Star Wars - The Original (1997) Trilogy Returns to Theaters Once More

By Adam Pawlus — Tuesday, April 12, 2016

While you're all coming down off the high of the Rogue One trailer and the recent news that Ben Affleck is bringing you a new Batman movie, how about checking out movies you've got memorized?  The 1997 cuts of the Star Wars Trilogy - that is, the Special Editions - are coming to theaters, briefly, for the May the Fourth Be With You campaign at Alamo Draft House theaters.  I'm not quite sure of the date, it would be handy if they included such things in the name of the promotion.  Click here for dates and deets.

3090 For those of you not older than dirt who weren't around to see these films in their 1997 forms in theaters, a primer: for most fans in 1997, the trilogy had largely only been seen on VHS or in the rare charity screening around the country.  Fans were beyond excited at the prospect of not only going to see the movies again with the biggest levels of excitement this side of Rocky Horror, but fans were actually really excited about the new footage.  One Mr. Steve Sansweet even toured a bunch of local sci-fi shows with a tape of some of the new stuff, and fan reaction was really positive.   Deleted scenes were (and are) a huge deal to many fans, so the inclusion of some Biggs Darklighter and Jabba the Hutt scenes were, to say the least, huge.   These cuts also provided the second big dry run for merchandisers, after Shadows of the Empire and prior to Episode I.  We got new soundtracks, new comic adaptations, new toys, new trading cards, and all kinds of stuff - if you were of the toy-buying age in 1987, the likes of 1997 were almost unthinkable.

While these cuts featured pristine restored prints and some new CG effects, we also saw some additions or tweaks that weren't necessarily awesome - including what appeared to be an unfinished CG C-3PO model, immortalized on trading cards.   These 1997 cuts of the movie were never officially made available on DVD or Blu-Ray, but VCD, VHS, and LaserDisc owners may have them in their vaults for posterity.