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As teased last August, announced for pre-order at CES and elaborated upon a few months ago, Star Wars The Complete Saga Blu-ray promises to be the hot disc release of 2011 when it drops this September 16th (along with The Original Trilogy and The Prequel Trilogy configurations, something to suit every fan). All that remained--short of final copies for full, in-depth review of course, hint-hint--was a hands-on demo of these long-awaited discs. How would they look and sound? And would these mysterious new extras really live up to the hype?
Well, at a private event in New York City last week, our friends at Lucasfilm and Fox pulled back the curtain all too briefly for an exciting peek at the Blu-rays as part of the 2011 Star Wars Media Day. Two clips were played (one from a classic film, one from a prequel) to demonstrate the quality of the brand-new 1080p/DTS-HD Master Audio 6.1 remasters, on a Panasonic plasma and over a Panasonic HTiB system. It was really just enough to whet our appetites (as if we weren't drooling enough already), but I am now very optimistic: the clips that we saw of films both of the original trilogy flavor and the newer prequels were stunning. Release of the older films in particular on Blu-ray will be a real challenge for Fox, owing to the limits of cinematic technology of the era, but Episodes II and III should have the potential to truly amaze.
The Complete Saga will contain all six chapters, each with beautiful, elaborate menus designed around the theme of locations relevant to that film. There will also be "new" audio commentaries for all, edited together from archival material amassed over the years, these in addition to the current DVD commentaries. This mega-set will also include three exclusive Blu-rays: Disc Seven will focus specifically on the prequels, Disc Eight on the classic trilogy, while Disc Nine collects both new and vintage documentary material.
The highlights will surely be the more than 40 deleted scenes spanning the saga (Tosche Station had better be in there!) and the home video debut of "A Conversation with the Masters" (about 20 minutes, in HD) featuring the last on-camera interview with late Empire Strike Back director Irvin Kershner, created for the 30th anniversary of that film last year. But "The Archive Collection" has us particularly intrigued, now that we've seen up close what it's really about. Imagine if George Lucas was the subject of a very special edition of Hoarders, since he has fastidiously held onto just about everything from every movie. And now we can venture into this rarified domain too, as props and more come alive via 360-degree flyarounds and painstakingly sharp zooms that look terrific on the big high-def screen. If that's not interactive enough, more than 100 HD mini-documentaries (two to five minutes each) are accessible along the way, boasting fascinating new creator interviews combined with behind-the-scenes footage. Apparently, no expense was spared to make these extras rock.
The book-type packaging is absolutely gorgeous too (we can debate its practicality some other time), with bold images that might be familiar to fans of last year's coffee table book Star Wars: Visions. I tried to take some photos of it for the enjoyment of Big Picture Big Sound readers, but no lie, there were armed Clone Troopers roaming Media Day looking for uppity journalists trying to leak material early.
Is everything from the previous DVD releases included in this set?
Impossible to say for sure without knowing the details of discs seven and eight, but given that Empire of Dreams and The Beginning aren't mentioned anywhere, I'm gonna guess no.
Thank you for your recent e-mail. We are as excited as you about the release of the Star Wars Saga on Blu-ray Disc! It will be great to be able to watch them at home (or anywhere else for that matter) in high definition with high quality sound to match!
While “From Star Wars to Jedi: The Making of a Saga” and “Empire of Dreams” won't be included with the BD set, there's a ton of previously unseen material that will featured on the bonus discs; the list the press release is only a top line, bird's eye view of the comprehensive materials that will be included, and isn’t necessarily reflective of them in their entirety.
Discs seven and eight, in particular, highlight a cornucopia of behind-the-scenes material and footage. Even though the vintage docs aren't included, those two discs alone are steeped in archival goodness.
Thanks again for taking to time to write. May the Force be with you!
Publicity | Lucasfilm Ltd.
I had to look up a picture because I had no clue who they were talking about.
I gotta say, this one pisses me off. While I'm sure they are paying Lucasfilm a fee, I'm pretty sure that Bill Watterson isn't getting any.
Chris Wahlsaid 35 weeks ago
KyleMittskus said: With how opposed Bill Watterson is to allowing his art to be parodied at all, I am disappointed in this shirt. Not that I don't like it, but I can't get behind it when the originating artist is so openly opposed to such things.
When this was first released a couple of months back I did have reservations about whether or not I was disrespecting the original artist and his characters. A lot of people who I spoke to put my mind at ease, assuring me that this fell well into the realm of parody to not be a problem. Reading up on Bill Watterson I never read that he was opposed to people parodying his work, but he was always against merchandising the actual characters Calvin and Hobbes and other people misusing his characters (eg Calvin peeing on the car logos). This however was never meant to be Calvin and Hobbes but rather Chewie and Han drawn in Bill Watterson's style. Yes there are echoes of Calvin and Hobbes in the design but that's necessary for the MashedPotato to work.
I appreciate your comment though.
Might as well be dead.