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Star Wars on DVD

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Links to the threads on Episode I, Episode II, Episode III, Episode IV, Episode V and the 2006 edition of Episodes IV, V and VI on DVD, as well as The Clone Wars and the various rumoured TV series (plus one quasi-duplicate thread on the comedy series).

See also the threads on 'Star Wars Debate Redux' (which began as a place to bash Episode II; Jul 8 - Nov 11, 2003), 'Sci fi = spiritual? Star Wars, X2, etc.' (Apr 12-14, 2004), 'Best Star Wars Movie? (with poll; Apr 18-20, 2004), Top 100 Discussion: The Star Wars original trilogy?' (May 6-7, 2004), 'Is Star Wars Blasphemous?' (Jun 15 - Jul 25, 2005), 'Star Wars in 20 minutes' (Aug 8-9, 2006) and 'Star Wars: Uncut' (Apr 2010).

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Alan wrote:

: Also note that it is the "special edition" versions, not the original theatrical

: releases. Can you say "super special-edition boxed set" in a few years?

Sigh. It wouldn't surprise me if Lucas made even more changes to the films before releasing these DVDs -- I mean, he actually made a few changes to The Phantom Menace before releasing that film on DVD, and he was making changes to the digital version of Attack of the Clones even after he'd signed off on the film prints of that film.

Mind you, if they put the deleted footage on the bonus disc, the way the makers of the Star Trek: The Motion Picture DVD did, I won't complain so much. (BTW, it would be really, really cool if they included the Boba Fett cartoon from the "Star Wars Holiday Special" on one of these discs, given it was his first-ever appearance and all.)

It'll be especially annoying if the rumours of Lucas inserting footage of Natalie Portman (and even Hayden Christensen?) into Return of the Jedi are true, though.

USA Today wrote:

: Each film had technological tweaking and added footage.

Some footage was also cut from at least from the first film -- years ago, I saw a video file on the web which showed how Lucas had toned down the violence in a couple of scenes: in the original version, you see a hero disguised as a stormtrooper fire his blaster, and then the film cuts right away to a shot of an Imperial guard getting hit in the chest by a laser bolt and falling to the floor; but in the 'special edition', the camera lingers on our disguised heroes just a little bit longer, so that we don't cut to the Imperial guards until just AFTER they have been hit -- we just see them fall to the floor, now.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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Anders   

I too am a little bit dissapointed that Lucas has chosen not to release the original versions of the STAR WARS trilogy along with the 1997 Special Edtions. Would it have been too much to ask that Lucasfilm release some akin to the Alien Quadrilogy that was released this past fall with 2 discs for each film, the original theatrical releases and respective special editions, commentary and then a bonus disc of special features?

I have set out to remedy this situation for myself though. On the weekend I acquired a set of the 1996 THX original editions on eBay and hope to have a friend transfer them to DVD-R so that I don't wear out the tapes. It may not be the same as a proper release, but at least I can have the original editions (in Widescreen, which I never got when I was younger) for posterity sake, even if the Special Editions don't bother me as much as some of the others on this board. I'm still very much a STAR WARS completist.

However, that gripe asside, I'm very excited that my FAVORITE FILM OF ALL TIME will finally be available on DVD! I think I'll probably watch The Empire Strikes Back over and over again that week.

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Alan wrote:

: When I first saw Star Wars, I saw the complete early footage, with the

: swamp flight that anticipated the death-star run at the end of the film. I

: do not know anyone else who saw that footage--anyone here?

I don't recall even HEARING about this. What I DO know about is the 'rough cut' that was shown to some industry people in which, instead of using the then-unfinished special-effects shots for the dogfight sequence, the filmmakers just used old archival footage from World War II. It would be cool if some of THAT made it onto this disc. (And hey, if the Beauty and the Beast DVD can include the "work in progress" version of that film...)

Anders wrote:

: Would it have been too much to ask that Lucasfilm release some akin to

: the Alien Quadrilogy that was released this past fall with 2 discs for each

: film, the original theatrical releases and respective special editions,

: commentary and then a bonus disc of special features?

