When the original Star Wars trilogy was re-released in its 20th Anniversary special edition in 1997, new 2-disc editions of John Williams's classic scores were released as well, featuring nearly every minute of music written for the trilogy. The three albums are amongst my favorite soundtracks, with the first pretty much accomplishing perfection. Ever since, these three albums have been released in different forms with different covers and booklets, but musically it's the same album.
The same cannot be said for the prequel trilogy. While the scores for the prequels aren't as magical as the original trilogy, they're still better than most scores out there. It's too bad theither available albums are disappointing.
The only one of the three prequels to receive more than one album is The Phantom Menace, but that's been pretty much a travesty. George Lucas did so much last minute editing of Episode I that there wasn't time for Williams to redo his score. As a result, it was chopped up and heavily edited to match Lucas's changes, particularly the third act which is a mess. There was such an outcry from fans for a more complete release that Sony (who owned the release rights at the time) released an "Ultimate Edition" of the score in 2000. The result; the score was presented as heard in the movie, complete with butchered edits. It was pretty much a mess.
The same editing technique was used for Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, but nowhere near as exstensively.
Still, there has yet to be a really satisfying release of the scores for the prequel trilogy.
With the new trilogy about to debut, I think it's time for this to be rectified. I believe all three scores should be released as complete editions as recorded for the movies, especially The Phantom Menace, before George Lucas cut it up. I think it would be interesting to hear how John Williams originally intended his scores and a be get an idea of what the first movie was almost like.
I'm not sure who currently owns the rights to the prequel scores. I know 20th Century Fox still owns distribution rights for the original six movies but I thought I read somewhere that Disney now owns all the soundtracks. If so, hopefully someone at Disney sees an opportunity (especially for a nice profit) and pushes to release complete editions of John Williams's fantastic scores. That's something I'd happily pay to get!
I mean, come on! It's Disney! How could they not pass up an opportunity like that?