Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Star Wars Prequels Movies

Why Disney Can't Give Us High-Def Star Wars Where Han Shoots First 210

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-find-your-lack-of-distribution-rights-disturbing dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Lost amid the disappointment of the Star Wars prequels were the unfortunate edits George Lucas has made to the original trilogy when he re-released them. Lee Hutchinson points out a few of the worst: 'In Return of the Jedi, Jabba's palace gains an asinine CGI-filled song-and-dance interlude. Dialogue is butchered in Empire Strikes Back. And in the first movie, perhaps most famously, Han no longer shoots first.' Lucas flat-out refused to spend time and money remastering the original versions of the movies. But now Disney is in control of the franchise (and the business case for releasing different versions of the same films has been proven). So there's hope, right? According to Hutchinson: maybe, but not for a while. While technological advances have reduced the price tag for such an endeavour, lawyers will keep it expensive. It turns out 20th Century Fox still owns distribution rights to the Star Wars films. Because of complex and irritating legal reasons, Disney was not able to acquire those as well. Thus, Disney will have to get Fox's approval and probably cut Fox in for some of the profits, if they were to re-release the series."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Why Disney Can't Give Us High-Def Star Wars Where Han Shoots First

Comments Filter:
  • by Kimomaru (2579489) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @12:44PM (#46967791)
    . . . because there was no reasonable chance of this happening with Lucas. Man, how do you mess up Star Wars?!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by p51d007 (656414)
      Don't you mean...."A new hope"? ;)
    • by Rick Zeman (15628)

      . . . because there was no reasonable chance of this happening with Lucas. Man, how do you mess up Star Wars?!

      Forgotten about JarJar Binks, have you?

      • Forgotten about JarJar Binks, have you?

        No, he hasn't. That's why he said:

        "there was no reasonable chance of this happening with Lucas."

    • by rudy_wayne (414635) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @01:05PM (#46967973)

      From TFA:

      When Disney plunked down $4 billion at the end of 2012 for the Star Wars franchise, it didn’t actually get everything, because Lucasfilm didn’t actually have everything to sell. Disney can release whatever new movies it wants, or dress Mickey Mouse up in Jedi robes and have him wave a light saber at guests in the Magic Kingdom, or hand-wave away the entire Star Wars Expanded Universe—it paid for the rights to do all of those things.

      Turns out, what it can’t do is sell you new copies of the six Star Wars movies (aka Episodes 1 thru VI). "Fox owns distribution rights to the original Star Wars, No. 4 in the series, in perpetuity in all media worldwide. And as for the five subsequent movies, Fox has theatrical, nontheatrical, and home video rights worldwide through May 2020."

      When George Lucas filmed Star Wars in the late 1970s, he had to turn to 20th Century Fox to both finance and distribute the film; the success of the first film enabled Lucasfilm to finance the other five movies itself (though Lucas did require some additional assistance from Fox in fully funding The Empire Strikes Back’s production). Lucas continued to use Fox as a distributor for all of the six existing Star Wars films—and Fox retains those distribution rights under the Disney sale.

      • by TWX (665546) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @01:29PM (#46968105)
        And that's why you can have my widescreen Laserdisc editions when you pry them from my cold, dead hands...

        I don't understand why the initiative to do this doesn't come from FOX, there's got to be enough interest to make it profitable. All that I want them to do is to clean up the artifacts from the editing process (where one can obviously tell that it was multiple rolls of film layered through the machines like in the space battles) and to clean up any degradation in color or texture from the film grain itself. Hell, they could even remix the audio into AC3 or whatever surround sound system people like, but they don't need to do more than restoration-type work.
      • I've been annoyed that I haven't been able to see the original movie since it was first in theaters back in the 70s; SW4:ANH just isn't the same thing.

    • by bitt3n (941736) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @03:26PM (#46968561)

      Man, how do you mess up Star Wars?!

      It must really annoy Lucas to hear people ask this even after he produced a detailed three-part instructional video on the subject.

  • by crow (16139) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @12:49PM (#46967841) Homepage Journal

    If you look around, there has been a fantastic fan effort to create the Despecialized Editions that are as close to the original theatrical runs as possible for the original trilogy. They've mixed in the HD sources for the current releases with older footage to undo all the changes. It's pretty amazing.

