There have been a lot of rumors floating lately about the possibility of an unaltered cut of Star Wars being released on Blu-Ray, courtesy of comicbook.com and an anonymous "source".
Obviously, this had the internet in a uproar, because who wouldn't want to see the original cuts of this incredible trilogy? It also make some sense on the face of it, with Episode VII coming out next year, a new release would be a big money move.
However, it looks like the rumors are wrong, as they so often are. As much as I would love to get my hands on the original cuts, there are some legal issues preventing it from happening.
The biggest issue here is to do with the distribution rights to the films. BadassDigest has reported that Disney doesn't actually own those rights, which would make it pretty much impossible for them to release them.
Disney doesn't own Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi. Fox does. They also own the distribution rights to the Prequels.
The rights to Empire and Jedi and the Prequels will revert to Lucasfilm (and thus Disney) in 2020, but Fox will retain the rights to Star Wars forever. In perpetuity. And they'll never give it up.
Oh, FOX. Why must you own all the rights? Now, it is possible that FOX could work with Disney on a distribution deal, especially in light of the fact that it would make so much money. I would also be thrilled to hear about the two studios working together, because my little nerdy heart desperately wants to see the X-Men cross over into the larger Marvel cinematic universe, and that can only happen if FOX and Disney decide to team up.
The other major issue with an unaltered release lies with George Lucas himself. Whatever fans may think of his tinkering with the movies, they are still his movies.
As long as George Lucas is alive they're not willing (or able? I'm not clear here) to go against his wishes and release the untouched originals. That was the situation earlier this year, when a rumor about a re-release of the untouched originals was circulating.
Looks like we'll have a while to wait before we can see this version of the classics, but there is still the new installment to look forward to!