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 itís 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.
March 17th, 2003
04/08/03 - Christopher Knight - Oscars Give Short Shrift to Fantasy
03/17/03 - Joshua Griffin - Put the REAL Classics on DVD
01/29/03 - Joshua Griffin - Imagine a Star Wars HALO Videogame
01/14/03 - Michael Potts - Clone Wars: Expanded Universe Editorial
09/03/02 - Joshua Griffin - Digital Pirates Sink Ships
05/17/02 - Chris Knight - Digital Projection: The Audience Is Watching... And Waiting
04/11/02 - TFN Staff - Thumbs Up, Tumbs Down for SW2 Marketing
03/08/02 - TFN Staff - Clone War Trailer Reaction
01/13/02 - TFN Staff - TFN Reaction to SNL N'Sync Skit
01/03/02 - TFN Staff - Boy Band Jedi Reactions
12/12/01 - Chris Knight - Sic Transit Gloria Mundi
12/07/01 - Jeff Yankey - All I Want for Christmas
11/17/01 - Guest Editorial - Ritual and Romance of Episode II
10/04/01 - Guest Editorial - Why Episode I is Brilliant
10/02/01 - Guest Editorial - Episode I is Star Wars
09/30/01 - Guest Editorial - Why I Loved Episode I
09/25/01 - Joshua Griffin - Episode II: Make It or Break It Time
08/21/01 - Chris Knight - SW2: Attack On The Soul?
07/13/01 - Joshua Griffin - Special Time for SW Fans
05/14/01 - Joshua Griffin - AlphaCon is Finished
05/09/01 - Chris Knight - In The Beginning... Star Wars Comes To A Wired World
04/17/01 - Joshua Griffin - Global TFN - International Outlook on Star Wars
03/14/01 - Chris Knight - Palpatine vs. Hitler: Prequel Speculation Runs Amok!
02/13/01 - Chris Knight - "The Force" of Love: A Valentine's Day Editorial
01/17/01 - Chris Knight - Star Wars Could Continue... As Television Anthology
01/11/01 - Guest Editorial - A Review of A New Hope After the Prequels
01/07/01 - Guest Editorial - No - We Want the DVDs Now!
01/04/01 - Chris Knight - New Digital Disciple Says "Lets Wait On Star Wars DVDs"
12/21/00 - Joshua Griffin - Is George Lucas Really a Genius?
11/18/00 - Joshua Griffin - To Spoil or Not to Spoil
11/06/00 - Joshua Griffin - The Power of the Election
11/01/00 - Chris Knight - Why Isn't There A Star Wars Postage Stamp?
08/17/00 - Jason McCabe Calacanis - The SW2 Fan Trailer (guest editorial)
07/14/00 - Joshua Griffin/Scott Chitwood - TFN's Spoiler Policy
06/20/00 - Chris Knight - Star Wars and the Saga of Life
05/13/00 - TFN Staff - TheForce.net Wish List
04/08/00 - Special Guest Editorial by Skybaugh - Worth the Wait
03/30/00 - Joshua Griffin - What Star Wars Has Won
03/19/00 - Joshua Griffin - The Next Denver Celebration
03/14/00 - Joshua Griffin - Fair Weather Fans
03/07/00 - Joshua Griffin - Predicting the Academy Award Winners
02/22/00 - Joshua Griffin - Who should profit from Star Wars?
02/16/00 - Joshua Griffin - Episode I and the Academy
01/27/00 - TFN Staff - Flaming TFN over DVD
01/25/00 - Chris Knight - Motivations of the Sith
01/20/00 - TFN Staff - Leonardo DiCaprio as Anakin?
01/10/00 - Joshua Griffin - World-Wide Star Wars
01/03/00 - Joshua Griffin - Mass Merchandising Menace
12/13/99 - Joshua Griffin - Questioning Star Wars
11/22/99 - Joshua Griffin - Trusting Internet Rumors
11/11/99 - Paul Davidson - Rise of the Empire: China and TPM
10/28/99 - Scott Chitwood - Signs There Probably Won't Be a Sequel Trilogy
10/18/99 - Joshua Griffin - Why not Episode I DVD?
10/15/99 - Joshua Griffin - What Makes SW Fans Special
10/01/99 - Joshua Griffin - The PG Rating of TPM
09/07/99 - Scott Chitwood and Paul Ens - Comic and Book Wishlist
08/18/99 - TF.N Team - Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down on Episode I Everything
07/11/99 - Joshua Griffin - Parody Site isn't that funny
07/10/99 - Brian Linder - The Jar Jar Factor
06/08/99 - Joshua Griffin & Chris Knight - Why is Jar Jar in Episode I?
05/06/99 - Darin Smith - Return of the Child
03/09/99 - Scott Chitwood and Paul Ens - A Chat with LFL
02/07/99 - Amy Pronovost - Convention Romances, Can they Work?
01/23/99 - Scott Chitwood - What's up with Prowse?
01/01/99 - Scott Chitwood - Uncle George and Episode 1
11/23/98 - Scott Chitwood - What Lucasfilm is doing right
11/05/98 - Scott Chitwood - Prequel Spoilers
09/28/98 - David Coates - First thoughts on the the Episode 1 Title
06/19/98 - Scott Chitwood - How Godzilla affected Episode I
04/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - The Art of the Space Battle
04/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - DIVX SUX
02/26/98 - Scott Chitwood - X-WING TV Series Should Fly
02/09/98 - Scott Chitwood - Xerox Sites
02/03/98 - Scott Chitwood - Canon Issue, Part 2
01/07/98 - Terrence Daniels - Canon = Personal Preference
12/17/97 - Darin Smith - Everything I need to know...
11/15/97 - Chris Kivlehan - Six Episodes or Nine Episodes?
11/07/97 - Scott Chitwood - How do you solve a problem like Ewan?
11/03/97 - Scott Chitwood - How we get our Prequel 'Spy' info
10/22/97 - Paul Davidson - Trek vs. Wars