Digital release of Episodes I-VI coming next Friday (updated)

VUDU, which is Walmart’s digital video service, now have a page up for Episodes I-VI of Star Wars, which will apparently see release this coming Friday. Not coincidentally, that’s six days before Celebration Anaheim kicks off, when the hype machine will almost certainly get kicked into gear.

The movies will almost certainly appear simultaneously on other services such as Netflix and iTunes, so there’s no need to worry there. But there are a few interesting points regarding the trailers presented on VUDU’s site:

  • All six films are now being marketed as Star Wars: Title (e.g. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back), in keeping with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: Rogue One
  • These are not the original theatrical releases but rather post-Special Edition versions
  • Star Wars: A New Hope still has that magenta cast to it, which makes me think the films have not been restored; these are most likely not new 4K transfers

That last point in particular is disappointing. A good quality 4K transfer in a 1080p format is essentially indistinguishable from the theatrical presentation of a 35mm release print. Instead we’re still getting the 2011 Blu-ray transfers, which are good but not great.

Update: Here’s the official press release.


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