Thursday, May 04, 2006


Hot Damn! (Found via Linkfilter):

Die-hard Star Wars fans soon can see the original theatrical versions of the first three Star Wars films on DVD.

Even though George Lucas adamantly declared 2004's digitally restored Star Wars Trilogy DVDs the definitive versions of his movies, fans have held out hope for DVDs of the originals.

Their wishes will be granted Sept. 12 when Fox releases new two-disc DVDs ($30 each) of Star Wars (since retitled as Episode IV: A New Hope), The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi that include the films as they first appeared in theaters, along with the new, restored versions (now available in the four-disc $70 Star Wars Trilogy).

The individual DVDs will be taken off the market on Dec. 31, a strategy that Disney uses on many of its classic releases.

Lucas re-released his original three Star Wars films in theaters in 1997 with inserted scenes and improved special effects. Those "special editions" were further enhanced for the four-disc DVD set. With the original versions coming to DVD, here's what you'll see again:

• In Star Wars, Han Solo shoots a bounty hunter named Greedo. Lucas changed the scene later so it seemed that Greedo draws first, and changed it again for the DVD so that they appear to shoot simultaneously.

• In Empire Strikes Back, the ice creature that captures Luke Skywalker gets less screen time.

• In Jedi, Sebastian Shaw returns as Anakin in the movie's final scene. Lucas substituted Hayden Christiansen, who plays Anakin in the more recent films, for the 2004 DVD.

Back in 2004, Lucas told the New York Post, "The special edition is the one I wanted out there."

This new set of DVDs does not constitute "George changing his mind," says Lucasfilm's Jim Ward. "What we've always said is George viewed the revised versions of the films as the definitive versions."

Fan attachment to the originals is strong. The movies topped entertainment website's recent chart of Top 25 Most Wanted DVDs.

"People want the option of having the movies that they remember and people are opposed to George Lucas' revisionist tendencies," says the site's Chris Carle.

The original films' video quality will not match up to that of the restored versions. "It is state of the art, as of 1993, and that's not as good as state of the art 2006," Ward says.
I am so glad I waited on buying this one. Where's that Amazon pre-order?!?!?!


Maki said...

For once in my life upon the release of a Star Wars film to whatever home video format, I'm going to have to refrain from picking this one up. I'm going to force myself to wait for the inevitable HD-DVD/BluRay disc. It's going to hurt, but Lucas has bled me of enough money and I've heard that "you'll never have another chance to own these!" excuse from Lucasfilm before...

Cool they're actually going through with it. Not cool that 2 years ago they insisted that they'd never, ever, ever release the originals so you may as well buy the Special Editions...

Alonzo Mosley (FBI) said...

Well, I have the distinction of not having spent money on any of the video incarnations of the films, DVD or VHS. The only thing I own, and to this point cherished, was copies of the original three recorded of the Sci-Fi channel in the late 90's which were (a) unaltered and (b) letterboxed. Aside from the commercial interuptions and inane trivia from presenter Billy Dee Williams, it did well enough.

As for other formats beyond DVD and such, I don't know if I want to wait. There's always the chance, money gouging bastards or not, that they don't release the unaltered films on a future new format. Plus, I've made my peace with DVD as the format for now and will stick with it until we're watching films on memory storage the size of a toothpick and cover art is a distant memory.

I don't spend nearly as much on DVD's as I used to. The only standing order I have is MST3K, which may never see their episodes on a new format due to rights issues with the films used.

Such is the world of Home Entertainment.