Even Yoda couldn’t have seen this one coming.
After a decade of refusing to entertain the notion, “Star Wars” creator and gatekeeper George Lucas has announced plans to team with Fox Home Entertainment on a DVD release of the three original films that long ago founded his empire in a galaxy not so far away. But like an appearance by Bossk, the discs’ availability will be brief.
The original, unedited films will appear in stores on September 12 and, Disney-like, will return to Lucas’ “vault” three months later. The startling news of the films’ pending release will undoubtedly have diehard fans busting out in Ewok celebration dances and tossing their overtaxed VHS tapes into the trash.
In the 1990s, Lucas angered some fans by digitally updating “Star Wars” (now called “A New Hope”), “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” insisting that the films had fallen short of his original vision. While preparing for his prequel trilogy, Lucas released episodes four, five and six as “special editions,” complete with added scenes and enhanced special effects. Those films, which Lucas claimed were the definitive versions preserved for future generations, have garnered enormous DVD sales. Still, the “original” trilogy has consistently ranked in Internet polls as the most desirable DVDs never manufactured.
Lucas’ latest announcement evidently seeks to appease the franchise’s famously vocal (and loyal) fanbase, many of whom have expressed displeasure at the revisions and “improvements” to the films they grew up on. With Greedo shooting at Han Solo first (to make Solo look less cutthroat), Hayden Christensen replacing another actor at the end of “Jedi” (to maintain continuity for Anakin Skywalker) and pointless scenes with a flirtatious Boba Fett (anything, apparently, to get more screen time for the popular character), those versions often made dedicated fans feel like raising fists in the air and, Vader-like, screaming, “Noooo!”
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Now, Lucasfilm and Fox claim, “there is another” on the horizon — another DVD release, that is, with the three films to be packaged together in two-disc editions. For “Star Wars” fans, it might be the best news they’ve had since Han Solo emerged from deep-freeze.
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