The moment after the moment we’d all been waiting for is nearly here. April 5, 2016 is the second most important day for Star Wars fans, after December 18, 2015. On that day last year, people could throw down their money as many times as they could to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens on countless big screens across the globe. Now, nearly four months later, fans can throw down under $30 of their hard-earned cash to own the movie on home video and watch it as many times as their little nerdy hearts desire.
It’s almost impossible to find the original, non-Special Edition 1977 version of Star Wars on home video, and God knows George Lucas gave fans enough of a chance to buy the rest of the movies countless times before he handed his multi-layered galaxy over to Disney to make even more money. Only the strongest of wills would be able to wait for the inevitable ultimate mega super gold box edition that Disney will put out in ten year’s time that collects the complete Star Wars saga in one set, but the weak-minded among us will want to snatch our very own DVD/Blu-ray combo pack when they’re released next month.
Still, a problem presents itself. Disney is partnering with three major retailers to offer exclusive content on top of the standard package. But which one should the best Star Wars fan buy? Let’s investigate.
The standard release will have the following special features:
Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey – For the first time, discover the complete story behind the making of The Force Awakens, revealed through in-depth footage and exclusive interviews with the actors and filmmakers in this feature documentary
The Story Awakens: The Table Read – Cast members familiar and new reflect on the memorable day they all first came together to read the movie’s script
Building BB-8 – See how the filmmakers brought the newest droid to the screen, creating an instant fan favorite in the Star Wars universe
Crafting Creatures – Watch movie magic as the filmmakers bring a cast of new creatures to life
Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight – Go deeper into the epic, climactic lightsaber battle between Rey and Kylo Ren
John Williams: The Seventh Symphony – The legendary composer shares personal insights of his work on Star Wars and The Force Awakens
ILM: The Visual Magic of The Force – An insider’s look into the remarkable digital artistry of the movie’s visual effects.
Force For Change – Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. See how the Star Wars: Force for Change initiative has united Star Wars fans all over the globe to help others
Plus Deleted Scenes
All of those special features will accompany every home video release, but Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and the Disney Store are each offering limited edition versions of the movie with something extra.
If you go with Disney, you get an exclusive lithograph set featuring four stills from the movie. You can plaster BB-8 and Rey, Kylo Ren, Han and Chewie, and that one shot of the TIE fighters ripped off from Apocalypse Now all over your wall. This one seems to be for the more seasoned Star Wars fan that likes plain old collectibles. You can just imagine a lot of these things ending up on eBay at some point down the line. It’s a nice little add-on, but nothing more.
Shop for your Force Awakens Blu-ray at Target and your bonus content gets a little geekier in a good way. You get an exclusive slipcase that collects all the individual character posters from the movie on the box art, and 20 minutes of new special features that include interviews with actors Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. Target’s release is all for the physical media types, those who fiend over each release by niche labels like the Criterion Collection and love to dip into extras as much as the movie itself.
Are you obsessed with The Force Awakens but under the age of 15 years old? Head straight to Walmart for your Blu-ray, please. Their exclusive BB-8 packaging also comes paired with something called Star Wars Galactic Connexions trading discs, which seem like ripoffs of Pogs that have different Star Wars characters’ faces on them. Also, how can these things be discs if they’re hexagonal? Unless you’re a weirdo obsessed with BB-8 then this package is decidedly for the kiddies.
Best Buy’s offering to the Star Wars faithful is probably the laziest of them all, but one that will attract even more of the physical media freaks. They released the original and prequel trilogies in exclusive SteelBook packaging in their stores and they’ll do the same with The Force Awakens. It takes a particular type to think that a DVD or Blu-ray coming in a steel case is anything special, but they’re a collector’s item. Plus you get pretty killer views of Kylo Ren on the front and Captain Phasma on the back with an action shot of the Millennium Falcon on the inner sleeve. You can’t argue with that.
So which is your best bet? It depends on your collector proclivities. In general, the way to just get more out the package would be to buy the Target exclusive. But you could also not be an obsessive fan and just get the normal one from Amazon or wherever Blu-rays are sold. The Force, and the ability to decide for yourself, is with you when the movie hits home video on April 5.