In one of the most astounding and unexpected announcements of all time, George Lucas told the media that all six Star Wars films would be released on Blu-Ray in 2011. It’s unexpected for two reasons. First, how can the most profitable film franchise in history expect to make money with a release onto the newest and most advanced visual medium? Madness. Completely unexpected madness. Second, George Lucas giving in to any form of merchandising is unprecedented after decades of not letting the slightest trifle slip by with a Star Wars logo attached. I mean, the guy is practically the J.D. Salinger of the film industry.
Oh and even better news for true fans of the series! Only the special editions will be released on Blu-ray! So now Greedo will shoot first, inexplicably miss, and undermine the entire foundation of the character of Han Solo in a billion pixels!
Explains George Lucas:
“Releasing the originals is kind of an oxymoron because the quality of the original is not very good. You have to go through and do a whole restoration on it, and you have to do that digitally. It’s a very, very expensive process to do it. So when we did the transfer to digital, we only transferred really the upgraded version.”
Seriously, I cannot wrap my head around this. In 1997, Lucas and company completely restored and worked an admirable amount of magic on the deteriorating original copies of the trilogy. As part of this process they used CGI to add a bunch of crap like slithering Jabba and Greedo shooting first that fans rolled their eyes at. But what Lucas is saying now suggests that there is not a restored copy that hasn’t been “upgraded.” So to get this absolutely straight, they did not restore it and then make changes, they made changes as part of the restoration. That defeats the entire fucking point of a restoration.
I was always irritable about the changes Lucas made on the special editions, but I never quite felt the need to crusade about it. But this? If this is really the way it went down, it’s an artistic affront, because it means that despite millions poured into “restoring” the Star Wars films, the actual original trilogy is still falling apart and disintegrating in some vault somewhere. The point of a restoration is to preserve the original so that it doesn’t die. It appears that rather than taking the logical steps of restoring the film and then making any modifications he wanted to after the fact, Lucas insisted on modifying and restoring as part of the same process. Put it this way: there is a cut of Star Wars in which Han shoots first disintegrating into dust right now and there is a restored digital cut in which Greedo shoots first. There is no other cut.
Oh, but they’re showing off deleted scenes from Return of the Jedi now!
I’m amazed Luke wasn’t replaced with a talking burrito at this point.