History of Star Wars on DVD* Updated 7/26/2011 *
A summary of the trials, tribulations, rumors, false starts, bootlegs, and surprises involved in trying to get the Star Wars movies on DVD. Click here for the latest news.
Originally, this section consisted of a brief write-up on a few bootleg discs that I stumbled across back in early 2001. Over the years, it has grown significantly, with reviews of official DVD releases for all five movies (Revenge of the Sith will join the group late in 2005), one sad Phantom Menace bootleg, two bootlegs of the Special Editions, five different bootlegs of the original trilogy, and some information on the large array of bonus features available with some bootleg sets. Perhaps the most amazing part is that these discs are only a sample of what exists on the net today.
The arrival of the official DVD release in 2004 has effectively killed the market for bootlegs of the SE trilogy, just as the official releases of Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones swept away bootlegs of them, but there remains an active interest in the preservation of the original theatrical cuts of the trilogy. This is made clear by the information I've received this year from several that there are some new original trilogy bootleg transfers in the works (such as the newly-reviewed set from Cowclops and TR47). With the impending (and widely unexpected) arrival of official DVD's of the original theatrical cuts of all three movies, the array of bootlegs should begin fading into history in the near future. I'll update my reviews page in September 2006 once I get my hands on these surprising discs.
Star Wars DVD Cover Art
A collection of covers for Star Wars DVD's. Most of these came originally from DVD Cover Art, but in late March 2003 that site removed all covers for movies that had not yet been released on DVD (including Star Wars trilogy covers); covers for Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones remained available until January 2004, when they were also removed. A legal action in the summer of 2004 closed down the site permanently.
I've been a Star Wars fan for many years. One of the reasons I wanted to get a DVD player back in 1998 (when the format was little more than a year and a half old) was to be able to see the original trilogy with the best video and audio I could get. Unfortunately, there was one problem with that plan for several years, George Lucas resisted releasing any of the Star Wars movies on DVD until he could create a boxed set with all six movies. This would of course have meant no DVD's of Star Wars until after Episode III was released to theaters in 2005. A six year wait was unappealing to the swarms of Star Wars fans, many of whom were early adopters of the DVD format as well as owners of multiple copies of the trilogy on VHS and in some cases LaserDisc. A lot has changed since Lucas made his original announcement; as of this writing, Episodes I and II have been released on DVD in two-disc special editions (and even spent some time on moratorium), the trilogy has been released as a four-disc DVD set, a DVD of Episode III has been released (as of November 1, 2005), and a number of other related titles (some episodes from the Droids and Ewoks animated series, the two Ewok movies, and the recent Clone Wars animated series) arrived in late 2004 or will arrive by the end of 2005. People continue to clamor for more, most notably a preservation of the trilogy as they were originally shown in theaters in 1977, 1980, and 1983 rather than the current form that contains numerous revisions introduced in the 1997 Special Editions and the 2004 DVD's. With 2005 drawing to a close and the scene set for a new format war in 2006 between Blu-ray and HD-DVD (two competing high definition optical disc formats), we'll also have a lot of interest in when the Star Wars movies will appear on one of those formats. I will continue to keep track of activity surrounding the franchise as fans continue to call for the original theatrical cuts and the HD optical disc format war gets under way. Look here for news, references, links, and a few home-grown reviews of Star Wars DVD's.