With the rise of streaming video platforms like Netflix literally revolutionizing the home video market, many people have turned away from DVD and Blu-ray completely. After all, it hardly seems necessary to purchase and store a tangible product when one can simply click a button on their computer or TV remote and be done with it.
That being said, DVD and Blu-ray fans still thrive, thanks to both collectors and those who simply prefer to own their favorite films or TV series in physical form. Many of these fans would also argue that there are certain advantages to owning a film that don’t come with streaming it, such as the extra features and often the possibility of extended or unrated cuts.
In terms of any of the aforementioned cuts, the thought of an extended Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens Blu-ray is pure magic to many. Obviously there have been ongoing rumours regarding this possibility, though no concrete evidence had been established that such a thing was in fact, going to happen. Unfortunately, it definitely isn’t. According to JJ Abrams in a recent EW interview, there will be no extended cut of the latest Star Wars blockbuster.
Abrams explained that although the home video release of The Force Awakens won’t contain an extended cut, it will contain deleted scenes. The existence of deleted scenes is something of a consolation for both Star Wars and home video fans, but Abrams’ revelation that the initial cut of The Force Awakens was a full 35 minutes longer than the theatrical version sprinkles just a touch more salt into the wound.
“I don’t know what the longest cut was. Probably, if it were with credits, close to two hours and 50 minutes was the first cut.”
The knowledge that there is at least 35 minutes of unseen footage from The Force Awakens in existence but not available to fans will never be an easy pill to swallow. Of course, simply because the footage exists it doesn’t necessarily mean that it meshed with what we recognize as the final cut of the film. After all, it was cut for a reason and Abrams' instincts as a filmmaker have proven themselves trustworthy in more than one instance already.
However, it’s important to realise that simply because Abrams won’t release an extended cut now doesn’t mean that it will never happen. It’s hard to picture Disney not being eager to deliver everything it can to the insatiable appetites of the Star Wars masses. It could take years, but the smart money is on Disney eventually giving fans their chance to check out that extended cut.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 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.