Perhaps its a little premature to be discussing the home video release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but a new rumor claims that the movie will stream exclusively on Netflix sometime after it's release in theaters this December. But the big kicker is that all six original movies will be available on the streaming giant prior to the film's release in theaters in a deal between Netflix and LucasFilm that gives Netflix exclusive access to the blockbuster franchise. And as suspected, it looks like AMC Theaters is planning an epic marathon of all previously released films before the new film hits countrywide.
As of now, there is no way to stream the original Star Wars trilogy and the prequel trilogy. It is only available on Blu-ray and DVD, and as a digital download from various consumer outlets. But that could all change very shortly. As you may know, EPIX is cutting its ties with Netflix so that they can offer their downloadable content for offline viewing. This is something that Netflix has refused to do. It seems that the company is banking on a large volume of content that will have viewers continuing to utilize their service. And streaming all 6 Star Wars movies exclusively, with a seventh on the way, would certainly allow them to keep their current operational model intact.
Extreamist, who were the first to report on this rumor, claim that Netflix will be the first, and probably the only, provider of streaming content to offer the Star Wars movies. To back up their claim, they list a Netflix search page for Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back as evidence that the company is getting ready for the transition. But some suspect this is just a holdover from the DVD page for the same film. The site does say they've reached out to Netflix, who claim no 'official' deal is in place, or about to be announced. But they were ambiguous about it. The streaming service currently features Star Wars: Clone Wars, including new episodes that debuted exclusively on Netflix, along with the feature length Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie from 2008. The company also has a wide variety of Disney content available for streaming. If this does happen, Extreamist claim that it will happen sometime in October.
Further exploring from users also uncovered Netflix search pages for Raiders of the Lost Ark, American Graffiti and THX 1138. This has lead to much speculation that the entire LucasFilm catalogue is heading to Netflix. Of course, none of this has been confirmed or announced in an official capacity by Netflix or Lucasfilm. But it certainly looks like it's plausible. And with as much money as Disney spent on buying Lucasfilm, you know they want the previous films easily accessible to consumers in hopes of pushing them out the door to buy a ticket for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Though no fans need any further incentive to go see it than the fact that it merely exists.
In related news, AMC Theaters posted a Twitter update announcing an epic Star Wars marathon for all 6 movies. No date was announced, but it was said to be happening before Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrives in theaters around Christmas time. There was even a link that went to a page presumably so you could pre-order your tickets and get more information. But the tweet was deleted and the provided link now goes to an intriguing error page that features a photo of Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi. It seems unlikely that this isn't happening, and that it was just announced a little too early.
Yesterday, it was rumored that advanced tickets for Star Wars: The Force Awakens are going on sale October 19th. This hasn't been confirmed, but it certainly set off a lot of speculation about an impending Star Wars in-theater marathon. We'll probably have to wait until a future date for concrete plans, but it certainly sounds like this is happening. What isn't known is if any of the films will be presented in 3D. You can take a look at the Star Wars marathon landing page from AMC, along with tweets that support the idea that the Lucasfilm catalogue will soon be heading to Netflix. What do you think? Is this exciting? Or just too much Star Wars to digest in a healthy manner without getting a stomachache?