Few movie series have been as frequently re-released on home video as Star Wars. The 1977 original film and its sequels have been issued numerous times on VHS and DVD over the years, though many fans are still clamoring for widely available copies of the original untouched (i.e. pre-Special Edition) trilogy.
There's still no update on whether or not the latter will ever be release, officially. However, the impending release of The Force Awakens in theaters does put Disney, Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox (which still retains rights to the first six Star Wars films) in the ideal position to capitalize on the franchise's return to the big screen. So, naturally, the saga is getting a new home release (... again).
It's been announced on StarWars.com that all six Star Wars films will be released on November 10, 2015, as limited time commemorative Blu-rays, with collectible character-centric steelbook packaging. Pre-orders begin August 7 for each film, which will include existing audio commentary with George Lucas and the crew (as well as audio commentary from archival interviews with the cast and crew). A repackaged Star Wars: The Complete Saga set - complete with more than 40 hours of previously released special features - will also be available on October 13, though neither the individual releases or the saga will feature any new bonus material.
See the artwork for all the upcoming releases below:
The decision to focus on a specific character in each film's artwork is one that previous home video editions of the Star Wars films have made in the past. Still, Yoda stands out as the only hero amid a sea of villainous faces, making one wonder why this version didn't opt for a fellow antagonist (Count Dooku, Jango Fett) for the Attack of the Clones artwork, keeping the Dark Side represented across the board. On a different note: these Blu-rays aren't expected to feature new changes to any of the films, as the previous set did.
In any case, this new release shouldn't surprise fans. The saga was bound to receive new Blu-rays prior to The Force Awakens (especially with the recent release of its digital collection), setting the stage for a more traditional format. Still, the lack of new bonus material and persistent absence of the original pre-Special Edition trilogy will likely keep many fans from feeling obligated to pick these new Blu-rays up. However, for those fans who may have been waiting for the latest release to fill out their Star Wars collection, this could be a good way to go.
The repackaged Star Wars: The Complete Saga will be released on October 13th, 2015, followed by the new Blu-ray steelbooks for each film a month later on November 10. Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18, 2015.