Star Wars: Episode One - official announcement

First it was said we wouldn't see any Star Wars titles on DVD until all six films had been completed. Then Lucasfilm stated that no release was planned - at least in 2000, now we're half way through 2001 and after months of speculation and rumour we have our first official confirmation that Star Wars will start to be released on DVD later this year. More precisely, Star Wars: Episode One: The Phantom Menace will see its worldwide roleout commence on 15 October.

According to the press material, this is part of a worldwide release strategy - it's almost certain that the Region 2 disc will appear either on the same day or within a couple of weeks of the Region 1 release. We're guessing same day as most Region 1 discs are usually released on Tuesdays whereas this one is on a Monday - our usual DVD release day.

As far as details are concerned, most of what we posted in our last news item is pretty much spot on. We're getting two discs featuring over six hours of additional material. Soundtracks as far as the Region 1 disc is concerned will consist of English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround EX and English and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (with an additional French Dolby Digital 2.0 track on the Canadian disc). The transfer will of course be Anamorphic and in the original aspect ratio.

Extras will include:

  • Audio commentary by Writer-Director George Lucas; Producer Rick McCallum; Co-Editor and Sound Designer Ben Burtt; Visual Effects Supervisors Scott Squires, John Knoll and Dennis Muren; and Animation Supervisor Rob Coleman, offering personal insights into the making of the film
  • Seven never-before-seen deleted scenes with full visual effects completed just for the DVD release
  • "The Beginning" -- an all-new hour-long documentary culled from over 600 hours of footage offering unprecedented access inside Lucasfilm and ILM during the making of Episode I
  • Multi-angle storyboard to animatic to finished film feature, that lets you flip through the various phases of development of key action sequences
  • Five behind-the-scenes featurettes exploring The Phantom Menace's storyline, designs, costumes, visual effects and fight scenes
  • "Duel of the Fates" music video
  • All 12 parts of the Lynne's Diaries - web-based documentary from the website.
  • Galleries of theatrical posters, print campaign, and never-before-scene production photos
  • Original theatrical teaser and launch trailers, plus seven TV spots including the "tone poems"
We're currently trying to find out if the Region 2 DVD release will be the same - and whether it will be released on the same day. As soon as we get more info on this it'll be posted here.

UPDATE: We now have two dates - the worldwide role out does begin on 15 October, but some US based sites are reporting the Region 1 release date as being the 16 October... You can read the two full announcements we've seen by reading the comments attached to this news item.

UPDATE 2: Fox PR have confirmed that the UK release is due on 15 October and that we ARE a day earlier than Region 1 which will see the discs release on 16 October (although I'm sure that people will be able to get hold of the Region 1 disc on 15 October if they do some searching!)

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