Star Wars finally arrives in October!

It’s official. Detailed information is in from Twentieth Century Fox on the upcoming 2-disc set of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. And the details look great!

The film itself has, not surprisingly, been certified by Lucas“ own THX program. Presented in anamorphic widescreen, the film will be presented in Dolby Digital EX, the sound format created for the film, as well as Dolby 2.0 Surround mixes in English and Spanish. Canadian copies will contain an additional Dolby 2.0 track in French.

The guiding light among the special features is a running length Audio Commentary by creator George Lucas, producer Rick McCallum, co-editor and sound designer Ben Burtt, visual effects supervisors Scott Squires, John Knoll and Dennis Muren and animation supervisor Rob Coleman. This packed commentary will be the first full-length commentary done by Lucas any for his films.

Also included will be seven Deleted Scenes. The deleted scenes will feature full visual effects completed exclusively for the upcoming DVD. An hour long Documentary entitled “The Beginning” has been drawn from the hundreds of hours of behind the scenes footage shot in 1998 during the production of the film. A multi-angle interactive feature allows the viewer to flip through various phases of development from storyboard to animatic to finished film feature of key action sequences.

Five Featurettes will be included and will cover the storyline, designs, costumes, visual effects and fight scenes. The Music Video of John Williams” popular “Dual of the Fates” will also be part of the release, as will all twelve parts of Lynne’s Diaries, the extensive documentaries originally produced for the Offical “Star Wars” web page. Rounding out the features will be several Photo Galleries of theatrical posters and print designs as well as never seen production photos. Both the teaser trailer and full theatrical trailer will be included, as will the seven popular television commercials featuring poems of the central characters; Amidala, Darth Maul, Jar-Jar, Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Shmi.

“The Phantom Menace” is of course the first chapter in the “Star Wars” Legacy. Taking place decades before the original trilogy, “Episode I” takes place in the days of the Republic before the reign of Emperor Palpatine. Two Jedi Knights, Qui-Gon Jinn and the young apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi are sent to the lush world of Naboo to settle a trade negotiation between the people of Naboo and the Trade Federation. They quickly discover that the disputes are not what they appear, but merely a disguise for a far more sinister plot. As they journey with Naboo’s Queen Amidala to plead before the Galactic Senate, they encounter and must enlist the aid of a young slave named Anakin Skywalker, a nine-year old boy who’s must face his own fears and come to terms with his own understanding of the Force. Through the help of the young boy, Qui-Gon comes to realize that young Skywalker may be the prophesized one who holds the fate of the Jedi and the Republic in his hands.

No price has been announced for the two-disc set, but it is expected to be a record-setting DVD for sales in the U.S. The Force will be with us all when “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” comes home to DVD on October 16th 2001.

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