You may recall that many 'Star Wars' fans were unhappy with the prequels, and that as a consequence of the fans' anger, Episodes I, II, and III are only the 7th, 30th, and 12th highest-grossing films of all time, with a combined worldwide gross of just $2.4 billion. Duly chastened by this catastrophic failure, George Lucas announced Tuesday that those prequels, along with the three original films, will be re-released in 3D. This will fix everything, since the main thing people didn't like about the prequels was that watching them didn't require special glasses.
Episode I, 'The Phantom Menace,' will hit theaters in 2012, followed by its prequel brethren and the original trilogy. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the six movies will be released one a year, which means 'Return of the Jedi 3D' will come out in 2017, which will be the 40th anniversary of the original 'Star Wars,' which means that you are very old.
Lucasfilm told Variety that the company is committed to making the 'Star Wars' saga look as good in 3D as it would have if it had actually been shot that way. "It's not going to look like [conversions] we've seen in the past," said John Knoll, the visual effects supervisor for Industrial Light & Magic. I assume he then coughed into his hand and said something like 'Clash of the Titans.'
Knoll also says they're not going to tinker with the special effects, though I wouldn't hold my breath on that one, given Lucas' fondness of tinkering and his uncanny ability to annoy his fans no matter what he does. Even if they don't do anything new to the prequels, it's probably the "special edition" versions of the original trilogy that they'll be converting, not the original ones. Then again, the very idea of 3D-ifying 'Star Wars,' 'The Empire Strikes Back,' and 'Return of the Jedi' is probably offensive to a lot of hardcore fans, so if Lucas is going to desecrate them he might as well use the heretical "special editions" as his starting point.
Lucas has been talking about new ways to make money on his old products -- I'm sorry, new ways to help fans experience the 'Star Wars' saga -- for years; here's a reference from 2005. He's been waiting until there were enough 3D screens to make it worthwhile. After all, what's the point in releasing a 'Star Wars' film on only a few hundred screens? You might as well just throw the movie in the bushes.
What do you think? (I happen to know that George Lucas cares deeply about what you think.) Do you look forward to seeing 'Star Wars' in this new way? Can Lucasfilm and ILM really avoid the post-conversion curse? And will this silence the critics who complained that the prequels lacked depth?