star-wars-episode-iv-a-new-hope-original

You would need an encyclopedia to know how many different versions of the original Star Wars Trilogy are out there. From obvious changes made to create the Special Editions, or the addition of “Episode IV” to the first film, to more subtle ones like color correction or audio tweaks, there are dozens of different versions of each film. All fans want, though, are the original negatives, with no “special” additions, but corrections to make them look and sound as good as modern technology will allow.

Unfortunately, that’s probably never going to happen because of rights issues and George Lucas’ wishes. So a group of fans made the Star Wars Despecialized Edition, a painstaking project that’s still in progress. The Despecialized Edition removes all the additions and tweaks slathered onto the films over the years, while simultaneously upgrading the sound and picture to modern standards. The results are pretty incredible and a new featurette shows the jaw-dropping changes and work put into the project.

This video was posted by HanDuet on YouTube and brought to our attention by Geeks are Sexy.

What I love about this – besides the obvious – is how you realize the “best possible” releases of the film available right now, on the Complete Saga Blu-ray, are still so flawed. The video also goes through all the possible official sources of the film and shows how fans were able to pick and choose the best of the best for their own unofficial (and likely illegal) versions. The amount of work that went into the Star Wars Despecialized Editions seems incredible.

Besides that, it’s a fascinating video for no other reason than its a great document of the various incarnation of the Star Wars Trilogy and what each one did right, did wrong, and how Lucasfilm can improve it in the future.

Will we ever get the original trilogy, unaltered but upgraded, on Blu-ray or another format? Ask 20th Century Fox. They own the rights to the films through 2020 and the rights to Episode IV forever. Even over new owner Disney, they would be the primary beneficiary and source of any such release.

What did you think of this documentary?

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