Star Wars: J.J. Abrams Wants the Original Trilogy Released in Its Original Form

The original Star Wars trilogy of films was groundbreaking in the world of not only storytelling, but also in its special effects, and while creator George Lucas might prefer the changes he has made to the films over the years through a variety of subsequent editions of the films, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams would like to see those unaltered editions released. The director cited an example in which a debate unfolded regarding a key scene in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in which he realized the discussion was centered around a scene that was altered for the Special Edition release of the film.

"I have asked about this, 'cause who wouldn't want to see that? But I've been told that, for reasons that I quite don't understand, that that's not necessarily possible," Abrams shared with Now This News. "Which is too bad because that was the thing that I loved. In fact, it's funny, when we were working on [Star Wars: The] Force Awakens, we were talking about this one scene with Vader and the Emperor and we were having this disagreement about what was said, and, in a way it was, like, we both felt crazy. And we realized we were talking about two different versions, because there's the 'despecialized' version, which you can see online, someone got me a version, and then there was an official version. There was the original theatrical version and then the version that people see now."

He added, "I guess it's what George Lucas wanted, and that's what he did, and so I respect that, although I also feel like there's something about the original theatrical version that was, for so many people, the thing they loved as it was. And so it would be great to have them available for a mainstream audience."

When The Empire Strikes Back was first released, the image of the Emperor was created by blending multiple elements to give the figure an otherworldly feeling. For the Special Edition, actor Ian McDiarmid's image was inserted into the sequence to create more cohesion to how he appeared in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

Following the Special Edition releases in 1997, the films earned a number of different tweaks when it landed on DVD in 2004, on Blu-ray in 2011, and even earlier this year when they landed on Disney+. Despite these frequent tweaks, Abrams doesn't see himself wanting to go back and offer "Special Editions" of any of his films.

"Oh my God. Yes, of course," the filmmaker admitted when asked if he would want to revisit his earlier films. "But I also feel like, when — at a certain point, you have to say, 'This is what it is.' And, for me, the idea of going back and making an incremental change or an adjustment to this or that, it just doesn't — it's not interesting to me. But I respect the impulse of artists to continue to work on their stuff. It's not like I don't understand it. But I just, for me, it doesn't feel like — there's so many things that I constantly feel like, 'Oh, I wish we'd done this,' or, 'I wish that.; But I don't know if, for me, living in a kind of revisiting mindset is forward-moving. It would make me crazy if I got into that. I think it'd be a rabbit hole I'd never climb out of."

He continued, "It's like when you watch a little kid draw a picture and they're like, 'I'm done,' and they just know that they're done. And you're like, 'How the hell you know you're done? Maybe there's more. You could do more shading.' But they just know they're done. And I think that at a certain point, that can be a very healthy thing."

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker lands in theaters on December 20th.

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