Actor Topher Grace made some headlines in 2012 when word leaked that he’d privately shown an 85-minute version of all three Star Wars prequels. That’s unlikely to ever see the light of day, but he and friend/collaborator Jeff Yorkes have now released a 5-minute “mega-trailer” for the franchise, including both complete trilogies, The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, Rogue One and Solo. It’s absolutely worth a watch, and the perfect thing to come out as we await Episode IX.
The Phantom Menace panel set for Monday at Celebration
A twentieth-anniversary panel for The Phantom Menace has been announced for the final day of Celebration which is – coincidentally, I’m sure – the only day that passes are still available for.
Meanwhile, on StarWars.com, the guest list is still growing. Today’s additions are headlined by Billy Dee Williams and Alan Tudyk. Joining them are Rebels’ Freddie Prinze Jr. and Taylor Gray (Kanan and Ezra), our old pal John “DAK!” Morton, ANH stormtrooper Anthony Forrest, Julian Glover (General Veers) and Michael Culver (Captain Needa).
Star Wars Celebration is being held from April 11-15, 2019, at Chicago’s McCormick Place. This will be the ninth domestic version of the con; the very first Celebration was held in Denver ahead of The Phantom Menace’s release in 1999.
Report: Disney wants Star Wars back from TBS, TNT
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.
Remastered Star Wars soundtracks coming in May
Disney Music Group will re-release remastered versions of John Williams’ soundtracks for the first six Star Wars films on May 4. The soundtracks have been “reconstructed from new hi-resolution (24/192) transfers supervised by Shawn Murphy and Skywalker Sound.” They’re up for preorder now.
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TNT nabs Star Wars basic cable rights
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.
Link: Prequel trilogy, The Force Awakens rumored to be coming to Blu-ray 3D?
Rumor: Prequel trilogy, The Force Awakens coming to Blu-ray 3D in the fall? The Phantom Menace and The Force Awakens had wide releases in 3D, but the Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith conversions have only been shown at fan events.
Rumor: Disney shopping Star Wars films to basic cable again
Variety reports that Disney began pitching the free TV rights – technically basic cable – on the Star Wars films last week, for all three trilogies. The asking price on is claimed to be “high” – even for the “vintage” titles. Movie rights are worth less and less to networks these days, but Star Wars seems to be an exception.
Spike TV held the Star Wars rights through 2014, paying $65-$70 million for six years and six films. The Indiana Jones films went for about $25M each in 2008.
Cable outlets who have met or are meeting with Disney include Turner, FX Networks, Viacom, NBCUniversal (which owns SyFy, which aired A New Hope when it first launched as the Sci-Fi Channel and USA Network, who had the rights to the original trilogy in the 90s,) A+E Networks and AMC Networks.
Variety cites speculation that the pitches to outside networks may be Disney’s way of seeing “what the market will bear” – aka covering their ass – before settling the rights on one of their own networks. (I’ve been expecting the films will indeed show up on Freeform.)
The Force Awakens will debut on Starz next year as the last film under the channel’s deal with Disney. TFA likely won’t show up on basic cable until 2018, while Episode VIII and IX will go to Netflix first under Disney’s current deal with the streaming service.
Star Wars Blu-rays to be rereleased as commemorative steelbooks
The first six Star Wars movies are getting yet another Blu-ray makeover. The limited edition commemorative steelbooks look neat, but it doesn’t seem like they’ll have any new content. The ‘Complete Saga’ collection is also getting a facelift for re-release.
The steelbooks will be available for preorder on August 7 for a November 10 release, and the Complete Saga collection of all six films (so far) will drop on October 13.
The digital releases are live, and most of them do feature something new…
The U.S. can now get the Star Wars films in digital formats, and while Han doesn’t shoot first, there is one noticeable change… A new Lucasfilm fanfare replaces the 20th Century Fox one on all the movies save A New Hope. (Which, as we all know, Fox has distribution rights to in perpetuity.) Is this what we can expect on The Force Awakens? Almost certainly.
Star Wars movies are coming to Digital HD Friday
Lucasfilm broke the news we were expecting with a commercial during tonight’s big college basketball game: All six of the existing films will be available “globally” in Digital HD this Friday, April 10.
Vendors being name-dropped in the media include iTunes, Google Play, VUDU, Amazon, Xbox Video, and the Playstation Store.
Yes, the original trilogy will be the most recent Blu-ray editions, because if they ever do release pre-SE versions, they will not play coy about it.