Respectful Insolence

He’s actually finally going to release the original, unaltered, un-”improved” trilogy on DVD:

Fans can look forward to a September filled with classic Star Wars nostalgia, led by the premiere of LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy video game and the long-awaited DVD release of the original theatrical incarnations of the classic Star Wars trilogy.

In response to overwhelming demand, Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release attractively priced individual two-disc releases of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Each release includes the 2004 digitally remastered version of the movie and, as bonus material, the theatrical edition of the film. That means you’ll be able to enjoy Star Wars as it first appeared in 1977, Empire in 1980, and Jedi in 1983.

This release will only be available for a limited time: from September 12th to December 31st. International release will follow on or about the same day. Each original theatrical version will feature Dolby 2.0 Surround sound, close-captioning, and subtitles in English, French and Spanish for their U.S. release. International sound and subtitling vary by territory.

“Over the years, a truly countless number of fans have told us that they would love to see and own the original version that they remember experiencing in theaters,” said Jim Ward, President of LucasArts and Senior Vice President of Lucasfilm Ltd. “We returned to the Lucasfilm Archives to search exhaustively for source material that could be presented on DVD. This is something that we’re very excited to be able to give to fans in response to their continuing enthusiasm for Star Wars. Topping it off with a new interactive adventure makes September 12 a red-letter day for Star Wars fans.”

About friggin’ time. I always knew George Lucas’ capitalistic instincts would eventually win out over his previous vow never to rerelease the original versions, but I didn’t figure that it would happen this soon. Finally, though, I’ll finally be able to toss my old VHS versions. Lucas should never have fiddled with Star Wars in the first place, anyway. Personally, I think it’s a waste that he’s bothering to include the “updated” versions along with the original versions. Just include the original versions; that’s all I–and I daresay the vast majority of fans–want.

I, for one, also plan on looking closely to see if Greedo shoots first in the “original” movies.

(Hat tip to Right Thoughts!)

Comments

  1. #1 HCN
    May 4, 2006

    Here I was getting set up to convert our special edition laserdisk to DVD… I have the laserdisk player hooked to an analog to digital converter, and the software ready. All I needed was the time to get to it.

    Oh, well… I guess I’ll just work on converting home video still on VHS tapes.

  2. #2 Paul
    May 4, 2006

    I always knew George Lucas’ capitalistic instincts would eventually win out…

    Eventually win out? This was all part of the plan from the beginning. Good old Lucas, and his “I’m never going to release that version, yada, yada, yada.” I never believed him for a moment.

  3. #3 JoeB
    May 4, 2006

    Greedo had damn well better shoot first. Otherwise, I’ll have Lucas’s head! (Damn, I’m still too passionate about those flicks)

  4. #4 JP
    May 4, 2006

    There have actually been Laserdisk -> DVD conversions of the Original trilogy floating around on the torrent networks for years.

    With this official release, I wonder if they actually put some restoration and remastering effort into the original releases, or if they will just be there as “Bonus material” and look slightly faded.

  5. #5 BronzeDog
    May 4, 2006

    I wonder if George Lucas was involved with New Coke…

    Anyway, I’m glad to hear the possibility of having Han shoot first on DVD. When I saw Special Edition in the theater, my rose-colored glasses filtered out the change. I wasn’t even aware of it until years later.

  6. #6 JP
    May 4, 2006

    Also, even though this news appeared yesterday, it is appropriate that we are hearing about it today on May 4th, as in: May the Fourth Be With You.

  7. #7 DouglasG
    May 4, 2006

    Greedo does NOT shoot first! Han did a pre-emptive strike upon him.

    While some of the “updates” did help. Such as the shot but not included Jabba scene. The addition of storm troopers here and there… However, most of them got in the way. Especially the ones in Empire and Jedi.

    May the Fourth be with you indeed! :-p

  8. #8 boojieboy
    May 4, 2006

    So wait a minute, here: does this mean that what he’s going to rerelease will also contain all the original continuity errors, such as Obi-Wan’s mysteriously moving robes? If so, then I will be well and truly amazed.

  9. #9 wolfwalker
    May 4, 2006

    “I, for one, also plan on looking closely to see if Greedo shoots first in the “original” movies.”

    He doesn’t. (Trust me, I saw the original a dozen times in the theater.) That was the single change I hated the most about the Special Edition.

    A crowning bit of irony would be if these “originals” DVDs correct some of the effects and errors that the Special Editions didn’t, like the poor lightsaber effects in the duel between Vader and Kenobi and the visible “garbage mattes” in most of the spaceship scenes.

  10. #10 Tara Mobley
    May 4, 2006

    As soon as I saw that this was happening, I let my husband know. He’s really looking forward to the release.

  11. #11 Heathen Dan
    May 4, 2006

    I kinda like the tinkered versions. =\

  12. #12 orac
    May 4, 2006

    Greedo does NOT shoot first! Han did a pre-emptive strike upon him.

    I know that. That was my very point. I want to check whether the original versions are truly the “original” versions.

  13. #13 Marky
    May 7, 2006

    Lucas is a genius! Get the fanboys to all pony up for another copy, and in a couple of years, they’ll buy again when the HD version is released!

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