A bit of a bump, but I think it is one worthwhile given the topic 😃
Much of this isn’t about GL’s suppression of the OT films as such, but about people in and around Star Wars wanting to the original version to be available, or questioning why some of the changes to the films were actually made etc.
People mentioned in this lengthy post below:
From oojason’s comprehensive George Lucas: Unreliable Narrator & Time Travelling Revisionist… thread - Category No 28:-
'28 • What do people who worked on the unaltered Original Trilogy films think of the various Special Editions?'…
Some interviews & quotes from people who worked on the Original Trilogy films and what they think of the alterations made to the films via the various Special Editions (as well as a few people who have worked at Lucasfilm since)…
Gary Kurtz (Producer for Star Wars & Empire Strikes Back):-
'Gary Kurtz - on the Star Wars Special Edition’ youtube video, - by gordongecko1975 (aka OT•com member Haarspalter)
^ From an ‘interview with Gary Kurtz back in 2002’ (by Ken Plume) article from the A Site Called Fred website. The snippet images above are taken from Page 9 of the interview.
Lorne Peterson (ILM Visual Effects):-
'Another 2006 DVD release also has Peterson grinning these days: When we spoke in mid-2005, he had lamented the fact that the original, pre-Special Edition trilogy had not been released in a digital format. That changed this fall, and he says it does mean something special.
“It’s almost unimaginable to think of the (original) Star Wars films sitting somewhere and rotting within your own lifetime,” he said.’
^ The above text, and more information can be found in the link below…
Sculpting His Journey: An interview with Star Wars model maker Lorne Peterson - article from the Fields Edge website (interview by John Booth).
Phil Tippett (ILM Visual Effects):-
'Last night the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX held a very special screening of Jurassic Park and flew in Phil Tippett, one of the visual effects masterminds behind the film, for a Q&A, which ended up being the surprise highlight of the night. Tippett was candid and honest as usual.
Questions came regarding the new Star Wars Blu Rays, since they were on everyone’s minds as of late. Tippett, you may recall, began his career as one of the original artists at ILM when it opened up shop. He provided the stop-animation for Star Wars (the 3D chess board), and performed the stop-animation for the AT-AT Imperial Walkers and the Taun-Taun’s in Empire Strikes Back, and the Rancor puppeteering on Return of the Jedi, among other duties. It didn’t take long before he was asked about Lucas’ endless tinkering with all the pioneering visual effects work on the films, and Tippett, perhaps not surprisingly, hates the changes as much as fans.
“They’re shit,” he says about the Special Editions. He calls them unnecessary, citing as one example Lucas’ choice to shoot Mos Eisely originally as a barren bordertown that recalled similar locales in Sergio Leone westerns. Now, he says, it’s “filled with a bunch of…CGI shit.”
He shares an additional anecdote with the website regarding a conversation between Lucas and Return of the Jedi director Richard Marquand that’s pretty amusing (“What we’re doing now is kind of like a cross between Benji and what we did on Empire Strikes Back”, Lucas told him)'.
Article can be found at: http://www.movies.com/movie-news/phil-tippett-star-wars/4324
^ The above text, and more information can be found in the link below…
Site News - section article from the Save Star Wars website.
‘Mondo Mystery Movie #2: Q&A (Part 2)’ youtube video, - by Crab Rangoon - a Q&A with Phil Tippett after a screening of ‘Jurassic Park’, from 2011.
John Knoll (ILM Visual Effects):-
^ the above image is taken from Pages 279 & 280 of the ‘Blockbuster: How Hollywood Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Summer’ book by Tom Shone (an amazon link to the book).
Denis Muren (ILM Visual Effects):-
'I came up with a list of probably about 25 shots of spaceships, mainly during the dog fight sequence at the end of the original film, that we never quite had right. There’s big giant map lines showing, there’s huge black, or gray things that are just in the shot, they shouldn’t be in it. It just made it look real funky, and I was all for fixing that stuff up. That’s what I where I thought it was going to end, I wasn’t getting anything with plots or anything like that.
But my thought always was that the originals will always be there, this would be like the original there and then you’d have this, you could look at like this was what they meant to do at that time. That’s not what happened, George just was really sort of making them like forever and apparently just wants one version out there forever. I agree that it’s too bad there isn’t the handwriting of how you were in 1983, and how you thought the movie should look or something. But an artist can do what he wants, and that’s what George is doing. So there are, you know, you got the laser disk around, and maybe sometime the stuff will come back. I don’t know. There are still very nice prints around of those original films, so it’s not like they’re gone.’
^ The above text, and more information can be found in the link below…
Dennis Muren on Making ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, the Special Editions, and Directing ‘Star Tours’ - article from the Collider website.
More from Denis Muren…
^ the above screenshot image is taken from a 2008 interview with Denis Muren at Lightsabre.co.uk - available via the Internet Archive.
