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As popular as Star Wars is, I'm not sure there's a franchise out there that has dealt with more controversy and backlash. There are certainly those out there who unconditionally love every frame of every movie in the two trilogies, but there are also those who not only endlessly rant about the prequels, but also the Special Editions of the original trilogy that were made in the late 1990s. The latter were created after George Lucas set out to try and capture what he described as his original vision for the movies, using the help of more advanced CGI, but many die-hards felt that all of the extras and changes did little more than clutter up the screen and take away the original impact (not to mention the rage over Greedo shooting first). Because of all this, years have been spent begging for high-definition versions of the original theatrical releases to come out on home video - but those requests have all gone unheeded. Fortunately, Star Wars fans are nothing if not a resourceful lot...
The video you see above is dedicated to the creation of Star Wars: Despecialized - an amazing, fan-made, high definition cut of the originally theatrically released Star Wars trilogy, constructed using a number of different versions of the movie that have been released over the years. Credit for the creation of restoration goes to a user named Harmy from the OriginalTrilogy.com message boards, who has really put together something magnificent here. As you'll learn watching the featurette, the greatest resource for the project was the Star Wars Blu-ray box set that was released back in 2011 - but Harmy's version actually goes beyond that flawed professionally-made cut and creates something that's in many ways superior.
While the debate regarding original versions vs. special editions is one that's been going on for about 17 years now, I think we can all agree that this is just seriously impressive and a really incredible showing of fanhood. Creating something like this involves having not only incredible skill and patience, but also some challenging resources. Watching this video, my jaw drops when the screen wipes and reveals that Harmy was able to do. As an owner and regular viewer of the mentioned 2006 "GOUT" version (which truly looks terrible on HD TVs), I bow down to the work that has been done here.
So how can you see the full version of Star Wars: Despecialized for yourself? The uploader of the YouTube embed above offers information if you email them, but the OriginalTrilogy.com forum also notes that "Fanedits and preservations are an artform and to be shared among legal owners of the officially available releases only." What's more, they are not to be bought or sold, and were created solely for "culturally historical and educational purposes." My fingers remain tightly crossed that Lucas and his lawyers don't do their part to destroy this amazing piece of art.