No kidding! I was just thinking about that on the way home -- Fox Video has done a 6-disc Die Hard trilogy set and a 9-disc Alien quadrilogy set, so it boggles the mind that they would put out only a piddly 4 discs for the Star Wars trilogy. Especially since the DVDs for Episodes I and II are both double-disc sets in and of themselves.

: On the weekend I acquired a set of the 1996 THX original editions on

: eBay and hope to have a friend transfer them to DVD-R so that I don't

: wear out the tapes. It may not be the same as a proper release, but at

: least I can have the original editions (in Widescreen, which I never got

: when I was younger) for posterity sake, even if the Special Editions don't

: bother me as much as some of the others on this board.

Me, I'd be interested in getting one of those bootleg DVDs that was made from the original Star Wars trilogy laserdisc set.

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Anders   

Me, I'd be interested in getting one of those bootleg DVDs that was made from the original Star Wars trilogy laserdisc set.

I'll have to keep my eyes open for those on ebay. All the Star Wars bootlegs that I've seen are the Special Edtiion ones from South East Asia (complete with the Fox Home Video 5 Star Collection logo).

I must admit, part of the reason I jumped at this Widescreen THX VHS is because it was a bargain (only CAN$ 80 compared with some of the other auctions I've witnessed in the past couple years).

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Clint M   

No kidding!  I was just thinking about that on the way home -- Fox Video has done a 6-disc Die Hard trilogy set and a 9-disc Alien quadrilogy set, so it boggles the mind that they would put out only a piddly 4 discs for the Star Wars trilogy.  Especially since the DVDs for Episodes I and II are both double-disc sets in and of themselves.

I think the reason why Fox Video doesn't have as many options with the OT is that Lucas owns all of the film's rights as far as quality control, possible distribution deals, etc. Therefore, they can't really demand that he do this one way or another. Besides, it's a cash cow for Fox (in some aspects - the deal for Epi 1 was for 10 percent of the profits while Lucas got 90) and I'm sure they are happy to release them in any shape, size, or form on the current home theater medium of choice.

: On the weekend I acquired a set of the 1996 THX original editions on

: eBay and hope to have a friend transfer them to DVD-R so that I don't

: wear out the tapes. It may not be the same as a proper release, but at

: least I can have the original editions (in Widescreen, which I never got

: when I was younger) for posterity sake, even if the Special Editions don't

: bother me as much as some of the others on this board.

Me, I'd be interested in getting one of those bootleg DVDs that was made from the original Star Wars trilogy laserdisc set.

Ditto. The 1995 THX laserdiscs have doubled in price on E-bay since the announcement of the OT on DVD Tuesday!!! (Around 75 to 150 dollars for the set!)

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DGibFen wrote:

: I think the reason why Fox Video doesn't have as many options with the

: OT is that Lucas owns all of the film's rights as far as quality control,

: possible distribution deals, etc.

Well, yeah -- Lucas appears to be doing the same thing here that he did with the Indiana Jones series: four discs, one for each of the three movies plus a bonus disc. But still, c'mon! If each of the prequels can have a two-disc set, why not each of the original films?

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Clint M   

Well, yeah -- Lucas appears to be doing the same thing here that he did with the Indiana Jones series: four discs, one for each of the three movies plus a bonus disc.  But still, c'mon!  If each of the prequels can have a two-disc set, why not each of the original films?

Cause he's George Lucas. <insult diabolical George Lucas laugh here>

I'm in agreement. I want the "crappy" originals. I wish that when I had received the 1995 VHS versions for my 16th birthday, I had known the true joys of widescreen. Ah, to see the original Original Trilogy in glorious OAR... :cry:

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to me, this set doesn't sound like the one i'm "looking for". unless they release it for around $30, it's just not worth it. i know they will release a better set when lucas has more time (i.e. after episode 3), and i don't want to end up buying the same dvd twice, so i can wait...

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Clint M   

Uh Oh!

