A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, a franchise was born that would in many ways come to epitomize blockbuster cinema. That franchise is of course Star Wars, and it’s doubtful anyone reading this hasn’t seen all — or at least most — of the films and TV shows set in the universe that George Lucas created back in 1977. Star Wars is a property that any film studio would do just about anything to possess, as evidenced by Disney’s $4 billion purchase of Lucasfilm back in 2012.
Ever since Disney acquired the company, fans have wondered if and when the new caretakers of Luke, Han, and Leia’s original adventures would finally see fit to release restored versions of the treasured theatrical cuts of Lucas’ classic Star Wars trilogy to Blu-ray, especially since Lucas himself was now basically out of the picture. Rumors have sprung up several times in the years since that such an event was indeed about to occur, only to subsequently be debunked. The most recent report to that effect hit the net earlier this year, suggesting that such a release was planned to celebrate Star Wars’ 40th anniversary. Sadly, this too proved to be erroneous.
Unfortunately, those still holding out hope for a restored HD release of the theatrical cuts of the original trilogy should probably prepare to get sad all over again. Movie Web reports that during a recent appearance on the Steele Wars Podcast, Kathleen Kennedy was asked about the possibility, and responded as follows:
“I wouldn’t touch those, are you kidding me? [laughs] Those will always remain his.”
Elsewhere during the same interview, Kennedy reportedly revealed that there isn’t technically an agreement in place that prevents Lucasfilm or Disney from opting to restore the theatrical cuts, so perhaps she — or someone else high up in the corporate food chain — will eventually change their mind on the subject. For now, though, it definitely appears that it’s not even close to happening, and if anyone would be in a position to know, it would certainly be her.
Should Lucasfilm and/or Disney ever decide to restore the theatrical cuts of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, though, it would require a good amount of work, as Lucas famously altered the film prints themselves back when creating his 1997 special edition versions. The original sequences are said to be somewhere in the Lucasfilm archive, but a team would have to painstakingly reassemble the films into their original form. Still, Star Wars is such a cash cow, that if either company really wanted to do it, it would surely get done.