Last August, George Lucas and Mark Hamill broke the official news at Celebration V about the STAR WARS Saga landing on high-definition Blu-ray discs in Fall 2011, but that was just the no-details beginning. Bothan spies and our allies at Lucasfilm promise “a most impressive announcement” about the Saga going Blu at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in that strange, neon-hued galaxy we call Las Vegas.
While FilmEdge won’t be attending CES in person, we’ll be delivering details on LFL’s STAR WARS Blu-ray breaking news from the Panasonic booth as soon as it happens, so you might want to subscribe to our blog now to get an alert when we publish the details on Thursday. Just click that Get on the Edge button at the upper right corner of this blog entry page to sign up for first looks at all FilmEdge blog updates.
Meanwhile, here’s a quick recap of details for the STAR WARS Blu-ray release we know now according to official Lucasfilm press releases:
- All six STAR WARS films will be released in one Blu-ray box set
- The Original Trilogy films will only be presented in their upgraded Special Edition versions (sad to say)
- Each disc will offer “extensive bonus features” with deleted scenes, documentaries and previously unseen footage
With the current push to bring 3D player/display technology to home theaters, don’t be surprised if more news breaks about the upcoming 3D conversion of the STAR WARS films, scheduled to hit theaters one Episode per year beginning in 2012 and likely to arrive in their own Blu-ray 3D disc releases not long afterward.
Richard Lawler at Engadget got this invitation to the CES special announcement on Thursday, which looks promising but is galactically vague, of course:
And now a few words of commentary on what we’re getting and not getting (apparently) this Fall:
In that August press release, George Lucas admitted that an HD-worthy restoration of the Original Trilogy theatrical versions has never been made due to the time and expense needed to upgrade their 1970s-80s condition, visual effects and soundtracks. Okay, true enough, but then again each film was meticulously upgraded for their Special Edition releases in 1997 with added scenes and extensive use of CGI to improve and/or replace substandard visual effects shots born from the originals’ limited budget constraints.
Sure, restoring the originals to their much-deserved high-definition debut would be costly, but haven’t STAR WARS fans supported the franchise enough over 30-plus years to earn the versions they’ve clamored for over decades now? How many copies of the Original Trilogy do you own, counting VHS and DVD releases combined? Fellow fans: how many times have you bought the Saga soundtracks in their various, ever-expanding number of track releases and special box sets?
FilmEdge is glad to point out that Lucas has re-invested hundreds of millions back into his STAR WARS universe to keep it spinning for three decades and counting, and we applaud him for it. But fans have also spent millions re-investing the contents of their wallets into STAR WARS movies, discs, games and collectibles, and it might be fair to say that Lucas has profited by this mutually beneficial exchange. So how about funding the HD restoration of the Original Trilogy theatrical cuts with some of those profits and give at least two generations of fans what they so dearly want?
FilmEdge joined fans around our world that a Blu-ray release of the STAR WARS Saga would finally herald the HD release of the Original Trilogy in theatrical form, since Blu’s advanced branching technology and/or storage capacity would easily manage both theatrical and Special Edition versions in a box set release. A BD theatrical cut debut would actually avoid the dreaded “yet another re-release disc” stigma which plagued the limited-space DVDs which would have required separate-disc editions alone, forcing yet another re-buy investment for fans. Blu-ray technology could literally merge theatrical and SE cuts on one branched disc presentation, allowing viewers to watch their preferred version of the Original Trilogy, and more importantly to own both at once. Best of both worlds.
Well, from all probe droid reports scanning our system, we’re not getting the choice. Again. Will FilmEdge get and review this Fall’s Blu-ray box set anyway? Of course, we love the Saga and we’re born suckers for it . . . plus it’s our job. But we can’t help but feel disappointed that another prime opportunity to deliver “old school” STAR WARS as we grew up watching it has been missed. We can only hope that the profits from this BD box set finally flip the script and fund the long-awaited return of the original Original Trilogy we’ve not seen in a long time. A long time.