Whenever Star Wars is released on a new home media format, fans and home entertainment enthusiasts generally rejoice loudly. Whether it was the films’ arrival on laser disc in 1993, the first taste of the saga on DVD with the release of Episode I on that format, the release of the original trilogy on DVD in 2004, or the 2011 arrival of “the complete saga” on Blu-ray, the celebrated film series always speaks to the high demands of video and audiophiles by providing a crisp visual and auditory experience. Now, the first major home media release of the saga under the umbrella of the Walt Disney Company will be released this week.
According to an announcement on StarWars.com, the Star Wars Digital Movie Collection will be released on a plethora of digital media retailers beginning this Friday, April 10th. All six currently released live-action theatrical films — from 1977’s Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope to 2005’s Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith — will be available digitally for the first time in the films’ existence. Additional details from Variety lay out the digital retailers from which the films will be available, and they include iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Vudu, Xbox Video, PlayStation Store, and Verizon Fios.
For those who have partaken of Disney’s “Disney Movies Anywhere” service, buying the films from iTunes, Google Play, and Vudu will also give access to the films from all of those services, except for the original film. According to Variety, distribution rights to the first Star Wars film from 1977 are currently controlled by original distributor 20th Century Fox, and not Disney.
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, one of the main producers on the upcoming seventh film The Force Awakens, also released a statement to go along with the announcement. She said,
We’re thrilled that fans will be able to enjoy the Star Wars saga on their digital devices wherever they go. These films broke new ground in technology, design, sound, and visual effects, and we’ve created some very special bonus material which delves into the saga’s rich history, including new and never-before-released conversations between legendary Star Wars artists — the masters who helped George bring his iconic universe to life.
Naturally, fans who have already purchased the films previously will need new incentives to buy them again, and it looks like a few new exclusive special features have been created just for the digital release. Still, it may prove to be kind of a letdown for people who spent $100 or more for the six-film Blu-ray collection released in 2011 to have to shell out, yet again, to take the movies with them on the go. That should likely have been expected, though, considering the change of hands that the franchise has undergone.
If you want it, though, you can own the Star Wars Digital Movie Collection beginning on Friday from your online retailer of choice.
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