Original 1977 Star Wars 35mm print has been restored and released online
A restored HD version of the original Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope 35mm print has appeared online. While this isn't the first time that attempts have been made to restore Star Wars to its original theatrical version—that's the one without the much-maligned CGI effects and edits of later "special" editions—it is the first to have been based entirely on a single 35mm print of the film, rather than cut together from various sources.
The group behind the release, dubbed Team Negative 1, is made up of Star Wars fans and enthusiasts who spent thousands of dollars of their own cash to restore the film without the blessing of creator George Lucus, or franchise owner Disney. Lucas has famously disowned the original theatrical version of Star Wars, telling The Today Show back in 2004:
The special edition, that’s the one I wanted out there. The other movie, it’s on VHS, if anybody wants it. ... I’m not going to spend the—we’re talking millions of dollars here, the money and the time to refurbish that, because to me, it doesn’t really exist anymore. It’s like 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.
Lucasfilm later claimed that the original negatives of Star Wars were permanently altered for the special edition releases, making restoration next to impossible. How Team Negative 1 got its hands on a 35mm print of the 1977 release of the movie is a mystery. But for fans who don't want to see ropey CGI, a pointless Jabba the Hutt scene, and know for a fact that Han shoots first, this restored version of the film—even with some pops, scratches, and colour issues—is the one to watch.