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The REAL Classic Trilogy on DVD

A month ago, Lucas revealed he has no intention of releasing the original Star Wars movies on DVD. The Special Editions from the films rereleased in the 90's will arrive in the dominant format, but not the classics we first saw in theaters. In essence, not the films many fell in love with, but the ones closer to his "original vision." Well, I want the ones from my original vision to be released on DVD. Why not include both like the recent E.T. DVD from Speilberg? Why not include a pick your own version with elements the viewer liked from each?

No, this isn't another one of the "Lucas destroyed my childhood" essays, simply an observation from an editor who gets hammered with hate email every day. From a moderator who fields redundant topics on the subject and scores of new visitors from a recent Entertainment Weekly article who simply can't fathom these originals not being released.

I asked a few friends what they thought of this whole mess, and below are some of their thoughful replies on the subject:

Darth-Stryphe Star Wars: A New Hope was a landmark movie for its time. I'm not sure people fully appreciate how much so, on hindsight, because these days big budget effects movies are very standard. But in 1977, this was not a set trend. No, on the contrary, A New Hope was the leader of this trend. Oh, there were other's that led up to it as well (2001, Logan's Run, to name a couple), but the overwhelming success of A New Hope pioneered a new age of effects and gained a new respect for the genre of science fiction. This was even made stronger by the continued blockbuster success of the following two films. If ten, twenty, or however many years down the road, ANH (or any other Classic Trilogy film) is only available is some "new" form with new scenes added in and modernized effects, what will be available will not reflect the work of art that revolutionized an industry. A piece of history will be lost, even if the entertainment value is not. Shouldn't this snapshot in film history be preserved?

Rebel Scumb There are a lot of things that can be said about preserving the star wars trilogy in its original theatrical version on DVD, but above all it?s a matter of acknowledging history. The original three films changed cinema history, and will endear in that hearts of many forever. They are as much a part of history as the Mona Lisa or the Roman coliseum, and should be treated as such. That George Lucas wants to update these films with newer special FX is indeed noble and speaks volumes of his continuing commitment to these three great works, but the original cuts of these three classics should remain available to all fans, past present and future who wish to view them, and they should be preserved in format which provides the highest possible quality currently available on the market. These films are over two decades old, and that some of the FX appear dated is no crime, all FX will date in time, but the stories and the performances remain timeless, and I think it is of the utmost importance that the original versions, that shattered box office records and captivated the imaginations of the entire world be accessible to the legions of fans who want to see them. That such strong interest remains after all these years is a testament to their quality. I only hope that this classic trilogy one day finds its way to DVD, so that it can live forever in the homes of star wars fans all over the world.

WindexedStormtrooper I don't entirely despise the Special Editions, nor do I think George Lucas has "raped my childhood" as so many like to say; he has the right to do what he wants. I just don't understand why the original versions shouldn't be released on DVD. I certainly don't think that releasing the original theatrical versions would in any way make the the Special Editions less legitimate or undermine any of George's decisions. So why not accommodate everyone and let them choose which version they want of this great franchise?

jasperjones A long time ago, George Lucas made what to many remains the finest film saga of all time. Capturing the imaginations of millions and refusing to let go, even some 20 years later the effects of these films remain. Fond memories, playground arguments turning into pub debates, a new geneation of filmmakers and creative artists, and let's not forget, a stonking amount of hard cash for Lucasfilm. Then came the digital revolution. The special editions. The films re-released in all their glory. And boy, did they look better than ever. Sound? Put it this way. The audience is certainly listening. And let's not forget the alterations. Who can forget Greedo shooting first? The new slim-line Jabba the Hutt? Hmmm. As the Star Wars Saga nears its completetion the entire DVD owning world slavers impatiently for the complete set. The holy grail of DVD's. The most ultimate set ever to be lasered into those shiny discs. Features galore, no doubt. Picture and sound quality to match. And I'm sure the menus are going to be just as gorgeous as the prequel DVD menus. But it seems something will be missing. The original edits that we all fell in love with, and are an important part of film history are not to be included, according to recent comments from Lucasfilm. How can this be? Of course a filmaker has the right to alter his work as he sees fit. But to deny the release of the re-mastered classic edits? It's like building new improved pyramids with clinical masonry and fine marble and hanging a big drape over the older "rough cut" efforts. And dashing the rose tinted memories of the millions that grew up with Han shooting first? Hah! This is business. What possible financial gain could there be from releasing the originals in their own seperate set or including them as features in a complete archival set of the saga? I mean, Star Wars fans are notorious for not spending lots of money on the famous logo, are they not? You could virtually guarantee every Star Wars fan, film buff and DVD collector would pay extra for the classic edits. And there are a lot of Star Wars fans out there. A lot. And we hope somebody's listeniing.

Just an idea, hopefully someone is listening. Let me know what you guys think, and more importantly feel free to post your thoughts in the Classic Trilogy Forum.


Joshua Griffin
March 17th, 2003

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