​Will Disney ever release the pre-Special Edition Star Wars movies?

Illustration for article titled ​Will Disney ever release the pre-Special Edition Star Wars movies?

Happy new year, folks! I wish I could tell you what year I'm in, but to tell the truth after our smartphones died and people stopped making calendars, we post-apocalyptic survivors kind of lost track of dates. So for New Year's Eve, we all kind of get together and pick an evening and get really, really drunk. It's a lot like the other nights we get drunk, but with more festive hats.


Special Ed

Jennifer H.:

Dear Mr. Postman,

I am hoping you find this letter that I attached around the neck of my cat. I don't have any children who can stand out weathering the elements, so he will have to do.

As you're in the future, where Disney owns the rights to Star Wars, you might not remember the outrage over George Lucas editing the original films and adding things to them. Do you think there is a chance that Disney will re-release the films without the footage added in or are they more likely to make it worse? I think there is a lot of money to be made if they did just a simple re-release of things without the CGI additions of pre-Vader Anakin, as an example. Or is it possible that disney will make things worse and digitally insert references to mouse ears?

Also, I've always wondered, who was the most annoying character to you when you take out the two fan favorites of Jar-Jar Binks and the Ewoks?

Look, I know I'm a fake mailman in the post-apocalyptic future, but even I remember the madness surrounding the original Star Wars trilogy and its "special editions." There's a certain breed of nerd that will never stop discussing how Han shot first, even when they're scavenging for canned goods in a decrepit convenience store.

But have hope, because I'm pretty sure Disney will be releasing the original Original Trilogy at some point on DVD and Blu-ray — or at the very least, they're more likely to than George Lucas ever was. (Yes, I know Lucas technically released them on DVD, but they were neither remastered nor put in anamorphic widescreen, meaning they looked literally no better than the VHS versions. They don't count. At all.)

There are several reasons for this, but mainly 1) Disney doesn't have the emotional hang-ups that Lucas does and they aren't trying to prove anything, and 2) they really like money, and they know there's a sizable market for the pre-special edition movies. George Lucas released only the special editions because he thought they were the better versions of the films, but this time the soulless, mercenary corporation is working for us because they don't give a shit about artistic integrity. There's no reason for them to ignore this easy revenue stream.

The same goes for Disney's chances of tinkering with the previous movies — they aren't worried about Lucas' original vision for the films, or trying to tie the original trilogy to the prequels. They just want money, and they'll do that by two ways: by making new Star Wars films and reselling the old ones. Unless George Lucas somehow made not selling the pre-Special Editions part of the contract when he sold Lucasfilm to Disney — which he is crazy enough to do, although I feel we would have heard about it by now — not releasing an unedited, anamorphic widescreen version of the original trilogy on DVD and Blu-ray is literally just turning down money.


As for my most loathed character in fandom, I would have to say Snarf. I'm not a big ThunderCats fan or anything, but the original Sanrf is so loathsome, so annoying, and so devoid of any redeemable quality he practically qualifies as a hate crime every time he wanders on screen.

Illustration for article titled ​Will Disney ever release the pre-Special Edition Star Wars movies?

Public Defenders

Eric W.:


With the news of Netflix collaborating with Marvel Studios on new series and a Defenders feature/mini-series, I got to thinking (always dangerous).

The traditional Defenders lineup is Hulk, Dr. Strange, Silver Surfer, and Namor. Three out of four of these men could literally split the world in two if they really wanted to, and the fourth is a flying, super strong mutant who also happens to rule an entire nation of technologically advanced mer-men. Has there ever been a more insanely overpowered group of heroes who actually routinely work and fight together?

You could make a case for the Justice League I suppose, but their members rarely take on problems together, they just sort of dispatch one or two people as needed all over the place. Same with The Avengers in a lot of cases (and without Hulk in their lineup The Avengers really don't stack up all that well against the Defenders from a raw power standpoint).

The Defenders are built like they were put together by a bunch of 10-year-olds on a playground. Every member is the biggest, baddest, fastest, most powerful being they could come up with. Is there any other group this insane from top to bottom? I'm curious to hear your take.


It's kind of an esoteric question (which is totally fine, seeing as that's mostly what this column is about). No, there's probably not another team whose members are all so consistently powerful, mainly because most comic book teams are designed to be diverse (in powers, if nothing else). Having four uber-powerfui dudes presents something of a storytelling challenge, which is partially why the Defenders comic have been canceled like a dozen times over the last 40 or so years.

But in terms of gross power, I'd say the Justice League definitely has the Defenders beat. Yes, often the team breaks up to fight smaller threats, but they're not adverse to banding together to take on more massive problems (of which the Defenders would certainly be one). I'd think the original Authority has a pretty good chance of taking them on, too.


Also, the Avengers could beat them, because they're the Avengers and the Defenders are the Defenders. The in-story reasoning would probably be something like while the Defenders have power, the Avengers have more intelligence, and can outsmart the Defenders; or maybe it'd be because the Avengers are a real team with a real leader and the Defenders are basically four guys who occasionally manage to agree to beat somebody up. They're not exactly a cohesive team like the Avengers are, and that's a liability. Even at the best of times, Namor and Hulk don't exactly play well with others.

