When George Lucas sold his company and the Star Wars Universe to the Walt Disney Company, fans were rightly worried about how this major change would affect the stories they’ve loved and cherished for decades.
And despite the Extended Universe stories being swept under a different bubble, no one has much to worry about regarding any other major alterations to the original films, much like what Lucas himself did to the cuts over time.
Speaking with the Steele Wars podcast at Star Wars Celebration last week, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy spoke about the company’s commitment to George Lucas’ final cuts and that they would not alter the films in any way.
“I wouldn’t touch those, are you kidding me?” Kennedy said with a laugh. “Those will always remain his.”
This could be taken one of two ways, considering that fans have been clamoring for the unaltered versions of the movies for quite some time. Does this possibly mean that Lucasfilm would be against releasing the original cuts of the film, and that the continuously-modified Special Editions will remain the only versions available?
Disney’s purchase inspired some hope in fans who have wanted a high definition release of the original cuts—without the CG dance scenes, the extra wompa shots, and the infamous altering of “Han Shot First”—but there is a wrinkle in that plan due to the original deal with Fox and Lucasfilm.
Fox owns the distribution rights to Star Wars: A New Hope in perpetuity, and their distribution deal for the other episodic films will lapse around 2020 and revert to Disney. So anything done before them is in conjunction with Fox, and Disney probably isn’t keen on splitting such a huge money pie with a competitor.
But Kennedy’s words also indicate that George Lucas’ vision is the only vision, even if it’s at different times, and they’d be silly to ignore the demand for a rerelease of the original cuts.
Maybe we just shouldn’t expect to see that until 2020 at the earliest.
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Star Wars: The Last Jedi, from writer/director Rian Johnson, is in post-production now for a December 15, 2017 release. The film follows-up and continues the story of the next generation of the saga as Rey, Poe, Finn, and Kylo Ren find their place in the galaxy and follow the legacy of Luke Skywalker, Leia, and Han Solo. Daisy Ridley returns to star as Rey, with other returning stars John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Peter Mayhew, Andy Serkis, Anthony Daniels, Lupita Nyong'o Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa. Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern join the cast in as-yet-unrevealed roles.