Yeah, we know this is going to get some people's undies in a bunch again... but we can say with some confidence now that when Lucasfilm and Fox release the Star Wars Trilogy on DVD in September, the films ARE going to include new footage. We've confirmed "unofficially" with three separate sources, each in positions to know, that at least SOME new footage is being added to the films, and that more special effects enhancements, tweaks and fixes are being done. We're also told that Lucasfilm MAY include additional deleted scenes for the trilogy on the bonus disc, separate from the material added into the films themselves (rather like they've done with Episodes I & II). We've been told of at least a few changes that are being made, but we're going to wait to confirm them better before we post anything. Keep in mind that we have no idea how extensive or minor the whole of the additions and changes will be. Hopefully, we'll learn more from Lucasfilm in the near future. So, okay... we're now officially intrigued. We'll post more when we can.

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Clint M   

This is a bit large, but here is the official packaging for the trilogy. The silver is OAR (widescreen), and the gold is fullscreen.

post-9-1079766668.jpg

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Anders   

That packaging looks really sweet. To be honest, it's nicer than I thought it would be. Especially that Vader side.

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Seems backwards, though... shouldn't the widescreen be gold and the full-screen be silver?

Or maybe the widescreen is platinum??

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Clint M   

Yeah, I read that the silver packaging is actually platnum. I prefer it over the gold. (Thank goodness the widescreen copy is platnum!)

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I believe the color scheme is also just following the previous box sets in VHS.

I was never bothered by tweaking and cleaning up effects shoots. I was watching the DVDs of the special editions the other day and noone can convince me that the untouched Cloud City looked better in the original releases. In fact, I think if they hadn't screwed up some major story issues (greedo shooting first which, hurts Han's story arc), the effects stuff was a vast improvement. It was really nice not being able to see through the snow speeders.

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'Star Wars': The Extras

LucasFilm has released a list of "extras" that it plans to include in the upcoming four-disc box set of the original Star Wars trilogy. They include a 2 1/2-hour documentary about George Lucas's "vision" for the films, another half-hour documentary about how the characters were developed, another 20-minute documentary about the special effects used in the films, a preview of Episode III, hundreds of still photos, posters, and other artwork, and "Star Wars Battlefront" -- a computer game demo. Meanwhile, LucasFilm on Monday confirmed reports that Episode III will be released domestically on Thursday, May 19, 2005, with a "near-simultaneous release around the world."

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Clint M   

Sounds like LucasFilm finally confirmed it. Here's what DigitalBits was reporting on their rumor mill:

We have even more detailed information from retail sources this morning on the content to be included on Disc Four of the Star Wars Trilogy (due 9/21). According to FYE, the disc will include:

Star Wars: The Independent Films feature length documentary - The story of Star Wars is the story of the most successful independent series film ever produced. It's the story of a Hollywood outsider named George Lucas and a low-budget labor of love space saga that defied the odds and reinvented the rules. It's the story of a revolution born of a dream. It's the story of an independent filmmaker who had to innovate and invent an entirely new way of creating motion pictures. It's the story of a fundamental paradigm shift in the creative process made, not by the studio system, but by a single filmmaker with a simple dream. (150 min.)

The Evolution of Characters featurette - Get an in-depth look at how all your favorite characters came to be with exclusive concept art and discussion with George and the people who shaped what ultimately became our favorite heroes and villains. Includes a separate still/video gallery cut to Star Wars music with access to artwork and classic scenes for each major character. (30 min.)

The Influence of Star Wars featurette - The groundbreaking special effects that were pioneered to make Star Wars movies not only helped viewers escape to a galaxy far, far away, but they changed the way every movie was made thereafter. Experience never before seen effects innovations from the films and learn how pivotal the films were to modern effects wizards and filmmakers. (20 min.)

Lightsabers/Fights featurette - Forget laser pistols, the lightsaber is the coolest weapon in the Star Wars galaxy. What were George's influences for creating the lightsaber? How did Mark Hamill, Alec Guiness, and Darth Vader stunt people approach wielding a saber? How did the effects guys figure out the lightsaber beam? How did each fight escalate from the previous one? And what influences did this creation have on movies thereafter? (10 min.)