Illustration for article titled ​Will Disney ever release the pre-Special Edition Star Wars movies?

Truth Decay


I have some questions about zombies that I hoped you could answer. Since the human body decays after death at a gradual rate, Wouldn't a solid plan of action during the apocalypse be to, just live on our rooftops (hoping that zombies can't climb stairs) and just wait for the zombies to decay themselves back to death?


Well, yes, as long as you have enough supplies to live your roof for the six or so months it would take for the zombie horde to decay to a point where they no longer had the musculature to move (the time depends a great deal on the temperature and the climate of your location). Assuming you don't have a half-year's worth of food and shelter on the top of your house, you're going to need to make supply runs, at the very least through your house, and who knows if or when a zombie will be waiting for you. So it's a good plan, but not very practical.

One other thing to consider: Any long-running zombie narrative — like The Walking Dead or George Romero's Of the Dead films — features zombies that have been around for much longer than they should be. Sure, zombies are always creating new zombies, but I think you have to consider that part of the zombie virus slows the rate of decomposition to some degree. Otherwise Rick and pals would be chilling at a Chuck E. Cheese by this point.


Illustration for article titled ​Will Disney ever release the pre-Special Edition Star Wars movies?

Suffragette City

Eleanor S.:

Why is there a deadline to have a female Doctor? Because it's the 21st century? In the United States (and in many other countries) women get paid less than their male counterparts. Gender inequality is an issue we still face. Do you think casting a female in the role of a science-fiction super hero is going to change that?

You talk about a female Doctor like it's an inevitability. But what if the Doctor after Capaldi is another male? And then another male after that? What if 2025 rolls around and there still hasn't been a female Doctor? Will you stop watching the show? Will you send angry letters to the BBC? What exactly are you going to do if they don't meet your expectations?

And why should they? Because it's cannon that time lords can change gender? So what? Long before Neil Gaiman's throw-away line there was a throw-away line by the Ninth Doctor that he could regenerate without a head. How likely do you think it is that will happen?

What IS established is that within Doctor Who canon (that is excluding parodies and Peter Cushing) there have been thirteen actors cast in the role of the Doctor. They have all been male. Establishing a precedent. Why would that change now? Because it's the 21st century?

And lastly, isn't there more important things to worry about than constantly whinging about needing a female Doctor?


First of all, let me say I don't know how "Postal Apocalypse" turned from a discussion of superheroes' genitalia to a pro-feminist, gender equality in nerd-dom soapbox, but I do know my wife is somewhat gratified by the change.

Second of all:

• There is no deadline for having a female Doctor, but I would hope that in 2014 the show's creators would be beyond picking an actor to play a fictional time-traveling alien based solely on their genitalia.


• No, I don't think casting a female Doctor is going fix gender-based salary discrepancies, but I do think that bringing gender equality to Doctor Who is a step towards gender equality everywhere; while it's obviously an extremely small step, I don't think that means it's not worth taking.

• Yes, I may quit watching Doctor Who if they systematically refuse to cast a female Doctor. No, I probably wouldn't write a letter, but I would definitely bitch about it on the internet somewhere.


• Yes, it is canon that the past 13 Doctors have been men, and no, that's absolutely no reason to prevent a future incarnation from being a woman. Having a precedent is no reason to not change something. There was a pretty big precedent for not allowing women to vote prior to 1920 in America, but I think we can all agree that was a change for the better, no?

• And finally yes, there are infinitely more important things to worry about than a female Doctor, but I am not paid to discuss those things in my nerdy letters column. Hope that helps!


Do you have questions about anything scifi, fantasy, superhero, or nerd-related? Email the postman@io9.com! No question too difficult, no question too dumb! Obviously!




Before a huge war breaks out in the comments about this, and I'm sure it will, can I ask a single question? The last letter really was getting at this point and I think it is one that needs to be answered fully by anyone advocating for a gender change in the Doctor. The question is: Why?

I think this is a fair question to ask, and one that really needs to be given a serious answer. Most answers seem to boil down to 1. it would be awesome, 2. it's time, or 3. it will have a positive impact on women's rights. 1 isn't really a great justification, 2 doesn't make a ton of sense to me, and 3 has never really been explained enough or shown really to be true. I mean, couldn't most of these arguments also be used to make the Doctor American? I doubt most fans would go for that, but the same arguments could be applied.

And before people reply, and I'm sure a few will, can we please try to keep this conversation civilized? And by that I mean I am honestly attempting to understand why so many people believe this change would be a positive, especially in light of how poorly so many people feel female characters have been written, treated, or portrayed by the current writing and production team. It would be nice if the conversation didn't devolve into accusations of sexism or being unwilling to change or being stuck in the past. I'd just like some explanation in a logical fashion.

Thank you.