Somewhat unsurprising news, Star Wars fans: The Rise of Skywalker is coming to home video next month! The film that, according to Lucasfilm, "electrified audiences around the globe" (which is true, in a couple ways), will hit all the formats you could possibly want, rolling out starting about a month from now. There will be retail-chain-specific special editions. There will be unwarranted quantities of Palpatine. There will be the following special features:
The Skywalker Legacy – The story lives forever in this feature-length documentary that charts the making of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Pasaana Pursuit: Creating the Speeder Chase – Dive into the making of the movie’s epic landspeeder chase and discover how this spectacular sequence was brought to the screen.
Aliens in the Desert – See what it took to create the Pasaana desert scenes, from the sheer scale and complexity of the shoot to its colorful details.
D-O: Key to the Past – Explore the ship that connects Rey to the mystery of her missing parents and get to know the galaxy’s newest, irresistible droid.
Warwick & Son – Warwick Davis, who played Wicket in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, dons the Ewok costume once more; this time joined by his son Harrison.
Cast of Creatures – The team behind the film’s memorable creatures reveal the puppetry, makeup, prosthetics and digital magic that bring them to life!
Digital Exclusive: The Maestro’s Finale – Composer John Williams reflects on his body of work for the Star Wars saga and shares insights on scoring Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Any potential juice in this release is sure to be found in that feature-length doc, but I'm skeptical that it'll explore the full development process, which is what we actually want to know about. Also: we're calling it Star Wars: Return of the Jedi now? Okay.
Here's a trailer, which is spoilery if you haven't seen the movie, and possibly traumatic if you have:
The more interesting news to collectors, however, is that the movie will also be included in the also newly-announced Skywalker Saga 4K UHD box set. Containing 27 discs (at least 18 of which are simply the 4K and Blu-Ray copies of the films), it's the first time the films have been physically released on 4K. Here's hoping their upscaling technology works well, because Episodes II and III were shot in regular-ass digital HD, baby.
The promotional image refers to it as a "limited edition," and given the wide range of uses of that term, it's unclear what exactly it means. From all appearances, though, this seems to be just a 4K release of the movies (hopefully with the Atmos mixes found on Disney+); bonus material appears to be the same found on the Blu-Ray releases. These are also almost certain to be the current bajillionth-generation special editions of the films; the mythical release of the original trilogy in its original form becomes more of a myth with each passing year.
Is it just me, or does this all seem kind of undramatic? The DVD and Blu-Ray releases of the Star Wars films were big deals, but 4K just isn't as inspiring a jump in quality (or as common in homes). Add to that the lack of announced bonus features, the oversaturation of Star Wars recently, the disappointing final entry in the saga, the retail-chain exclusivity, and the fact that these 4K versions have been viewable on Disney+ for several months, and you've got a pretty lacklustre obligation buy. Then again, at this point we're lucky to get physical releases at all.
The Rise of Skywalker hits digital formats on March 17, and physical media on March 25; the box set drops on March 31, if you can get it.