My love of Star Wars began a long time ago when I was just thirteen years old. I saw the original trilogy when it played on TV as a holiday special. Back then, Live-TV and On-Demand didn’t exist, and consequently the trilogy was interrupted by commercials, and edited. Although it wasn’t the ideal way to watch the movies, it didn’t matter to my thirteen-year-old brain. I was instantly hooked by the galaxy far, far away.
I eventually purchased the VHS versions of the films and watched them religiously. Keep in mind, the versions I saw were (for the most part) unaltered, and appeared as they originally did in the theaters. That meant no Hayden Christiansen Force ghost and no Jabba the Hutt in A New Hope.
I remember the excitement I felt when I found out that the films were going to be re-released with alterations made by the Jedi Master himself, George Lucas. It seemed like a dream come true. I couldn’t believe I was going to walk into a theater and see Star Wars exactly how George wanted it. I was going to be way luckier than those poor bastards that saw the films as they originally appeared, or so I thought.
A Heartbreaking Lesson
To prepare for the re-releases, I watched my VHS tapes over and over again. And when it came time to walk into the theater to watch A New Hope, I was ready to be blown away.
Boom! The Death Star exploded and so did my heart. I was totally crushed that the changes made were small and failed to enhance the film. In fact, they were meaningless in the grand scheme of things. I was so bummed that I only saw A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back in the theater. I couldn’t bring myself to see Return of the Jedi because I knew it wouldn’t be as advertised. To this date, I still haven’t seen the re-released version of Return of a Jedi.
To be fair, the re-releases did not ruin my childhood or make me want to push George down into a Sarlacc pit. Instead, they gave me a new appreciation for the films as they originally appeared. I even learned a valuable lesson about corporate greed and false advertising.
I think the re-releases affected a lot of people the same as me. And unfortunately, there was more heartbreak to come.
It appears that there is a generation of fans out there that loved the original trilogy, were disappointed by the re-releases, and loath the prequels. Some of these fans disagreed with the direction that George was taking the franchise that they made The People vs George Lucas.
Some of the views expressed in the documentary have merit. Other views might be a bit off because fans are blaming George for the prequels, but absent George, we would never of had the original trilogy. You got to take the good with the bad.
One of the biggest discoveries I found while watching The People vs George Lucas is that fans combined their creative forces to create the despecialized versions of the original trilogy.
Despecialized Star Wars? What’s That?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Disney/Lucasfilms is ever going to release the original trilogy as it first appeared in the theaters. Why? I’m not sure. Interestingly, George has made slight tweaks to the movies as they were released to home video. For instance, the crawl in theatrical version of Star Wars did not have the episode heading. Below are several videos that show all the changes that have been made to the movies.
So with all these changes over the years, the task to restore the original trilogy seemed impossible. However, a band of rebels joined “Harmy” over at www.originaltrilogy.com, and Star Wars Despecialized was created. I was amazed by how much work, and dedication went into creating the despecialized versions of Episodes IV through VI. The Force was strong with Harmy and his crew as he put everything back as it initially appeared. The video below explains all the work that went into restoring the movies. Be warned, the video is a bit tedious but it’s pretty cool to see all the work that went into the project.
You’ve got to get your hands on the despecialized versions of Star Wars, the movies are a pure joy to watch! Consume Review Repeat gives Harmy’s Despecialized Star Wars a 10 out of 10!