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As we all know, Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012 and with it, the rights to the Star Wars franchise. It is well publicised that George Lucas made changed to the original films that many fans were unhappy with, e.g. the question of who shot first in A New Hope and the "Noooo!" in Return of the Jedi.

My question is, now that Disney own Star Wars, could they revisit the earlier editions, re-edit them and undo the perceived damage that George Lucas did, thereby making their own Special Editions?

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    Less infamous than a lot of other changes, eg Greedo shooting first – Adeptus Jan 8 '16 at 5:09
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    Could they alter the previous movies, by, say, undoing Lucas' changes? Almost certainly. Will they do so? We're not that lucky. – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Jan 8 '16 at 5:21
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    @Hypnosifl It's tragic what George Lucas did to that scene. It's so much more powerful with a silent Vader. You "see" he is struggling with his conscience until he finally makes his mind up; the "noooooo" not only sounds ridiculous, it's also completely redundant! – Andres F. Jan 8 '16 at 6:13
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    I think 20th Century Fox still has exclusive rights to distribute Star Wars (1977), so Disney doesn’t actually own all the rights to the whole franchise. (I think I heard this somewhere on The Incomparable podcast, so I don’t have a reference.) Although I’m sure a deal could be made, much like Disney did with Sony regarding Spider-Man. Until then, as @K. Gkinis says, it’s Harmy’s Despecialized all the way. – Paul D. Waite Jan 8 '16 at 12:09
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    I always have to laugh at "Han shot first" - that implies that someone shot second, but Greedo was too dead to shoot back! – Brian Jan 8 '16 at 17:16
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George Lucas doesn't want them released

After it was announced that Disney was buying Fox (which would give Disney the distribution rights for the original trilogy), Pablo Hidalgo took to Twitter to clarify that this had no effect on any plans for a release.

Pablo Hidalgo: Good morning! What's kept the original theatrical editions off of home video is the same thing that's always been doing that. It's not a studio thing.

Well why leave us hanging here Captain Pablo? WHAT is the grand reason that's keeping the Theatrical Versions off Home Video? Please enlighten.

Pablo Hidalgo: There is one notable person who doesn’t want them released.

original answer below

Filmmaker John Landis said they would during an interview with Empire.

>At a Q&A tonight John Landis dropped that Disney are finally going to re-release the theatrical cuts of the original Star Wars trilogy.

Although I'm not sure how accurate this is, because these types of rumors have surfaced several times in the past.

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    It would be technically difficult to release the original trilogy unaltered. It is highly questionable whether or not the original film exists intact. The studio would have to go back to the original print, and do a new digital transfer in order to have a high enough quality to produce it. The people who produced the Harmy editions did a very good job fixing what they could. But, there are some scenes which they had to copy from the laserdisc versions, so they are not in HD. It would be great if they could fix all of the problems and release it commercially, but I am skeptical about it. – Jason Hutchinson Jan 8 '16 at 12:58
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    IMHO, the best version of STAR WARS was a "remastered" edition, which I think came out on VHS in the late-90s and, I think, is also the source for what is the LaserDisc version which super-fans MUST own. In this version, much of the lighting is touched up, there is a little bit of color correction, each frame was cleaned up, etc. but nothing was added or taken away in regards to content. It has been my long hope that whatever original content was archived from that original remastering could resurface on to Blu-Ray or whatever. Certainly LucasFilm handed these originals over to Disney. – RLH Jan 8 '16 at 14:11
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    @ToddWilcox The 2006 DVD version was a rip of the LaserDisc master, which was apparently the cheapest option and is limited to the resolution seen on the DVD. The Special Editions involved the original prints being permanently altered, since the negatives were in awful condition when they were found. It's not clear whether the changes involved any of the CGI additions though. More info here: originaltrilogy.com – Milo P Jan 8 '16 at 17:02
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    @JasonHutchinson I would be content, if there is no better option, with an officially produced SD copy on a modern medium, either DVD or Blu-Ray. But I doubt very much that they can't do better. – Jason Jan 8 '16 at 17:32
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    As long as Disney might be altering the movies let me put in my bid for them to hire a good voice actor to completely overwrite young-adult Anakin's whiny voice! – O.M.Y. Jan 8 '16 at 18:57

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