Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is set to arrive on 4K Blu-ray in March 2020
Latest update - 18th December 2019
It would appear that Disney have scheduled Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga for a 4K Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD release on 31st March 2020 in both the UK and US. This will be the same date as the individual release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on all three disc formats AND a new 4K Blu-ray edition of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will be a 27 disc release on 4K (the films on both 4K and standard Blu-ray and a second disc of extras for each one). The Blu-ray and DVD editions will feature 18 discs with just the films and extras.
We have clarified with our source over the versions of the films included and they will match those currently airing on Disney+ with the exception of the original Star Wars which will have a minor edit to remove the 'Maclunkey' addition that appeared for the first time in the 4K cuts currently airing on the streaming network.
Our source has confirmed that neither Solo: A Star Wars Story or Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be included in this boxset but as mentioned above a new edition of Rogue One will be released at the same time.
Previous update - 12th November 2019
It has now been confirmed that Disney+ are showing 4K editions of what appears to be the 2011 Blu-ray transfer on the newly launched streaming platform in the US. While this hasn't been confirmed as a full remaster and is more likely to be an upscale right now there have been a number of changes to the versions on the Disney+ versions of the films including more tweaks around the Greedo scene and support for Dolby Vision.
The updates include (oddly) the addition of Greedo saying 'Maclunkey' before he's shot by Han. The rest of the scene plays out like the most recent versions of the film with both the bounty hunter and Han shooting simultaneously and the strange and un-needed digital head movement added to justify Han's survival.
While this isn't confirmation of our rumours below, it shows that Disney are slowly moving towards 4K for the older films in the saga. We're hoping for further news soon.
9th August 2019
We're now expecting an official announcement of what we can expect from Disney's home cinema Star Wars releases at D23 which will run from 23rd August. One of the big things we already know is that ALL of the existing 10 Star Wars films are being re-released on DVD and Blu-ray in September - these are likely to be the most recent editions of the films, just repackaged in matching artwork.
We're not expecting 4K reissues with new artwork of the two films that have already been released on that format - however we do hear that they are coming early next year. Again this ties into our previous rumours and it's looking a safe bet for Disney to go all in on 4K Star Wars in 2020 once they've cleared their existing 4K Pixar and Marvel release slate.
Update - 8th August 2019
Following our earlier story on this below, we missed news back in June that a 70mm print of Star Wars was shown at a special event alongside the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Interestingly this 70mm print was an 'immaculate' PRE special edition version of the film taken from a print to be used in the UK in 1981 but was never shown due to a minor tear. The only difference between the version shown and that shown in 1977 was the addition of 'A New Hope' to the opening crawl.
The other interesting piece of information was that this was a screening that was explicitly approved by George Lucas - something he has actively refused to do since the Special Edition was released in 1997. This could be a sign that Lucas attitude towards the original version of the film is softening and might lead directly into our previous information that Disney are working on a 4K release of all the films now that their acquisition of Fox is complete.
Update - 11th April 2019
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.
Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)
Dir: George Lucas | Cast: Christopher Lee, Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman | Writers: George Lucas (screenplay by), George Lucas (story by), Jonathan Hales (screenplay by)
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Dir: Irvin Kershner | Cast: Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill | Writers: George Lucas (story by), Lawrence Kasdan (screenplay by), Leigh Brackett (screenplay by)
Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)
Dir: Richard Marquand | Cast: Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill | Writers: George Lucas (screenplay by), George Lucas (story by), Lawrence Kasdan (screenplay by)
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015)
Dir: J.J. Abrams | Cast: Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill | Writers: George Lucas (based on characters created by), J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Arndt
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
Dir: J.J. Abrams | Cast: Adam Driver, Billie Lourd, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Domhnall Gleeson, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac | Writers: Chris Terrio, Chris Terrio (screenplay by), Chris Terrio (story by), Colin Trevorrow, Colin Trevorrow (story by), Derek Connolly, Derek Connolly (story by), George Lucas (based on characters created by), J.J. Abrams, J.J. Abrams (screenplay by), J.J. Abrams (story by)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Dir: Gareth Edwards | Cast: alan tudyk, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Felicity Jones | Writers: Chris Weitz (screenplay by), Gary Whitta (story by), George Lucas (based on characters created by), John Knoll (story by), Tony Gilroy (screenplay by)
Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
Dir: Ron Howard | Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Emilia Clarke, Joonas Suotamo, Woody Harrelson | Writers: George Lucas (based on characters created by), Jonathan Kasdan, Lawrence Kasdan