When it comes to Star Wars, I admit that I’m a bit gullible. There’s a rumour that has constantly popped up so many times over the years, each time ending in nothing, and yet I still can’t help but get excited for it every time it does.
Well it’s back and much to my rekindled excitement it states thusly: Disney are planning for a Blu Ray release of the old theatrical versions of the Star Wars original trilogy i.e. before George Lucas’ “Special Editions” in which he went back and tweaked all kinds of stuff on the classic films, most notably adding in “modern” CGI effects, much to many a fan’s ire.
The original theatrical versions are quite the treasures as the last they got a home release on VHS. So naturally, fans have been hankering for a new release, and got worked up every time a murmur of it being true was heard. Thing is though, all those murmurs tended to come from guys who heard from friends who heard from sources who heard from strangers, etc. so you couldn’t really put much stock in them. This latest incarnation of the rumour though comes from a much more reputable source in the form of legendary director John Landis.
The veteran filmmaker was at Universal Studios Orlando to talk about the new Halloween Horror Nights exhibition based his classic film American Werewolf In Paris, which has always been acclaimed for make-up legend Rick Baker’s groundbreaking practical special FX. Landis was asked if he would ever go back and redo the FX using modern techniques like Lucas did with Star Wars and in his reply (via Collider) dropped this little bombshell:
“First of all, they wouldn’t let me. George owns his movies, so he can do what he wants … My personal opinion is George hurt his movies by doing what he did. However, George said to me, ‘But they’re my movies.’ I thought, ‘That’s fair.’
Did you know Disney, by the way, is putting out the original Star Wars the way it was? So, Disney, they’re like, money on the floor.”
“Money on the on floor” is a pretty apt description. Fans have been asking for this for decades, and with Star Wars fever at the highest it’s been in years thanks to the imminent release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there is simply no way in hell that a Original Trilogy re-release wouldn’t sell like gangbusters. And last time I checked, Disney was not in the habit of just leaving potentially hundreds of millions of dollars just lying around.
There is a snag though as Collider points out. Lucasfilm may be a part of a major studio like Disney now, but back when Lucas was first making Star Wars, he needed the backing of another major studio to release his films. That studio was 20th Century Fox, and because of the deal Lucas struck back then, they still own the distribution rights for the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy until 2020. For Star Wars: A New Hope they own those rights in perpetuity!
That means that if Disney wanted to release those versions now, some serious deal making would need to be done. But this is Star Wars we’re talking about here. I just can’t see Fox not being open to a deal that would net them a mountain of cash for something that they’ve really not made any money off of for decades.
All of this conjecture is of course still dependent on whether or Landis has indeed found himself in the loop somehow and this is not just regurgitating the very same unfounded rumours we’ve all been hearing for years.
Would you like to see a Blu Ray release of the theatrical versions of the Original Trilogy? If not, could you kindly explain why you hate all good things in life?
Last Updated: September 21, 2015