A Star Wars Fan Is Restoring the Film to Its Original, Unaltered State

Everyone knows that the original three films in the Star Wars franchise—in their original, unaltered states—are way better than any series entry made since then. But while you can still enjoy the early-day antics of Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie, you can't watch the original originals.

Beginning in 1997, George Lucas and his production company Lucasfilm started tinkering with the original trilogy, adding more advanced sound effects, CGI, and even altering minor plot details to incorporate newer characters and/or actors who showed up in the prequels (like replacing Sebastian Shaw with Hayden Christensen at the end of Return of the Jedi). Though the edits were intended to improve the quality and cohesiveness of the movie-watching experience, most fans were enraged by even the slightest deviation from the Academy Award-winning originals.

On internet forums, these dedicated fans have joined forces to pool their guerilla tactics—like VHS tapes, old DVDs, and 35mm print scans using photography and animation software—to try to re-create, scene by scene, the original theatrical release of Star Wars.

This act of retro-editing a film back to its roots is referred to as "despecializing," and the most prolific practitioner of the art, at least in the Star Wars universe, is a Czech man named Petr Harmáček, better known as "Harmy" to his legion of online followers. After writing his thesis on the cultural impact of the original Star Wars trilogy, Harmáček embarked on a quest to make the unaltered films available for viewing for those who missed the original theatrical release.

"If both versions were available in the same quality I would probably enjoy watching the special edition once in a while," Harmy told The Atlantic. "It’s not about George Lucas not being able to do these special editions. If people like the special editing, they can continue watching those. As long as both versions are available."

But they're not. And George Lucas has made it very clear he doesn't want them to be. When the National Film Registry requested a copy of the original theatrical release for preservation, Lucas said no. When pressed on the matter by the AP in 2004, Lucas didn't budge:

To me, the special edition ones are the films I wanted to make. Anybody that makes films knows the film is never finished. It’s abandoned or it’s ripped out of your hands, and it’s thrown into the marketplace, never finished ... This is the movie I wanted it to be, and I’m sorry you saw half a completed film and fell in love with it. But I want it to be the way I want it to be. I’m the one who has to take responsibility for it. I’m the one who has to have everybody throw rocks at me all the time, so at least if they’re going to throw rocks at me, they’re going to throw rocks at me for something I love rather than something I think is not very good, or at least something I think is not finished.

Harmy clearly disagrees. Since 2010, he has worked tirelessly to revert the first film to its original glory, creating multiple despecialized versions. On the Facebook page dedicated to the project, Harmy writes, "The main goal is to get as close as possible to the original versions of the films as seen in cinemas on opening day, while maintaining high picture and audio quality."

Above, you can watch a video that compares the Blu-Ray Disc video, two different despecialized versions, and a negative that was used as a resource. Check it out!

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Everything That’s Leaving Netflix in July
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Universal Studios

Here’s some news you won’t be cheering about: Bring It On is leaving Netflix on July 1st—as are the four of its sequels that are currently part of the company’s streaming library (FYI: there are a total of six Bring It On films altogether—yes, six). The Lethal Weapon franchise will bid farewell, too, as will a handful of classic films like Breakfast at Tiffany’s. To make way for July’s slate of new titles, here’s everything that’s leaving Netflix in July.

JULY 1

Alive

Along Came Polly

An Honest Liar

Beerfest

Before Midnight

Bring It On

Bring It On Again

Bring It On: All or Nothing

Bring It On: Fight to the Finish

Bring It On: In It to Win It

Cocktail

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Lethal Weapon

Lethal Weapon 2

Lethal Weapon 3

Lethal Weapon 4

Little Women

Michael Clayton

Midnight in Paris

Mixed Signals

More Than a Game

Pandemic

Piglet’s Big Movie

Rugrats Go Wild

Scary Movie

Scream 3

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

The Art of War

Tropic Thunder

V for Vendetta

JULY 2

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

JULY 8

Alpha & Omega: Journey to Bear Kingdom

Real Husbands of Hollywood: Seasons 1-5

JULY 9

Ratchet and Clank

Serena

JULY 11

Alice Through the Looking Glass

JULY 14

Wild Hogs

JULY 15

Convergence

Lockup: State Prisons: Collection 1

Small Is Beautiful: A Tiny House Documentary

JULY 16

Changeling

Wanted

JULY 29

The Den

JULY 30

A Cinderella Story

Hurricane of Fun: The Making of Wet Hot

Swing State 

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Every New Movie, TV Series, and Special Coming to Netflix in July
Universal Studios
Universal Studios

Like so much of the moviegoing world, Netflix is in a Jurassic Park state of mind. Among the dozens of new movies, TV shows, and specials that will be added to the company’s already-massive streaming library next month are Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and Jurassic Park III. There’s plenty to love for non-dino enthusiasts, too—including new seasons of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and Orange is the New Black. Here’s everything new that’s coming to Netflix in July.

JULY 1

Blue Bloods: Season 8

Bo Burnham: what.

Chocolat

Deceived

Finding Neverland

Get Smart

Happy Gilmore

Hawaii Five-O: Season 8

Interview with the Vampire

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park III

Madam Secretary: Season 4

Menace II Society

NCIS: Season 15

Pandorum

Penelope

Queens of Comedy: Season 2

Rica, Famosa, Latina: Seasons 1-4

Scooby-Doo

Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed

Spanglish

Stealth

Swordfish

The Boondock Saints

The Lost World: Jurassic Park

The Princess Diaries

The Voices

Traitor

Troy

Van Helsing

We Own the Night

We the Marines

What We Started

JULY 2

Dance Academy: The Comeback

Good Witch: Season 4

Romina

The Sinner: Season 1

JULY 3

The Comedy Lineup

JULY 5

Blue Valentine

JULY 6

Anne with an E: Season 2

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee: New 2018: Freshly Brewed

First Team: Juventus: Part B

Free Rein: Season 2

Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons: Season 2

Sacred Games

Samantha!

Somebody Feed Phil: The Second Course

The Fosters: Season 5

The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter

The Skin of The Wolf

White Fang

JULY 7

Scream 4

JULY 9

Lockup: Extended Stay: Collection 1

JULY 10

Drug Lords: Season 2

JULY 12

Gone Baby Gone

JULY 13

How It Ends

Jim Jefferies: This Is Me Now

Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain

Sugar Rush

The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants

JULY 15

Bonusfamiljen: Season 2

Going for Gold

The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale: Part 2

JULY 20

Amazing Interiors

Dark Tourist

Deep Undercover: Collection 3

Duck Duck Goose

Father of the Year

Fix It and Finish It: Collection 3

Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh: Season 4

Jimmy: The True Story of a True Idiot

Last Chance U: EMCC & Life After

Last Chance U: INDY: Part 1

Luna Petunia: Return to Amazia: Season 2

JULY 22

An Education

Disney’s Bolt

JULY 24

The Warning

Iliza Shlesinger: Elder Millennial

JULY 27

Cupcake & Dino - General Services

Extinction

Orange Is the New Black: Season 6

Roman Empire: Reign of Blood: Master of Rome

The Bleeding Edge

The Worst Witch: Season 2

Welcome to the Family

JULY 28

Shameless: Season 8

The Company Men

JULY 29

Her

Sofia the First: Season 4

JULY 30

A Very Secret Service: Season 2

JULY 31

Terrace House: Opening New Doors: Part 3

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