WookieeLeaks: Will We Ever Get to See the Original ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy Again?
ScreenCrush’s WookieeLeaks is a weekly roundup of everything 'Star Wars'! From Episode VII, to the upcoming spinoffs and the TV shows, if it pertains to that long ago, far away galaxy, we’re covering it here, bringing you our expert analysis. This week, learn what you’re getting (and not getting) in the new Star Wars digital releases, listen to some George Lucas stories, and dive into the latest The Force Awakens spoilers.
Star Wars is Available Again Today (But Not the Version You Want)
You probably know this already, but you can go buy all six Star Wars movies in digital form right now. Like, literally right now. As in “they became available today and are being offered at all your typical digital outlets for $19.99 each or $99 for all six in a bundle.” This is the first time the movies have been available digitally and it’s a big deal. A lot of people are going to discover and rediscover these movies this way.
But not even a surplus of new special features can keep this day from feeling a little melancholy. Before we get you all down in the dumps, let’s share the exciting stuff. How about the new trailers for each movie, which someone how manage to make even the prequels look like they’re worth a seventh chance?
If you have a lot of time to kill, a whole bunch of preview clips from the new special features have made it online and if anything, it’s this smorgasbord of goodness that will make us buy this movies again.
Unfortunately, the dark cloud hanging over all of this is exactly what you’d expect. These releases only offer the special editions of the original trilogy, not the far superior theatrical cuts. Fans have bemoaned the special editions for so long that it’s not even worth getting into everything that’s wrong with them, but the short version is this: The theatricals are older films that have aged beautifully and the special editions look like jarring products of the ’90s.
But let’s allow the sun to peek through those dark clouds for a moment. Although Badass Digest initially reported that the new releases would change some of the more controversial special edition stuff (namely Greedo shooting first), this turned out to be untrue. In a second post detailing exactly how that incorrect information was construed, writer Devin Faraci explained that a restored version of the untouched original trilogy actually exists at this very moment ... we just can’t see it yet:
There is a 4k remaster of A New Hope. In this 4k remaster, which includes tweaks and small changes, the Han/Greedo scene is altered. The 4k remaster is not what is being used for the digital editions. The existence of the 4k remasters have been known for a while - they were reported in June of last year - but which version was being remastered wasn't exactly clear. It seems like the 4k remaster is still being held back for... something. A rerelease timed with The Force Awakens? A 40th anniversary rerelease right before Episode VIII? A new box set tied to the release of The Force Awakens?
So here's where I stand: the story was wrong. The digital release of A New Hope is not changed. But in the Lucasfilm vaults there is a 4k remaster of the original trilogy that has been tweaked and changed from the latest release, and that 4k version has Han shooting first. When will we see it? I don't know, but we will eventually see it.
This is hopeful because it implies that we may actually get to own the original versions of the films at some point in the near future. This is also ridiculously cynical because that would mean this digital release is Disney and Lucasfilm milking the fans one last time before giving them exactly what they want. For that reason, we’ll pass on the digital releases, thank you very much.
Close Encounters of the George Lucas Kind
Star Wars fans are always in a precarious place when it comes to George Lucas. On one hand, he created the saga we hold so dear. On the other, he made the prequels and the special editions. He’s undeniably a genius, but his baffling creative choices since the ‘90s have led to fans turning on him in a big way. It’s tragic, really.
But since he’s left Star Wars behind and has gone on to live a life of luxury and charity with his family, stories about him have become worth their weight in gold. The chances of Lucas ever making another movie seem awfully slim, so the tales his fellow creatives have about him are taking on a new mystique.
Take this anecdote from Ronald D. Moore, the man responsible for some of the best episodes of Star Trek and the creator of the incredible Battlestar Galactica reboot. He was one of the writers who quietly toiled away on Star Wars: Underworld, the live action TV series that Lucas developed for years. 50 scripts were written and seasons were outlined, but any chances of the show actually seeing the light of day were killed after the Disney acquisition.
And Collider has a great little story of how Moore wold butt heads with Lucas:
Trust me, one of the great experiences of my life was sitting in a room with George Lucas and arguing about Darth Vader … It was like, ‘What would he say in this circumstance?’ And you find yourself, you’re sitting there going, ‘No! What are you talking about? He can’t say that,’ and then you catch yourself and you’re like, ‘What the fuck am I doing? I’m telling George …’ It’s like, how crazy is this? But he was a good sport about it and he was just like, ‘Alright. Fine.’ He’s like, ’No he won’t.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, then no he won’t.’
Then there are the tales from those who got along with him. Doug Chiang was a designer and artist on The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Now, he’s the executive creative director at Lucasfilm and one of the key players involved in the making of The Force Awakens. In a new interview, he spoke about how Lucas picked which designs he liked, even when presented with dozens of choices at once:
He could scan a wall full of art and almost instantly identify the one or two or three images he really liked. When I finally had the courage to ask, it was probably the biggest lesson for me. He said, ‘I’m basically judging it by shapes and understanding.’ What George was really doing was he was looking at those designs through an audience’s point of view.
We have reached the point in our love/hate relationship with Lucas that we’ve let most of the hate go. We would love nothing more than to buy him a cup of coffee and pick his brain. We don’t get the man, but we sure find him fascinating.
