I woke up this morning to find that yesterday’s massive Star Wars: Episode VII news was, in fact, not a dream. In a massive deal, George Lucas sold his LucasFilm studio to Disney, paving the way for a new Star Wars film set to hit theaters in 2015. Though further entries in the beloved franchise were a major part of the news, many were quick to realize that with Disney now in control of the LucasFilm empire, fans may finally get a home video release of the original Star Wars trilogy sans Lucas’ tinkering.
Well, it turns out that further Star Wars home video releases are tied up in a tricky bit of legal shambles, as 20th Century Fox still owns Episode IV: A New Hope. Hit the jump for more.
With the release of a new Star Wars in 2015, it’s safe to assume that there’s some money to be made in also releasing some sort of box set of the films around that time. Though Disney is now in control of the Star Wars empire, Fox will still release Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith in 3D next year. Per THR, Fox owns the distribution rights to Star Wars: A New Hope in perpetuity in all media worldwide. They also hold theatrical, nontheatrical and home video rights to the other Star Wars films through May 2020, but their ownership of A New Hope is without an end date.
As such, quite a bit of legal wrangling will need to take place before we see another complete box set home video release of Star Wars. A collection of all the films cannot be released until Disney and Fox strike some sort of deal, given that the latter company wholly owns A New Hope. Fox likely feels a bit burned that Lucas didn’t sell his company to the longtime partner studio, but hopefully some sort of deal can be arranged for future home video releases. It’d be a shame to see Star Wars Blu-ray sets without the film that started it all.
With Disney and Kathleen Kennedy holding the keys to the castle, one hopes that they would be interested in eventually releasing the unedited version of the original trilogy. This is a case that fans have been arguing for many, many years now, and I imagine those releases would sell like crazy. But alas, it appears we’ll have to wait for all the complicated legal dealing to conclude before we can start looking forward to this sort of box set.