Star Wars ANH reissue is a travesty

I just watched it again last night. Couldn’t sleep, it was on.

What a mess. It actually depressed me.

Is it even possible to get copies of the original theatrical releases any more? I want a copy of the films I grew up with so I can show that to my kid…

But TBH, I guess I’m more of a Star Trek fan anyway, but I do like the original Star Wars, without the changes made by Lucas.

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Well, it’s a thread that’s been beaten into submission at BB. I’m sure somewhere you can can unedited, but VHS / Betamax quality + deterioration prior to digitisation.

The reissue is sharp and clear (bar the utter rubbish new visual effects, some of which are just junk - like Jabba in the spaceport).

The thing is, the lack of technical advancement at the time gave it a charm, and an enforced purity that came through disciplined cinema.

Sod it, he should re-do the entire thing if he’s going to be like that.

There is apparently a DVD release with the original unaltered versions:


I think the most recent version of that was the 2006 DVDs. Each movie has two DVDs. One is the remastered version, the other is the unaltered version. The unaltered ones are basically direct copies of the laserdisc releases. I think those are out of print now though and they look kinda crappy.

The best versions are probably the Harmy’s Despecialized Editions. Those are fan restorations that use the remastered bluray discs and edit other sources in to go back to the original versions. Now that Disney owns Star Wars, I’d like to see them just hire the people behind those fan restorations and give them access to everything required to do a real ultimate edition.


For $300!!! Or for non-region 1 versions, apparently, cheaper.

I don’t understand why he doesn’t just reissue them, when there is a demand for them…

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I think he has some damn fool idea he ‘fixed’ them.


I’m pretty sure from the description that those DVDs are just the 2006 DVDs. This is a video from the fans who did the despecialized editions. They point out that even ignoring the other changes, colour correction is a big problem with the bluray version.


Yeah… I think this sort of comes down to authorship and fandom, too. Since he wrote and directed the things (I guess he directed ANH, but not Empire and Return?), I think Lucas feels he has complete ownership on them. But, does the fandom have some sort of ownership too? It’s his vision and mythology, but at what point does he do harm to his project by pissing off the fandom?

What else to say…

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I think he’s already done it. The original generation of mini jedis now have kids of their own. I for one have been somewhat meh about passing on the light sabre. My kids aren’t terribly interested.

Granted, it was a huge marketing deal with gorgeous imagery and so on, but nonetheless, the movie itself stood on its own. Maybe kids still love it when they see it. Meh.

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the Harmy joints are free. they’re the only version of what we want, and the only way they’re available is totally, 100% free.

One of the biggest problems creating something is knowing when its time to stop. To know when to leave well enough alone.

The man does not know when to stop.


That’s the thing… I’m not adverse to paying for things, especially culture, that I enjoy. Not at all. the Orignal Star Wars trilogy was a great set of movies, that I enjoyed and I’d gladly pay 20 bucks each for them on DVD. I don’t mind paying for that… but for $300, obviously no.

But, yeah, maybe I’ll look into that. But really Lucas is shooting himself in the foot here.

the rumor I heard is that after he digitally “fixed” the original trilogy, he destroyed the original negatives/prints he had archived. I happen to believe that rumor, but even if it’s not true, he’s never going to issue the original versions anyhow, so fuck him. vote with your dollar; or by withholding it, in this case.

anyhow, you’ll like the Despecialized Editions. Harmy is definitely the man.

I’m sure my thoughts on this won’t be popular with the “remix(1) everything” crowd but in my opinion, fandom has no ownership of source works, those belong to the creator unless the creator specifically says otherwise or the source work falls into the public domain. Something akin to moral rights of an author.

As for pissing off the fandom, most of us who remember the theatrical cuts of the trilogy are too old to be primary revenue sources for this franchise, the target demographic is our kids and soon to be our grandkids. Yes of course there are those of the first generation who still buy all the “limited edition” toys, re-issues and paraphernalia but the primary target market was and will continue to be kids.

  1. Yes this word has a defined meaning which only applies in the audio realm but I’m using the popular abuse of the word here.

You’re working on the premise that this is ‘original’ and private work which is questionable. As Kirby says ‘Everything is a Remix’
It is what it is partly because of the culture and the way we received it and supported it. He and the movies do not exist in a vacuum, we collectively made these films what they are today. When he ‘destroyed’ the original works he took something away from that many of us were not yet finished with. We had emotional connections to and had spent plenty of cash on the original films. Releasing the hacked versions as well as the originals would have put an end to the whole discussion.


Which is a key indicator of an artist. An artist will either stop because they’re bored (I’m simplifying), or because they know their audience has been taken to where they needed them to go.

Listen to BB King. He’s famous for knowing when to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em. He’s an artist.

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First, I kind of agree with @JoshuaP on his point about everything being a “remix”. Nothing is created within a cultural vacuum, and we are constantly influenced by the culture around us. Yet, there is always the problematic of an artist making a living. If you choose to work as an artist of some variety, your options are the rarified art world (painting, sculpture, artistic photography, classical music, opera, etc) or mass production of culture. And obviously the ease of mass production and sharing of music or books has changed the game somewhat. If you are getting the content, I think, yes, it’s kind of true that the person who the law says should materially benefit from a work is not getting a cut. This is more important, the less well- known the artist. But keep in mind, the primary beneficiaries for many series/tv shows, etc are not individual artists, but large production companies (or record labels for music). This doesn’t have to be bad, but often they own the works, not the creators. This is even trickier with film, because so many people are involved in a big budget film.

But, I don’t think fandoms engagement necessarily means that people like Lucas aren’t making a decent living. Star Wars is a mulit-million dollar franchise, right? At this point, he’s not some scrappy film maker trying to make a living. Star Wars has been fully corporotized at this point. It’s owned by Disney right? Fandom’s appropriation of various aspects of Star Wars I don’t think infringes on the bottom line of the Lucas enterprises cut of Star Wars, at least not substantially so.

Plus, why wouldn’t kids be interested in the original cuts of the original trilogy? My kid loves old movies and classic sci-fi series. And if the original trilogy is not making money, why not just release them into the wilds of public domain? if it doesn’t hurt or help the bottom line, then just let them go and allow people to watch them. Personally, I think they would make a mint if they did a cleaned up re-release of the original theatrical releases, so why not do that?


I’ve always thought artists should license the display of their work, not sell it. You’d buy it, and sell it later if desired, but the ownership would always stay with the artist, who would in some form get a cut of each sales transaction - like 10%.

Go ye forth artists - do it!

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