By: Dominic Jones
Turner and Disney announced today that TNT and TBS would become the basic cable home to the Star Wars films. This deal includes all six classic films as well as The Force Awakens, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and three more unreleased films (presumably Episode VIII, Episode IX, and the Han Solo A Star Wars Story film). Turner will begin airing Episodes I-VI next week, while The Force Awakens will come to Turner in late 2018 once Disney deal with STARZ wraps up, while Rogue One will be available through Turner starting in 2019 after it completes its run on Netflix. Turner had to make a separate deal with 20th Century Fox for the rights to A New Hope (which Fox still owns the distribution rights to).
Deborah K. Bradley, executive vice president of networks optimization, content strategy and commercialization for Turner, said in a statement,
“The Star Wars movies and characters are beloved across generations, captivating audiences and breaking box office records around the globe for nearly four decades. Through this deal, TNT and TBS will be the exclusive basic cable home of one of the most iconic, enduring and valuable movie franchises of all time, giving viewers the chance to watch this amazing collection from the very beginning.”
However, Disney's deal with Netflix was a source of complications in the deal. According to Variety,
"Industry sources noted that the deal was complicated by the fact that the newer titles (other than “Force Awakens”) will be coming to basic cable after more than yearlong run on Netflix. Disney set a groundbreaking pay TV output deal with Netflix that covers its theatrical releases for 2016-2018. The exposure for the titles on the streaming giant added a wrinkle to determining the value of the titles in the ad-supported cable window."
Disney still retains the broadcast rights to the new films, once their run on Netflix ends. The deal is believed to be for $250 Million and runs until at least 2022.
. Follow The Star Wars Underworld on Twitter @TheSWU for more updates about this story and other breaking Star Wars news.