Exclusive: Disney are working on a 4K Blu-ray box set for Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (updated)
Note: The following story is based upon a conversation we've had with a Disney employee under the condition of anonymity. Nothing official has been announced and as such everything below should be treated as rumour.
According to a UK-based Disney employee who has spoken to us on the condition of anonymity and who claims to have been involved in the collection of material for an upcoming release of the entire Star Wars Saga in a box set, Disney are planning to release a complete 4K Blu-ray edition of the entire Skywalker saga in 2020.
While we know that a 4K scan of the original Star Wars film already exists (Gareth Edwards even watched it at the time he was working on Rogue One), we had previously seen information that the entire original trilogy was being rescanned in 4K from the original negatives*. According to our contact, 4K masters of the original trilogy and of The Force Awakens are all in the can and work is currently being done on the prequel trilogy which is proving to actually be more of a challenge than the original films. The Last Jedi, along with Solo (which is not expected to be included in this overall set) already have 4K Blu-ray releases.
[ EDITOR'S NOTE ] We've been asked about the 'original negatives' statement above. These were the words our contact used, but as many will know, George Lucas previously claimed that the original negatives had been used/altered in the creation of his 'special editions'. We are attempting to clarify this part of the story to confirm whether this release will contain a) the original films, b) the special editions, or c) both/something in between!
Update (22:20 on 11/04/19): Following a second conversation our contact helped clarify that Disney are working towards delivering something that will "please fans" and that the original material has come from a "variety of source ... much of the original film and negative stock was in poor condition even before George worked on the Special Editions" and the restoration team sought out the "best possible version" of each scene within the LucasFilm and Fox archives. The original trilogy 4K remaster was started way back in 2014 and has been through a number of iterations as new alternative/better copies of some scenes have come to light. The print watched by Gareth Edwards has had some improvement since he viewed it but everything other than Episodes II and III has been locked in now.
The issue with the prequel trilogy is that while Episode I was captured on film and can be mastered in 4K with no issues, Episodes II and III were both shot in 2K digital which means that any 4K master is going to be an upscale. Work is being done to "improve effects shots where possible" however "there is limited detail in the 2K image and any live action shots will see no significant boost in quality" over the Blu-ray release.
In addition to the new masters, Disney are in the process of going through all of the Fox and LucasFilm archives in order to release as much material that has yet to be shown anywhere to fans as possible making this effectively the 'ultimate Star Wars' collection.
According to our contact the two spin-offs - Rogue One and Solo will be re-released at the same time with artwork to match, but won't be included in the Skywalker Saga collection; although they have said that discussions in the US have changed this decision at least once before so they may well end up in the box set anyway if things change again.
Disney are apparently hoping to have four discs per film in the 4K set (3 in the standard Blu-ray edition) so we're expecting both 4K and Blu-ray editions of the film plus where possibly two additional discs of extra material. These additional discs will be 1080p at best although some of the material being recovered is going to be upscaled SD.