The original Star Wars trilogy was released in the 70s and 80s and wowed audiences with the most mind-blowing special effects ever seen in movies up until that point. The Special Editions of the iconic films in which director George Lucas made new edits and added CGI effects were released in the late 90s. Since then, the only versions of the movies that were released on DVD, Blu-ray, streaming, or any other home video format have been the Special Editions. Because it’s been so long since they’ve been readily available, it’s time the original cuts were rereleased in some form.
Media, whether it be movies, TV series, video games, or something else entirely, is a time capsule representative of the time it was made. The content and the quality showcase how things were when it was released. It’s disingenuous to go back and make those changes and bury the original version. It also doesn’t make sense whatsoever that CGI (and a lot of it) was used when such visual effects literally didn’t exist at the time the movies were made.
The Special Editions added things to the original trilogy that feel extremely out of place, like an animated Dewback in the background on Tatooine and an entire musical number in Jabba’s palace with bizarre characters. These elements don’t add anything to the story or the worldbuilding; they just feel random. It certainly doesn’t help that a lot of the CGI that was added no longer holds up well which dates the film weirdly.
The elements that the Special Editions added that hurt the movies the most, though, are ones that changed plot points, like Greedo shooting at Han rather than the other way around. It actively takes away character development. The movies were already beloved, there was no reason to change what happened in them.
As the artist, it’s fine that George Lucas wanted to make whatever changes he liked, but both versions of the movies should be made available. That way would allow audiences to choose how they watch the movies. Other films, like Blade Runner and The Lord of the Rings, famously offer multiple versions on a single DVD. Movies often have director’s cuts, extended cuts, and other versions that are easily accessible to audiences. Why can’t the same be said for the original Star Wars trilogy?
It’s especially shocking that the original cuts haven’t been made available on Disney+ yet. If for some reason they never wanted to release them on Blu-ray, streaming would be the perfect place to have multiple versions of the films. If Disney and Lucasfilm ever do make the original versions of the Star Wars trilogy easily available, it would be the ultimate love letter to fans.