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Original Star Wars lost for Blu-ray

StarWars.jpgFinally it's been revealed that Star Wars is in fact coming to Blu-ray with a 2011 release. Good news for all us Star War fans, and a whole new audience of fans waiting out there with Blu-ray.

There's bad news though. The Blu-ray release will mean that the digitally altered versions are the versions of the films which will be released, not the original versions. Does this mean the death of the originals?

Not quite. The Blu-ray versions will take a while to completely replace the DVD versions and fans will always hold the originals as something of a collectable, but in time the originals could well be lost and this is the first step towards doing just that, a release on the latest home cinema format without the original versions of the films, just the George Lucas digitally altered ones.

The first thing that becomes clear in the story From N.Y. Times through Coming Soon is that George Lucas has been waiting for the Blu-ray marketplace to become profitable:

"We've been wanting to do it as soon as we possibly could, but we just wanted to do it when enough people would be able to buy it and see it."

To be fair you could read that a number of ways, they were waiting for the fan base to be there in order to reach them, or they were waiting for a break even profit margin to appear. However to be fair what they aren't doing, and this is something I actually expected, is releasing each film individually on Blu-ray and then going for a Blu-ray box-set, and that deserves some recognition.

The announcement reveals that all six Star Wars films will appear on Blu-ray in Autumn of 2011 in a complete box-set. The releases will be digitally remastered for the high-definition format and will include new documentaries and previously unseen footage.

However George Lucas did reveal in the article that the versions of the first three films, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, are all going to be the special edition versions that were released theatrically in 1997 and digitally restored for the 2004 DVD release.

Now that's going to upset a few fans I'm sure, because what it means is that we won't be seeing the original films on Blu-ray, just the ones with added and altered scenes.

Apparently his comment to this was that releasing the original films on the Blu-ray set would have been...

"kind of an oxymoron because the quality of the original is not very good."

The reason for not spending the time required in restoring those films is due to the effort required:

"You have to go through and do a whole restoration on it, and you have to do that digitally...It's a very, very expensive process to do it. So when we did the transfer to digital, we only transferred really the upgraded version."

You can understand that, but for completeness sake, I could see fans accepting the original versions on the Blu-ray, even if they didn't hold up to the quality of the other films. I'm not saying that they should have put them on and buried the digitally remade versions, but offering the original three films as a bonus on the box-set would have been welcomed, I believe.

What would you rather see? The originals buried and forgotten, or carried on even if they aren't remastered?



I find his claim that it would be too expensive to restore the originals to be quite dubious. Wouldn't he have needed a fully restored print of the originals in order to create the special editions? It's not like we reshot all the footage for the special edition, he just added new scenes and special effects to footage he already had. Which means, he would have needed a really good print. Which means there has to be a fully restored print of the originals somewhere. To say the quality of the originals just isn't good enough for Blu-ray is BS.


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