THE TEN Things That The Forthcoming Star Wars Blu-ray Should Include.
Our Marcus thinks about what he wants out of Steve Sansweet's recent tease...
"We're not ready to announce exactly when it's coming out, but it won't be in the too distant future." Lucasfilm director of fan relations Steve Sansweet, Comics and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) April 2010
With Lucasfilm's Steve Sansweet recently revealing that the Star Wars movies will be coming to Blu-ray soon, I thought now was a good time to sit down and really think about what I want from one of the most anticipated releases for the ever growing Blu-ray format.
Before we begin, I’ll say up front the list won’t include The Best Video and Audio Possible, because frankly, I consider this a bare minimum. Beyond the ten listed below, I think we all expect the release of The Star Wars Saga to deliver on at least that.
So here I list the ten things the forthcoming Star Wars Blu-ray release should include...
It’s all well and good that the two Star Wars trilogies have been treated as two separate entities on DVD so far. The prequels were fresh in our heads after their cinematic releases and the original trilogy was being treated with the ‘classic’ status, but now it’s time to push that mentality aside. It’s time the Complete Saga presented itself as one complete story.
Now, I’m not saying they shouldn’t do the two trilogies separately as an option. I understand there’s a bunch of folks out there who only want IV to VI, but I would really like to see a complete box set option this time out and bind the two trilogies together once and for all.
I don’t know about you guys but I’ve been underwhelmed with pretty much all of the Star Wars packaging designs since The Phantom Menace first arrived on video (besides the odd alternative sleeve and the odd limited edition versions). The basic sleeve designs all had that Photoshop feel and while it was all good that they all shared a similar design I’m after something a little more “classic”.
Given that we all have different tastes the best way forward is probably reversible sleeves. One side featuring the original theatrical posters and the other offering up some new designs that are good enough alternatives. Also I’m looking for an outer box that sits proudly on my Blu-ray collection shelf. I don’t want a generic spine, I want something that the eyes are drawn to and for the Star Wars Saga to own the shelf it sits on. Personally a black box with a simple Star Wars logo on the spine does it for me, but whatever avenue they take I’m hoping it’s more slick than flashy.
With content and packaging out of the way let’s focus on the specifics. Each of the six episodes should be there in all their different versions right? This is Blu-ray after all. The format that has space to spare and with years of bitching about original and special editions, it’s about time Lucasfilm released the product we’re all wanted—the one that covers it all.
So, just to be clear: original theatrical versions, ’97 special editions and the DVD versions of the original trilogy (you know, the one with the slightly less gooey Jabba amongst other things).
Moving onto the prequels, with the much talked about and indeed glimpsed at new scenes arriving in at least The Phantom Menace (including the much needed CGI Yoda), I’m hoping we don’t just get the new versions on the new format. Again, I’m after theatrical and then any changes in a separate selection.
Oh and before you think we’ll forget. all in HD. You know how we all felt about the original versions of the original trilogy when they got thrown out on DVD, Lucasfilm. Don't let us down.
This is really the area where no stone should be left unturned. Over the years we’ve had CD-roms offer up New Hope gems, DVDs presenting newly finished extra scenes, websites unearthing missing moments and enough production photos of unseen moments to formulate a whole new episode (well maybe not that many).
We want everything. Luke on Tatooine, Wampas attacking the Hoth Base, The Return of the Jedi sand storm, Anakin’s Greedo scrap, Dooku’s double lightsaber battle with Anakin at the end of Attack of the Clones and if Lucas wants to make it up with Liam Neeson and offer up some Qui Gonn in Revenge of the Sith it wouldn’t go amiss. The list goes on and on and we know enough about what’s out there, so here is the place to pull it all together.
Of course I’m not expecting miracles. Not all of this is going to be available and even then a lot of it is probably going to look god awful, but throw it on anyway. We all know what we’re in for and frankly this sort of stuff takes makes a Blu-ray release of Star Wars a must have.
One of the best things about the previous Star Wars releases were the commentaries. All were jammed with facts and the prequels always had that sense that Lucas might let something slip about the next episodes or confirm a little nugget about how Anakin becomes Vader.
