When George Lucas released his masterpiece, “Star Wars: A New Hope”, in cinemas in 1977, it changed the entertainment world forever and cemented “Star Wars” as one of the iconic franchises.

During the creation of the original trilogy, George and his team at Industrial Light & Magic developed the technology to make visual effects even better.   And George continued to push the limits of special effects with the release of the prequel trilogy.

However, George Lucas was never fully happy with the special effects in the original movie, especially the first one, and is well known for going back and tweaking them.   These films have been “upgraded” multiple times over the years, with the visuals and audio being tweaked to make them better. 

This was happening even in the 1980s, but the biggest changes came in 1997. To celebrate the film’s twentieth anniversary and ahead of “The Phantom Menace”, special editions of the films were released.

These new versions had some major changes, including adding CGI to the movies, adding a new scene with Jabba The Hutt in “A New Hope”, and changing the iconic Han Shot First scene.  There were also some other changes including a new musical number in “Return Of The Jedi” and many other alterations. 

More changes were then made for the DVD re-release in 2004, which saw some more changes to bridge the gap between the two trilogies, such as changing Boba Fett’s voice to Temuera Morrison and Hayden Christensen appearing as a Force Ghost at the end. 

There have also been more minor technical tweaks every time the films get released in a new format, including Blu-Ray, Digital and 4K. 

All of these changes have resulted in many fans wanting to see the original versions re-released, without all the changes, but it’s unlikely to happen any time soon.

Back in 2006, Lucasfilm caved into public demand and re-released the original versions on DVD as a bonus feature for a limited time.  These versions were transferred from the original Laserdisc release.

Recently, at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival, George Lucas was awarded an honorary Palme d’Or, and he spoke about not wanting the original version of “Star Wars: A New Hope” to be re-released:

“I’m a firm believer that the director, or the writer, or the filmmaker should have a right to have his movie be the way he wants it,”

He added:

“We did release the original one on laserdisc and everybody got really mad.  They said, ‘It looks terrible.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, I know it did.’ That is what it looked like.”

Many people believe that once a film has been released to the public, it no longer “belongs” to the filmmaker.  And with these constant changes, many fans will continue to say that this is why physical media is important, because the companies can’t keep tweaking them. 

However, the counterargument is that the current versions of the movies on Disney+ are now available in their best format ever, which allows us to enjoy the movies on our screens in 4K. 

Roger’s Take:   I do think it would be interesting to see the original versions added onto Disney+ as a bonus feature.  Not making them available only makes some people want them more; if they were freely available, most people would probably just watch the upgraded version since that would be a “better” visual experience.  But I don’t see it happening.

Would you like to see the original version of “Star Wars: A New Hope”?  Let me know on social media!

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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