1977 Featurette - Transport people back in time to the opening of each Star Wars film. Menus will showcase all the pop culture features from the 1977 opening such as: TV references, toy ads, promotional partner commercials, news clips, songs inspired by Star Wars, Star Wars magazine and newspaper coverage, classic video game demos. (20 min.)

Star Wars Battlefront X-Box Video Game Demo (15 min.)

Teasers and Trailers from the original theatrical releases of each of the movies along with the 1997 re-releases. (15 min.)

TV Spots from the original theatrical releases of the movies along with the 1997 re-releases (5 min.)

Episode III Behind the Scenes Preview -- Section One: The Creator - Finally the birth of Vader. George talks about finally bringing Vader back to the series and teases about Anakin's descent to the Dark Side and the powers of seduction in play. Section Two: The Costume - Black is back. For the last Star Wars movie ever and the birth of the ultimate villain, a new costume was forged. This segment answers some key questions: who created it? was it made for Hayden? Section Three: The Actors - Finally I get to become Vader. Key interviews with the cast (including Hayden) and crew sharing their thoughts and experiences about working on the last Star Wars film and finally seeing the completion of the Saga. (10 min.)

Stills - A comprehensive gallery of posters from around the world, classic artwork, and never-before-seen photos from all three films (approximately 300 images.)

DVD-ROM Features - DVD ROM link to exclusive Star Wars website.

So there you go... certainly sounds interesting. By the way, each of the movie discs will also reportedly include a credit roll Easter egg. Just so you know, all of this does jibe with what we've heard from other retailers recently, so it sounds like the real deal. Throw in the audio commentaries we've reported on previously, and you've got a nice little package.

The audio commentaries are:

Disc One of the 4-disc set will include Star Wars IV: A New Hope with audio commentary by creator/director George Lucas, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher. Disc Two will feature Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back with audio commentary by creator/producer George Lucas, director Irvin Kershner, Lawrence Kasdan, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren and Carrie Fisher. Disc Three will include Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi with audio commentary by creator/producer George Lucas, Lawrence Kasdan, Ben Burtt, Dennis Muren, and Carrie Fisher.

Yep, no Mark Hamill or Harrison Ford. Should be interesting to hear what Fisher remembers from the shoots.

Edited by Clint M

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DigitalBits wrote:

: The Influence of Star Wars featurette - The groundbreaking special

: effects that were pioneered to make Star Wars movies not only helped

: viewers escape to a galaxy far, far away, but they changed the way

: every movie was made thereafter. Experience never before seen effects

: innovations from the films and learn how pivotal the films were to

: modern effects wizards and filmmakers. (20 min.)

How can they do a featurette on the film's groundbreaking special effects if the DVDs will feature the "special editions" that eliminated the original effects in favour of CGI?

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Clint M   

DigitalBits wrote:

: The Influence of Star Wars featurette - The groundbreaking special

: effects that were pioneered to make Star Wars movies not only helped

: viewers escape to a galaxy far, far away, but they changed the way

: every movie was made thereafter. Experience never before seen effects

: innovations from the films and learn how pivotal the films were to

: modern effects wizards and filmmakers. (20 min.)

How can they do a featurette on the film's groundbreaking special effects if the DVDs will feature the "special editions" that eliminated the original effects in favour of CGI?

Wow - I'd never thought of that. That's pretty funny Peter!

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I am just glad they are having audio commentaries. I am surprised Kerschner and Kasdan are included. Haven't they contradicted some of Lucas' claims about the story?

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Nezpop wrote:

: I am just glad they are having audio commentaries.

Well, the Episodes I and II DVDs did too, so I kind of expected this. Spielberg may not do audio commentaries, but Lucas does.

: I am surprised Kerschner and Kasdan are included. Haven't they

: contradicted some of Lucas' claims about the story?

Not to my knowledge -- though Gary Kurtz (producer on Episodes IV and V) has! It's too bad Richard Marquand (director of Episode VI) died so many years ago -- did they ever consider editing comments together from audio clips, a la Disney's Fantasia commentary, I wonder?

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Clint M   

Looks like the source I picked for the details of that 4th disc was kinda wrong.

