You can watch an 'unaltered' version of Star Wars in HD today, if you bend the law
J Thoendell stashed this in Film
The Star Wars that was released in 1977 no longer exists. The film has been edited, special effects shots have been swapped, colors have been changed and more. Lucas has worried over the films so much that those of us who wish for the version of the film we remember have no way to watch the movie that means so much to us. Instead, we're treated to a series of re-releases from mediocre sources, with massive flaws in the presentation.
This is why rumors of a remastered, unaltered original trilogy are so thrilling. It would mean that fans of the series have a way to watch the film as they remember, on modern equipment, with time and money spent remastering and correcting decades worth of film degradation and wear.
Lucas has long said this was impossible but, as I explored in an earlier story at Ars Technica, that’s untrue.
Besides, the holy grail exists today. It’s called the Despecialized Edition, and the only problem is that you can’t pay money for it. This is an a gray-market release of the film, only available as a huge download on bittorrent. So what do you get for your 17GB of hard drive space?
You get everything you want. You get a long time ago, far far away in the most stunning presentation possible.
HARMYThe Despecialized Edition is the years-long work of a diverse group of people who have taken elements from many different sources and created the ultimate version of the first Star Wars film. It has also been upgraded to display properly on high definition screens, with high-quality sounds and a near perfect image.
The latest Blu-Ray release of the film serves as the skeleton for this edition, but elements of the 2006 bonus DVD that included the unaltered version of the film was also used to remove special effects and edits that were added by Lucas.