Rogue One: A Star Wars Story director Gareth Edwards told Little White Lies that he watched a 4K Ultra HD version of Star Wars: A New Hope. Confirmation that Star Wars 4K exists is huge news for fans of the series. That said, there are several questions that fans will still want the answers to. Which version of the movie was converted to 4K? And when will Star Wars 4K be available? Before I dive into those questions, here are Edwards’ exact words.
We were in Lucasfilm in San Francisco with Industrial Light and Magic and John Knowles, our supervisor, he said that they’ve got a brand new 4K restoration print of A New Hope — it had literally just been finished.
Many fans are hoping that the inevitable Star Wars 4K movies will be new processes made from the original 35mm film. The “Special Edition” cuts are loathed by many fans and they don’t want to see an up-converted version of those sold as 4K Ultra HD. Some believe that 4K translations of the original film would make the special effects look bad, while others claim that 4K versions of the “Special Editions” won’t work since the enhancements were done specifically for 2K. In a perfect world, hardcore fans are hoping for 4K Ultra HD versions of the original theatrical cut, with enhancements to the special effects and none of the content additions that George Lucas was derided for.
Then there’s the question of the Star Wars 4K release dates. Fox owns the rights to A New Hope and will hold onto them until its dying day (duh). The other five Star Wars films (prior to The Force Awakens) belong to Fox until May 2020. This excellent story from The Hollywood Reporter clarifies the rights issues.
Fox owns distribution rights to the original Star Wars, No. 4 in the series, in perpetuity in all media worldwide. And as for the five subsequent movies, Fox has theatrical, nontheatrical and home video rights worldwide through May 2020.
Although Star Wars 4K exists, it could take some wheeling and dealing before people are able to buy the films. Hopefully the parties involved are able to come to an amicable deal for the good of mankind. Then again, perhaps the wheeling and dealing have been done. As I’m sure you’ve noticed, digital copies of the original films have been greatly discounted for the last month or so. Perhaps a Star Wars 4K release in the not-so-distant future is the reason why?
What do you think? Kindly share your thoughts in the comments section and let me know how many ewoks you’d kill to own 4K Ultra HD versions of the original trilogy.