Bad news, Star Wars fans. Those of you who have been holding out hope that Disney may want to further capitalize on a galaxy far, far away by restoring the theatrical cuts of the original Star Wars trilogy are about to be sorely disappointed. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy has officially confirmed that they have no plans on messing with the cuts and intend to leave the movies the way that George Lucas did when he revisited them in the 90s.
Star Wars Celebration happened recently in Orlando, Florida, and there was a lot of big news and exciting stuff coming from every direction. So, a few things managed to fly a little under the radar. Such as an interview that Kathleen Kennedy did for the Steelewars Podcast. During the course of the interview, she was asked about the original trilogy and whether or not they have any plans on restoring the theatrical cuts. While she revealed that there is no agreement in place to keep the Star Wars cuts as they are, she also made it clear that Lucasfilm isn't planning on messing with them. Here is what she had to say about it.
"I wouldn't touch those, are you kidding me? [laughs] Those will always remain his."
So there you have it. There are many people who have power within the Disney ranks, but Kathleen Kennedy is the one at the top of the food chain for Lucasfilm. What she says goes. That means we are going to have to deal with rings around the Death Star explosions, Han not shooting first and that ridiculous song in Jabba's palace indefinitely. Unless you can track down the Star Wars trilogy on LaserDisc and want to spring for a player, that is. Outside of that, there was a DVD set released in November 2006 that included the original, unaltered theatrical prints of each movie. Unfortunately, the unaltered versions took video that sourced from the 1993 LaserDisc release. The quality was much lower compared to the "Special Edition" versions that were also included in the set.
George Lucas decided that technology finally caught up with his vision for the original Star Wars trilogy in the 90s, so he added scenes and certain special effects, in addition to making other alterations to the movies, before theatrically re-releasing them in 1997. The problem is that he altered the actual film prints and, that being the case, the original cuts don't even exists anymore. Or so we're told. That means if Lucasfilm wanted to do a re-release of the original cuts, they would have to reassemble them, which they could do since the bits that were trimmed and altered are reportedly hanging around in the Lucasfilm archives. But assuming Kathleen Kennedy is good on her word, that isn't in the cards.
There was some hope that this was being planned as reports surfaced several months ago that Lucasfilm was indeed planning on re-releasing the original, unaltered Star Wars trilogy on Blu-ray in honor of the 40th anniversary. But those reports were later debunked and now, Kathleen Kennedy has really put the nail in the coffin. Maybe someday Disney will decide they would like to cash in and make this happen, but don't expect it to happen soon, if at all.