On November 10, 20th Century Fox re-issued its Blu-rays of all six of George Lucas’s “Star Wars” films in all-new Limited Edition steelbook packaging. Fox’s marketing move took place less than a month after the studio’s release of its 2011 nine-Blu-ray disc (BD) set, “Star Wars: The Complete Saga” in a new Darth Vader-themed box. It also occurred six weeks before the premiere of Disney/Lucasfilm’s highly anticipated “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
The Limited Edition steelbook series, which includes “Star Wars – Episode II: Attack of the Clones,” is not unprecedented in Fox’s long history with the franchise the studio launched in 1977 when it produced Lucas’s “Star Wars” (aka “Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope.” For instance, 20th Century Fox Home Video (the forerunner to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment) released its last VHS edition of the Classic Trilogy” the same year it rolled out the DVD for “Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace.”
The 2015 Steelbook Edition
“Ten years after the invasion of Naboo, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), now twenty years old, is an apprentice to Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). With the galaxy on the brink of civil war, an assassination attempt is made on Senator Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), former Queen of Naboo. Anakin is assigned to protect her and in the course of his mission, the young Jedi falls in love with Padmé, while also discovering his own darker side. Anakin, Padmé and Obi-Wan Kenobi are ultimately drawn into the escalating galactic conflict and the beginning of the Clone Wars.” – “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones” Limited Edition Steelbook blurb
Unlike previous re-releases in the DVD/Blu-ray/digital download era, neither Lucasfilm (which produced five of the six “Star Wars” films in this series) nor 20th Century Fox have made any alterations to the content of “Attack of the Clones.” By the same token, the only difference between the 2015 Limited Edition steelbook BDs and Fox’s 2011 “Star Wars: The Complete Saga” discs is the packaging.
Although there is a vociferous group of “Star Wars” fans who have a visceral dislike for Lucas’s “Star Wars” Prequel Trilogy, its three Episodes – “The Phantom Menace,” “Attack of the Clones,” and “Revenge of the Sith” – are part of what George Lucas calls “The Tragedy of Anakin Skywalker.” They are important chapters of the Skywalker family’s story. Thus, Fox gave this reissue of “Star Wars – Episode II: Attack of the Clones” the same attention to detail as it did to the more popular “Classic Trilogy.”
As mentioned earlier, the BD in this Limited Edition steelbook re-issue does not have any new content. Lucasfilm’s digital artists have not deleted any scenes with the much maligned Jar Jar Binks, nor have they added any tweaks to the dialogue or special effects. The 50 gigabyte BD that comes in the 2015 Steelbook Edition is basically the same as the disc that Fox released in its 2011 and 2015 “Star Wars: The Complete Saga” box sets. (The BD’s onscreen menu is exactly the same, too.)
This BD of “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones” doesn’t have any new extra features, either. Instead of offering featurettes along the lines of the History cable channel’s “The Legacy of ‘Star Wars’” or a new behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Prequel Trilogy, this disc only offers two audio commentary tracks:
- The 2004 DVD edition’s audio commentary track by writer-director George Lucas and various cast and crew member
- The 2011 BD edition’s audio commentary track culled from archival interviews with Lucas, various actors and production crew members
Many “Star Wars” fans – especially those who own any of the previous BD releases of Lucas’s storied space fantasy series set “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” – will probably not buy the Limited Edition steelbook sets. There are no new bells and whistles, content-wise, and Lucasfilm still seems reluctant to include the pre-Special Edition cuts of “A New Hope,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Return of the Jedi” on any high definition media.
Fox is banking on the less-vocal “collectors” constituency of “Star Wars” fans. The new Limited Edition metal packages are designed to appeal to those fans who like collectible items and will gladly purchase them – even if they already have the BDs from 2011.
The front cover art features a leftt-leaning close up of Jedi Master Yoda, the silver “Star Wars” logo on the bottom right hand corner, and the subtitle “Attack of the Clones” in green letters beneath it. And in a nod to Disney/Lucasfilm’s marketing for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the “Episode II” element of the film’s subtitle has been left out.
In the inside cover, Fox has included a still image that depicts a regiment of clone troopers (the precursors to the Classic Trilogy’s Stormtroopers) as they board a transport in Kamino’s Tipoca City. The clone troopers are arrayed in near-perfect rows; this is George Lucas’s visual nod to Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph des Willens” (“Triumph of the Will”), a 1938 Nazi propaganda film which influenced Lucas’s designs for several scenes in the “Star Wars” saga.
The back cover on the “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones” Limited Edition steelbook features part of Drew Struzan’s “A” poster for the movie’s 2002 release. Struzan’s striking illustration artwork features Senator Padmé Amidala, her Jedi protector/lover Anakin Skywalker, a lightsaber-wielding Obi-Wan Kenobi, R2-D2, and C-3PO, Mace Windu, Yoda, Jango Fett, and a battle between the Jedi-led clone troopers and Separatist war droids.
So far, Fox’s marketing strategy seems to be successful. “Star Wars” is still a lucrative cash bantha for the studio, and despite the many fans who are holding out till Lucasfilm relents and gives them the unaltered Classic Trilogy, the Limited Edition steelbook BDs are selling well. Per Amazon’s product page for the “Attack of the Clones” BD, sales of this re-release are brisk. As of this writing, “Attack of the Clones” is ranked 177th in sales overall in the online giant’s Movies & TV category, and 11th in the Movies & TV > Blu-ray > Science Fiction section.