That was all well and good back then but now we have the whole picture, so I’m up for a commentary that doesn’t hold back. Having George Lucas fill in the gaps and explaining his feelings on specific moments would be a great addition but even more than that we totally need a cast commentary.
Imagine how good it would be to have all the key players for each movie turning up to share their thoughts. Imagine Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman and Jake Lloyd on Phantom Menace or even Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher on the original Trilogy. Pepper in the odd special guest from Warwick Davis, Ahmed Best or Ian McDiarmid and even better imagine if these were picture-in-picture commentaries. Of course, this is wishful thinking and probably will never happen but there has to be a way of getting some players to get involved and it would be a hell of an extra feature.
Alternatively or even additionally, I’d like to see some celebrity fan commentaries. I’m pretty sure the Family Guy and Robot Chicken guys owe Lucasfilm a favour, but this area has limitless possibilities and would be a great change of flavour for a Star Wars commentary.
Let’s be honest. Other than The Phantom Menace's “The Beginning” documentary, have any of the Star Wars DVD documentaries ever been more than a glimpse of what we wanted? Yeah, the original trilogy one had its moments, but really there’s so much more that could be provided isn’t there?
I’d love to see a documentary with all the main players talking up the saga all intercut with on-set footage and promotional photos and whatever other gems they can use to make it feel like a definitive look at the entire history of the Star Wars movies.
Ideally, we’d get ninety or so minutes per movie, covering everything from casting to model making, CGI to filming locations. All in the same style, all focused and enjoyable. Much akin to the Alien Quadrilogy a few years back.
Within that and maybe even offered up separately it’d be nice to see some original documentaries, the original Return of the Jedi making of and a selection of TV specials. There’s a load of this stuff out there and to have it housed in one place is would be a joy.
I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but I quite enjoy watching a movie with a pop up fact-track. Of course, they have to be good—as an example the one on the first Spider-man DVD provided a nice cross section of facts, figures, box office results, film making details, cast stories and so on.
Another great one was on one of the Terminator 2 editions that had arrows pointing at things to look out for. This sort of feature was offered up for at least The Phantom Menace via the Star Wars DVD-ROM features and the Hyperspace online service a few years back and they were good fun. I mean, sometimes it’s good to point out the odd hidden homage or minor special effect in the background, right?
We’ve had a fair splattering of these before but what would a Star Wars release be without including these? The memories for just the prequel episode trailers alone demand their inclusion. Throw in poster designs and TV spots and any weird and wonderful advertising campaigns the Star Wars characters have been used for worldwide and you’ve got yourself a fun little extra with small nuggets of the saga’s history to pop in and out of providing a large chunk of nostalgia.
This one selection is a personal one but I’d love a good documentary dedicated to the world of Star Wars collectables, especially the action figures.
Of course this has to be comprehensive, I don’t want it to be poor excuse to advertise the latest Hasbro release or anything (anyone see that twenty-five years of Transformers featurette on the Transformers 2 disc? ...Urghh).
I want to see packaging, evolution in designs and details about variant editions. Limited edition collectables and some outrageous things that only the insanely rich have in their houses and a wander around Skywalker Ranch looking at some of those trinkets we see in the background in some of George Lucas interviews would also be a nice touch.
Now here is where the fan in me really breaks through. I don’t know what I want but I think Star Wars on Blu-ray is the place to introduce a new extra feature. Along the lines of how The Matrix made “follow the white rabbit” a cool DVD term or how Sony and Disney discs have their Cinechat or link to IMDB features. It would be nice for Star Wars to introduce something special to the masses and something that isn’t slow and annoying like BD-Live. Any ideas?
So there you go. The selection I’d like to see on the Star Wars Blu-rays. I don’t hold out much hope for it all being included, after all Sansweet himself said “I won't call it the Ultimate Set because we keep finding stuff” but then he did go on to say that it’s “a very full set of all six movies on Blu-ray with lots of extra material. We're finding all kinds of scenes from dailies that have never been seen before. Beyond all of those things that you know about… there are some real treasures." So I guess we’ll wait and see.
In the meantime why not use the talk back section below to discuss what you’d want on the discs. First one to say a Jar Jar-less prequel trilogy release gets a galaxy wide groan...
Editorial by Marcus Doidge
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