Disney has retitled the original Star Wars movie from Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope to simply Star Wars: A New Hope, in line with the titling approach for the current sequel trilogy. Disney first acquired Lucasfilm back in 2012, and this year closed a deal to acquire 21st Century Fox, the company that holds the distribution rights to the original trilogy of Star Wars movies.
This marks the third official title for George Lucas' epic space opera, which was simply called Star Wars upon its release in 1977. The sequel was released in theaters as Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes back, and upon its re-release in theaters in 1981 the first Star Wars movie had been retitled Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope to clarify its place in the saga, with that title added to the opening crawl.
The prequel trilogy was similarly titled, since the hook of being Episode I was one of the major selling points of The Phantom Menace. However, perhaps in the interest of making the titles less of a mouthful, Disney's sequel trilogy has so far simply been titled Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The company's presentation of its new streaming service, Disney+, confirmed that the new titling tradition is being applied retroactively to earlier movies. On the sample screen below, you can see the original movie listed with the title Star Wars: A New Hope. Newly released merchandise shared on Twitter also uses that title.
During the presentation we also learned that Disney+ will launch in November 2019 for the price of $6.99 a month, or $69.99 for an annual subscription. You'll be able to watch Disney's entire back-catalogue, including all the previous Star Wars movies and TV shows and new original series like The Mandalorian. With all that to get through, you may not even notice a title change.
We still don't know the title for Star Wars: Episode IX, though that will be revealed at the Star Wars 9 panel during tomorrow's line-up of Star Wars Celebration events. It's safe to assume that, as with the previous two movies and now the original trilogy, Disney will leave "Episode IX" out of the title. While no decision related to Star Wars is ever completely uncontroversial among fans, this seems like a harmless enough change in the interests of making the movies' titles a bit more snappy. But if Disney wants to smooth things over by releasing the original theatrical cuts of the first Star Wars trilogy... well, that would be just fine.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019