Stop me if you’ve heard this one before…
Pretty much since the first fan grumble at George Lucas’ digitally touched-up Special Edition re-release of the original Star Wars trilogy first appeared in the mid-90s, fans have been asking for the unaltered theatrical cuts to be released. Lucas’ unasked for tinkering with his classic films to replace/add special effects, and tweaking dialogue and character beats, had left many a hardcore fan doing their best Luke Skywalker impersonation from the Empire Strikes Back.
Since the unaltered Original Trilogy had only received a VHS home video release back in the 70s and 80s, and Lucas himself was the one who had the final say on which versions of the films got released and he wasn’t budging one bit from the Special Editions, most of these people were completely out of luck when it came to experiencing the movies the way they originally debuted. Not even when Lucas’ Prequel Trilogy received a horrid reception and many fans were begging for a return to the format of the Original Trilogy, would the filmmaker release the original unaltered versions. And then Lucas sold off Lucasfilm to Disney and everything changed.
With the filmmakers Disney put in charge of Star Wars clearly showing their desire to return to the look and feel of the Original Trilogy, rumours started swirling that the company would finally do a re-release. It made perfect sense that they would. And then nothing happened. But then there were more rumours. And then nothing happened again. On and on and on ad infinitum.
So as much as I really, really wish to finally own unaltered copies of Original Trilogy theatrical cuts, forgive me if I take every story regarding this with a wheelbarrow full of salt. And the latest bit of “new hope” comes from editor Jason Ward at Making Star Wars, who claims that 2017 is finally the year that these rumours become reality.
Every time there is a rainy day, a slow news week, or a Star Wars drought, a rumor starts to go around that the un-altered version of the Star Wars Trilogy will be re-released. I generally have it as a policy that we don’t run those rumors because they are generally wrong. However, over the last month the evidence and tips have been piling up that the unaltered original trilogy will be re-released this year for the 40th anniversary in various formats. Several sources have let us know it was coming and it appears to actually be on the way this time.
You can see that Ward himself is also very skeptical with these rumour, but as he mentioned, this year is the 40th anniversary of the release of the original film. There’s just no way on Earth that a re-release of the Original Trilogy won’t make mountains of money, so from a business perspective there should be zero worry from Disney’s side, however it would make sense if the House of Mouse had decided to wait for a big occasion like this to finally re-release the Original Trilogy. And especially with Star Wars: The Last Jedi at the end of the year marking the first proper return to the franchise for Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker in more than 30 years.
Of course, as much as all the details line up here, I will only believe it is real when I’m at home watching the credits roll on my TV for myself.