Ben Burtt (Sound Designer & Film Editor):-
^ The above image, and more information, is taken from the article linked to below…
‘Voice of RD-D2 speaks out on film trickery’ - a 2009 article from the News AU website.
On a slightly different tangent, the Lucasfilm Vice President acknowledging that ‘a truly countless number of fans’ want to see the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy (after the 2004 DVD release of the Special Editions)…
Jim Ward (President of LucasArts, and Senior Vice President of Lucasfilm), speaking in 2006:-
Jim Ward: “Over the years, a truly countless number of fans have told us that they would love to see and own the original version that they remember experiencing in theaters,” said Jim Ward, President of LucasArts and Senior Vice President of Lucasfilm Ltd. “We returned to the Lucasfilm Archives to search exhaustively for source material that could be presented on DVD. This is something that we’re very excited to be able to give to fans in response to their continuing enthusiasm for Star Wars.”
^ The above text, screenshot, and more information can be found in the link below…
This September: Original Unaltered Trilogy on DVD - 3rd May, 2006 article from the Star Wars official website.
Rick McCallum (Star Wars Producer)
From a 2012 interview on the Collider website with Rick McCallum, where he expresses his own view that he hopes the unaltered version of the Original Trilogy is indeed released, and that he hopes George also decides to release the classic original version - “I think that’s a decision he (George) has to come to on his own as time comes by”.
Interviewer: Episode I recently came out on Blu-ray, and you guys are getting ready to do a 3D re-release. Obviously I’m a fan of you guys, I’m a fan of Star Wars and I know that George likes to tinker and change. Is the 3D re-release any different than what just came out on Blu-ray or is it the same movie just in 3D?
McCallum: It’s the same movie in 3D.
Interviewer: Do you think we’ll ever get the original trilogy and the prequels without any changes on Blu-ray, or is it never gonna happen?
Rick McCallum: I would have to answer that officially it’s never gonna happen, but you never know with George. It’s one of the constant things that—let’s put it this way, it changes always. You never know.
Interviewer: Yeah I mean personally, as I’ve said many times on the site I have no problems with George changing the films, I just think it would be great if he would release the originals and that way everyone could have it, but that’s just me.
Rick McCallum: I know, but I understand that completely. It’s just a question I can’t answer. Obviously I have my own personal feelings, I hope that he does it, but I don’t have major arguments with him about it. I think that’s a decision he has to come to on his own as time comes by.
^ the full interview can be found here - Producer Rick McCallum Talks RED TAILS and Live-Action STAR WARS TV Series; Describes Show as “EMPIRE STRIKES BACK on Steroids”
Kathleen Kennedy (President of Lucasfilm), speaking in 2012, about the Special Edition of ‘ET The Extra Terrestrial’ and changes made to it, and back again, over time:-
^ taken from a 2012 'Henry Thomas and Kathleen Kennedy Talk E.T. The Extra-Terrestial, Jurassic Park 4, Lincoln, Steven Spielberg, and More interview at the Collider website…
Interviewer: “When it came out on DVD, there was the special edition version that had some notable changes (walkie-talkies in the government agents hands instead of guns, sanctifying certain dialogue exchanges) but the Blu-ray reverts back to the original version. What brought about that decision?”
Kathleen Kennedy: “To be perfectly honest, I think Steven always regretted having made the decision to do anything to the film. I think he was feeling a certain amount of pressure to be politically correct. And then he realized that it maybe wasn’t the correct [decision]. I think most fans and most people who like classic movies that have stood the test of time, don’t want them to be tinkered with”.
^ Well, we would just like to be able to have the option of buying and watching the old untinkered classic Original Trilogy movies on a quality modern digital format.
and some information and quotes that I have found floating around the internet…
More Kathleen Kennedy…
The much misunderstood quote of “I haven’t touched those. (both interviewer and Kathleen Kennedy laugh) You kidding? Those will always remain his.” being used as an reason (wrongfully) as to why Lucasfilm will not release the unaltered theatrical version of the Original Trilogy:-
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.”
From the above conversation it is quite obvious that Kathleen Kennedy is talking about not making any further changes to the Original Trilogy - and is not talking about the unaltered theatrical version of the Original Trilogy.
