Pre-Special Edition Star Wars Screened
Full disclosure, Star Wars special editions, and their subsequent video updates DO NOT bother me.
But for some, the fact that “unaltered” versions of The Original Trilogy are not currently available on DVD or Blu-Ray — per George Lucas edict, enforced by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy — is a Sith-level abomination.
I say, “Relax, folks.”
But hey, all fans are different.
However, George recently relented and allowed an almost-unaltered print of the original Star Wars to be shown in public for the first time in decades:
I just got to see STAR WARS projected from an immaculate 70mm print. The original STAR WARS, pre-special edition (“A New Hope” was on the crawl, but otherwise unaltered). It’s an impossible dream come true, and I’m so extremely grateful for this opportunity.
— David Daut (@DavidMDaut) June 29, 2019
Comicbook.com reported about the twin-bill of Star Wars and Rogue One shown via The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences:
This past weekend’s screening might mean nothing more than an exciting opportunity for fans, but as the Twitter user noted, this is the first time there has been an official, public screening of the original film since 1997. However, with Lucas no longer having as active a role at Lucasfilm and with Disney acquiring 20th Century Fox, who previously distributed the original films, we can’t help but wonder if this could lead to the original films being made available to the public in some capacity at some point in the future.
Original Films Re-Released?
So does this mean we’ll be getting a digital or Blue-Ray release, soon?
Maybe. But don’t hold your breath.
Back in the day, rumors were such that there were no intact versions of the original print remaining; or, that what was available for digital transfer weren’t good enough (according to Lucasfilm) for public consumption.
In fact, there was some factual basis for the later, as SyFy.com‘s Joseph Baxter — referring to a 2006 DVD release — wrote back in 2017:
The sad state of these coveted Star Wars DVD releases is attributed to the fact that the discs are direct transfers from 1993’s Star Wars Trilogy: The Definitive Collection LaserDisc release, which was notoriously riddled with scan lines and weak colors. Additionally, while the films are presented in a standard video 4:3 aspect ratio, they are without the benefit of anamorphic widescreen stretching, resulting in distracting, unusually imposing letterbox mattes (the so-called “black bars”).
My own belief (headcanon) is that there was some contractual issue between Disney/Fox, which prevented Lucasfilm from packaging the set appropriately (for a substantial profit).
But in any case, I would go see (buy) an original version.
I am a completist, and just like I enjoy watching the two versions of Howard Hawks’ The Big Sleep (with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall), I would love to compare and contrast the old Star Wars (1977) with Star Wars: A New Hope (1997) – if only to be relieved of the Toy Story stormtroopers and excess wamp rats.
But what about you? Did you even know of the changes? Do you care? Let us know in the comments.