This year not only brings Star Wars fans a new theatrical adventure in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but also a number of new books and, of course, another Force Friday event happening this fall, but that's not all. This year also marks the 40th Anniversary of the original Star Wars, with the anniversary celebration kicking off at Star Wars Celebration, which runs from April 13 through April 16 in Orlando, Florida. If a new rumor is believed to be true, LucasFilm may be making a big announcement about the 40th anniversary soon, with plans apparently under way to release a new Blu-ray set with the theatrical versions of the original trilogy films.
Die-hard Star Wars fans have been begging for this to happen for years, and if this report from Making Star Wars is true, this Blu-ray set of the un-altered trilogy, which has never been made available before in high definition, will arrive sometime this year in honor of A New Hope's 40th Anniversary. Since 20th Century Fox still owns the rights to A New Hope, Disney will certainly have to make some sort of a deal with the studio if this unaltered trilogy is to become a reality, but if it's true, the news will certainly be embraced by legions of fans.
George Lucas was always adamant that the "Special Editions" he released in the 1990s were the versions of the trilogy that he always wanted fans to see, refusing to release the original theatrical versions. There was a DVD set released in November 2006 that included the original un-altered theatrical prints of each movie on a separate disc from the Special Edition movie. Fans were ultimately disappointed though when it was learned that the un-altered versions took non-anamorphic video sourced from the 1993 LaserDisc release, which was much lower in quality compared to the Special Edition. That 2006 set was the last time the original theatrical editions were released in any home video format, but there was a "de-specialized" version of A New Hope that found its way to fans last year.
Last February, a group known as Team Negative 1 painstakingly re-created the original theatrical edition of A New Hope, using an original 1977 35mm print that they restored. This edition removes all of the added bits of dialogue, along with restoring the Han Solo/Greedo encounter to its original version, where Greedo doesn't even fire his blaster at all. This group never stated whether or not they planned on restoring Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi as well, but if this un-altered Blu-ray set is in fact released this year, they may not need to expend all of that time and effort. Still, this rumor is far from being confirmed, but the 40th Anniversary of A New Hope does seem like the perfect time to bring the original versions of A New Hope and the rest of the trilogy back to the fans.
If this Blu-ray set is actually being released, there could also be a chance that these beloved movies may get a theatrical re-release as well. LucasFilm announced yesterday that there will be a special panel at Star Wars Celebration that honors the 40th Anniversary of the original Star Wars, so it's possible that this Blu-ray announcement may be made then. Still, this rumor has yet to be confirmed by LucasFilm, but if it is true, and the announcement is happening at Star Wars Celebration, it probably won't be confirmed until the actual panel. Hopefully we'll find out more about this Star Wars Blu-ray trilogy soon.