“Star Wars” fans have plenty of traditions, but perhaps one of the most enduring is the constant rumor mill and speculation that the theatrical cuts of the original trilogy will finally get an official high-definition release. For decades, fans have mostly had to content themselves with the Special Edition versions, which feature added CGI and scenes, to little benefit, not to mention that whole “Han Shot First” controversy. If you’ve wanted the movies close to what they were when they first opened in cinemas, the terrific-looking and very unofficial Despecialized Editions (a preservation effort of sorts by one very ridiculously devoted fan) is quite easy to find, and it’s telling that Lucasfilm and Disney haven’t brought the legal hammer down on those copies. They know how badly fans want those versions. There was a brief release of the original versions on DVD as a bonus feature many years back, but frankly, they looked awful, and you could tell George Lucas was half-hearted about it. But all that may be changing.
Once again, rumors have surfaced that the original, unaltered, non-Special Edition cuts will be officially re-released this year in conjunction with the 40th anniversary of “Star Wars.” Acknowledging the handful of bunk rumors over the years, Making Star Wars believes this time it’s real, saying they will land on “various formats.” Adding some substance to the chatter is the recent revelation that there is a brand-new 4K restoration of “Star Wars” kicking around Lucasfilm, so it’s not a leap to suggest they’ve done the same with “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return Of the Jedi.”
Of course, nothing is official until Lucasfilm and Disney say so, and you can probably assume if there’s anything to hear on this front, we’ll know at Star Wars Celebration in April. [via Slashfilm]