UPDATE 2/18/16: Sorry folks, this appears to be completely unsubstantiated. 18 months later, I have heard virtually nothing else about this. It’s a rumor that appears to crop up occasionally, either by bloggers hoping for an easy viral post or by overeager fans searching the depths of the internet for any possible edification of their hopes and dreams. I assume this because, a year and a half after publishing it – even taking almost a year off posting altogether! – this post still gets one or two hits almost daily. And as an overeager fan myself, even though I was skeptical, I was clearly duped enough to write a whole post about it. But if you, dear reader, ever hear of anything more concrete on this matter, please post about it in the comments section. Until then I will join the rest of you waiting with baited breath for Disney and Lucasfilm to come to their senses.
ORIGINAL POST 8/16/14:
Disney is apparently planning to finally release the unedited, non-Special-Edition versions of the original Star Wars Trilogy. The news comes from an “Exclusive!” article just published by Comicbook.com. If this is true, it’s wonderful news… IF it’s really true. Somehow, I get the feeling that “if” is a little too big for comfort.
The general consensus among those old enough to know the original Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Return of the Jedi from before the late 90’s – when Lucasfilm began releasing the “Special Edition” versions into theaters – is that all the new scenes, altered scenes, and computer-generated special effects ended up replacing much of the heart and soul of what made the film so beloved in the first place. While the decidedly one-sided “Han shot first” argument may never die, I personally feel the real tragedy was in replacing gritty, home-made environments and practical puppet aliens with the SE’s overly clean, incongruous computer generated characters and images that pulled the viewer away from the story just to ogle some (not-that-)pretty pictures.
After the prequels were released Lucasfilm decided to make even more changes to the originals, most famously replacing Anakin Skywalker’s aged ghost the end of Jedi with an image of the younger Hayden Christiansen. Besides not making a lick of literal sense, even within the fictional realm of the Star Wars universe, it further served to infuriate fans. Even the casual, not-so-die-hard-fanatic viewers were incredulous. But the studio stuck to their guns and released the DVD’s anyway.
In 2006 however, in one of their very few not-so-terrible decisions of that time, Lucasfilm decided to give in and give their fans what they wanted: Limited Edition DVD’s of the original trilogy in which each film included a second DVD containing the original unedited versions of the films. It was a very limited production run, but at least they placated the fans (slightly). Placated, that is, until Blu-ray became a big hit. Ever since, the heat has been on among Star Wars nerds to convince the studio to release an HD version of the unedited originals.
Which brings me to today’s news. While I have no reason not to trust Comicbook.com – a blog I’ve never actually read (I’ve nothing against the comic book community, but my own geekery has never really gone far in that direction) – my journalistic Spidey-sense is tingling. I may not have much training or experience with investigative journalism, but I’ve seen enough movies about the press to know that you should always check your sources. When I post news articles or other interesting online curios to this blog, I always try to link to the original source.
Unfortunately, in this case at least, Comicbook.com is not so diligent. The most they offer up for proof of their “Exclusive!” is this line:
Comicbook.com has now confirmed with two independent reliable sources that just such a plan is under way.
The author refers to “our sources” four more times in the span of two short paragraphs, but never gives any hint as to what those sources might be. Of course if this release doesn’t happen, their tracks are conveniently covered:
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… Our sources did not have an exact date as to when the original cut of the Star Wars Trilogy would be released on Blu-ray, due to the challenges Disney has encountered in pulling everything together.
I don’t know. Perhaps true comic book fans know this blog as a trusted source of reliable journalism. But how hard would it have been to give a little proof of this really incredible claim? It just makes me skeptical, is all.