For years those who really looked into the history of the Star Wars Special Editions knew the story about how the original camera negative was chopped up to create them. “Truthers” online who wanted to believe that Lucas just kept the originals in a vault somewhere to spite fans refused to believe the story of the negative being cut, but now there’s official confirmation that that did indeed happen and the original negatives for the trilogy are conformed to the Special Edition.
At the same restoration presentation in Ohio last night that confirmed the 4K versions of the trilogy, The Digital Bits spoke to the director of Disney’s Library Restoration and Preservation, Theo Gluck, who was asked about Star Wars. After confirming that it is the most recent version of the Special Edition in 4K (no Han shooting first, so that rumor is dead), he confirmed that the original negative of the films exist in the Special Edition form.
In addition Fox’s Senior Vice President of Library and Technical Services, Shawn Belston, was also there and he did confirm that the “trims” still exist in storage, meaning the parts of the negative they cut out to create the SE’s. That finally confirms the old story of how they made the Special Editions, and while it’s a harsh pill to swallow for the Lucas haters who want to believe their conspiracies; this is as official a confirmation you’ll ever get.
So all those years when Lucas was saying the originals no longer exist, he was telling the truth and wasn’t just hiding them from people to be a jerk like so many on the Internet want to think.