‘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
"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:-
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.”