Fans have long been clamoring for an unaltered Blu-ray version of the original Star Wars trilogy without all the fancy special effects that were added in years later. If rumors are to be believed, this might actually happen. The first rumors surfaced on Comicbook.com which said:
According to our sources, Disney has plans to release the original cut of the Star Wars trilogy on Blu-ray. Our sources indicate that the project has been under way for quite some time, but it’s been challenging because of some damage to the original negatives they are utilizing. The goal is to release A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of Jedi in their complete, unaltered, original form without the redone special edition SFX.
Huzzah! But wait. As many have pointed out, the problem is that Disney doesn’t even own the rights to the original trilogy. The rights to those films all belong to Fox (along with the distribution rights to the prequels), so Disney can’t release anything on their own. The rights for Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi revert to Lucasfilm in 2020, but A New Hope belongs to Fox forever.
Now, this doesn’t mean Disney and Fox couldn’t work together. After all, there is a lot of money to be made here. However, the fact that the rumor doesn’t seem to take Fox into account sheds doubt on its credibility. And let’s put one more nail in the coffin of this idea with a quote Ars Technica dug up from George Lucas during an interview on The Today Show a decade ago:
The special edition, that’s the one I wanted out there. The other movie, it’s on VHS, if anybody wants it. … I’m not going to spend the—we’re talking millions of dollars here, the money and the time to refurbish that, because to me, it doesn’t really exist anymore. It’s like this is the movie I wanted it to be, and I’m sorry you saw half a completed film and fell in love with it.
And that was the sound of millions of fans cheering in joy only to be suddenly silenced. Still, a shred of hope is better than nothing.