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Star Wars digital releases show Disney's new opening

Cue Padme's funeral dirge and brace your midi-chlorians, padawans: Star Wars movies no longer open with the iconic 20th Century Fox fanfare, as today's downloadable releases confirm.

Here's why: George Lucas sold his empire of businesses to Disney in 2012 in a deal worth $4 billion.

Since 1977, when A New Hope was released, 20th Century Fox served as the franchise's distributor. In effect, Lucas made and owned the movies, and Fox distributed them to the world. That's why every Star Wars movie began with the brass-filled 20th Century Fox fanfare below.

Disney, though, is not burdened with the old Lucasfilm's limitations and is capable of both funding and distributing its movies. And when the new downloadable editions of the first six Star Wars movies arrived today on services like Google Play, iTunes, the PlayStation Store and Xbox Video, they had a small but significant change: Gone is the traditional fanfare and logo. What's left is the Lucasfilm logo, which used to follow 20th Century Fox's, and Disney's new fanfare.

We knew this was coming — Disney told The Wrap in November 2013 — but it's still a bummer.

In times like these, young apprentices, perhaps we can take comfort in what Master Yoda once said: "Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealously. The shadow of greed, that is."

Either that, or get out your red lightsabers.

For more on what you'll get with the digital editions, be sure to read Polygon's coverage of this week's announcement.

The next movie in the nearly 40-year-old franchise, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will arrive in theaters with much of the original cast on Dec. 18, 2015. You can watch a trailer for that below and dive deep and nerdy into it in Polygon's analysis.

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