The year was 2010. He was a Star Wars Trilogy fan like any other, dreaming of his heroes and in love with a princess. But on a dark and stormy night, he felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices were crying out in frustration, and he knew that something awesome had to be done. His name was Harmy, and he set out on a quest to defy the evil Empire and to restore the Star Wars Trilogy to its unaltered glory.

(Star Wars (1977) – Despecialized Edition v2.7)

Using the Force to learn the ways of video editing as he went upon his journey, he taught himself the necessary skills to undo this grievous wrong. Soon other Jedi Knights were drawn to his cause, for it was righteous and true. From many worlds they came; Belbicus, CatBus, Dark Jedi, Hairy_Hen, Laserschwert, Puggo, YouToo, and Team Negative 1.

Together they searched the galaxy for sacred artifacts long thought lost to the ages, long ignored and denied by the Empire. As one they used the Force to cleanse and restore the Trilogy frame-by-frame, removing all traces of besmirchment from upon it. Many years later, after countless days and nights of tireless struggle, they completed their quest. Thanks to their bravery, determination and mastery of the Force, the Star Wars Trilogy was restored to its original unaltered magnificence with the following versions:

Star Wars (1977) – Despecialized Edition v2.7

The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – Despecialized Edition v2.0

Return Of The Jedi (1983) – Despecialized Edition v2.5

So how the hell do you get hold of these fabled things…?! Well, you’ve got a few options, although none of them are ‘official’. You sadly can’t just walk into a store and buy them.  OriginalTrilogy.com will point you in the right direction, and they’re fairly easy to find as torrents elsewhere. You’ll also find unauthorised sellers on Ebay offering ‘The Star Wars Trilogy – Despecialized Editions‘ on blu-ray in packages of varying physical quality, but most of these are just the source files burnt straight onto retail blu-ray discs.

(Return Of The Jedi (1983) – Despecialized Edition v2.5)

And what about the Empire? What do they think about all of this? …Well, they definitely know about it. A site offering unauthorised blu-ray reproductions for sale complete with bonus features and high-quality labeling and inserts was recently shut down. However, no attempts have been made so far to try and thwart people from freely creating, sharing and obtaining restored backups of films which they have previously legitimately purchased.

As for the despecialized editions themselves? They’re glorious. It’s the Star Wars Trilogy, as you remember it, in superb fully-restored HD quality. What more do you want?! They’re a truly epic win.

(Star Wars (1977) – Despecialized Edition v2.7)

It’s important to remember, however, that these films are now decades old. Despite the painstaking work that has been done on these restorations, the age and limitations of the source material are sometimes pretty obvious. Grain is very visible during some outdoor scenes, and the restoration process also shows up occasional quality and continuity errors with skies, backgrounds, general light levels and different film stock. Naturally, these are all far more obvious in these HD restorations than on the previous laserdisc and DVD bonus-disc releases of the unaltered Star Wars Trilogy.                                          Some of the untouched original effects definitely show their age in places too, especially in Star Wars (1977), but the relief of seeing them in all of their original unaltered glory is something that all true Star Wars Trilogy fans will understand.

(Star Wars (1977) – Despecialized Edition v2.7)

Overall, the restoration and colour grading on these things is fantastic and you’ve probably never seen the Star Wars Trilogy look this good before. On a decent quality HD screen at normal viewing distance, you’ll be way too busy struggling to see these stunning restorations through tears of joy and gratitude to notice any minor natural and unavoidable characteristics of source material this old having been restored via modern means.

(The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – Despecialized Edition v2.0)

You can feel the love in every single frame of these things, and it matters. It feels right that fans’ love and care is now palpably woven into the life and history of these special, cherished films. It feels right that fans’ love and care is now as much a part of the Star Wars Trilogy as lightsabers and the Force. This had to be done, someday, and it means all the more because it was fans who did it.

This Christmas, don’t drink the corporate Kool-Aid. Don’t do it… Trust your feelings. Let go. Instead, marvel at the passion and dedication of the realest bunch of Star Wars Trilogy fans who’ve ever lived, and revel in revisiting the only war among the stars that really matters. The real one. The one where Luke Skywalker and his friends saved the galaxy. The one that ended on Endor.

(Return Of The Jedi (1983) – Despecialized Edition v2.5)

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