J.J. Abrams reveals he asked Disney about releasing the theatrical cuts of the original Star Wars trilogy, but was told that can’t happen.
In an interview with Now This News to promote Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Abrams was asked if he’d be interested in seeing the unaltered Star Wars trilogy get a commercial release. The director definitely would, and he even inquired Disney about it:
“And I have asked about this… But I’ve been told that, for reasons that I quite don’t understand, that that’s not necessarily possible. Which is, you know, too bad because that was the thing that I loved.” Abrams shared with Now This News. “Which is too bad because that was the thing that I loved. In fact, it’s funny, when we were working on [Star Wars: The] Force Awakens, we were talking about this one scene with Vader and the Emperor and we were having this disagreement about what was said, and, in a way it was, like, we both felt crazy. And we realized we were talking about two different versions, because there’s the ‘despecialized’ version, which you can see online, someone got me a version, and then there was an official version. There was the original theatrical version and then the version that people see now.”
He added, “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, for so many people, the thing they loved as it was. And so it would be great to have them available for a mainstream audience.”
There remains the slim possibility this could change in the future, as Kennedy reportedly said there are no contractual agreements in place to block a Star Wars theatrical cut release. But it would appear such a box set is not in the cards. What’s most frustrating about this is the fact other films, like Blade Runner and The Lord of the Rings, have multiple versions available, so people don’t really understand why Star Wars can’t be the same way and give fans the option.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker lands in theaters on December 20th.