The Leaky Ship That is Star Wars
Before we get to the Star Wars news that no one at Lucasfilm actually wants you know about, let’s do the world’s fastest rundown of the news that it actually approved for your eyes. First, it’s been essentially confirmed that the first poster for The Force Awakens will arrive at Star Wars Celebration, probably at the same panel as the trailer reveal. Second, Andy Serkis conducted a new interview with the Irish Examiner, where he revealed no new details and talked about how great J.J. Abrams is.
Now, let’s get to the good stuff.
First, let’s start with the Twitter feed of Will McCrabb, a cinematographer, producer and writer who dedicates his social media space to sharing behind-the-scenes photos and and trivia about classic movies. We don’t know him personally and have no idea who he may know, but late one night, he tweeted that Wedge Antilles was the lead character in Star Wars: Rogue One.
And then the Tweet was deleted.
As you may know, Wedge is an X-Wing pilot who played small but key roles in each of the three original Star Wars movies. He assaulted the Death Star, defended Echo Base and, well, assaulted the Death Star again. In the old Expanded Universe, he played a massive role, popping up in all kinds of books and comics. Since the title of Rogue One implies the involvement of Rogue Squadron, the group of X-Wing pilots led by Wedge, it would make sense that the new movie is all about his other adventures. This is especially interesting because it would mean recasting an original character, who was played by an actor who has been vocal about not giving a crap about Star Wars. Since Denis Lawson turned down a role in The Force Awakens, the implication is that the new Star Wars movies have bigger plans for Wedge ... which means that a movie centered around his earlier days feels very plausible.
Or McCrabb’s original tweet was a joke and he was messing with us. Who knows?
Let’s talk about something that we can see with our own two eyes. Remember how the trailer for The Force Awakens deliberately didn’t let us see the villainous Kylo Ren’s face? Well, now the big reveal has come to us via a shoddy photograph of a children’s puzzle, just as J.J. Abrams intended:
Back in speculation-ville, Making Star Wars has provided a description of a scene from The Force Awakens involving Han Solo, Chewbacca, Rey, Finn and the Millennium Falcon. It’s noting too huge, but you know, potential spoilers and such:
Chewbacca is in the back recuperating from his injury with the pirates on the Gigantic Freighter. After they leave the freighter in the Falcon, BB-8 shows the saber and they fly to the jungle world. Rey is overcome by the green she’s seeing.
It is an interesting character bit if it makes the final film. She only remembers living on a desert planet so when she sees all the green of the planet that looks a lot like Yavin, she is probably seeing the most beautiful sight she has ever seen.
All in all, it points towards the idea that Rey has been on the sand planet for her most of her life as far as she can remember.
Oh, and you’ve probably seen the leaked description of the new trailer that has been making the rounds:
- The teaser runs at about a one minute and fifty seconds, just under two minutes.
- Han, Leia, Artoo and Threepio.
- We do see Yavin in the teaser.
- We see a shot of Finn with a blue lightsaber.
- There is a shot of Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), the chrome Stormtrooper, very briefly.
- We do see Kylo Ren’s helmeted face.
- We see Poe Dameron shoot down a TIE fighter.
- A shot of Finn and Poe walking past one another at the base.
- Rey is in a few shots.
- There is a shot of Poe Dameron, Artoo-Detoo, See-Threepio, and a CGI character (Rose).
- BB-8 socketed in the back of an X-wing.
- Kylo Ren’s Imperial shuttle flies by with TIE escorts to the Star Destroyer.
- Star Destroyer(s).
- The Falcon.
- X-wing fighters flying in a V-shape formation.
- Darth Vader’s helmet sitting on a podium.
- No Serkis.
- No Luke.
But have you seen this one, which is recounted in video form?
If you can’t be bothered by a video, here is a transcription:
The opening sequence begins on the desert landscape, a dusty star destroyer crashed into the sand. Looks like it’s been there for many years.
Following cut, characters Rey and Finn and our favorite rolling robot BB-8 are making their way through a crowd in the fleamarket a very Tatooine-ish type of scenario.
Next, we have Rey looking through the trees, in a Yavin-like scenario, as TIE fighters fly overhead.
The next scene he told us about, were pilots running to their ships in their old-school style X-wing gear… yeah… orange!
Now it really starts to get interesting… Towards the end of the trailer, from behind, we will see Han Solo, vest and all. Complete traditional garb, the way we remember his, as he sits down and re-acquaints himself with the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon.
As if this wasn’t good enough – brace yourselves – because this last scene has not been described by any other website yet. As far as we know, this is an exclusive…
This last scene shows a gloved hand pulling something out of a pile of ash. As it comes into the clear, it begins to take the shape of Vader’s former helmet… what’s left of it. Here’s the interesting part:
Remains of a skull still reside in the helmet.
If this is all true, that final reveal sounds very, very interesting.
In news that should surprise no one, Disney has partnered with IMAX to secure massive screen releases for all future Star Wars movies (and Marvel movies, but that’s for another ScreenCrush column). Meanwhile, comic book writer and novelist Greg Rucka is apparently set to write a Star Wars comic called Shattered Empire. And Visceral’s top secret Star Wars video game (the one that is not Battlefront) will most likely be revealed at this year’s E3.