One of the biggest fan questions surrounding Disney’s purchase of LucasFilm has been answered. While Disney now owns the rights to the Star Wars universe and all future films going forward, 20th Century Fox has retained the rights to the first six movies. The original film, Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, is theirs forever, and they’ll own the final five films, Episodes I-III, V and VI, through May 2020. This makes the fan dream of releasing the original, unedited trilogy box set very difficult. Read more after the jump.

The Hollywood Reporter wrote about the complicated rights issues concerning the original films. They do say that there’s a chance Fox and Disney could reach some kind of deal concerning the first two trilogies, but most of the problems surround Episode IV, which they hold “ in perpetuity in all media worldwide.” A deal that Lucas likely signed just to try and get the movie released back in the late 1970s.

In 2020, the rights for the rest of the films will revert back to LucasFilm. (Now AKA Disney.) Fox still plans on releasing Episode II and III in 3D as scheduled.

But let’s look at the reality of the situation. The original films, all six of them, are crucial to marketing a sequel trilogy. Episode VII is coming in 2015 so Disney will likely be forced to make some kind of deal with Fox to use those movies simply for that reason.

Plus, it’s a win-win for Fox. They wouldn’t have to do anything, Disney assumes all the risk, and Fox collects a check. So I’d imagine the executives will consider some kind of deal and, if that happens, maybe we get the Original Trilogy Box Set. However, make no mistake, there’s no way Fox would ever release the rights to A New Hope, one of the most successful films ever made, and I doubt they’ll release the rights to the others before they’re forced to in 2020.

Do you think Fox will give up the rights? Will Disney strike a deal?

 

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