Disney is trying to buy back the broadcast rights to Star Wars from Turner Broadcasting, which currently has them through 2024, says Bloomberg. They apparently want them for their own streaming service.
I admit that I am a bit doubtful, since it seems like streaming and broadcast rights for older titles ought to be separate? But I’m hardly an expert on this sort of minutiae, and Disney might want the exclusivity for their own service regardless of what the TBS/TNT deal allows.
TNT started showing the first two trilogies in September 2016, and got The Force Awakens this year. Rogue One is due in 2019 – if Disney doesn’t find the magic number to get them back, that is. The TNT deal was reportedly worth “at least $250 million” – Bloomberg pegs it as $275 million, and says TNT wants “programming to replace the lost films” as well.
If the rumor does pan out this time, it will at least be something worth building up for hype. (I can’t really see George showing up, even if this turns up to be false – he seemed uncomfortable at Celebration even when he owned the company. That said, I’ve been wrong before.)
Almost all home releases of the original trilogy since the early ’90s have been built on the restored and digitally tweaked Special Edition versions that were released in 1997. Transfers of the 1993 Laserdisc versions of the film appeared as extras on some 2006 DVDs, but many fans have been hoping for better quality ports for years now. I’m not particularly obsessive about it, and I own those DVDS, but as a member of the VHS generation I’d buy better versions in a heartbeat.
But, as always, Star Wars fans love to speculate, and anything to do with this issue is hotly debated, so keep your pants on. For now, anyway.
In the meantime, here’s fuzzy Youtube version of ‘Lapti Nek’ for the younglings who only know ‘Jedi Rocks.’ It’s ’80s-sleaze-a-riffic!
TNT and TBS will be the new basic cable home of the Star Wars franchise, per The Wrap. TNT will begin airing the first two trilogies later this month, beginning with The Phantom Menace on Tuesday, September 20. They’ll debut one film a night and finish up with a six-movie marathon on Sunday, September 25.
The multi-year licensing agreement also includes The Force Awakens (currently running on the premium channel Starz) and Rogue One. They’ll join the lineup in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Variety’s “industry sources” estimate the deal is worth “at least $250 million” for at least 10 films, with the rights for The Force Awakens and the upcoming movies in the range of $35-$40 million each. The deal runs through “at least” 2022. USA Network – which held the Star Wars basic cable rights back in the ’90s – and FX Networks were also in contention for the deal.
Kenny Baker, the actor who played Artoo, has died at the age of 81. The 3 foot, 8 inch actor was the man inside the droid for the original and prequel trilogies. He also played Paploo the Ewok in Return of the Jedi, and appeared in Time Bandits and Flash Gordon
Baker has been ill for some time. “It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless. He had a very long and fulfilled life,” his niece, Abigail Shield, told the Guardian. “He brought lots of happiness to people and we’ll be celebrating the fact that he was well loved throughout the world. We’re all very proud of what he achieved in his lifetime.”
Peter Mayhew posted “a final farewell to my little friend with the giant heart” on Chewbacca.com on Monday.
“Goodbye #KennyBaker,” Mark Hamill tweeted. “A lifelong loyal friend-I loved his optimism & determination. He WAS the droid I was looking for!” Fellow actors Ewan McGregor and Warwick Davis also posted remembrances on Twitter.
George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy spoke about Baker on StarWars.com. Lucas calls him “a real gentleman” and “an incredible trooper,” while Kennedy says “There is no Star Wars without R2-D2, and Kenny defined who R2-D2 was and is. He will be greatly missed.”
The original trilogy will be back on the big screen in a limited number of locations this August. The Alamo Drafthouse chain is sponsoring back-to-back showings of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi throughout the U.S. (And before you can ask: They will be the Special Editions.) The initial list of dates includes 16 venues, but it’s suppose to come to “more than 20 cities.”
No, Han does not shoot first on the digital version of A New Hope. The word from Australia, where it’s already Friday and the digital releases are live, is that the Greedo scene is exactly the same as the one on the Blu-ray. And, to be fair, anything else would have been a big shock, given that ‘Han shot first’ would have been spun into a Lucasfilm talking point by now if it had been the case.
Devin Faraci at Badass Digest, with whom today’s report originated, admitted that he was wrong, but does maintain that there is a high definition version of the pre-Special Edition scene in play somewhere… So don’t expect the rumors of restored ‘original’ prints to die down any time soon.