'Star Wars' Saga Digital HD Release Coming April 106 Apr, 2015 By: John Latchem
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment are jointly releasing Star Wars: The Digital Movie Collection, making the six episodes of the "Star Wars" saga available via Digital HD for the first time April 10.
The films are available for $19.99 each or a bundle of all six films for $99.99 (though some retailers, such as Amazon and Google Play, are offering preorders for $89). The release includes several new bonus materials, such as "Discoveries From Inside" and "Conversations" featurettes with behind-the-scenes information, plus an assortment of previously released extras for each film. The Digital HD versions of the films are the same as the versions released on Blu-ray in 2011, which includes the latest iteration of the special editions of the original trilogy — Episode IV, V and VI.
Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace includes "Conversations: Doug Chiang Looks Back" and "Discoveries From Inside: Models & Miniatures" plus legacy content including “The Beginning,” "The Podrace: Theatrical Edit" and eight deleted scenes.
Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones includes "Conversations: Sounds In Space" and "Discoveries From Inside: Costumes Revealed," plus legacy content including “From Puppets To Pixels: Digital Characters In Episode II"; "State Of The Art: The Previsualization Of Episode II"; “Films Are Not Released, They Escape”; Episode II visual effects breakdown montage and six deleted scenes.
Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith includes "Conversations: The Star Wars That Almost Was" and "Discoveries From Inside: Hologram & Bloopers," plus legacy content including the “Within A Minute: The Making Of Episode III,” "The Journey Part 1," "The Journey Part 2" and six deleted scenes.
Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope includes "Conversations: Creating A Universe" and "Discoveries From Inside: Weapons & The First Lightsaber," plus legacy content including “Anatomy of a Dewback,” the Star Wars launch trailer and eight deleted scenes.
Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back includes "Conversations: The Lost Interviews" and "Discoveries From Inside: Matte Paintings Unveiled," plus legacy content including “A Conversation With the Masters” (2010), “Dennis Muren: How Walkers Walk,” “George Lucas on Editing The Empire Strikes Back” (1979), “George Lucas on the Force" (2010) and six deleted scenes.
Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi includes "Conversations: The Effects" and "Discoveries From Inside: The Sounds of Ben Burtt," plus legacy content including “Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi”, Revenge of the Jedi teaser trailer, Return of the Jedi launch trailer, “It Began" TV spot, “Climactic Chapter" TV spot, and five deleted scenes.
Bonus features may vary depending on the retailer.
Star Wars: The Digital Movie Collection arrives as Disney-owned Lucasfilm is completing production of Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens for a December theatrical release. Disney and Fox had to partner on the release because Fox still controls distribution rights to the first six films, which were made prior to Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm in 2012. The partnership will likely add fuel to rumors of a Blu-ray release of the unaltered theatrical versions of the original trilogy prior to the Force Awakens release; thus far, only the altered special editions have been released on Blu-ray.
The news also comes in advance of the Star Wars Celebration fan convention April 16-19 in Anaheim, Calif., and the unoffical "May the 4th Be With You" international "Star Wars" day.
UPDATE 4/10/15: The six-movie bundle set a record as the top predorder at Walmart's Vudu.com, according to Vudu, where it was offered at $89.99.