Rumor: Will Lucasfilm announce new editions of the pre-Special Edition original trilogy at Celebration?

After yesterday’s announcement of a 40th Anniversary panel on the first day of Celebration and a “surprise,”, naturally fan speculation ramped into overdrive. With The Last Jedi panel set for the second day of the con, fans focused on two things: A George Lucas appearance, or the announcement of the long-awaited and perennially rumored “unaltered” Original Trilogy. Today, Making Star Wars is saying that they’ve been hearing things that lead them to believe it will indeed be pre-Special Edition OT.

If the rumor does pan out this time, it will at least be something worth building up for hype. (I can’t really see George showing up, even if this turns up to be false – he seemed uncomfortable at Celebration even when he owned the company. That said, I’ve been wrong before.)

Almost all home releases of the original trilogy since the early ’90s have been built on the restored and digitally tweaked Special Edition versions that were released in 1997. Transfers of the 1993 Laserdisc versions of the film appeared as extras on some 2006 DVDs, but many fans have been hoping for better quality ports for years now. I’m not particularly obsessive about it, and I own those DVDS, but as a member of the VHS generation I’d buy better versions in a heartbeat.

But, as always, Star Wars fans love to speculate, and anything to do with this issue is hotly debated, so keep your pants on. For now, anyway.

In the meantime, here’s fuzzy Youtube version of ‘Lapti Nek’ for the younglings who only know ‘Jedi Rocks.’ It’s ’80s-sleaze-a-riffic!

Report: John Landis says original trilogy theatrical cuts are coming (and guess who told him?)

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Per Empire magazine, producer/director John Landis said at a Q&A tonight that Disney will be (eventually) re-releasing theatrical cuts of the original trilogy. It’s an evergreen rumor that pops up regularly, but this variation has a little bit of oomph behind it – Landis apparently heard about it from George Lucas.

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Now, whether it actually pans out this time will be another matter…

Han does not shoot first in the Star Wars digital release

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No, Han does not shoot first on the digital version of A New Hope. The word from Australia, where it’s already Friday and the digital releases are live, is that the Greedo scene is exactly the same as the one on the Blu-ray. And, to be fair, anything else would have been a big shock, given that ‘Han shot first’ would have been spun into a Lucasfilm talking point by now if it had been the case.

Devin Faraci at Badass Digest, with whom today’s report originated, admitted that he was wrong, but does maintain that there is a high definition version of the pre-Special Edition scene in play somewhere… So don’t expect the rumors of restored ‘original’ prints to die down any time soon.

Another rumor points towards a new unaltered original trilogy release on Blu-ray

rumors-swirl-sw-ootIt never takes much to set off rumors about a new release of the pre-Special Edition versions of the original trilogy, but today it’s apparently Comicbook.com‘s turn. They have “two independent reliable sources” who say that Blu-ray versions of the unaltered original trilogy are in the works, and though the timeline of such a release is unsure due to the amount of work required, the plan is to have them out before Episode VII.

Late last month, a picture of Skywalker Sound folks apparently working on Return of the Jedi also fueled the ever-present hopes, while Bleeding Cool tweaked the rumor mill in May.

Versions of the pre-Special Edition films were available in a a limited edition 2006 DVD re-release, but they were straight rips from the old laserdisc versions.

Although plenty of folks get up in arms over this (on both sides!) I find it hard to deny that there actually is a demand for the unaltered versions of the film, if no other reason than the otherwise unremarkable news of the last Blu-ray release being our #1 most popular and searched-for post of 2013.

And while Disney would need to give up some cash to 20th Century Fox for this to happen (which, again, they did just last year) I’m sure the publicity benefits (and merchandise sales) would more than make up for it.

But, per always: It’s just a rumor, for now.