Now that Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens has completed its record-breaking box office run, Lucasfilm has one final push left for the film: the home media release. Star Wars 7 will be available on digital April 1, 2016, with the physical Blu-ray hitting stores April 5. Owning a copy of one of 2015’s biggest movie events is something many fans are looking forward to, and the bevy of special features available on the disc gives viewers even more reasons to purchase the Blu-ray.
To promote the impending release, the studio has pieced together a small marketing campaign to tease the bonus features, including behind-the-scenes looks at ILM’s visual effects work and images from the collection of deleted scenes. The clips salvaged from the cutting room floor are the focus of a new Force Awakens trailer (watch it above), one that offers glimpses of what’s in store on the Blu-ray.
A majority of the preview showcases what in all likelihood will be the most coveted deleted scenes for fans: Kylo Ren entering the Millennium Falcon. It’s a bit that’s sure to be of great interest given the relationship between Kylo and Han Solo, and one that some wish had been included in the theatrical version. Much of the removed content did not truly add anything to the narrative (according to the film’s editors), with the exception of perhaps this scene. Out of all of them, it seems to be the meatiest (it’s the centerpiece of Blu-ray advertising) and a full-blown character moment for a compelling antagonist. Hopefully, the Blu-ray includes an explanation for why it was cut.
There’s also footage of a deleted scene that takes place in the basement of Maz Kanata’s castle, as Han, Chewbacca, Finn, and Maz are cornered by First Order stormtroopers. This is most likely the highly-publicized sequence in which Maz uses the Force to bring the ceiling down on the soldiers so the heroes can escape. It’s the only scene that’s a digital exclusive extra, so those who buy the Blu-ray and want to watch it in full will have to redeem the digital download code that’s part of the standard combo pack.
Since all things Star Wars are now part of one cohesive franchise canon, die-hard fans will be wondering whether or not the Blu-ray deleted scenes are official in the continuity. The answer to that query is that the ones mentioned in the movie’s novelization (such as the snow speeder chase) are considered canon, and all the others are not. Casual viewers should not take this to mean that there will be references to these in the upcoming films, however. Most of the Disney canon material (novels, comics, etc.) exists mainly to flesh out the larger universe and barely plays a role in the plot of the movies. With all there is to unpack in Episode VIII, “Finn and the Villager” and “X-wings Jump to Lightspeed” are hardly consequential.
Still, that doesn’t mean it won’t be interesting to watch the deleted scene and debate how they might have fit into the proper film. While these probably won’t be as revealing as say, the full-length documentary about the making of the movie, fans should have fun taking a look at what Abrams removed to see if he made the right call. Given that The Force Awakens was nominated for Best Editing at the Oscars, that may not be a question, but history is full of deleted scenes that may have been better served staying in.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens will be released on Blu-ray April 5th, 2016; Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will see theatrical release in the U.S. on December 16th, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.