Fans have been begging for the release of the theatrical editions of the STAR WARS original trilogy for years, but it seems that we’re destined to live with CGI Jabba, Greedo shooting first (Maclunkey!), the Max Rebo Band and Sy Snootles singing Jedi Rocks, and Darth Vader yelling, “Nooooo!” Nearly every release of the original trilogy has brought with it a new set of changes, taking us further from those original films, and one person who would like to see STAR WARS released in its original form is STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER director J.J. Abrams.
While speaking with Now This News, Abrams spoke of his desire to see the theatrical versions of the STAR WARS original trilogy released, adding that he has actually asked Lucasfilm about that possibility, only to be told that “for reasons that I don’t quite understand, that that’s not necessarily possible, which is, you know, too bad, because that was the thing that I loved.” Every so often there are rumours that the original editions of STAR WARS will emerge, but we also hear plenty stating the opposite as well, that those original cuts are lost to time.
I guess it’s what George Lucas wanted, and that’s what he did, and so I respect that, although I also feel like there’s something about the original theatrical version that was, you know, for so many people, the thing they loved as it was. And so, you know, it would be great to have that available for a mainstream audience.
With so many changes to the original trilogy over the years, audiences can have very different memories of the films; In fact, Abrams related a story in which he was discussing the scene where Darth Vader contacts the Emperor in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, but was having a disagreement with someone over what was said, making both parties feel crazy until they realized they were talking about two separate versions. The last official release of the theatrical cuts was the THX VHS box-set released in 1995 (which I still treasure), but the original cuts were also included as a bonus in a 2006 limited-edition DVD set.
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER will hit theaters on December 20th.