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Star Wars Saga Coming to Blu-Ray September 16

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Star Wars is one of the most iconic film franchises of all time. It’s a franchise that has spanned three generations. The original release in 1977, simply titled Star Wars, was followed by the two sequels – the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, released in 1980 and 1983 respectively. Sixteen years later, the franchise got a makeover when Lucas went back to the beginning and released a second Star Wars trilogy, this time the prequel to the original three.

Now, following it’s release on Blu-Ray, hitting North America September 16, the Star Wars franchise is receiving another makeover.

Star Wars Birthday Cake

Special releases of the Star Wars franchise are not uncommon. Over the years, Lucas has tweaked and updated the movies to improve the viewing pleasure of fans. First it was home video releases on VHS and Beta. After Episodes I, II and III were released, both in theaters and on DVD, Episodes IV, V and VI were released on DVD in 2004. Now, seven years later, as home theater technology advances, the entire saga will be released on Blu-ray.

For those who routinely watch Star Wars films on Spike TV, and it seems they are always on recently, it’s evident that the quality of those 1970s and 1980s films pales in comparison to video quality in 2011. In addition, because of the order in which Lucasfilms released the movies, there are some discrepancies between the original trilogy and the second, prequel trilogy.

The fine folks over at WeLoveCult.com has compiled a running list of changes present in the new Blu-Ray versions of the two trilogies. Apparently, as Lucas has toyed with Star Wars fans throughout the years teasing updates and special features, the changes via Blu-Ray have not been met with the same enthusiasm as, say, the 20th anniversary releases in 1997 that utilized CGI and other special effects technologies, that allowed visuals not available during the filming of the original trilogy.

While some of the changes through Blu-Ray are minor, such as the Princess Leia hologram looking “more blue and prequelish” in Episode IV, the constant updates have been met with some criticism. WeLoveCult.com says fans have flocked to Amazon.com listing and bashed the upcoming release’s changes in an attempt to lower its ratings.

One rating on Amazon, from user N. Lucius, who says he cancelled his pre-order, says “These latest scene changes are the final proof that George Lucas has lost his mind.” Another, from Mike304, says “Extra material aside, pretty much all the “technical corrections” Lucasfilm did were to select shots. The color timing is STILL incorrect from the 2004 dvd release. Not to mention the Vader “nooo”, Greedo shooting first, Krayt Dragon call sounding like some guy getting his testicles smashed with a hammer, etc.”

Star Wars Episode 1

Regardless if people approve or disapprove of the upcoming changes to the film franchise, the Blu-Ray package includes many bonus features and commentary on each episode, archival interviews from cast and crew, and deleted, extended and alternate scenes, and new documentaries about the franchise.

Whether you are an avid fan or just a casual viewer, one thing is certain, the new release of the entire saga on Blu-Ray will introduce one of the best film franchises ever to a new generation of fans. It’s a franchise that was originally released in 1977 but the story hasn’t aged a bit.

In February 2012, the Star Wars franchise will get updated once again when Lucasfilms rereleases Episode I in 3D. The other five movies are sure to follow. 35 years following its original release and the franchise is still thriving.

Photos courtesy Lucky Penny Cakes and Beast 1 via Flickr.

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