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Star Wars super fans restore unmolested 1977 print, distribute illegally online

It’s a keystone of the greatest space saga of all time and the genesis of one of the most influential stories of an entire generation. And now, after years of being lost to the sands of time, one group has brought the original tale in all its ’70s glory back from the brink.

As reported by Ars Technica, a restored version of the original 35mm print of 1977’s Star Wars (later retitled Star Wars Episode  IV: A New Hope) has hit the web.

Related: Work underway on Star Wars: Episode VIII, Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern on board

A restoration of the pre-special edition of the film — thought by many to have been permanently altered by Lucas himself — was accomplished by a small group of Star Wars purists called Team Negative 1.

The new restoration doesn’t have the blessing of Lucas or current rights holder Disney, and represents the original version of the film that was officially disowned by Lucas in 2004, when he said in an interview with the Today show, “The special edition, that’s the one I wanted out there. The other movie” … “to me, it doesn’t really exist anymore. It’s like this is the movie I wanted it to be, and I’m sorry you saw half a completed film and fell in love with it.”

How exactly Team Negative 1 acquired the original print is a mystery, with Lucasfilm having claimed that all original 1977 negatives were given the special edition CGI treatment.

“We know that anyone under 30 kind of prefers the clean, sharp, detailed look,” Team Negative 1 said in an interview with Movie Mezzanine about the project, “Then the older crowd, the retro crowd, is like, ‘give me the grain and give me the matte boxes and give me a little weave in the picture.’ It’s kind of like CD vs. vinyl.”

It goes without saying that the new print is extremely illegal, as it is completely unauthorized by rights holders. While we cannot point you directly towards it, and do not condone internet piracy here at DT, we will say it is available online for prying eyes.

Here’s hoping Negative 1 can find a version of The Empire Strikes Back next.