“Grow up. These are my movies, not yours”: George Lucas Won’t be Happy How Star Wars Fan Group is Illegally Saving the Original Trilogy

A Star Wars fan group is going to great lengths to preserve the theatrical cuts of the original trilogy, which George Lucas has altered over the years.

"Grow up. These are my movies, not yours": George Lucas Won't be Happy How Star Wars Fan Group is Illegally Saving the Original Trilogy

SUMMARY

  • The original Star Wars trilogy is a beloved piece of media, which creator George Lucas has changed to match his vision multiple times.
  • As a result, a fan group known as Team Negative One is attempting to restore the original theatrical cuts of the films in 4K, albeit without authorization.
  • Given Lucas' strong feelings for the "Special Editions" being the definitive versions of the movies, he will likely be unhappy with fans group's actions.
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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away began George Lucas’ epic space opera tale that eventually grew into the pop culture phenomenon we know today as Star Wars. The original trilogy of films Lucas made during the 70s and 80s, became beloved across the globe, but the theatrical cuts of the movies have neared the brink of extinction following Lucas’ special edition re-releases.

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A still from Return of the Jedi
The altered ending scene from Return of the Jedi

As a result, a group of rebel Star Wars fans have taken it upon themselves to not only preserve but also digitally restore the original cuts so that the fanbase can enjoy the version of the films they first fell in love with. However, the group’s activities directly clash with Lucas’ vision for his franchise and border on a legal grey area. Here is why George Lucas won’t be happy with the rebel fans trying to preserve the original cuts of the original trilogy.

How Star Wars Fan Group is Trying to Save the Original Trilogy

The original trilogy of Star Wars films, spearheaded by George Lucas were critical and commercial successes. However, in 1997 Lucas released the “Special Edition” of the films for the trilogy’s 20th anniversary, which featured extensive changes to the original theatrical cuts.

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A still from Return of the Jedi
A still from the ending scene of Return of the Jedi‘s theatrical cut.

The original cuts have since become scarce. However, a group of Star Wars fans, known as Team Negative One have reportedly almost completely digitally restored the original cuts in 4K using 35-millimeter prints of the original trilogy.

The project is headed by Robert Williams, who along with his team have spent almost a decade restoring the films.

“They’re not really upset that he made the changes, because some of them are pretty cool and actually make the films better. They’re really upset that he didn’t also release the original version alongside it. Just put two discs in the box. We’d have been happy.”

Williams made the above statement to The New York Times, explaining the motivation behind preserving the original cuts of the trilogy. However, the publication also noted that Team Negative One’s activities were not authorized as they worked with film reels meant to be destroyed or returned. Hence, the legality of Team Negative One’s restored versions of the original trilogy is questionable.

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How George Lucas Feels About Fans Preserving the Original Theatrical Cuts of Star Wars Films

Since the Special Editions were released over the 20th anniversary of the originals, they have also been released through DVDs, Blu-rays, and digitally, making them the definitive version of the trilogy. In 1997, Lucas himself stated that he saw the Special Editions as the definitive versions of the movies.

George Lucas
George Lucas sees the Special Editions as the definitive version of Star Wars (Image via BBC Newsnight)

Given Lucas’ strong feelings about the Special Editions, it is evident that the filmmaker would be unhappy with fans trying to preserve the original cuts, which he referred to as “rough drafts” in the past.

According to reports, Lucas allegedly voiced his disappointment with fans demanding a high-resolution release of the original cuts in the following words:

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“Grow up. These are my movies, not yours.”

Similarly, when the National Film Registry aimed to preserve 1977’s Star Wars (later retitled Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope), Lucas reportedly refused to provide them with a copy of the original theatrical release.

Lucas stated that he would no longer authorize the original version’s release, reaffirming that he did not intend for the audience to view the theatrical cuts. After Disney acquired the franchise, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy also stated that Lucas’s changes to the theatrical cuts would remain untouched. Hence, it is safe to say that Lucas would certainly be unhappy with fans still trying to preserve the original cuts.

The Special Edition cuts of the Star Wars franchise are streaming on Disney+.

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Pratik Handore

Written by Pratik Handore

Articles Published: 457

Pratik is a writer at FandomWire, with a content writing experience of five years. Although he has a Bachelors in Hospitality, his fascination with all things pop culture led him to writing articles on a variety of topics ranging from latest streaming releases to unheard movie trivia. When not writing, you can find him reading manga, or watching classic TV shows.