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Is Disney Releasing Original Theatrical Cuts Of Star Wars?

The holy grail for most die hard Star Wars fans has been a re-release of the original theatrical cuts of Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.  While they’ve technically been released as bonus material on the 2004 remastered DVD versions of the films, they were just sourced from the 1993 non-anamorphic LaserDisc releases.

Now it seems that Disney is about to finally set things right with an all new re-release of the original trilogy restored to their theatrical cuts. While not officially announced, according to Empire Magazine in a series of tweets, director, producer and screenwriter John Landis revealed this is what is coming, in a Q&A from Orlando, Florida.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard that Disney is going to give fans unaltered versions of the films (we covered it at sister site doddleNEWS), but there are still a lot of questions, foremost is how can Disney release these films if it doesn’t have the rights to do so until 2020?

Let’s take a step back and remember that 20th Century Fox still owns the rights to release The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith for the next four years. A New Hope they will own in perpetuity, so any release by Disney will always have to be in conjunction with Fox.

Even if a deal was struck for a release, I have to wonder exactly what Disney was planning on re-releasing. Would it be a 4K or even 8K version of the film (via a scan of the negative, even though George Lucas claims the original trilogy's negatives were destroyed in making the Special Editions of 1997), or just a Blu-ray HD version? There’s also a rumor that Disney is in negotiations to distribute Star Wars with Netflix, so another question is which version will make it to the streaming service, should that come to pass?

Speaking of versions, there have been several theatrical versions of the films over the years before the special editions. For example, the first film didn’t have "Episode IV: A New Hope" in the scroll at all, and was added later.

I’m taking this entire story with a grain of salt. I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade but I’ve been burned by the promise of an original cut far too many times to be optimistic. One group of fans cut the Original Trilogy as a 'Despecialized Version."

Image: Lucasfilm & 20th Century Fox