is still alive.
Longer than that. Much longer. When someone is recognized as the creator of an already-wildly-successful property, publishers give their wishes enormous deference. Take the example of C.S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia. The publishers to this day insist on releasing the series in the wrong order. Why? No contract requires that they do this. C.S. Lewis died over 50 years ago. And he also never actually requested that this change be made. However, he did once humor a young fan about the idea or reordering the books, and that exchange was recorded in writing, and someone unearthed it and took it to be the gospel of Lewis. Now, fans are stuck with deference to wishes that someone imagined the creator once had. (Not quite such a bad situation as Star Wars, because you can re-order the books yourself, or use fifty-year-old copies which are every bit as good as the current releases in terms of quality)
Compare that to Lucas. Possibly no contractual requirement here either. But still very much alive, and clearly on the record many times explicitly requesting that the originals be buried and replaced with his special editions. Also probably he and Star Wars are more of a household name than C.S. Lewis or Narnia. No, IMO Disney will let the OOT die merely because Lucas wished it, no contract required.
So the date Star Wars fans are waiting for is the copyright expiration date – when someone other than Disney can release the films as they ought to be. If I thought there was any chance at all this would happen in my lifetime, I’d never have become involved in Star Wars preservation.