Watch: Fans Are Making Their Own 'Star Wars' Non-Special Editions
Over the weekend, an unsubstantiated rumor claimed that Disney had plans to release the original cuts of the Star Wars trilogy on Blu-ray, without all the "Special Edition" alterations made to the films when they were re-released in theaters in 1997. With the exception of a limited DVD release, the unaltered, original cuts haven't been available in high-definition, so that would be awesome. However, Badass Digest smartly pointed out that Fox owns the rights to those films, so it's not really up to Disney whether or not that happens unless some serious negotiations are done (and that's not out of the question). In the meantime, a video from Geeks are Sexy (via SlashFilm) shows some big fans have taken matters into their own hands.
A group of fans have been painstakingly working on Star Wars: The Despecialized Edition, which aims to remaster the original trilogy but remove all the special edition additions that have been made. It's a project that's still in progress, but what's fascinating is just all the various versions of the trilogy that these fans are sifting through in order to craft the best possible version of the film. Some side-by-side comparisons even show how the most recent Blu-Ray transfers of the films aren't actually the best they can be, especially when it comes to color correction and other flaws. Check out this extensive look at their work:
Now the question is whether or not we'll ever get high-definition versions of the original trilogy. It's not out of the realm of possibility, and while George Lucas made these changes to his film for a reason, and never wanted the films to be seen again without these changes, Lucasfilm is now in the hands of Disney, and it's up to them if they want to coordinate something with Fox (who will benefit from this re-release) in order to give fans what they've been clamoring for. Because while this "Despecialized Edition" of the Star Wars trilogy is awesome, we'll never be able to get ahold of it legally, and that's a bummer. Thoughts?
Reader Feedback - 16 Comments
I know a place here in my town that transfers vhs to dvd...but transfers don't always turn out well. If these fans can successfully transfer the original versions I will definitely buy...or sell myself.
Xerxexx on Aug 20, 2014
Go to the youtube video for more links and information. They share it for free if you legally own the films on bluray. Their dedication is beautiful.
Snev De la Fontaine on Aug 20, 2014
If Fox and Disney are going to be doing some heavy negotiations, they should be talking about X-Men, Fantastic 4 and Marvel....
TheOct8pus on Aug 20, 2014
Agreed. Disney just need to buy FOX and be done with it...
Bl00dwerK on Aug 20, 2014
If Disney can fork out $1 Billion to buy Marvel as a whole, and another $4 Billion to buy Lucasfilm. Then I don't see why they couldn't just offer Fox some kind of huge number to get all rights to all 6 Star Wars films RIGHT NOW, as well as the rights back to X-Men and Fantastic Four.
Chris Groves on Aug 21, 2014
While it scares me to think of Disney getting bigger and owning more, they might as well go all out to get X-Men, F4 and Spidey back with Marvel. I think they can use Fox's Marvel properties as bargaining chips for Star Wars....
TheOct8pus on Aug 21, 2014
If FANS are able to do things like the 'despeialized editions' and the 'Star Wars Revisited' projects...then certainly the bottomless pockets of Disney/Lucasfilm could give us: 1. The completely unaltered, original, fully restored trilogy with the best restoration/presentation money can buy. 2. Some kind of no-holds-barred 'Final Lucas Cut' where they just let George Lucas go crazy and change anything and everything about the films that he wants to change...ONE LAST TIME. That way, going forward we have two official versions of the original trilogy. The completely original cuts and the completely overhauled cuts.
Chris Groves on Aug 20, 2014
I can only hope to one day find the same level of dedication for something in my life, whatever it may be, as these guys have for the original trilogy.
Neuromancer on Aug 20, 2014
Incredible work by all the devoted fans.
cobrazombie on Aug 20, 2014
This is some impressive shit
Officer Serpico on Aug 20, 2014
People are so desperate to watch a movie that looks bad that they're using AMAZING technology to make a movie look crappier at times. Yes some elements from the special edition are pure garbage, but there are some things that they did that just make the film more believable. That said I do believe it's only a matter of time before we get a Non-Special edition of star wars on blu-ray but I think they're doing some clean up on it. As you can see from the 1993 laser disc version, the movie looks awful and to really restore the film it's going to take a lot of work, and I'm sure there's some one at Fox/Lucasfilm that's making this happen... but it will take years. It's not an easy fix by any means.
Kento on Aug 20, 2014
I'm completely blanking on what could have possibly been better about the Special editions. One of the first things they show in the video above is correcting the horrible color timing. That alone makes this entire endeavor completely worth it, and that isn't even mentioning all the terrible decisions they made when doing these special editions (shitty Hayden Christiansen at the end of Return, terrible song at Jabba's, HAN SHOOTING FIRST, etc.) Also, some of the space fighting scenes CG looks straight out of a Playstation game.
Ryan S. on Aug 20, 2014
Ok first of all you're unknowingly talking about a lot of different things and kind of putting them all over this umbrella of "Special Edition" which they aren't. The Special Editions refer only to the releases in 1997 in theaters and then once on VHS and Laser Disc. After that it's the "altered versions" and there are multiple iterations of that. In 1997 there wasn't horrible color timing. Not only that but the big ugly black boxes around tons of ships were removed, the see through cockpits on Hoth were fixed, the black lines around every piece of stop motion animation and model effect were removed, the scratches were removed, color was fixed, the soundtrack was changed from stereo to 6.1 THX surround sound... The list of technical, small and beautiful changes that were done are vast and you don't notice them because they're unobtrusive. These are restoration fixes that we can all appreciate and NOBDOY complains about. The color timing comes only on this blu-ray master, this horrible magenta hue. It's so bad that yeah, even I have a setting on my TV that I flick to every time I watch them to minimize it. I'm not defending story based changes. I'm defending the job they did restoring these films. And for some reason nobody ever seems to complain about the changes made to Empire. The extended vistas, the changed sets, so it's not so claustrophobic, the fixed lightsabers, the removal of bad cuts... there's a lot of stuff that they won't "fix" even on these "despecialized editions" because they're great changes that needed to be made. I highly recommend you search out Star Wars Revisited by Adywan. I think it's the definitive version of Star Wars, it's the only version I watch anymore. It's the best from both words. No Rontos, or stupid CGI models, Han shoots first, no Jabba... IN fact this is his deathstar scene compared to the original. I love the new version https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKNrK53uA84
Kento on Aug 20, 2014
I agree with some of what you say, but just 18 seconds into that clip there's a terrible CGI-rendered couple of X-Wings. There is no way you're gonna convince me those are supposed to look good. Also, the black boxes and other "bad" effects never bothered me. It just made the films look like they were made in the 70's/80's, which they were. These new releases scrub them of too many of their era-related goofs which make them blander in my eyes. I don't want them to look like they were made now or even ten years ago. I want them to more accurately present them as a product of their time.
Ryan S. on Aug 21, 2014
STAR WARS fans are so crazy! This is awesome. Love everything about it. Makes me more excited to get back in this universe no matter the cost.
DAVIDPD on Aug 23, 2014
Lucas bastardized those movies so badly. His taste just deteriorated over the years and those vanity projects were the result.
Hardscrabblehammer on Apr 7, 2015
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