I've known of this scene's existence for years and wondered if it might show up someday, since the music for it was actually released in 1997 on the Special Edition of the Jedi score. It's a cool little tidbit that I'm not sure as to the reason for its cutting, as it's barely a minute long.
This was part of an announcement that the Star Wars films will be released on Blu-ray sometime next year. That's pretty cool, although I don't own a Blu-ray player and won't buy one just for this; I won't be getting a Blu-ray player until the current DVD player dies, mainly because I still do not see the overwhelming need for yet another digital media format. If I have Blu-ray by the time Star Wars comes out, great; if not, then I'll wait for both.
Apparently the original releases won't be part of the package, because they need a lot of restoration work. I'm generally fine with that. In truth, I haven't even watched the original releases since the Special Editions came out; with a couple of small exceptions, I'm generally OK with the changes Lucas and company made in 1997. It would be nice to have the originals out for archival reasons, though. Same reason I still have my theatrical cuts of the Lord of the Rings films, even though I don't watch them.
And of course, since this is George Lucas we're talking about, in every forum where I've seen discussion of Star Wars on Blu-ray, I see the same tired old kvetching about how "There goes Fat George again, double-dipping and making his fans buy his stuff all over again." That this is standard operating procedure for all of the movie industry is apparently no excuse when it comes to George Lucas, who literally can't win: "Why the hell isn't Star Wars on Blu-ray? Oh, it is? Well, thanks for the double-dip, you jerk!"
Oh well. I still love you, Uncle George!
(Oh, might as well mention this article on original Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz that I read a few days ago. Kurtz, it seems, is breaking silence, and frankly, he sounds rather like a bitter old man who is still angry that he didn't get his way all those years ago when George Lucas didn't want to make the version of Return of the Jedi that Kurtz did. But Geez, look at how Kurtz wanted things to go in the third film:
“We had an outline and George changed everything in it," Kurtz said. “Instead of bittersweet and poignant he wanted a euphoric ending with everybody happy. The original idea was that they would recover [the kidnapped] Han Solo in the early part of the story and that he would then die in the middle part of the film in a raid on an Imperial base. George then decided he didn’t want any of the principals killed. By that time there were really big toy sales and that was a reason.”
The discussed ending of the film that Kurtz favored presented the rebel forces in tatters, Leia grappling with her new duties as queen and Luke walking off alone “like Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns,” as Kurtz put it.
Rescue Han Solo, only to kill him forty minutes later? End with the Rebel forces in tatters? Sounds like the ending of The Empire Strikes Back to me. And frankly, Lucas's desire for a happy and upbeat ending to Jedi shouldn't have come as a surprise, since Lucas was giving interviews in 1977 about how a big part of why he made Star Wars: A New Hope the way he did was that he was tired of depressing, dystopic movies that dominated the early 1970s. Plus, by this time Lucas had his notions for two trilogies, one telling the tale of Luke Skywalker and the other that of Anakin, much more firmly in his mind, even if he didn't have many details ironed out. He knew that the first trilogy would by definition end on the same note that Kurtz had wanted the second to end on, which would have seemed fairly silly.
I also note Kurtz's weird belief that Lucas refused to allow main characters to be killed off because of toy merchandising. Well, Yoda dies in Jedi, and that didn't stop Yoda figures from being made, did it? In fact, lots of movies that have action figures have figures of characters who die. This objection of Kurtz's makes zero sense; but then, I've never found the whole "Lucas decided that all he cares about is making toys" argument terribly convincing.
Finally, I reject his notion that making prequels is somehow "limiting" to story, presumably because we know how it ends. So what? People didn't flock to The Passion of the Christ out of suspense for its ending. I know how Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will end, but you'd better believe I'm seeing that movie. Knowing how a story ends is in no way an impediment to enjoying a story, or being able to tell it well. Kurtz should know that.
OK, now I'm done. Whew....)