In an interview with the New York Times The Lucas himself announced all 6 Star Wars films are coming to Blu-Ray next year.
Don't get all out of breath just yet. This release seems to mirror the DVD releases in that you're getting the 2004 clean-ups of the 1997 Special Editions with a hint that a future release may include the restored original releases.
Initially my ire was raised as Lucas said that releasing the original trilogy un-cartoonified was "“kind of an oxymoron because the quality of the original is not very good.”
But those cheeky monkeys at the NYT knew what they were doing. My weave was out and my knuckles were cracked. I was screaming out, "lemme at 'im! lemme at 'im" when I read a little further and saw that Lucas wasn't badmouthing the original releases (his usual M.O.), but that there would have to be a big restoration done to get a high def master.
And he's also stopped calling the originals "workprints" instead referring to them as the "classic versions."
His reasoning at not releasing them at the same time was the time and expense of doing full restorations of the original materials was prohibitive and as such the "recent releases get priority over what we call 'the classic' version of things."
If he flat out said he was going to take the SE Star Wars Blu-Ray sales money and feed that right into the high def restorations of the original trilogy that would include a Blu-Ray release that has every option you could ever want (THX or original stereo sound, cleaned up matte lines or original see-through snowspeeders, etc) then put me down for two double-dip copies of the SE Blu.
So, bummer, but there's at least a new hope at getting a real version of the Original Trilogy remastered (not the laserdisc transfers from the last round of DVDs).
The upcoming Blu release will include never-before-seen footage and massive documentary features. The rest is unclear at this point.
There was a big unveiling at Star Wars Celebration V of one of the new deleted scenes that will be a part of the Blu-Ray release's special features. Pretty awesome... new moment from the beginning of Return of the Jedi... Luke's original entrance. See it before it's pulled:
IGN.UK has a full report from the event here. There will be deleted scenes you've never seen like the above and they'll be kept out of the cuts, special features only. Thanks to wackybantha and Cobra--Kai in the talkbacks for the heads up!
End of Update
Since we're still talking about Star Wars, I'd like to point you over to a great article at The Hero Complex blog about original Star Wars and Empire producer Gary Kurtz. The article has Kurtz discussing his split with Lucas and the Return of the Jedi that almost was. You'll learn the original fate of Han Solo and the originally conceived bittersweet ending that sounds, frankly, pretty spectacular. And this is coming from an unrepentant lover of RotJ.
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