On Saturday, August 14, George Lucas announced he would release all six of the live-action Star Wars films on Blu-ray Disc in fall 2011. The release will be the first time the films have been offered in high-definition disc format, and will include extra features and footage that has been previously unseen.
The Star Wars sequel has been broadcast in HD on television, but never before offered in 1080p disc form — even though Blu-ray Discs date back to 2006. Lucas has been hesitant to release the films on Blu-ray while the medium was still young, saying, “if you’re too early in the marketplace, there’s just not enough demand for it.”
The original three Star Wars films: “Episode IV – A New Hope,” “Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Episode VI – Return of the Jedi,” will be the 1997 “special-edition” versions that were re-released to theaters in 1997 and later digitally remastered and released on DVD in 2004.
Rather than going back to the original 1977, 1980, and 1983 films, Lucas said the Blu-ray discs will be created from the last digital transfer, because going back to the original prints would be “a very, very expensive process…”
The hi-def disc versions of Star Wars will be distributed as a box-set by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. No pricing or exact dates for the fall 2011 release were revealed. Lucas made the announcement during an interview with Jon Stewart at the Star Wars Celebration V in Florida.
Lucas made no mention of the rumored transfer of Star Wars films to 3D, although you can be sure he is keeping an eye on the format.