    • by Spottywot (1910658) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @01:09PM (#46967993)
      Harmys despecialized editions can be found here http://originaltrilogy.com/for... [originaltrilogy.com] This site invites you to create an account to get access to the torrent link, but the torrents for all three movies should be quite easy to find on the usual torrent trackers. They are all great quality hd versions with the original soundtracks. Happy hunting, with no need for Disney to intervene.
      • by Guspaz (556486) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @02:14PM (#46968257)

        Just as an FYI followup to this, Harmy has been working on the despecialized editions for years, so there are a few different versions hanging around. The latest version is v2.5. The improvements in quality from his first release to his most recent release are huge.

        He also did preliminary attempts at Empire and Jedi, but he only did a rough first pass on those, so the work on them is nowhere near the quality of his work on Star Wars. He plans to revisit Empire and Jedi once he's satisfied with the original.

        • Thanks for that, I didn't realise that they were still works in progress, I'll check to see which version I have and compare it to 2.5.
    • For my money, the Jabba palace CGI song and dance number is really the only unwatchable edit though. The Han shooting first thing is just funny (though not in a good way.) The dialogue was always ridiculous.

      But that fucking dancing singing alien... Jesus... Someone should have really called Lucas out on that.
  • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @12:50PM (#46967853)

    It turns out 20th Century Fox still owns distribution rights to the Star Wars films. Because of complex and irritating legal reasons, Disney was not able to acquire those as well. Thus, Disney will have to get Fox's approval and probably cut Fox in for some of the profits, if they were to re-release the series.

    If that's what happens when a studio buys something, I don't want to see the mess involved for Netflix to acquire streaming rights for different countries.

    • If that's what happens when a studio buys something, I don't want to see the mess involved for Netflix to acquire streaming rights for different countries.

      Yes, it generally is. I was amused by this quote in OP:

      Because of complex and irritating legal reasons, Disney was not able to acquire those as well.

      Well, boo-hoo. Disney is perhaps most famous for its own injection of "complex and irritating legal reasons" into their own contracts. Who are they to complain?

    • by alen (225700)

      fox put up the original cash so they own the distribution rights

      most movies cost so much to make you have different investors involved and everyone shares the different rights

      • Although I'd love to invest in a movie personally.

        Have you seen the return on a average movie? Incredible! Better than a term deposit.

  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Saturday May 10, 2014 @12:52PM (#46967867) Homepage Journal

    There are some very well done Fan Edits which take footage from various versions of the film and create a fan-friendly version. Han shoots first, no CGI Jabba the Hutt, etc.
    You can often spot the differences when they went from HD to a DVD or Laserdisc source to keep the story true to the original, but that's part of the fun.
    • by Guspaz (556486)

      The better edits (like Harmy's Despecialized Edition) are done at a sub-frame level, rotoscoping in original elements from the highest quality available sources. The bluray is the base, the somewhat less "specialized" HDTV rips are used after that, and then from there anything goes. Upscaled DVDs, magazine scans, cell scans, 35mm print scans... After years of effort on them, you can't really tell where the "seams" are, except in the handful of most difficult edits.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @01:03PM (#46967955)

    Who cares if Fox has to be cut in, does Disney not really care about the results $3B in profit that would result from a HD recoversions of the untouched original?

    I think it's great there's any hope at all, from the headline I thought Lucas burned the originals.

    • It's called negotiating. The question is not, "Would you like half of $3 billion?" The question is "What percentage of $3 billion would you like?"

      And the best leverage Disney has is to play the "It's my ball and I'm going home if you don't want to play by my rules" routine.

    • Reality check. (Score:4, Informative)

      by westlake (615356) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @07:33PM (#46969711)

      Who cares if Fox has to be cut in, does Disney not really care about the results $3B in profit that would result from a HD recoversions of the untouched original?

      3.2 million copies of "Frozen" were sold on its first day of DVD and Blu-Ray release --- returning about $65 million gross.

      "Frozen" as a global cultural phenomenon is damned impressive even by geek fan-boy standards. I would expect an HD restoration of the 37 year old Star Wars to be financially viable ---- but, as these numbers suggest, not the pot of gold at rainbow's end.

  • In Soviet Russia, Khena Solo shot first!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Do you have any idea how much money people are willing to pay for a faithfully restored version of the original trilogy??? Do you???

