I don’t know whether to be ecstatic or irate: Lucasfilm has announced that the original, undoctored Star Wars trilogy will be released on DVD this fall.
In response to overwhelming demand, Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release attractively priced individual two-disc releases of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. Each release includes the 2004 digitally remastered version of the movie and, as bonus material, the theatrical edition of the film. That means you’ll be able to enjoy Star Wars as it first appeared in 1977, Empire in 1980, and Jedi in 1983. This release will only be available for a limited time: from September 12th to December 31st.
Now, obviously, on one level this makes my geek heart swell. These three films are a part of me. I’ve seen the original Star Wars more than any other film. (I must be nearing one hundred viewings by now.) I absolutely want to own these versions on DVD.
But what makes me angry is that I’ve already purchased the doctored trilogy, the version in which Greedo fires first, the version in which Young Anakin celebrates on the forest moon of Endor, the version in which George Lucas has flooded the screen with all sorts of little critters and geegaws. Why did I buy these bastardized editions? BECAUSE FANS WERE TOLD THE ORIGINAL VERSIONS WOULD NEVER BE RELEASED ON DVD.
For years, the studios have been milking stupid fans like me by first releasing one version of a film and then releasing a Deluxe Edition at a later date. This is asinine. To give Peter Jackson credit on his Lord of the Rings bastardizations, at least he was very clear from the beginning just how the DVD releases would occur, and he stayed true to his word.
I will be buying the new Star Wars DVDs. I don’t like to admit it, but it’s a fact. However, I’ll also be selling all of the Star Wars DVDs I currently own: episodes I, II, IV, V, and VI.