Featured Restoration – Star Wars Trilogy ‘Despecialized’ Editions


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George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy is widely considered one of, if not the, greatest film trilogies of all time. And yet, since the release of the Special Editions in 1997 (which added a number of contentious changes to the films, including new CGI effects, added scenes and new musical choices), there has been a growing frustration among fans that George Lucas and Lucasfilm have thus far refused to release HD quality versions of the unaltered pre-special edition versions of the films.

To date, the best quality officially-released versions of the theatrical editions were the 2006 DVD bonus disks, but unfortunately these were very poor quality overall, and did not live up to fans hopes and expectations.

When Disney acquired Lucasfilm in November 2012, hope was renewed that perhaps high-quality versions of the unaltered original trilogy would be released, but alas, despite some rumours, no official release has yet been announced.

Thankfully, due to the ongoing hard work of a fan-editor by the name of Harmy, fans are now able to enjoy the theatrical editions in High Definition for the first time.

Harmy, on the restoration project:

Despecialized Editions are high definition reconstructions of the theatrical versions of the STAR WARS films. The original shots are painstakingly restored using various sources ranging from VHS, LaserDisc, DVD, Blu-ray to 35mm print scans.The main goal is to get as close as possible to the original versions of the films as seen in cinemas on opening day, while maintaining high picture and audio quality.

Harmy and his collaborators have done an extraordinary job in their attempts to recreate the original films, as can be seen in these comprehensive comparison galleries for Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.  Harmy has also created a short documentary, detailing his extensive work on recreating the original versions of the movies:

 

 

Word of Harmy’s hard work has been spreading, and he has now started to gain recognition for his work on many news sites and popular youtube channels, including Jeremy Jahns, who recently reviewed the Despecialized Editions on his channel.

 

 

Custom Blu-ray Disks

Recently, an updated version (2.7) of Star Wars Despecialized was released, which prompted me to finally complete a long-gestating project: A custom Blu-ray set, dedicated to the Despecialized trilogy, complete with menus, a variety of audio options, and special features. Harmy has given his personal approval of this project. As of today, the set is now complete, and includes the following features.

 

Star Wars

  Motion Menu (featuring the original star wars trailer)
  8 Audio options, including:
  1. 5.1 Surround
  2. 2.0 Stereo
  3. 1.0 Mono
  4. Blu-ray Commentary (2011)
  5. The Canon Podcast Commentary – Devin Faraci and Amy Nicholson (2016)
  6. Red Letter Media – Mr Plinkett Commentary (2012)
  7. Rifftrax Comedy Commentary (2011)
  8. Steele Wars Podcast – Live Comedy Commentary (2015)
  Special Features, including:
  1. Documentary on the sources used for the Despecialised Edition by Harmy (11 mins)
  2. All Changes made to Star Wars since 1977 comparison video (25 mins)
  3. Star Wars Deleted Scenes (16 mins)
  4. 1977 Making of Star Wars Doco (49 mins)

STAR WARS menu   STAR WARS chapters   Star Wars Audio   STAR WARS features

 

The Empire Strikes Back

  Motion Menu (featuring the original ESB trailer)
  8 Audio options, including:
  1. 5.1 Surround
  2. 2.0 Stereo
  3. 1.0 Mono
  4. 2.0 Music Only
  5. DVD Commentary
  6. Blu-ray Commentary
  7. Rifftrax Comedy Commentary
  8. Superego Comedy Commentary
  Special Features:
  1. Making of the Empire Strikes Back (1980) – 49 mins
  2. All Special Edition Changes – Comparison video  – 15 mins
  3. John Williams Featurette (1980) – 22 mins
  4. Deleted Scenes
  5. How the Empire Strikes Back Should Have Ended

Empire menu   Empire chapters   EMPIRE audio   Empire features

 

Return of the Jedi

  Includes:
  Motion Menu (featuring the original RotJ trailer)
  8 Audio options, including:
  1. 5.1 Surround
  2. 2.0 Stereo
  3. 2.0 Music Only
  4. DVD Commentary
  5. Blu-ray Commentary
  6. Red Letter Media – Half in the Bag Commentary
  7. Rebel Force Radio Podcast Commentary
  8. Rifftrax Comedy Commentary
  Special Features:
  1. Making of the Return of the Jedi (1983) – 23 mins (Collection of behind the scenes, b-roll footage, alternate takes, pre-viz etc)
  2. All Special Edition Changes – Comparison video  – 15 mins
  3. Classic Creatures featurette – 22 mins
  4. Deleted Scenes
  5. How Return of the Jedi Should Have Ended

ROTJ menu   ROTJ Chapters   ROTJ Audio   ROTJ features

 

Please note, as per Harmy’s Facebook page:

This is a fan preservation made for culturally historical and educational purposes. Fanedits and preservations must not be bought or sold.

Please report every fanedit or preservation you find for sale to webmasters of originaltrilogy.com or fanedit.org. Fanedits and preservations are an artform and to be shared among legal owners of the officially available releases only.

Do not support piracy.

To discuss the Despecialized editions and/or the new custom blu-ray set, join the conversation in the forums!

 

There are 4 comments in our discussion thread.