As the countdown to the premiere of Disney/Lucasfilm’s highly-anticipated “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” nears the one-month mark, 20th Century Fox is enticing fans and collectors with a reissue of George Lucas’s Classic and Prequel Trilogies in Blu-ray disc (BD). On November 10, the studio released all six movies of what Lucas calls The Tragedy of Anakin Skywalker in new steelbook packaging with newly-designed cover art.
Lucasfilm has not made any editorial changes to the movies. As a result, the 2015 BDs of “The Phantom Menace,” “Attack of the Clones,” “Revenge of the Sith,” “A New Hope,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” are identical to the discs in Fox’s 2011 “Star Wars: The Complete Saga” box set. (Incidentally, Fox reissued that box set in October with new Darth Vader-themed DigiBook packaging.)
The 2015 Steelbox Edition
“Years after the onset of the Clone Wars, the Sith unveil a thousand-year-old plot, the Republic crumbles and from its ashes rises the evil Galactic Empire. Confirming the worst fears of Jedi Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson), Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) is seduced by the dark side of the Force and becomes the Emperor’s new apprentice, Darth Vader. The Jedi are decimated, as Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Jedi Master Yoda are forced into hiding. The only hope for the galaxy are Anakin’s own children… a boy and girl who share a heroic destiny.” – “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” Limited Edition Steelbook blurb
Although there are many “Star Wars” fans who dislike Lucas’s “Star Wars” Prequel Trilogy, its three Episodes are an integral part of the entire saga. And since “Star Wars – Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” depicts the transformation of Anakin Skywalker into the evil Darth Vader, it’s an important chapter in the Skywalker family’s story.
As we noted earlier, the BD in this Limited Edition steelbook re-issue of “Revenge of the Sith” does not have any new content. Lucasfilm’s digital artists have not deleted any scenes from the 2005 film, nor have they added any changes to the dialogue or special effects. The 50 gigabyte BD that comes in the 2015 Steelbook Edition is 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: Revenge of the Sith” 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
So, why should “Star Wars” fans get this reissue? It’s clear that Fox’s marketing strategy focuses more on the packaging rather than on the content. (In other words, it’s not what’s in the steelbook, it is the steelbook itself. Fox is targeting those fans who not only love the movies – even the much criticized prequels – but also enjoy acquiring collectible items, including limited edition packaging.
For the 2015 re-release of “Revenge of the Sith,” 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has created a cool-looking steelbook case. The front cover art features a right-leaning close up of General Grievous’ alien-looking skull mask, the silver “Star Wars” logo on the bottom left corner, and the subtitle “Revenge of the Sith” under it in blue lettering . Echoing Disney/Lucasfilm’s marketing for “The Force Awakens,” the “Episode III” element of the film’s subtitle has been omitted.
For the inside cover, Fox has used an iconic still from “Sith.” It shows Anakin Skywalker, who is now known as Darth Vader, clashing in a lightsaber duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi on the volcanic world, Mustafar. It’s a dramatic graphic, full of black, red, and fiery orange hues that capture the tragic confrontation between two erstwhile friends.
The back cover is a partial reproduction of artist Drew Struzan’s “A” poster for “Star Wars – Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.” The faces of the three central figures – Padmé Amidala, Anakin, and Obi-Wan – are flanked by images of (counterclockwise) Yoda, Anakin battling Obi-Wan, Emperor Palpatine, and Mace Windu. Because “Sith” is the link between Lucas’s Prequel and Classic Trilogies, Darth Vader’s Nazi-style helmet and skull-like breath mask loom menacingly in the background.
Did Fox’s decision to re-release its 2011 Blu-rays in this series of Limited Edition steelbooks pay off? So far, sales of this reissue have been good. Per Amazon’s product page for “Revenge of the Sith,” the BD is ranked #151 in the online retailer’s Movies & TV department, and #9 in the Movies & TV > Blu-ray > Science Fiction subcategory. Clearly, the Force is strong with these repackaged Blu-rays.