Fox makes it official at CES: ‘Star Wars’ on Blu-ray in September

“Star Wars” is coming to Blu-ray in September.

That’s pretty much it, right?  Beyond that, there are a million smaller conversations that are already raging all over the Internet about what versions of the films will appear on the discs, which of the three offered box sets to buy, whether or not the transfers improve on mistakes from earlier transfers, what sort of extra features and deleted scenes we’ll see.  With the lack of detail so far, though, it’s all just idle chatter.

Personally, I’m planning to spring for “Star Wars: The Complete Saga,” a nine-film Blu-ray box set that will include all six films in the series and three discs of bonus material.  The reason I’ll happily make that investment is that, until now, I’ve only ever purchased the Original Trilogy, and even then, I haven’t upgraded each and every time the films have been available.  I don’t have any of the prequels in the house right now, and with Toshi turning six in July, he’ll be right around the perfect age to start watching the movies when the box set comes out.

That’s going to be a series of Film Nerd 2.0 articles I can’t wait to write.

For those who only want the Original Trilogy, they’re selling each of the trilogies as a separate box.  I guess that also means that if there’s anyone out there who only wants the Prequel Trilogy, for some perverse reason, then that option exists for them as well.

My Twitter feed and Facebook and nerd outlets all over the place are once again filled with rabid anti-Lucas invective today, most of it from the same people who are searching to find the best pre-order price for their purchase, and as always, I am amazed at the energy spent by people to liken the experience of watching a couple of fantasy films with violent sexual assault.  Fandom, keeping’ it classy.

I think it’s a safe bet we won’t be seeing the original unaltered versions of the films.  They were treated as “bonus features” on the last big DVD release of the films, and they were very pointedly not full anamorphic transfers.  It was the most begrudging way possible to include them.  I’m not sure there’s an equivalent way he could do that with Blu-ray… maybe if he threw them on one of the bonus discs as 480i transfers?  I wouldn’t put it past him, but I also wouldn’t count on ever seeing those versions of the films released during his lifetime again.

I remember going to see “Star Wars” at the Egyptian theater with George Lucas in attendance at one point, and he sat about two rows directly in front of us.  Watching him watch the original version of the film, with visible matte lines and all of the “flaws” of the film still in place, and it was like watching someone get waterboarded.  He was physically uncomfortable with the experience, and there were moments where it looked like he was about to bolt.  I may not agree with his reasons for not selling me the versions of the films that I fell in love with, but I get that it really does make him crazy.  I wish there was some middle ground, but in the meantime, I fully plan to pick up the souped-up Blu-ray versions, throw them on with a little boy who is already fully in love with lightsabers and Darth Vader, and enjoy them for what they are.

And, yes, I’m still planning to show them to him in this order:  IV-V-I-II-III-VI.

See you in September.  Here’s the official press release:

The most anticipated Blu-ray release ever – the Star Wars™ Saga – emerges from light speed this September 2011. For the first time, all six of George Lucas” epic films (Episodes I-VI) are united in one complete set. Fans worldwide are able to pre-order now with online retailers.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release Star Wars in three distinct sets to meet the needs of every Star Wars fan:

Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray (9-disc Set includes all six films)
Star Wars: Prequel Blu-ray Trilogy (3-disc set includes Episodes I-III)
Star Wars: Original Blu-ray Trilogy (3-disc set includes Episodes IV-VI)

STAR WARS: THE COMPLETE SAGA ON BLU-RAY will feature all six live-action Star Wars feature films utilizing the highest possible picture and audio presentation, along with three additional discs and more than 30 hours of extensive special features including never-before-seen deleted and alternate scenes, an exploration of the exclusive Star Wars archives, and much more.

Star Wars: The Complete Saga on Blu-ray will be available for $139.99 US/$179.99 CAN and the Star Wars: Trilogy Sets for $69.99 US/89.99 CAN.  Pricing for each set will vary by international territory.

Flanked by a  legion of his finest  Imperial Stormtroopers, Darth Vader himself joined Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment President Mike Dunn at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to announce the release, vowing  “The forces of the Empire will be at your disposal to assure the success of this endeavor.””
“The Star Wars Saga is the most anticipated Blu-ray collection since the launch of the high-def format,” Dunn said. “The epic franchise pioneered sound and visual presentation in theaters and is perfectly suited to do it again in the home, with a viewing experience only possible with Blu-ray.”

“With all six episodes available for the first time in one collection, this is a great way for families and home audiences to experience the complete Saga from start to finish,” said Doug Yates, Vice President of Marketing, Online, Distribution, Lucasfilm Ltd. “And with the quality of high-definition, Blu-ray provides the most immersive home experience possible.”

“The Star Wars franchise has been one of the most anticipated Blu-ray releases by Amazon”s customers,” said Bill Carr, Vice President of Music and Video at Amazon. “We think that Star Wars will be incredibly popular with our customers, and we expect pre-orders to be very strong.”