By the way, we've also been told by sources that the list of Trilogy 4th disc DVD extras circulated by FYE, Best Buy and other online retailers recently (and reported here by The Bits) is "not entirely correct". Looks like this was an early spec list, but certainly not the final one. Hopefully, we'll get official details in the coming weeks.

But surpise! There's going to be some new changes to the films!

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Clint M   

Ok... Star Wars.com has the final specs on the upcoming DVD set:

When the Star Wars trilogy arrives on DVD on September 21, the digitally remastered and restored films will be accompanied by over 10 hours of bonus material that goes inside the making of these classic movies.

Each film resides on its own disc, with sharp, pristene imagery restored and remastered by Lowry Digital Images, and the rich sound experience of the saga presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX. The films also include new commentary tracks, featuring insights from George Lucas, director Irvin Kershner, actress Carrie Fisher, sound designer Ben Burtt, and Industrial Light & Magic's Dennis Muren.

The fourth disc is packed with bonus material, the most notable being Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy. This two-and-a-half hour documentary traces the evolution of the saga, from a low-budget labor-of-love space saga to the movie phenomenon that defied the odds and reinvented the rules.

This comprehensive documentary features all new interviews with George Lucas and more than 40 members of the cast and crew from the original trilogy, as well as a host of filmmakers and media personalities. Empire of Dreams includes some never-before-seen behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the three films.

Other material on the fourth disc includes:

Episode III Behind the Scenes Preview: The Return of Darth Vader: Finally, Star Wars: Episode III will reveal just how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, the most iconic villain in film history. In this exclusive preview, George Lucas discusses Anakin's descent, with a first look at the new Vader costume forged for Episode III. Also, experience how Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor have prepared for the epic lightsaber battle that has been anticipated for more than two decades: the climactic showdown between Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The Birth of the Lightsaber: Its unforgettable hum and scintillating glow are instantly recognizable around the world. Now, viewers will discover the origins of this elegant weapon from a more civilized age in this documentary devoted to the lightsaber.

The Characters of Star Wars: An in-depth look at how favorite characters came to be, featuring rare concept art, behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with George Lucas and the cast and crew who shaped the screen's favorite heroes.

The Force Is With Them: The Legacy of Star Wars: Star Wars opened up a galaxy of possibilities to a generation of filmmakers and creative talents. Hear from some of the most notable filmmakers of our time about how influential the Star Wars movies have been to their lives.

Star Wars Battlefront Trailer and Playable Demo: The fourth disc will offer a trailer featuring an exciting look at the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront video game from LucasArts, along with a special demo for Xbox users that lets players fight the Battle of Endor as a Rebel or Imperial soldier and drive AT-STs, ride speeder bikes and use different weapons to lead their side to victory. The full version of Star Wars Battlefront will also be released Sept. 21 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC.

Star Wars: Episode III Making the Game Preview: Video-game players will be able to experience the stunning Jedi action of Episode III themselves in the new Star Wars: Episode III game, due out in Spring 2005 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox. This special feature shows how game developers at LucasArts worked behind-the-scenes and on the set to create the most authentic Jedi experience ever.

Original Trailers and TV Spots: The original theatrical teaser, launch and re-release trailers for each film, plus TV spots, are featured on the DVD.

Never-Before-Seen Production Gallery: Delve into an unseen corners of the Lucasfilm Archives with exclusive photos from the making of the trilogy, with hundreds of rare behind-the-scene images.

Posters and Print Campaigns: The original releases of the Star Wars films came at a time when international campaigns produced a wealth of intriguing, alternative poster art. Explore a collection of theatrical posters from around the world.

Exclusive DVD-ROM Content: The Star Wars Trilogy DVDs are keys that unlock exclusive content available only through a special DVD-ROM website.

Ehh... I guess I'll cave and get it.

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Wow that sounds great. I really want to see Empire Of Dreams. PLus the added Demo for Battlefront will be sweet to. I cant wait.

Has anybody seen a price for the trilogy in Canadian $.?

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Anders   

I believe the Canadian price will be similar to the price on the Indiana Jones Trilogy box set, so at Blockbuster that's going for $58.88 CAN.

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