Official details on J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII are hard to come by, but thanks to the ever-churning rumor mill, the picture may be becoming clearer. This week saw a wave of new reports covering the Stormtroopers’ new look, who the main villain might be, and Han Solo’s new costumes and ship. While nothing has been confirmed by Disney/Lucasfilm, it allows fans to engage in interesting discussions while they wait for new information.
The latest Star Wars rumor does not pertain to the December 2015 installment, but the the films it serves as a sequel to.
Comic Book claims to have sources reporting that Disney is planning to release the unaltered versions of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi on Blu-ray, with the intention of a boxed set hitting stores in time for the theatrical release of Episode VII.
According to the rumor, the project has been in the works for sometime, but the condition of the negatives Disney is using has made the transfer process difficult.
Unfortunately, this rumor is almost certainly not true.
But before we jump into that, let’s break down the history of controversial Star Wars home media releases dating back to the “special edition” of the Original Trilogy in 1997. In every format since (the 2004 DVDs and the 2011 Blu-rays), George Lucas has rather infamously made alterations to each film, apparently so they can be more in line with his initial vision.
Fans, on the other hand, view the changes as distractions that either alter entire character arcs (Han vs. Greedo), serve as gaps in logic (R2-D2 hiding from sand-people behind rocks), or “ruin” iconic scenes (Vader saying “No!” as he kills Palpatine).
As such, many fans have been clamoring for the remastered theatrical cuts of the classic films to see the light of day. The original versions were available as bonus content in a limited edition DVD release of the trilogy in 2006, but they are nearly impossible to find now (and the quality of the prints could’ve easily been improved).
Badass Digest broke down why this new Blu-ray rumor is most likely false. In their evaluation, they pointed out that the distribution rights for the three movies are owned by Fox, not Disney. The Mouse House will acquire Empire and Jedi in 2020, but the rights for A New Hope will reside at Fox forever. This means that Disney is incapable of putting together such a collection, unless the two studios have reached some sort of agreement.
Now, it’s entirely possible that they could reach some sort of agreement in the future – Disney likes money, Fox likes money, and a Blu-ray set like this could obviously be a huge success. The problem is, Comic Book‘s source seemed to have no idea that Fox owned the rights to A New Hope and the distribution rights to the rest of the series.
Furthermore, one of Badass’ sources at Fox said that as long as Lucas is alive, they cannot go against his wishes of not re-releasing the Original Trilogy. According to the Star Wars canon, the altered editions are deemed “official,” meaning that the chances of this release taking place anytime soon are remote.
Star Wars: Episode VII will be in theaters December 18, 2015.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90.
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