Star Wars may be one of the most beloved films of all time, but if you want to see the movie as it first appeared in theaters in 1977, you’d be hard pressed to locate a copy. A small band of devoted fans, however, are taking action to address that problem.
Surprisingly, it is actually currently impossible to buy an official copy of Star Wars as it was first released, The Atlantic notes. Series creator George Lucas undertook a campaign to re-release special editions of the films in which many elements were updated using technology that wasn’t available during the filming of Star Wars, though many fans believe this ruins the magic of the film which won seven Academy Awards in 1978. Websites such as Saving Star Wars and Originaltrilogy.com have published detailed lists of the many changes that were made to the original Star Wars trilogy throughout its various releases.
A sign for Star Wars in 1977 pic.twitter.com/Evm9uDVx0w
— Actor Trivia (@ActorTrivia) August 27, 2014
Those fans have taken it upon themselves to re-create the 1977 original theatrical version of Star Wars, using a process called “despecializing.” These aficionados gather in online forums, utilizing archaic copies of the film to painstakingly re-assemble the original Star Wars, removing Lucas’ special edition revisions. While it has been noted by The Inquisitr that Disney, which now owns Lucasfilm, was rumored to be releasing the original versions on Blu-Ray, others have pointed out that Fox owns the rights to the Star Wars films, and is unwilling to go against Lucas’ wishes.
Lucas, for his part, seems to have very little sympathy for fans who wish to see the original Star Wars. Speaking to the Associated Press in 2004, he pointed out that he views the 1977 version of Star Wars as incomplete:
“It’s like this is the movie I wanted it to be, and I’m sorry if you saw half a completed film and fell in love with it. But I want it to be the way I want it to be.”
A 25-year-old despecializer from the Czech Republic, Harmy, points out that rebuilding the original isn’t about fans being displeased with Lucas’ revisions. “If both versions were available in the same quality I would probably enjoy watching the special edition once in a while,” he contends, adding, “It’s not about George Lucas not being able to do these special editions. If people like the special editing, they can continue watching those. As long as both versions are available.”
Fans, however, aren’t the only ones who want to see Star Wars in its original form. The movie was selected by the National Film Registry for preservation, yet the institution hasn’t been provided with a copy of the original. Lucas refused to issue them one, saying he would no longer allow the release of the 1977 print. A copy exists in the archives of the Library of Congress, however, as part of the copyright deposit for Star Wars.
[Image via Sith Life]