|Star Wars (1977) theater marquee (Source)|
We've been passionately following our dream to watch the original, unaltered Star Wars trilogy for years. We wrote why we should have a screening of the original Star Wars and interviewed Michael Kaminski to find out if it was possible. Kaminski, from SaveStarWars.com, said "it [would] take the death of [creator] George Lucas" before Lucasfilm would release an unaltered version of the theatrical Star Wars trilogy. His point was that Lucas would never release them for personal reasons and that they would only get released without his control. That was back in 2012 and, since then, we've had the unforseen sale of the Star Wars franchise to Disney. With him out of the way, it looks like Disney is following the money and working to release the films to eager fans.
Right now the only way to watch the "un-special edition" of the theatrical version of Star Wars is on the videotapes or a bootleg rip of the 1985 Laserdisc. While we've already written that there are some changes George Lucas made that are worth saving, a lot of it is totally unnecessary. For historical reasons alone they need to be preserved.
There have been two rumors that have hit the Internet that gives hope. Bleeding Cool claims that internal marketing emails show they're working on releasing the releasing the theatrical edition of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi on Blu-Ray and Video on Demand. ComicBook.com also claims that "According to our sources, Disney has plans to release the original cut of the Star Wars trilogy on Blu-ray. Our sources indicate that the project has been under way for quite some time, but it’s been challenging because of some damage to the original negatives they are utilizing. The goal is to release A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of Jedi in their complete, unaltered, original form without the redone special edition SFX."
According to AV Forums, Reliance Media Group announced on their website that they recently finished a 4K/16-bit (HD) unconversion of the original Star Wars trilogy. While they didn't specify whether they did the theatrical 1977, 1980 and 1983 versions or the 1997 Special Editions it gives hope that the originals could be ready for general release.
All of this is reportedly being timed for the release of Star Wars: Episode VII in theaters next year. Of course, Screencrush pointed out that there are serious legal issues with doing this. Namely, while Disney owns the rights to the Lucasfilm and the Star Wars canon, Twentieth Century Fox still has theatrical and home video distribution rights to Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi through 2020 and the rights to A New Hope forever. So, Disney can't release the movies on home video or in theaters without Fox. Fox can't release them without Disney. The two have to broker a deal, but it's been done before with the James Bond series.
With a release on Blu-Ray, could a theatrical release be far behind? Let's hope so.
What's your favorite part of the original Star Wars trilogy? Would you want to watch the original A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi unaltered?
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