New details on STAR WARS films coming to Blu-ray


At this weekend’s Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), Lucasfilm Director of Fan Relations Steve Sansweet revealed some new details about the STAR WARS films highly-anticipated release on Blu-ray discs. Though no release date was given yet, we learned this much, as filed from the convention by IGN:

Lucasfilm plans to release all six films in a high-definition Blu-ray set packed with plenty of rare bonus features, many of which have never been released.  Sansweet offered these details and hints about the future of STAR WARS in hi-def:

“We have been at work for a couple of years working on — I won’t call it the Ultimate Set because we keep finding stuff — but, a very full set of all six movies on Blu-ray with lots of extra material. We’re finding all kinds of scenes from dailies that have never been seen before. Beyond all of those things that you know about… there are some real treasures.”

While fans will welcome the bounty of bonus features implied above, we still have no answer about which versions of the STAR WARS films will appear on Blu-ray: naturally FILMEDGE hopes that Lucasfilm will finally give fans the option of watching the Original Trilogy of films — A NEW HOPETHE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE JEDI — both in the form of their first theatrical releases from 1977, 1980 and 1983 respectively, as well as their Special Edition hybrid versions as released on DVD which already saw some changes from the SE theatrical releases in 1997.

Assuming this wealth of newly discovered/restored bonus materials accompany each film on its own disc — and not a separate Bonus Materials-only disc — its likely that this Blu-ray set will only offer the Special Edition versions of the Original Trilogy since a Blu-ray disc probably doesn’t offer enough storage space for two versions of each film plus bonus materials on a single disc. It seems highly unlikely that if Sansweet is truly referring to a Blu-ray box “set” of STAR WARS, such a set would exceed six or seven discs in total without its cost being prohibitive to consumers.

Sansweet gave no release date for the STAR WARS saga’s debut on hi-def Blu-ray beyond this cryptic comment:

“We’re not ready to announce exactly when it’s coming out, but it won’t be in the too distant future.”

Lacking the benefit of C3PO’s linguistic skills, FILMEDGE translates his statement to imply that STAR WARS should arrive on Blu-ray by the 2010 holiday season at the latest, if not this summer or fall.  If Sansweet truly means the near future, there’s a very thin chance we could see the Blu-ray releases timed with the 30th Anniversary of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK this May, but we’re not betting on it as the promotional window for a May release is probably already closed unless Lucasfilm counts on the hunger for STAR WARS in HD to cause all the buzz required for the films to fly off the shelves six weeks from now.  Fox Home Entertainment’s release calendar lists a small number of titles streeting in May and June so far, and STAR WARS is not yet among them, but we’ll keep watching for press releases from Fox.

Steve Sansweet also addressed developing discussion and speculation about all six STAR WARS films getting theatrical re-releases converted to the trendy 3D format:

“George has publicly expressed an interest in doing Star Wars 3D. Right now there are a number of different technologies, there’s some criticism out there about some of the movies that have quickly changed to 3D, so you have to pick the right technology, you have to get it to a cost that makes sense, and you have to have the time of the director and producer — George — to actually go in there, because you can’t push a button and stuff goes in one end and comes out 3D…

“Saying all that, George remains very interested in doing the Star Wars movies, all six, in 3D, and I hope it will happen someday in the not too distant future.”

The Maker only knows if a 3D theatrical release of the STAR WARS films will tie-in with their Blu-ray debuts, or whether their 3D bow in theaters will precede their 2D Blu-ray editions!  FILMEDGE is betting that George Lucas won’t allow one of his releases to compete with the other between your local cineplex and your living rooms, so expect at least three months to lapse between a theatrical 3D release and the saga coming home on Blu-ray. We’ll keep channels open for more breaking news on both stories, so bookmark FILMEDGE’s STAR WARS hub and our official blog for developments.

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