Disney and Turner announced today that TBS and TNT would become the basic cable home to the Star Wars movies. The deal includes the Original Trilogy, the Prequel Trilogy, The Force Awakens, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and three more unreleased films (presumably Episode VIII, Episode IX, and the untitled Han Solo film).
Episodes I-VI will begin airing in the network next week, while The Force Awakens will come to Turner in late 2018 once Disney deal with STARZ ends, while Rogue One will be available through Turner starting in 2019 after it completes its run on Netflix. Turner had to make a different deal with 20th Century Fox for the rights to A New Hope (which Fox still owns the distribution rights to).
Here's what 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, there's a complication with Disney's deal with Netflix. As Variety reports:
"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 holds the broadcast rights to the new movies, once their run on Netflix wraps up. The deal is believed to be for $250 Million and will run until at least 2022.