    • by westlake (615356)

      Do you have any idea how much money people are willing to pay for a faithfully restored version of the original trilogy???

      I haven't got a clue and I doubt that you have either.

      I don't see anything happening until Disney's take on Star Wars is solidly anchored and begins to rival its success with Marvel Comics.

  • by Dega704 (1454673) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @01:25PM (#46968089)
    I along with plenty of other people would gladly pay an obscene price for a blu-ray copy of the original, untainted trilogy. Star Wars fandom aside, this is really something that needs to be done for the sake of preserving history. Few films if any have had the kind of cultural impact that these movies did. George Lucas has astounded me with his level of selfishness and lack of empathy when it comes to this. Plenty of other films have created director's cuts and whatnot, some of which needed it because they were originally ruined by last-minute editing, but they also preserved the theatrical release along with them. I have no doubt that there are plenty of movies that Lucas loves and would be furious if their creators came along and started making ridiculous changes because they didn't turn out how they wanted. Everyone knows he protested against colorizing black and white films in the 80s. What a hypocrite. Nothing turns out just the way you originally plan. That is often how good things come about in the first place; by accident. The only thing he has proven is that if the original movies had turned out the way he wanted, they would have been awful.
  • by Sri Ramkrishna (1856) <sriram,ramkrishna&gmail,com> on Saturday May 10, 2014 @01:27PM (#46968095)
    Especially after their actions in the Firefly debacle.
    • by Guspaz (556486)

      20th Century Fox had nothing to do with Firefly, any more than the company that made your refrigerator made nuclear bombs. Different companies with a shared owner.

      • Ah, well. Thanks for pointing that out.
      • Actually, they do - 20th Century Fox was the production company, and holds the distribution rights (so they sell the DVDs). The show succeeding was in their best interest, so they had nothing to do with network-of-the-same-name's cancellation decision.
  • Fine (Score:5, Informative)

    by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @01:32PM (#46968119) Homepage Journal
    Can they give us an HD Wookie Life Day Christmas Special?

    I'm contractually obliged to mention this in every Star Wars thread on the Internet.

  • by Anonymous Freak (16973) <prius.driver@mac. c o m> on Saturday May 10, 2014 @01:34PM (#46968129) Journal

    First implies an order.

    An order implies there is more than one.

    Han doesn't shoot *FIRST*, Han shoots.

    There is no "first," because there is no "second."

    There is no "second" because Greedo doesn't shoot at all.

    Stop with "Han shoots first" - start with "Greedo never shoots".

  • Disney will have to get Fox's approval and probably cut Fox in for some of the profits, if they were to re-release the series.

    First, why hasn't Fox put out DVDs or Blu-rays themselves?

    Second, why would Disney scoff at such a deal? Even minus some to Fox, Disney would make a lot of money.

    The originals in high resolution would be snatched up, both by fans who just like them that way and by collectors who deem first things higher.

  • After seeing what Paramount did with the Blu-Ray release of the original Star Trek, there might actually have been hope that they would put out a proper restoration of the originals, possibly with selectable audio mixes and VFX.

    • It would've been nice to get the Director's Cut, though I think I'm right in saying it was only completed at DVD quality (and, in fact, looks pretty bad even for DVD).

    • by iluvcapra (782887)

      Paramount did a great job, and continues to do a good job (COME ON DS9) with the Star Trek blu-rays.

      On the other hand, the special director's edition of The Motion Picture is far superior to the theatrical cut, but the theatrical cut is the only one available on Blu ray.

  • by haruchai (17472) on Saturday May 10, 2014 @05:47PM (#46969215)

    "while technological advances have reduced the price tag for such an endeavour, lawyers will keep it expensive"

    This is true of far too many things, beyond just the movie industry.

  • What's worse than uninformed bullshit posted as an "article" on the Internet?

    Uninformed bullshit that then gets picked up, summarized in a modern game of telephone via a retarded summary, compounding the uninformed bullshit to complete horseshit, and then posting it on /.

    There are bits of truth in there, but since this is all speculation on everyone's part until Disney announces anything (or Lucas/Fox spills the beans, see below), It's easier to just lay it out instead of trying to refute/correct all t

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. -- Albert Einstein

Working...