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Why Delay DVD?

February 17, 2000 -- Lucasfilm greatly appreciates the enthusiasm of our fans of the Star Wars movies and their passion to see the films in the best possible format, as demonstrated by various campaigns by fans asking for an immediate release of Star Wars on DVD. Unfortunately, Lucasfilm cannot stop work on Episode II in order to concentrate on the DVD release at this time.

There is no plan to release any of the Star Wars films on DVD for the foreseeable future and definitely not this year. George Lucas would like to do something special with the DVD release and unfortunately he does not have time to concentrate on the DVD project at this time. George is currently working on the script for Episode II and preparing for principal photography that will begin this summer in Australia. The films will definitely be released on DVD. It's just that we don't yet know when.

George Lucas is deeply committed to the quality presentation of his films. In fact, Lucasfilm's THX group is solely dedicated to sound and visual presentation in theatres as well as homes. George started the division in 1983 as a result of his frustration that audiences were not able to enjoy Return of the Jedi as he had created it. Many of the sounds that Ben Burtt and his team had worked so hard to create were being lost in poor quality theaters. Since that time the division has expanded into a multitude of programs dedicated to superior quality including the TAP (Theater Alignment Program) program, Home THX, and the THX Digital Mastering Program for entertainment software.

Lucasfilm's delay in putting the Star Wars movies out on the DVD format has nothing to do with the format itself. It is simply a matter of time and availability on the part of George and his creative team at Lucasfilm.

Lucasfilm is very concerned about pirated DVD copies of Star Wars, but finds any suggestion that a delayed official release is an encouragement to bootleg is absurd. Filmmakers are the victims of piracy--not the cause of it. We need to be able to release the DVD when we're ready with the material. Our creative decisions should not be dictated by pirates. Bootlegged copies are against the law. They are inferior and do not even come close to meeting any standard of quality presentation. Anyone viewing a bootlegged copy of Star Wars is contributing to the overall piracy problem that the MPAA is fighting daily and globally.

As many know, while a Laserdisc version of The Phantom Menace will be released in Japan due to market considerations, there is nothing digital on a Laserdisc except for the soundtrack. While a bootlegged DVD copy from this format would be superior to VHS, it would still not equal the DVD format.

Rumors and speculation that waiting to release DVD versions is motivated by a desire to simply drive up demand, or to force fans to purchase multiple copies are completely false.



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