^ more information on this can be found in this thread:-
Kathleen Kennedy Shuts Down any Hope for Unaltered Release (not really) - a 2012 thread by SpooneyToe11240
Mark Hamill (Star Wars actor and all round top man)
^ the above “But like my son and a lot of fans says, we’d love to see the original, pre-fixes. Just the way it was in 1977.” quote is taken from this following article:-
‘Star Wars Mark Hamill admits George Lucas made one change to Empire Strikes Back that made “no sense”’…
JJ Abrams (Star Wars director of ‘The Force Awakens’ & ‘The Rise Of Skywalker’)
‘J.J. Abrams is calling for the original versions of ‘Star Wars’ to be released’
https://twitter.com/nowthisnews/status/1204960815821946880?s=21 (with video of interview with JJ Abrams)
‘Exclusive: J.J. Abrams Wants The Original Versions Of Star Wars Released’ (full article & interview):-
The “Star Wars” trilogy hasn’t been seen in its original form since 1997
“I guess it’s what George Lucas wanted, and that’s what he did, and so I respect that, although I also feel like there’s something about the original theatrical version that was, you know, for so many people […] the thing they loved as it was,” Abrams told NowThis in an exclusive interview. “And so, you know, it would be great to have that available for a mainstream audience.”
^ all credit to Vin for this.
Paul Hirsch (Oscar winning editor of Star Wars - along with Marcia Lucas & Richard Chew)
^ a screenshot from ‘The Filmunentaries Podcast’ interview with Paul Hirsch - https://twitter.com/StarWarsVisComp/status/1282434281315467265
"Paul Hirsch on @jamieswb’s podcast in regards to the SE Jabba scene: “I don’t regret anything being out, I just regret things coming back in!”
The full podcast of Jamie Benning’s interview of ‘4 - Paul Hirsch - Oscar Winning Film Editor’ can be found here (and is free and simple to listen to):-
with more episodes here: https://soundcloud.com/user-159527521 & https://twitter.com/jamieswb
Pablo Hidalgo (Lucasfilm Story Group)
^ the above screenshot is taken from the following article:-
‘The Original Theatrical STAR WARS Trilogy Will Never Get an HD Re-release Because of George Lucas’…
(Pablo’s tweet are protected, so I couldn’t just post up a screenshot of the tweets, hence the screenshot of an article quoting them.)
It would be fantastic to find more quotes from other people in and around Star Wars - as well as any more of the crew and talent who worked on the Original films.
If anyone finds any, please post them in here 😃
Especially quotes from the likes of Gareth Edwards and Rian Johnson, who have all been rumored to have been on record as wanting the unaltered theatrical version on the Original Trilogy released, or not understanding why the Special Editions have so many changes made to them over time (before they worked on Star Wars films themselves).
And last but in no way least… Marcia Lucas too, of course.
4th November Edit:
Simon Pegg (Star Wars actor):-
I found an old OT•com thread on Simon Pegg’s thoughts on some of the changes made to the Original Trilogy (from his own twitter account between August 31st and September 4th, 2011). Inside the thread are some quotes from him:-
StarWars Insider: Simon Pegg Interview - a 2011 thread, by Master Sifo-Dyas
31 August: ‘I’m hearing some rumblings about supposed audio additions to the original trilogy on the Star Wars Blu-Rays. Is this a hoax? Suspect it is’.
31 August: ‘Wasn’t going to buy them anyway. Not even going to watch borrowed copies now. The only thing I’d buy is the original, original three on blu’.
31 August: ‘Always loved Vader’s wordless self sacrifice. Another shitty, clueless, revision like Greedo and young Anakin’s ghost. What a fucking shame’.
31 August: ‘Can’t believe it still bothers me. It’s like getting upset because a dead relative’s corpse has rotted a bit more’.
31 August: ‘I wonder if George Lucas will ever replace himself with CGI. He should do. He’s a muppet’.
4 September: ‘My final word on the SW Blu-Rays. When they hit the shelves, just say NOOOOOOOOOO!’
^ The quotes by Simon Pegg also appear in a post by Moth3r, here - in the 2010 ‘Star Wars coming to Blu Ray’ thread.
Oscar Isaac (Star Wars actor):-
and this from Oscar Isaac on the OOT and Lucas making changes to the classic Star Wars films…
'Speaking to the Huffington Post, Isaac echoed the views of fans and critics who have wondered why Star Wars required the addition of a squealing CGI Jabba, or whether the revised version of Return of the Jedi might have reasonably dispensed with irritating new digital members of the Max Rebo Band for scenes at the Hutt gangster’s palace. The actor defended Lucas’s right “as an artist” to make the alterations, but said the original movies were “awesome”.
“There’s a part of me that appreciates that he doesn’t really care if people are upset about it,” said the American actor, who will take an unspecified role in Episode VII. “He wants to go back and do stuff, whatever".
“But as a fan, I’d much rather go back and watch the old thing, because it’s a product of the time. It’s what did you do at the time with the things that you had. And that’s what made that movie so amazing. At that time with that technology he made this thing and it was fucking awesome. So, you know, to go back and kind of tweak it with new stuff, it doesn’t make it more interesting for me as a watcher. It makes it less interesting, but I can’t fault him for doing that.”’
^ ‘Oscar Isaac says tinkering with Star Wars trilogy made films “less interesting”’ - a 2014 thread by danny_boy
Peyton Reed (Director of The Mandalorian)