In 1997, Star Wars fans were delivered the Special Edition of the original trilogy, allowing them to witness the iconic films with the best sound and visual effects imaginable, while also introducing a new generation of audiences to the galaxy far, far away. While most fans appreciated the technological updates, the films also featured a handful of narrative tweaks that differed from the original films in ways that were difficult to overlook. In the years since those Special Editions were released, George Lucas continued to tweak the films for various home video releases, though a special event over the weekend hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences featured an original 70mm print of Star Wars: A New Hope along with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
"I just got to see Star Wars projected from an immaculate 70mm print," one viewer tweeted about the experience. "The original Star Wars, pre-special edition ('A New Hope' was on the crawl, but otherwise unaltered). It’s an impossible dream come true, and I’m so extremely grateful for this opportunity."
With it being unclear whether there would ever be an additional movie, the original was released without the "A New Hope" title, with the release of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back resulting in the original film having "A New Hope" added into the crawl.
One of the biggest alterations between the original film and the Special Edition is that, when Greedo confronts Han in Mos Eisley, the Special Edition depicts Greedo shooting first with Han then retaliating. When the film landed on DVD in 2004, the film was again altered to depict the two characters firing at the same time, with digital effects manipulating Han so he moves out of the way. This is how the scene has played out in all subsequent releases.
In 2011, the Blu-ray release of the original trilogy offered more updates, such as the Ewoks in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi earning digital blinks. The last time the unaltered trilogy was released in an official capacity came in 2006 when a Special Edition DVD release included the unaltered films, though the files came from a laserdisc transfer of the film, with their audio and visual quality lacking compared to the DVD release of the Special Editions.
This past weekend's screening might mean nothing more than an exciting opportunity for fans, but as the Twitter user noted, this is the first time there has been an official, public screening of the original film since 1997. However, with Lucas no longer having as active a role at Lucasfilm and with Disney acquiring 20th Century Fox, who previously distributed the original films, we can't help but wonder if this could lead to the original films being made available to the public in some capacity at some point in the future.
Stay tuned for details about the Star Wars franchise.
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