Take heart Force Followers, the original Star Wars trilogy is coming to your high definition home theater galaxy next year in 2011. But beware Star Wars purists there are elements of the Dark Side of the Force in the news.
Delivered by the Master Jedi himself,b George Lucas spoke at the Celebration V convention in Orlando, “I wish I could say it was coming out this year, but it will come out next year.” New, extensive special features will be featured, including documentaries, vintage behind-the-scenes moments, interviews, retrospectives and never-before-seen footage from the Lucasfilm archives.
As a teaser of those special features, a deleted scene from Return of the Jedi, debuted at the convention. It shows Luke Skywalker putting the finishing touches on his new lightsaber before going to the palace of Jabba the Hutt.
The New York Times interviewed George Lucas and come away with several pertinent quotes:
But in a telephone interview, Mr. Lucas said he had been waiting to see if the Blu-ray format would be widely accepted by home viewers.
“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,” Mr. Lucas said on Friday from the Star Wars Celebration V convention in Orlando, Fla.
Star Wars coming to Blu-ray is great news indeed but here is where the Dark Side of things comes into play in the next quote from George Lucas.
Mr. Lucas said the versions of the first three “Star Wars” films – “Star Wars,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” – included in the Blu-ray boxed set will be the special-edition releases that were shown theatrically in 1997 and digitally restored for a 2004 standard-definition DVD boxed set.
Perhaps bracing for the reactions of fans who decried some of the changes made to the special-edition films – like, say, an exchange of gunfire between Han Solo and a certain green-skinned bounty hunter – Mr. Lucas said that to release the original versions of these films on Blu-ray was “kind of an oxymoron because the quality of the original is not very good.”
“You have to go through and do a whole restoration on it, and you have to do that digitally,” he added. “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.”
So there you have it. New versions of the new versions but, for now, the original theatrical versions remain shut out.