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Update: Rumors rekindled for the release of the original Star Wars trilogy

02.28.2017

UPDATE: Yet again, it looks like the dream for this to come to fruition is still a good ways away. The Digital Bits has updated their story to basically say this isn't happening or even in the works, although the possibility exists to make it happen. There's a lengthier response, which you can read here, but essentially, it just ain't happenin'.

Ever since Disney bought Lucasfilm, there's been talk of them releasing the original, unaltered STAR WARS trilogy. After all, if the company wanted to make good with SW fans, what better way? While such a release seems an inevitability, the question on everyone's mind is, "When?" If the latest rumors are to be believed, then the announcement is coming this year during Star Wars Celebration Orlando in April.

Now before you get TOO excited, we're going to take a look at the facts that are out there so you can make your best guess as to what to expect. First off, the new rumor that an original STAR WARS release was coming started with the good folks over at Making Star Wars. To their credit, they are listing as a RUMOR, but their sources say a release is on the way. Obviously the internet is inclined to take such things and run with it, so let's take a look at the next bit of evidence.

We know that director Gareth Edwards saw a 4K remaster of STAR WARS last year when assembling ROGUE ONE. There were a lot of questions regarding which cut we saw, but it seems to be some version of the Special Edition. In fact, just recently, Star Wars creative executive of the Lucasfilm Story Group, Pablo Hidalgo, Tweeted out that, "As far as I know, there's only one person who could make [the original trilogy release] happen and he hasn't seemed all that interested." Seems pretty definitive, but we have more to examine!

Bill Hunt over at The Digital Bits has been known to do his homework, and done it he has! He's reported that Disney’s director of Library Restoration and Preservation, Theo Gluck, was at a special event at Ohio State University’s Wexner Center last night, and confirmed that the original cut negative for STAR WARS is currently in its Special Edition form only.

So what does this all mean? That we're most likely looking at the announcement of a 4K release of STAR WARS in its latest Special Edition form.

Before you give up all hope, Bill Hunt did go on to say that 20th Century Fox’s Senior Vice President of Library and Technical Services, Shawn Belston, has confirmed that all of the "trims" removed from the original negative back in the 1990s still exist. That means that Lucasfilm could reassemble the original cut of the film, if they so desire.

It's been a long road to a proper release of the original STAR WARS trilogy, but as one fan to another, all I can say is, "Be patient." It's eventually going to be released, and while the above news certainly doesn't seem like we're close, Disney is a company known for its extensive restoration projects and protection of its original source material. They know the fans want this, and you can bet if there's money to be made, they'll entertain the notion. In the meantime, a Star Wars 40th anniversary panel, hosted by Warwick Davis, is set for Thursday, April 13th. Perhaps then we'll know what's really going on with the latest release of the original STAR WARS trilogy.

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9:35PM on 02/28/2017
The fact that they say the cut sections still exist but are separate is worrisome. If you know stories about lost footage you know stuff has a way of getting damaged or even vanishing.
The fact that they say the cut sections still exist but are separate is worrisome. If you know stories about lost footage you know stuff has a way of getting damaged or even vanishing.
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9:39PM on 02/24/2017

THX Laserdisc Version

Why can't someone upscale the Special THX Laserdisc version of the original films? We have the Despecialized editions so this is really no big deal. I would buy the original trilogy again (for like the 5th time) in 1080p or 4k though.
Why can't someone upscale the Special THX Laserdisc version of the original films? We have the Despecialized editions so this is really no big deal. I would buy the original trilogy again (for like the 5th time) in 1080p or 4k though.
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5:55PM on 02/28/2017
That's what they did when they released them 10 or so years ago on DVD. The second disc contained an unaltered laser disc transfer. You can still find them on eBay, usually $50 ish…
That's what they did when they released them 10 or so years ago on DVD. The second disc contained an unaltered laser disc transfer. You can still find them on eBay, usually $50 ish…
3:02PM on 02/24/2017
I'm sure Lucas put a clause on the contract that prevents Disney from releasing the original unaltered films when he made the deal. Lucas views the unaltered versions as unfinished drafts so I'm sure he sold them only the version he wanted. He's a billionaire entrepreneur, there's no way he's made that deal without the world's most powerful lawyers around him. Such a deal would make access to the originals impossible for the next 100 years...
I'm sure Lucas put a clause on the contract that prevents Disney from releasing the original unaltered films when he made the deal. Lucas views the unaltered versions as unfinished drafts so I'm sure he sold them only the version he wanted. He's a billionaire entrepreneur, there's no way he's made that deal without the world's most powerful lawyers around him. Such a deal would make access to the originals impossible for the next 100 years...
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12:55PM on 02/24/2017
Thats all nice and dandy but 20th Century fox still owns Star Wars Episode 1-2-3-5-6 until 2020. And they own episode 4 forever. So unless some sort of massive deal was reached for distribution. You wont see the original trilogy till AT LEAST then.

[link]
Thats all nice and dandy but 20th Century fox still owns Star Wars Episode 1-2-3-5-6 until 2020. And they own episode 4 forever. So unless some sort of massive deal was reached for distribution. You wont see the original trilogy till AT LEAST then.

[link]
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1:04PM on 02/24/2017
They don't own the Prequels or Empire or Jedi. They had distribution deals.
Also c'mon, Disney has holla holla dollas.
They don't own the Prequels or Empire or Jedi. They had distribution deals.
Also c'mon, Disney has holla holla dollas.
12:28PM on 02/24/2017

I wish they wouldn't lie to us.

You don't alter the original negative making the Special Editions. You don't print CGI on to those negatives. They'll make a negative OF the special edition cut to make dupes, but COME ON. This is one of the most valuable rolls of films in existence - it has to exist. At this point it's solely because George Lucas is holding out - but if he still can say what happens to the film, then what did Disney buy?
(Unless I am mistaken and the one hold-out is Bob Iger)
You don't alter the original negative making the Special Editions. You don't print CGI on to those negatives. They'll make a negative OF the special edition cut to make dupes, but COME ON. This is one of the most valuable rolls of films in existence - it has to exist. At this point it's solely because George Lucas is holding out - but if he still can say what happens to the film, then what did Disney buy?
(Unless I am mistaken and the one hold-out is Bob Iger)
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12:25PM on 02/24/2017

Just release the least edited version possible for the original trilogy

I want to be able to take my kid to see the first three movies in theaters...
I want to be able to take my kid to see the first three movies in theaters...
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12:03PM on 02/24/2017
At this point, who cares?
At this point, who cares?
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11:49AM on 02/24/2017
Of course it is. I've been waiting forever for this to be announced and it never was. So just yesterday in fact, I bought the collection on blu ray. I thought to myself, "you know what will make them release the original ones, if I finally buy the crappy versions I'd rather not own." So to everyone out there who's been waiting like me, you're welcome. It only took my bad luck to make it happen!!!
Of course it is. I've been waiting forever for this to be announced and it never was. So just yesterday in fact, I bought the collection on blu ray. I thought to myself, "you know what will make them release the original ones, if I finally buy the crappy versions I'd rather not own." So to everyone out there who's been waiting like me, you're welcome. It only took my bad luck to make it happen!!!
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