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Original Versions of Star Wars Trilogy Arrive on DVD

In response to overwhelming demand from STAR WARS fans, Lucasfilm Ltd. and 20th Century Fox Home Ent. have released individual two-disc DVD sets of STAR WARS: EPISODE IV A NEW HOPE, EPISODE V THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and EPISODE VI RETURN OF THE JEDI ($29.98) on Sept. 12, 2006. Making these DVDs truly special, of course, is the inclusion, as special bonus material, of the original versions of the movies as seen in theaters in 1977, 1980 and 1983, respectively.

On Dec. 31, the original movies will be returned to the Lucasfilm Archives. Also included on each two-disc DVD set is commentary by George Lucas and key cast and crew, including vfx and sound design legends Dennis Muren and Ben Burtt.

The original versions of the STAR WARS trilogy movies feature Dolby 2.0 Surround sound, while the digitally restored films are presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround. All three films, both in their original and restored versions, are closed-captioned and subtitled in English, French and Spanish in the U.S. International sound and subtitling specifications vary by territory.

As for the condition and presentation of the original movies on DVD, which are not pristine and anamorphically remastered, upsetting a contingent of fans, Lucasfilm released the following statement to help clarify the situation:

In 2004, we released the movies as a boxed set. The DVD marketplace is such that many people feel they do not want to buy a higher-priced boxed set and prefer to buy movies individually. We knew that at some point we would need to make these three movies individually, and when we began developing the plan to do that, we thought this might be a great opportunity to respond to the many fan requests (which increased after the release in 2004) and release the first, original versions that were seen in theaters. This was a way to plus out these individual DVDs, and to simultaneously present the versions George Lucas feels represent his artistic vision, and those that were seen in theaters in 1977, 1980 and 1983.

Simultaneous with the release of the DVDs, LucasArts and TT Games will release LEGO STAR WARS II: THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY, the sequel to one of the best-selling videogames of 2005.

LEGO STAR WARS II: THE ORIGINAL TRILOGY combines the classic story of STAR WARS with the endless customization of LEGO that puts a comical twist on the STAR WARS universe. Players can "build and battle" their way through the galaxy, reliving (and sometimes reinventing) favorite moments from the STAR WARS trilogy.

The epic story, characters and action are all there, and for the first time players can build and ride their own STAR WARS vehicles, then get on and off of them to explore the interactive galaxy as envisioned by LEGO. True to the LEGO experience, players can even customize their own STAR WARS characters.

Published by LucasArts and created by TT Games, LEGO STAR WARS II is slated for release across eight platforms: the Xbox 360; the Xbox; the PlayStation 2; Sony PSP; Microsoft Windows; Nintendo GameCube; Nintendo DS; and Nintendo Game Boy Advance.

"STAR WARS remains incredibly popular around the world, and Sept. 12 brings even more excitement," said Tom Warner, senior director of marketing for Lucasfilm Ltd. "Fans love the nostalgia of their first STAR WARS experience but are also eager to see new, original entertainment from Lucasfilm, and this fall we're bringing them both."

Debuting day-and-date with the DVDs and game are new lines of licensed STAR WARS merchandise and toys. The line will include limited edition George Lucas in Stormtrooper attire action figure.

Lucasfilm Ltd. is one of the world's leading film and entertainment companies. Founded by George Lucas in 1971, it is a privately held, fully integrated entertainment company. In addition to its motion picture and television productions, the company's global businesses include Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound; LucasArts Ent.; Lucas Licensing; Lucasfilm Animation; and Lucas Online.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Ent. Llc. is a subsidiary of 20th Century Fox Film Corp., a News Corp. company.