Multiple 5.1 mixes have been created for the original Star Was Trilogy over the years, each with minor differences with sound effects and in some instances, lines. I suspect (and hope) that Lucas will take the opportunity to remix the films for 7.1 sound systems, creating the definitive audio track. Errors were introduced in the 2004 5.1 mixes, including issues with the soundtrack volume and flipped music channels which affected A New Hope. Due to vocal complaints it is likely these will be rectified, hopefully without introducing other issues.
It's has been rumoured for some years that Lucas would take the opportunity to add elements of soundtrack cues including 'The Imperial March' to the A New Hope, but I suspect this will not eventuate.
It remains to be seen whether the films will receive DTS HD Master Audio or Dolby TrueHD audio tracks - Fox favour DTS, whereas LucasFilm has a long standing relationship with Dolby Laboratories and may force the use of the codec for the set, however as both are lossless audio containers, it really does not matter which it is.
After such a long wait, the complement of extra features which featured on the 2004 DVD was a bit underwhelming, even if it was headlined by an in-depth 150 minute documentary spanning the original trilogy. More impressive were the three discs of extra features that accompany the prequel films, filled with deleted scenes and some great full length documentaries.
Still, with a nine disc Blu-ray set (of which three of these discs will be extra features) there's a lot of space to fill. The press release, which is very scant on details does indicate some "never before seen deleted and alternate scenes" and "much more". Likely candidates for the deleted scenes include the original opening of A New Hope with Luke and his friends on Tatooine, and a later catch-up with Luke and his friend Biggs. The original Cantina scene (filled with bargain basement monsters), Wampa scenes from The Empire Strikes Back and the sandstorm sequence from Return of the Jedi are all likely to appear. George Lucas publically screened one scene which will be part of the set last year; Luke constructing his Lightsabre in a Tatooine cave from Return of the Jedi. The crowd went crazy.
Dating previously to the DVD release, LucasFilm eagerly undertook digitisation of assets from the films, including original concept artwork, set designs and behind the scenes photography; works that can never be replaced. Whilst many of these have found their way to book releases including J.W. Rinzlers' epic tomes 'The Making of Star Wars' and 'The Making of the Empire Strikes Back', there is a lot that's still never been seen and I fully expect the LucasFilm archives to be mined once again for use in documentaries and photo galleries. I suspect the line in the press release touting "an exploration of the exclusive Star Wars archives" refers to this.
It's likely that the original 2004 Audio commentaries will be back, but it's also possible that new ones will be created. Returning too will be the original theatrical trailers, hopefully restored in 1080p. It is possible, but doubtful that isolated scores will feature, which would please many fans.
Playing the waiting game
Whilst work on the Blu-ray has been ongoing at LucasFilm for some years (dating back to 2009), there is still some eight months before the collection will see the light of day. However, we expect that a full press release detailing the entire contents will be unveiled at the middle of the year. And we wait for that with baited breath.