Rumor Patrol: Theatrical Versions of Star Wars Trilogy Heading to Blu-Ray

Star Wars trilogy theatical Blu-rays

Lots of films are available in a variety of versions, as director's cuts and alternate endings are prevalent in the industry. However, in the case of the original Star Wars trilogy, that fact is met with a great deal of scorn. Ever since the 1997 VHS special editions, George Lucas has been tinkering endlessly with the first three films - Star WarsThe Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi - making changes with each subsequent home media release (2004 DVDs, 2011 Blu-rays) that mostly just infuriate fans and change the meaning of key character moments.

The larger issue here, more so than alterations like Greedo shooting first or Darth Vader screaming "No!" as he throws the Emperor to his doom, is that the beloved theatrical cuts of the classic trilogy have seemingly been wiped away from existence. Lucas has refused to put out high quality editions of the original versions; the closest fans have gotten is in 2006, when the 1977, 1980, and 1983 cuts of the movies were made available on a limited edition DVD bonus disc. However, those were laser disc transfers and non-anamorphic, meaning the video was presented in letterbox and was not formatted for widescreen TVs.

The debate about whether or not Lucas is in the right to withhold the theatrical versions will rage on (The People vs. George Lucas is a fascinating examination of this) until Lucasfilm caves and gives the fans what they want: the unaltered theatrical cuts on Blu-ray. This was rumored to happen last year before it was debunked, but now the hope of such a boxed set is being renewed thanks to filmmaker John Landis.

Empire tweeted out that, at a Q&A session, Landis remarked that Disney is finally going to re-release the original versions of the classic Star Wars trilogy. Details beyond that were slim, but Landis did say that it was Lucas who brought it up when they last spoke. It's true that Landis seems more credible a source for this than the conjured up rumors of years past (why would he make this up?), but it's still important to keep those grains of salt handy.

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