Unbeknownst to me until this morning, May 4th is apparently Star Wars Day! It’s actually kind of confusing, since Star Wars: A New Hope was released on May 25th, but apparently the 4th is given the honour of being Star Wars Day because you can say “May the fourth be with you.” Clever, I know. Anyway, since it’s Star Wars Day, I feel that it’s only appropriate that I get this off my chest. I’ve got a bone to pick with George Lucas. This is nothing new, and I’m hardly the most rabid, insane Star Wars fan out there, but I just have to put into words my disappointment at the lack of a proper DVD release of the original, un-CGI’d Star Wars trilogy. Lucasfilm recently announced the release of the complete six-part Star Wars saga on Blu-ray, but of course the original trilogy in its original, non-special-edition incarnation is nowhere to be found. What’s more, those who purchase only the original trilogy and skip the prequels will be denied most of the bonus content! It’s pretty outrageous, especially coming from George Lucas – a man who has clearly demonstrated over the years that he’ll do anything for a buck.
Now, from the small but thorough amount of research I’ve done, it appears that the last time the original trilogy with its original special effects was released for public purchase was either the Laserdisc release or the VHS release of the THX-remastered cuts. These were just polished versions of the original negatives, and beyond colour and sound correction, they resembled the movies that were seen in theatres all those years ago. But then, in 1997, the special editions of the movies were re-released in theatres in a bid to pave the way for The Phantom Menace. Sadly, those special edition versions have seen more DVD releases than the originals. In fact, there were even more alterations and ridiculousness in the 2004 DVD release of the original trilogy, as several new shots had been altered and Hayden Christensen was pasted into the films. The fans were pissed, but that did nothing to sway ol’George.
The most confusing thing about all of this is that, more and more, it’s seeming like George Lucas is ashamed of his original films. Why else would he force fans to turn to piracy in order to see the movies the way he had initially made them? These were the movies that made the guy famous, and he keeps hiding them away. Even the Ewok Adventures movies and the Ewoks and Droids cartoons got proper DVD releases. Know what didn’t? The Star Wars Holiday Special. That’s right. You’re just as likely to find the unaltered original Star Wars trilogy on DVD as you are The Star Wars Holiday Special, a TV special so horrible that Lucas himself has said that he wishes he could track down every copy of it and destroy them. So why put the masterpieces of the original trilogy alongside the shitshow that was the Holiday Special? Again, the only explanation that makes sense is that he’s ashamed of the movies. I have no idea why, though, and more to the point: even if Lucas doesn’t like the original films, why not release them on DVD and make buttloads of cash in the process? It’s pretty ludicrous to force your fans to turn to piracy in order to see the original, theatrically released cuts of your movies. But that’s what’s happening, and with the announcement that the original trilogy won’t be on Blu-ray, it doesn’t seem like anything will change anytime soon.
To be fair, there is one other explanation that makes sense. I think Penny Arcade said it best:
(Click the image for a larger view)
Batshit. Fucking. Loco.