Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Disney+ Has Another Surprise For Star Wars Fans

The galaxy far, far away has gotten a bit of a makeover on Disney+.

In a surprise move, the House of Mouse has debuted 4K and HDR versions of the original and prequel trilogies on its brand-spanking-new streamer, offering all six films at a crisper, more detailed resolution than ever before. (via GameSpot)

Having all of the Star Wars titles under one streaming roof has obviously been a major feather in the cap of Disney+, and while it's unclear why the Mouse House hasn't been more publicly vocal about offering the first six movies in the upgraded format, it's certainly cause for celebration among the fandom. While the streamer also has 4K and HDR versions of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, those have previously been made available at the higher resolutions. Previously, fans have had to make do with standard Blu Ray editions of the original and prequel trilogies — but no more. (In case you're wondering, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story will hit Disney+ once the current streaming agreement with Netflix expires.)

Of course, you'll need a 4K and/or HDR compatible television to enjoy the upgrade — but what you won't need is any kind of add-on to your Disney+ subscription. Unlike chief competitor Netflix, which only offers 4K versions of its content at a higher pricing tier, Disney+ offers 4K transfers of every title available in the format at no extra charge.

There are only two potential downsides here: first, the availability of the upgraded versions of the original and prequel trilogies on Disney+ throws into question the future of a 4K box set which had been heavily rumored to be on the horizon. We're sure there are, oh, two or three Star Wars fans out there that have no interest in Disney+, but who would be down to purchase such a box set if it were available; these fans may, unfortunately, be left out in the cold.

Second, the versions of the original trilogy films available on Disney+ — A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi — are not the original theatrical versions, but creator George Lucas' Special Editions, which famously (or perhaps infamously) included new scenes featuring the best CGI the late '90s had to offer. (Spoiler alert: CGI in the late '90s generally sucked.) The legions of fans still waiting for the theatrical cuts of the original trilogy to get a proper home release will have to keep waiting, but with the franchise now in Disney's hands, that's probably more likely to happen than if Lucas were still calling the shots.

What other changes has Disney+ made to Star Wars?

The spiffy new resolutions aren't the only thing new about the original and prequel trilogies on Disney+. The sound has also gotten an upgrade, with all six films sporting the option for Dolby Atmos, a surround sound format that delivers something damn close to the movie theater experience in the comfort of your home. Again, The Force Awakens and Rogue One have previously received this treatment for home releases — but as far as the first six movies go, you haven't heard them sound this good since the last time you caught them in the theater. Of course, you'll also need the proper hardware to take advantage of the recalibrated soundtracks.

Another interesting change... well, isn't so much a change as it is a restoration. The iconic 20th Century Fox logo and fanfare — which many of us know by heart specifically because of the Star Wars movies — has been restored for the the original and prequel trilogies' presentations on Disney+. The iconic intro was nixed from home releases after Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, but the House of Mouse seems to have fully wrapped its mouse-eared head around the fact that nostalgia is going to be a huge factor enticing fans to subscribe to its streamer. As such, this change was likely a no-brainer, and it was probably only possible because Disney recently gobbled up the film and television assets of Fox Studios as well. (via GamesRadar)

Finally, as you may have heard, that much-discussed scene in the Mos Eisley cantina in New Hope — the one in which Han Solo has a shootout with the bounty hunter Greedo — is also a bit different from previous versions. Han famously shot first in the original cut, but for the 1997 Special Edition of the film, Lucas cut the scene so that Greedo shot first and missed before being dispatched.

The version of the scene on Disney+ has been rejiggered yet again; according to longtime Lucasfilm employee Pablo Hidalgo, this was done by Lucas during the process of creating the 4K transfer shortly before he sold Lucasfilm to Disney. In this version of the scene, Han and Greedo fire at roughly the same time — but not before Greedo inexplicably exclaims, "Maclunkey!"

While that nonsense word will give the internet fodder for memes from now until the end of time, the 4K and HDR transfers of the original and prequel trilogies will give its denizens equal amounts of viewing pleasure. Now, if ol' Mickey will just see his way clear to giving us the theatrical cuts of the original trilogy in literally any resolution, he'd really be onto something.