When Disney purchased Lucasfilm four years ago for $4.05 billion, even with all that money on the table, there were some still things that were off limits — namely, the original film. 20th Century Fox retains distribution rights to “Star Wars: A New Hope” in perpetuity — as well as theatrical, nontheatrical and home video rights worldwide for the previously released saga films through 2020. However, it would appear that Lucasfilm is starting to take a look in the vault.
In an interview with Little White Lies, “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” director Gareth Edwards revealed a spiffy new print of George Lucas‘ original is hot off the press.
“On day one, we were in Lucasfilm in San Francisco with Industrial Light and Magic and John [Knoll], our supervisor, he said that they’ve got a brand new 4K restoration print of ‘A New Hope’ — it had literally just been finished. He suggested we sit and watch it,” he said.
Of course, this begs so many questions: Is it the long-sought-after original theatrical version? Or is it George Lucas’ later Special Edition version with added special effects and scenes? Will Han shoot first? Moreover, when will it be seen?
As I mentioned above, Fox still has the distribution rights, and next year is the 40th anniversary of “Star Wars.” It’s entirely possible that Fox releases the original next year, and brings it to home video too — they don’t need any cooperation from Disney, and it would be a huge hit. That said, they’ll likely still get in touch with the mouse house to figure out how to best maximize the opportunity, especially with “Star Wars: Episode VIII” on the horizon. (Imagine if the first teaser for the ‘VIII’ came in front of the re-release of ‘A New Hope’? That would be something).
All this to say, let’s hope it’s just the start of the cleanup of the rest of the movies to make ’em look better than ever and hopefully, fans will finally get the chance to choose between the original versions and Lucas’ bedazzled cuts.
Check out all of our “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” coverage here.