Despite George Lucas' best attempts to keep the original Star Wars print out of the public's hands, a group of dedicated fans have thwarted him.
Team Negative 1, the team behind the project, spent years and thousands of dollars working to make a high-def version of the original 35 mm print, according to Movie Mezzanine. The group quietly released their restored version on different message boards last month.
This isn't the first time that a group has pooled their efforts to recreate the original film as it was meant to be seen before Lucas made his infamous edits (including having Greedo shoot at Han first). The main difference between those previous recreations and Team Negative 1's is the quality of print they had to work with. For the first time, they had a fully intact version of the film to work with instead of having to piece together different segments from the original print, essentially scanning the print to make the HD version.
Lucas, who has vocally stated time and time again that he was against releasing the original version of the 1977 film, made changes to the movie shortly after it was released. When it was rereleased in theaters under the name Star Wars: A New Hope, Lucas said that was the only version of the film he wanted people to see, calling the 1977 film half-finished.
Still, fans have demanded that Lucas release the original for decades pointing out what they considered terrible editing decisions with the special effects and sequence of events in the newer version.
Ever since the prequel trilogy came to an end in 2005, Lucas has stepped away from the franchise. Although he applauded J.J. Abrams and the team on the success of The Force Awakens, he vowed to reporters that the only movies he was going to make would be seen by just his family.
Team Negative 1's version of the film is currently available to watch online if you're inclined to search it out. You can check out a 30-second comparison video of their restoration work to the original print below.