Come September, the Force returns to the original Star Wars' biggest fans.
Between Sept. 12 and Dec. 31, those who fell in love with Han Solo and Princess Leia in theaters will be able to purchase the original versions of Episodes IV (1977, A New Hope), V (1980, The Empire Strikes Back) and VI (1983, Return of the Jedi), for the first time on DVD, packaged with the digitally enhanced and expanded versions released theatrically in 1997.
Each title will go out as a two-disc set with a suggested retail price of $29.95.
The move is a direct response to popular demand, according to Lucasfilm spokesman John Singh. "The biggest question we've ever gotten from Star Wars fans is, 'When are you going to release the originals?' A Web site called originaltrilogy.com, in the last year alone, gathered 72,000 signatures asking for their release. We love that passion."
The original versions are being presented as "bonus material" on disc two of each package. Disc one will duplicate the material already in the 2004 box set.
Will the "extras" outdraw the main attraction? Singh laughs and says: "The main thing is, here's a chance to provide the movies in what, for George [Lucas], are the definitive versions - the ones released in theaters in 1997, and in the DVD box set in 2004 - as well as the movies that some fans have always wanted to own, because they're the ones they first saw in theaters."