Star Wars Original Cuts - Return of the Jedi

Every now and then a new rumor emerges that the original cuts of Star Wars are on the verge of getting a home video release without all the Special Edition modifications George Lucas has made over the years, some of which were made even after the new version of the movies hit theaters in 1997. Sadly, fans are always left disappointed when it doesn’t come true.

Due to issues with the rights to the original Star Wars trilogy, as well as the supposed difficulty of getting the original versions in a format that can easily be converted to a high-definition video format, it might be a lost cause. But even if there was the possibility of making it happen, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy seems to indicate that she doesn’t want to mess with what George Lucas has already done to the original Star Wars trilogy.

In a recent video interview with the Steele Wars podcast, Kathleen Kennedy was asked whether there was any contractual obligation which says the cuts of Star Wars, as they exist now since George Lucas updated them, cannot be changed in any way. The question is posed at the 2:51 mark right here:

Kathleen Kennedy is confused by the question at first, mostly because the interviewer tries to ask a simple question in an unnecessarily roundabout way. When he finally clarifies that he’s asking about whether the final cut that George Lucas left fans with could be altered over time, again a very poor way to ask the question, she says, “I haven’t touched those!” and laughs before saying, “Those will always remain his.”

One interpretation of this quote could be that the Star Wars original cuts will never be released because Kathleen Kennedy doesn’t want to tamper with whatever George Lucas did to change them for the Special Edition release and subsequent, further modified home video releases. After all, she does say, “Those will always remain his,” implying that they will never change what he did.

On the other hand, she could just be providing an answer to the awful question in a more literal way by saying they won’t ever make their own additions to the original trilogy. In that case, she wouldn’t actually be saying that seeing the original cuts released again is out of the question. Technically, to release the original cuts, they wouldn’t be modifying the versions that George Lucas made, just regressing back to the versions of the movie that were once released in theaters and home video.

At this point, fans should probably just abandon all hope that we’ll get official versions of the original cut of the Star Wars trilogy again. If they didn’t announce it for the 40th anniversary of the original Star Wars, then what would the hold-up be? Maybe the rights are still a problem, but in my heart, I just think that we have to make peace with the fact that bootlegs will be the only way to get the original Star Wars in our hands. Yeah, I know Rebellions are built on hope and all that jazz, but in this case, I think that hope is a folly.

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